Blues vs Chiefs Prediction: Back the home side on the handicap line

 | Friday 31st May 2024, 18:18pm

Friday 31st May 2024, 18:18pm

Alex Cox Rugby Union

We have some Super Rugby for the early birds on Saturday morning as the Blues and Chiefs face-off from 08:05 on Sky Sports Action.

Alex Cox has taken a look at this one and picked out his top Blues vs Chiefs prediction for the match...

Blues vs Chiefs Betting Tips

Two of the best sides in the competitions will go to head-to-head at Eden Park to close out their regular season. The Blues and Chiefs have secured their playoffs spots but are juggling for position to secure home advantage in the knockout rounds. The Blues are in the driving seat sitting top of the table and they know a bonus point win is enough to lock that in. The Chiefs can’t finish anywhere other than 4th so they have slightly less at stake here.

The Blues were disappointing last week in their loss to the indifferent Crusaders in Christchurch, so I expect that Cotter will have got his troops re-focused on finishing the season well to gain momentum to take into the knockout stages.

At Eden Park this season, the Blues have been exceptional. They have won all 6 games, only conceding 66 points (an average of 11 per game) which is almost unheard of. The Hurricanes pushed them close earlier this month, however the Blues dug deep and I’m expecting more of the same tomorrow, with big players returning this week.

Although the Chiefs have 4th spot confirmed, I believe they will be fairly disappointed with some of their performances this year. They have struggled on the road and only won 3 of their 6 games which as a result, has kept them from obtaining home advantage if they reach the Semi-Finals.

When they have been in the mood at home in Hamilton, they have looked unplayable at times when McKenzie gets front-foot ball and puts his outside backs into holes. However, they have also gone missing at times and this is often paired with a lack of discipline too.

Prediction: Blues -8.5 @ 20/21

*Remember, you can get all the latest prices across all of Betfred's market by clicking on this Blues vs Chiefs Odds link, which will take you to the market page on site.

Team News: 

Blues

Vern Cotter is able to recall a few key names that sat out the loss vs Cruasders last week. Tu’ungafasi, Riccitelli and Renata will make up the front-row – the latter earning his 50th Cap for the Blues. Skipper Tuipulotu and Darry will be in the second-row in behind them. Cotter returns to his first-choice back-row trio of Ioane, Papali’I and Sotutu – who will be in for a dog fight vs the Chiefs back-row.

Funaki continues at Scrum-Half and after a long stint out injured, Christie is fit enough to be on the bench this week. Plummer will be at fly-half, who has impressed this season – although his goal-kicking has not been particularly strong. AJ Lam gets a rare start at 12 but he will have the familiar face of Rieko Ioane outside him for comfort. Plenty of strength in their back three as well - with Clarke, Tele’a and Perofeta.

Chiefs

The Chiefs named a strong side for their trip to Auckland. Ross, Slater and Dyer will be in the front-row, with Tupou and Ah Kuoi in the second-row. Finau, Jacobson and Sititi will be in the back-row. The Blues pack have been arguably one of the strongest in Super Rugby this year so this Chiefs pack will need to match them.

Ratima and McKenzie will be in the half-back spots this week. The latter has been irresistible at times this year and he’ll need to reach those heights at Eden Park this weekend to give the Chiefs a chance in this game. A slight reshuffle in the midfield with Lienart-Brown giving way and Tupea moved to the bench, meaning it will be Phihipi and Rona together this week. Nanai-Seturo, Narawa and Stevenson are in the backfield and will be looking for opportunities out-wide.

Bet reasoning

With Blues needing a win – and a bonus point to make sure – I think we’ll see them get back on track against a Chiefs side with little motivation. Having Clarke and Papali’I back are key figures that can hurt the Chiefs both up front and out-wide.

Find more Rugby Union Betting Tips here at Betfred Insights.

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