The Chiefs are odds-on favourites to become only the fourth team to win back-to-back Super Rugby titles in Hamilton tomorrow.
Local bookmakers, Marshalls World of Sports, are offering a payout of 38c on every Rand you bet on the Chiefs winning outright, with Ladrokes at 30c and William Hill 25c. By contrast the payout for a Brumbies win is R2.75 at William Hill compared to only R2.23 from Marshalls.
After the Brumbies performance against the Bulls last weekend, where they travelled halfway across the world to record a surprise win, you might have thought that the bookies would give them more of a chance. But home ground advantage, and the long flight back make it difficult to back White’s heroes.
Last weekend the bookies got it wrong. They gave the Brumbies a 10 point lead and still expected the Bulls to win, but Jake White’s experience and a woeful display by the Bulls saw the Brumbies take the semi. They also expected the Chiefs to lose to a resurgent Crusaders, but even the presence of Dan Carter couldn’t help them – despite the 3 point handicap.
I don’t believe the Chiefs are a better team than the Brumbies. If this match was being played in Canberra and the Chiefs were the side returning from a play-off in South Africa I’d be going with a Brumbies win by 10 points. But home ground advantage is worth 10 points in a home play-off, when hosting a team from another country. It is what will separate the teams in this year’s final because, played on a neutral venue and with neither side at a travel disadvantage, I wouldn’t be able to pick a winner.
The Chiefs and the Brumbies boast the two best coaching outfits in the competition and a Brumbies win would be a fairytale for former Bok coach and 2007 World Cup winning coach Jake White. White has been immense in his two seasons at the Brumbies. Dave Rennie has been equally influential since joining the Chiefs.
I’m betting online at williamhill.com where I can get R2 if the Chiefs win by 10 points or more.
Kick-off is at 9.35 am (SA time)