Three weeks into the 2023 Currie Cup season, and we have three undefeated teams and three teams yet to win a match. Let’s see if any team has their fortunes change in Round 3.
Here is a look at this week’s games with odds from BetXchange.
Golden Lions VS Griffons – Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
The bookies can’t make the Golden Lions short enough odds here, which is crazy when you consider that these are two of the three winless teams heading into the weekend.
The difference is that the Lions have been competitive – or were last week, at least when they lost by seven to the Pumas in Mbombela – while the Giffons were smoked 52-12 at home by the Cheetahs.
Griffons have had a rough return to the Premier Division, and I just don’t see that changing on the road in Johannesburg. Covering that spread, I would take the Golden Lions to win by as many as 21.
Cheetahs VS Blue Bulls – Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
This is another match with a huge spread, as 14.5 points favor the Free State Cheetahs over the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein. This makes more sense looking at the log, with the Cheetahs having two bonus point victories from two and sitting at the top. With just a single bonus point from their first two games, the Blue Bulls have struggled, sitting seventh on the log.
The Cheetahs beat the Bulls twice last season, with the 2022 version of this clash at Toyota Stadium being a 35-5 romp in favor of the hosts. It is hard to see a young and inexperienced Bulls team doing enough to win this, though they have the pieces to cover the spread after scoring 33 points at home last time out.
Pumas VS Griquas – Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela
The defending champion Pumas are two from two on the season with a pair of bonus point wins. They are also dominant at home, but they will face a test here from the same Griuas team they beat in the final of the 2022 season. Griquas were humbled in the opening round by the Cheetahs, but they responded in style with a 48-40 win over the Sharks in Kimberley last weekend.
These two played three matches last season, with Griquas winning the first tow before their memorable final loss. The difference is that Pumas seem to have kicked on from that win, smashing the Blue Bulls in Round 1 before digging deep to find a late try to beat the Golden Lions last time out. I like their defensive structure better than that of Griquas, which will prove to be the difference.
Sharks VS Western Province – Kings Park Stadium, Durban
The closest game of the week by spread sees Western province as basically a converted try favorite against the Sharks in Durban. WP is two from two and is an offensive machine, as they have scored more than 40 points both times out this season. The Sharks had a 16-point win over the Griffons in the opening round, but they were outlasted by Griquas 48-40 in Round 2.
Those scores suggest this should be high scoring. To that end, I would back the Sharks to cover the 7.5, as I think both can score 30+ against the other defense.