Bookies now believers in Lions' title chances
Garrin Lambley - Sport24 Editor
Cape Town - It remains a five-team race for the 2017 Super Rugby title if bookmakers are to be believed...
Unsurprisingly, four of those five sides hail from New Zealand while the "odd team out" is the Lions, with not a single Australian side in sight.
While the identity of the five challengers has remained the same for some weeks now, the Lions have steadily moved up in the estimation of bookies.
After Round 13 of the tournament, the Crusaders remain unbeaten as they march towards an eighth title.
The men from Christchurch are the bookies' favourites for the title, having brushed aside the Chiefs in Suva, Fiji last weekend.
The Crusaders can be backed at 8/5 with the defending champion Hurricanes on offer at 3/1.
The Lions, who are currently engaged in a two-way battle for top spot in the Overall standings with the Crusaders, with the team that does eventually finish top hosting the final should they reach the tournament decider, are the third favourites at 9/2.
The Chiefs have slipped to 11/2, while the Highlanders complete the list of likely challengers at 8/1.
The Stormers (22/1), Sharks and Brumbies (both 50/1) are considered outsiders for glory in 2017.
The Waratahs (80/1), Blues (100/1), Jaguares and Reds (both 250/1) and Force (500/1) all retain slim, yet mathematical outside chances of lifting the trophy.