British and Irish Lions v Australia – Test Series Preview
It is the most special and unique event in world rugby, once every four years the British and Irish Lions travel to the other side of the world to take on the best the southern hemisphere has to offer. The class of 2013 are looking to deliver a first test series win in 16 years. Does rugby immortality await Warren Gatland and company or will it be more heartbreak for the home nations. Here is my betting preview for the first test.
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Even with injuries to key players the Lions enter the first test as odds on favourites and are as short as 4/7 (BetVictor), and their record in Brisbane is very difficult to ignore played seven, won seven. Warren Gatland and his players know that if they are to have any chance of winning the series then victory in the first test is essential. In contrast the Australians have been in traning camp for the past three weeks, and haven’t played a together since the Autumn Internationals. The hosts are very generously priced at 13/8 (Bet365), which may tempt a few punters. But its very hard to look past the Lions for victory in this first test, but the value may be in backing the winning margin at 6-10 points at 5/1 (William Hill).
George North passed a late fitness test and will start on the left wing opposite Australia’s latest sensation Israel Folau. The giant Welshman has been in outstanding form on the tour and looks fantastic value at 5/2 (SkyBet) to score a try at anytime. Will Genia is the heartbeat of this Wallabies team, and everything that is good about their play stems from him. His sniping play round the edge of the ruck is the best in world rugby and he is 25/1 (BetFred) to score the first try, and he is 11/2 (Ladbrokes) to score anytime.
The man of the match market is very interesting and provides some very good prices. Brian O’Driscoll has unfinished business with the Lions after coming so close to series wins in 2001 and 2009. Nobody will ever forget his wonderful try in the first test in 2001, and he is definitely a player for the big occasion. He is a best price of 16/1 (Paddy Power) to be named man of the match, and it would be no surprise if he is the catalyst for a Lions victory.
The game is sure to start at breakneck speed, and the Lions will be looking to take advantage of any rustiness in the Australian team. Given their record on this tour of scoring early tries, a Lions try to be the first scoring play is a great bet at a massive 6/1 (SportingBet). A safer option would be the Lions penalty at 8/5 (Paddy Power).
While many including myself expect the Lions to take a 1-0 lead into the second test, it would be no surprise to see Australia win the series 2-1 which is available at 3/1 (Bet365). But if you a very brave it could be worth waiting until after the first test, to back the Wallaby victory which could be a much bigger price if the Lions can win tomorrow.
Lions to win by 6-10 points – 5/1 (William Hill)
Lions try first score – 6/1 (SportingBet)
Brian O’Driscoll Man of the Match – 16/1 (Paddy Power)
Will Genia to score a try – 11/2 (Ladbrokes)
George North to score a try – 5/2 (SkyBet)
Australia to win the series 2-1 – 3/1 (Bet365)