The Jaguares have named an incredibly strong team for their historic Super Rugby debut match, with coach Raul Perez naming 13 Argentina Rugby World Cup players in the matchday squad to illustrate why punters are falling over themselves to back the newcomers to win the title.
Clear outsiders before naming their 32-man squad, UBET had the side sitting at $251 to win the championship; but after naming 23 Pumas stars in their squad, they now sit at just $13 with ESPN columnist Greg Growden believing they will lift the trophy.
Betting on this year's Super Rugby title is the most open ever, according to UBET, with last year's runners-up the Hurricanes strongly backed to go all the way despite the off-season loss of Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu. UBET quoted the Hurricanes at the head of the market at $7.00, but only narrowly from the Brumbies and the Chiefs at $7.50. The Waratahs are listed at $8.00, while last year's title winners, the Highlanders, are fourth favourites at $8.50.
The Stormers ($12) and the Sharks ($13) appear to be the best winning hopes of the South African sides, but UBET have noted a healthy respect for the Lions at $34. The Lions were good last year, winning three of their four matches outside South Africa - with the only loss being to the Crusaders.
The Cheetahs and the Southern Kings are expected to finish at the tailend of the competition, and that explains in part why the Jaguares have also been heavily backed to win the tournament opener in Bloemfontein. The South African newcomers opened at $1.73 to defeat the Cheetahs, but the odds were quickly halved as punters jumped on the bet even before Pumas stars Agustin Creevy, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Martin Landajo and Nicolas Sanchez were confirmed in the matchday squad.
Cheetahs matches last year saw an average of 55 points scored, which is the sort of game that will suit the Argentinians, while the South Africans only won two of eight at home, and UBET describes the support for the Jaguares as "understandable".