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TAB Sports Odds - NPC Winners Picked

In This Edition:
- Bay of Plenty step up too tough
- Cricket score likely in local derby
- “Dad’s Army” no show against Otago
- Northland no hope in Bullring battle
- Southland can’t win, says TAB


Bay of Plenty step up too tough

Bay of Plenty has never beaten Wellington in the NPC and they won’t do it this year, according to the TAB.

The newly-promoted Bay meets Wellington at WestpacTrust Stadium on Sunday in the opening clash of the Air New Zealand NPC.

The TAB has Wellington at $1.15 while Bay of Plenty are at $5 in the Head to Head book.

TAB head bookie Pete Young said last week’s Nelson Bays-Canterbury Ranfurly Shield match showed the yawning gap between the first and second divisions.

“This is the gap that Bay of Plenty will have to bridge this year but I can’t see it happening against Wellington,” he said.


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Cricket score likely in local derby

The TAB says it’s appropriate that Waikato is playing their Air New Zealand NPC home matches at a cricket ground this year.

TAB head bookie Pete Young said that’s because he’s expecting a cricket-type score from Waikato in Sunday’s local derby match against Counties-Manukau.

The TAB has opened Waikato at $1.16 while Counties-Manukau are at $4.75.

Pete Young said Waikato could go all the way in this year’s competition.

“They’ve got a star-studded backline with the likes of Duggan, Lowen, McLeod, Randle and Reihana,” he said.

However, he said Counties-Manukau – the Chiefs brothers-in-arms – were ranked second last to win the NPC at odds of 100-to-1.

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“Dad’s Army” no show against Otago

Despite the unavailability of nine first-string players, the TAB believes Otago will wallop the “Dad’s Army” North Harbour side in their Air New Zealand NPC opening match on Friday night.

The TAB has opened Otago at $1.35 for the Carisbrook clash while North Harbour is at $3.

TAB head bookie Pete Young said Otago would be without their eight All Blacks and captain Kelvin Middleton was also out injured.

“But despite that we still don’t rate Harbour a chance. Their record in Dunedin isn’t flash and Otago are formidable at home. Also, many punters are predicting that returning Otago coach Laurie Mains will have his side firing from the outset.”

Otago’s pre-season form has also seen them firm to $4 as second-favourites to win the overall competition.


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Northland no hope in Bullring battle

The combination of a tough forward pack and the daunting Bullring will prove too much for Northland when they take on Taranaki in the opening clash of the Air New Zealand NPC this weekend.

The TAB has opened Taranaki at $1.30 for the match while Northland is at $3.30

TAB head bookie Pete Young said Taranaki had solid, no-nonsense forwards who carried them to the NPC semi-finals last year.

“Taranaki are the old-fashioned, hard grafters of the competition. But they guts it out and win a lot of games, especially at home,” he said.

He said the best that Northland could hope for was testing a few sides at home.


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Southland can’t win, says TAB

This week’s NPC match between regular cellar dweller Southland and high-flying Auckland is the biggest mismatch of the NPC opening round, according to the TAB.

Auckland is paying $1.09 to win the match while Southland is at $6.50 for the Eden Park match.

TAB rugby bookie Pete Young said despite being New Zealand’s largest union, Auckland had only lost Doug Howlett to All Black duties and had a solid core of experienced players.

“Southland on the other hand have dropped their most experienced player, Davin Heaps. They will target home games and look unlikely to win outside their home patch.”

The TAB has Southland at $150 to win the NPC. Auckland are third favourites at $4.50.


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