Picking Super Rugby upsets - a tipster's guide

Picking Super Rugby upsets - a tipster's guide
Picking Super Rugby upsets - a tipster's guide
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It would appear that betting is an increasing phenomena in pro sport. Expert pundits give their insight and analysis. In the world of rugby union, there are few better than Talking Rugby Union's Scott Donaldson.

Scott studies the data, watches the games and provides thoughtful coverage. The popularity of Scott's work and the growing demand from fantasy gamers has led Talking Rugby Union to create it's very own Fantasy Rugby section.

Every week there is opinion and news to help gamers. This week Scott focussed on the rugby upset and how gamers might handle these.

Super Rugby gave us three upsets out of six games, making things difficult for Super Rugby tipsters. It was the one week that fortune favoured the brave, but is there a method to the madness of brave people who pick upsets?

Statistics from Super Rugby tipping competition SuperBru shows us that one third of all matches up until the end of Round 10 end in upset results, while half of all results end in either upsets or those matches that fifty fifty. This means that for tipsers, don't be afraid to pick at least one upset per round, probably two.

Admittedly Super Rugby Round 10 really broke the camel's back with three extreme upsets, but some of those results weren't completely out of the ordinary given the form and available players. The painful thing was that some of these results came down to missed last minute kicks which would have saved blushes not only for the teams who missed the kicks, but also for Super Rugby tipsters.

Round 7 was the only round in Super Rugby 2015 that was upset free, but it did include three fifty fifty results.

So, don't be so conservative when making your picks and if you have a hunch about an upset, pick it!


In SuperBru you get one point for picking the winner, half a point for getting within 5 points of the winning margin (assuming you picked the winner) and another point for being the closest. The other benefit of picking an upset is that there will be less competition for being the closest to the result. Even if you get the margin completely wrong, if you are the only person that picked a team then you will get the bonus point.

There is no point picking upsets in every game as the most upsets in any round was Round 1 with five upsets from seven games, but this is relatively rare.

If you get the wrong winner then chances are there will be lots of different people who pick up the margin and bonus point for being the closest that everyone else gets a little rather than one person getting a lot.

Let's use Super Rugby Round 10 as an example. If you picked every game to end in an upset then you would have had the opportunity to win 2.5 points x 7 games which is an amazing week, 17.5 points. If you picked the Chiefs to win over the Crusaders and the three other upsets then your maximum points would be 4 x 2.5 which is a good 10 points. If you picked the favourites to win you would have had a maximum of 3 x 2.5 = 7.5 points and you would have a lower chance of getting the bonus points as more others would have picked the winner.

This theory of picking the upsets in every game depends on who is playing. For example in one round there might be plenty of evenly matched teams and so there really is no upset as no one is surprised if either team wins.

But if there are rounds where one team is a clear favourite then it is worth sniffing out an upset.

The other assumption is that less others sniff an upset than pick the favourite. The more people who pick an upset, the less the chances are of you getting bonus points.

In summary, picking upsets in every game is probably not a good long-term solution but is a good move if there is a round with plenty of potential upsets or that you have a hunch.

Depending on the size of your pool and how many others pick upsets then if there are more than two upsets then it is probably profitable to pick every game as an upset. If there are two or less, then you probably lose more than you gain.

So are you an upsets tipster or do you play it safe in Super Rugby tipping?