What is it that makes sporting contests against Australia so compelling? With an Ashes series on the horizon, there’s a little matter of the deciding test between the Wallabies and the Lions in Sydney on Saturday morning. It promises to be another nail-biting affair, particularly as momentum appears to have swung behind Australia following their last-gasp win in Melbourne.
They’re odds-on to win now with all firms having been well backed, Stan James pricing them at 20/21 to register what would be a crushing victory over a touring side that looked utterly dejected when losing by a point last week. Bet365 offer 6/5 about a Lions success, a tall order considering they’re missing Sam Warburton and Paul O’Connell.
In other markets, Betway chalk 8/5 about the game’s first score being an Aussie penalty; given how strict referees have been, that looks a decent enough wager, as does Ladbrokes’ 5/6 for the total match points not to exceed 39.
There seems little doubt it’ll be another close one. Following victory by two points and one point for the respective teams, Skybet’s 13/8 for the Aussies to enjoy a winning margin of between 1-12 points cannot be discounted, while the same bookie’s 5/2 for Australia’s Israel Folau to score at any time can be similarly categorised. Welsh wing George North is priced at 13/5 by Paddy Power to register a score at some point during the 80 minutes.
Elsewhere, Betfred post 4/5 against the hosts opening the scoring and for punters anticipating a high-scoring classic, BetVictor quote 6/5 for the duel to produce more than 3.5 tries.
Most of us can look forward to another tense Saturday morning, the pressure relieved by a bacon roll and a pint – or a cuppa if you’re feeling sensible. If the Lions can be in front at the break, however (11/10, Boylesports), there’s a greater chance of them holding onto their lead than last week. Punters who concur can get 2/1 (Sportingbet) for Warren Gatland’s men to be in front at the end of each half, a result likely to prompt scenes of joy across the British and Irish nations – because it’s the Aussies.