The big rugby finals in the northern hemisphere keep on coming, and this weekend it’s the final of France’s Top 14, so here we bring you our free rugby picks on the match between Castres and Montpellier.
The good news is that this is the final we all craved, with first against second. Castres, who topped the table, goes into the final as the slight favorites at -135. While second-placed Montpellier is the outsiders at +105.
|Top 14 Rugby Winner Betting|
The Top 14 is France’s premier Rugby Union competition. Established in 1892, it is the highest league in the French rugby pyramid system. The most successful team in the 130-year history is Toulouse with 21 titles. Toulouse last won this competition in the 2020/21 season.
About the Top 14
Similar to the top flight in England, the Top 14 is first a league process, with the top teams qualifying for playoffs that ultimately decide the winner.
The league season is 26 matches long, with all 14 teams playing each other home and away. The top sides in the league table then play off in a knock-out competition. In England, the top 4 teams qualify for the playoffs, while in France, it is the top 6 teams.
Positions 3-6 play off in two semi-finals qualifiers, with the two winners going through to the semi-finals proper. At this point, they join the top 2 teams from the league, with the winners of the semi-finals then meeting in the final to decide who will be the Top 14 champions.
This format can sometimes mean that we don’t always see the best two teams in the final, as one or both of the top 2 can lose in their semi-finals.
Luckily, this isn’t the case this season, as both first and second are contesting the final.
- What; Top 14 Playoff Final
- Where; Stade de France, Saint-Denis, Paris
- When; Friday, June 24th, 2022
- Time; 3.45 pm ET
As these two teams finished first and second in the table, they entered the fray at the semi-finals stage. Castres beat the defending champions, Toulouse, by 24 points to 18 last Friday, while Montpellier defeated Bordeaux Bègles 19-10 the following day.
Castres; Top 14 Table Toppers
Castres topped the French Top 14 league this season with 76 points. Pierre-Henry Broncan’s team won 17 of their 26 matches, losing eight and drawing one.
This gave them 76 points, two more than Friday’s opponents Montpellier, and five more than Toulouse and European Champions, La Rochelle, who finished in 4th and 5th place respectively with 71 points each.
The fact that La Rochelle didn’t even make the semi-finals shows the strength of the French Rugby Union at the moment. It’s no wonder their national team is one of the favorites to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Montpellier falls at the Last Hurdle
Up until the last month of the season, Philippe Saint-André’s Montpellier team was in with a real shout of topping the table. The difference was the run-in. While Castres won all four of their final league matches, Montpellier could only manage one win and three defeats.
Ultimately, that run-in is what cost Saint-André’s team. But luckily for them, they have the chance to put the record straight on Friday.
Castres v Montpellier Betting
In the betting for the match, Castres are the favorites with the best rugby betting sites. The table-toppers are -135 with BetOnline to win in 80 minutes, with Montpellier just +105. The match betting is:-
- Castres -135
- Castres (-1.5 points) -115
Montpellier (+1.5 points) -115
According to the odds, this looks to be another close call -similar to the 2022 European Champions Cup final and the English Premiership final.
Castres are the in-form team, but it’s obvious that punters and the best rated online sportsbooks all give Montpellier a good chance. Otherwise, their odds would be far longer. This is what makes this such an intriguing fixture and also makes it very difficult to call.
Further muddying the waters are rumors that Montpellier’s semi-final win over Bordeaux Bègles was aided by a bust-up in the Bordeaux dressing room. The story is that Begles’ players and coach, Christophe Urios had a major disagreement at the break.
This has been disputed by players and sources, at Bordeaux.
— Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) June 19, 2022
Whether the story is true or not is irrelevant this Friday night, as the match is the toss of a coin.
There may have been an argument that aided Montpellier, or there may not have been. We can’t make rugby picks based on hearsay. So, I’m going to work on the basis that Montpellier was just too strong for last Saturday’s opponents.
It is a hard call, but for my rugby pick, I’m going with Montpellier to win, and in doing so, overturn the favorites and continuing the trend in big rugby union finals of late.