Moneyball: Expect tries in Canberra

By Michael Guerin

Both the Blues and Brumbies have plenty of attacking weapons would should lead to a highscoring match in Canberra. Photo / Getty Images
Both the Blues and Brumbies have plenty of attacking weapons would should lead to a highscoring match in Canberra. Photo / Getty Images

The words Canberra and Fun rarely appear in the same sentence together but tonight's Brumbies-Blues clash should provide a rare exception.

Their seasons have been polar opposites of each other, the Brumbies recovering well after their opening round loss to the Reds and looking very serious and structured before being out-passioned by the Rebels last week.

Whereas the helter-skelter Blues went mentally AWOL early but have looked more robust since the big boys Kaino and Nonu returned.

But the one thing the two teams have in common is not just genuine firepower out wide, but firepower that is actually firing.

The Brumbies have two of the top three try scorers in the competition in Robbie Coleman and Jessie Mogg, who have five tries each. Opposite them tonight are a Blues outside five of Piutau, Halai, Li, Moala and Nonu, which is still an awful lot of line-breaking talent on the field at one time.

So the TAB look to have got the expected tries margin wrong, providing punters a perfect chance to cash in. Four or more tries in the match is paying $1.87 which should be easily achieved while the total points line is 43.5.

In the last four years Brumbies-Blues clashes have averaged 51 points per game so with the speed and brawn on show out wide tonight, taking the plus 43.5 total points also looks good betting, especially with both teams usually kicking their goals.

***

Putting your hard-earned money on the Highlanders to do anything with consistency would usually be considered a one way street to the poor house. But the good news for sports punters trying to make a buck out of tonight's earlier Super Rugby game is you get two bites at the cherry.

Because by backing the Highlanders you are counting on them winning at home as well as the almost even bigger certainty that the Rebels lose away from home.

The Highlanders have been better than they record indicates this season, sharing a home and away series with the Blues (most teams would be happy with that), beating the Hurricanes and almost beating the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Their most glaring stumble was their March 15 loss to the Force but that will, if anything, should rule out any complacency against the Rebels, who aren't as good as the Force anyway.

If this game was in Melbourne the Rebels would fancy their upset chances, especially after beating the Brumbies last week as well as downing the Cheetahs at home and pushing the Crusaders close.

But when they travel the Rebels have been more like he Dreadfuls.

They have lost to the Force in Perth by 25 points and the Waratahs in Sydney by 24, suggesting the Highlanders will have their number tonight, especially coming off the back of that taxing derby last week.

So with their habit of shipping plenty of points to opponents on the road, the Rebels could struggle if Ben Smith and co get space tonight and it makes sense to back the Highlanders to win and then double up on them at $1.82 to cover the 7.5 point start.

- NZ Herald

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 17 Sep 2014 14:33:23 Processing Time: 371ms