MyClubBetting.com experts offer their best bets throughout the Rugby League World Cup. Here’s our view on the 2013 Rugby League World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand…
If only it was always this easy to predict. It is rare that the biggest of tournaments follow the course that is set. That is exactly what we have for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford: Australia 1/3 pre-tournament favourites, square off against 11/5 second favourites New Zealand.
The odds have hardly fluctuated since the spectacular Opening Ceremony in Cardiff on October 26.
The Kangaroos are 3/10 to beat the 11/4 Kiwis, with the draw at 25/1.
Australia are considered 8-point favourites. For betting novices, you can back them at 10/11 and if they win by more than eight points, you will collect (e.g. bet £11 at odds of 10/11 and your return will be £21 in total if your bet wins).
Australia have cruised through this tournament and have covered the handicap set by bookmakers in two of their five games. In contrast, New Zealand have only covered the handicap once in their five matches.
If following that trend, we should be looking at backing New Zealand at 10/11 with an 8-point start (or +8).
The Kiwis might have lost every one-off fixture against Australia since 1998 but they have developed the irritating habit of tripping up their Anzac rivals on the big stage – the 2008 World Cup final and the 2010 Four Nations being the two stand-out examples.
The whole 24-man squad plays in the NRL and six of them – Kieran Foran, Sam Moa, Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Sonny Bill Williams – played in the recent NRL Grand Final.
The Kangaroos have won nine of the previous 14 World Cups and they want their trophy back having relinquished it to New Zealand five years ago, following a 34-20 defeat in the final.
New Zealand did not face much of a test until coming up against England in the semi-final. Their defensive flaws were evident and they needed a last-kick conversion by Shaun Johnson to steal a 20-18 victory.
Australia, similarly, did not play as well as anticipated in their tournament opener against England, but the notoriously slow starters still went on to win 28-20. England gave everything in the semi-final and the Kiwis took their lumps, while Australia cruised past an over-matched Fiji.
The health of these two teams is going to play a part and we see Australia grinding down the holders late on to cover the handicap in a relatively low-scoring encounter.
The bookmakers are estimating there will be around 40 total points scored and the line is set at 40.5. Points have not been a problem for the Kangaroos, who have averaged 47.6 per game in this tournament, so the line set looks a little conservative, despite the fact that they have allowed just two points in four games since facing England. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed that New Zealand will be able to keep within sight and take the Over 40.5 total points in the match at 10/11.
Will the intensity and physicality of the Kiwis’ semi-final clash leave them drained emotionally flat? Or will Australia struggle with complacency against a side that feeds off momentum like no other?
Australia have a clear advantage at the full-back position with Billy Slater, and in the three-quarters: Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne trump Kiwis’ Bryson Goodwin and Dean Whare in terms of class. Hayne may be inexperienced, but he is a lethal force in attack and has pace to burn, and Inglis is the complete package. If Australia can give them room, that duo will unlock the Kiwis’ defence.
We don’t believe it will come down to goal-kicking. But if it does, Shaun Johnson managed to put behind him a bad day against the USA (landing just 7 of 12 kicks) by nailing a pressure kick in the semi- to beat England. Yet we’d still take Australia’s Jonathan Thurston over Johnson. He booted 11 of 12 kicks against Fiji at Wembley and has a very good NRL career average (79.35%), although the pair have an identical 74.3% success rate in this World Cup.
Who will have the best kicking percentage in the match? There is a market for that. It is 5/6 for Thurston and 5/6 for Johnson. We’ll go with Johnson, who may not have as many kicking opportunities and therefore fewer chances for error. He’s also 6/4 that he makes every placed kick at goal.
There are a wealth of markets on the game and if you like better odds, try the Line and Points Total Double. Australia -6.5 points and Over 41.5 points is available at 2/1.
We believe the score will be in the region of 26-14 to Australia, so we’ll back the Kangaroos to win between 1-12 points at 13/8.”
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