Super XV Rugby Final Betting: Back the Hurricanes to blow Highlanders away

Team captains Conrad Smith (right) and Nasi Manu
Team captains Conrad Smith (right) and Nasi Manu

The Hurricanes play host to the Highlanders in Saturday's 2015 Super Rugby final, with both teams looking to win the title for the first time. Our man Down Under Rajiv Maharaj previews the game and picks out his best bets...

"The Highlanders have overachieved - by their own doing in parts, but some of it because teams often underestimated them. The Waratahs clearly did that last weekend. The Hurricanes won't make the same mistake."

Hurricanes v Highlanders
Saturday, 08:35
Live on Sky Sports 1

The Highlanders surprised all - including this column - with an upset win against the Waratahs to join the Hurricanes in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby final in Wellington on Saturday.

But once bitten certainly not twice shy in this case and we're going against the Highlanders again. There ought to be a clear winner here - the Hurricanes @ 1.454/9 on the Exchange. It's a surprisingly good price, no doubt inflated by the Highlanders' tactically astute dismantling of the defending champions last weekend.

However, a closer look at that semi-final reveals the Waratahs were really quite poor across the board and played arguably their worst game of the season. The Highlanders quite rightly put away that horribly out-of-sorts rabble, but I think the layers have given them too much credit for it. The Hurricanes ought to be 1.251/4 or thereabouts - 1.454/9 is a gift.

If you don't want to play at those sort of odds, get on the Hurricanes in the HT/FT market at around 2.56/4 while they should have no problem covering the -6.5 points handicap, which pays out at evens.

The Hurricanes are simply the superior team, stacked with in-form All Blacks and are playing at home. The Canes finished 13 points clear of the Waratahs at the top of the table after 18 rounds with a 14-2 win-loss record. They have the second-best attack and defence in the competition. Against that, the Highlanders finished the regular season 11-5, and are ranked third in attack and sixth in defence.

Of course, the Highlanders have the irresistible Smiths, Aaron and Ben, at their disposal in the backs. But the Hurricanes backline is Test class throughout: TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Julian Savea and Nehe Nehe Milner-Skudder. The Canes forward pack isn't too shabby either, especially the loosies Victor Vito, Ardie Savea and Brad Shields. There should be plenty of tries given the talent on show - back over 4.5 at around 1.84/5.

The Highlanders have overachieved - by their own doing in parts, but some of it because teams often underestimated them. The Waratahs clearly did that last weekend. The Hurricanes won't make the same mistake. They should have sussed out the Highlanders by now.

And there's the Jerry Collins factor. The Hurricanes are determined to honour their recently deceased All Blacks and Hurricanes legend by lifting their maiden title. The Highlanders' Cinderella fairy tale should end badly at the Cake Tin on Saturday.


Recommended Bets
Hurricanes to beat the Highlanders @ 1.454/9
Hurricanes to lead at half-time and full-time @ 2.56/4
Hurricanes -6.5 points @ 2.01/1
Over 4.5 total match tries @ 1.84/5

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