Fri, Aug 17, 4:22am by Staff Writer
Date and Time: Saturday August 18, 7:45pm AEST
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
TV: Channel 10, Fox Sports
The Wallabies begin their 2018 Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup campaigns on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium against the All Blacks.
The Wallabies haven’t held the famous Bledisloe Cup since 2002 and are huge $9 underdogs to emerge from the best-of-three series with the famed silverware.
New Zealand are $1.06 favourites at Sportsbet to claim their 16th Bledisloe in a row. The All Blacks to win the series 3-0 is paying $1.62; with a 2-1 Kiwi win the next shortest price at $3.
If Australia is to win, oddsmakers suggest it is most likely to be by a 2-1 scoreline, paying $10.
The first of the three matches takes place in Sydney on Saturday night. Game two is at Auckland’s Eden Park on August 25, with the final and potentially series-defining fixture in Yokohama in late October.
The June international test window provided little joy for the Wallabies as they were beaten 2-1 by world number two Ireland.
The Australian’s won the first test match in Brisbane before losses in Melbourne and Sydney sealed their second successive June test series loss to northern hemisphere opposition.
There was no such trouble for the All Blacks, who swept aside France, winning all three matches against Les Bleus.
The Wallabies are $4.25 underdogs to defeat the All Blacks on Saturday night, with the Kiwis starting as short-priced favourites at $1.22.
It was a better season for the Australian Super Rugby franchises in 2018, with the Waratahs making it all the way to the semi-finals before losing to the Lions.
It was another championship for the all-conquering Crusaders as they beat the Lions 38-19 in the Grand Final just a fortnight ago.
The All Blacks are spoilt for choice across the park, with one example being the wealth of talent they have in the fly-half jersey.
Incumbent Beauden Barrett will start the first Bledisloe for coach Steve Hansen, with Chiefs fly-half and full back Damien McKenzie his deputy.
The Crusaders’ first-choice fly-half Richie Mo’unga made his All Blacks debut in June and will be pushing for a bigger role in the side, should Barrett or McKenzie fail to produce.
Mo’unga was the Crusaders’ best and most consistent player all season as he scored 150 points for the title winners.
The All Blacks are extremely difficult to beat, no matter where they play. The Wallabies can take confidence from the fact that scored an upset 23-18 win against this team in their last meet at Suncorp Stadium in 2017.
In their match at this venue last year, the All Blacks trounced the Wallabies 54-34. This result shouldn’t be so one sided with Australia at the 10.5-points handicap an enticing bet.
New Zealand to win by 1-12 points in the Big Win Little Win market offers slightly more value, in a game that we predict will be won in the final 20 minutes.
In Rugby Championship odds, New Zealand is the firm favourite to win at $1.17, with Australia the next best at $7.50.
South Africa is priced at $8.50 at Sportsbet, while Argentina are huge outsiders at $101.
At Kings Park in Durban, the Springboks are $1.13 favourites to defeat Argentina ($6) as both sides begin their Rugby Championship campaign on Sunday morning.
Best bet- New Zealand Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3
Bledisloe Cup Game 1
Australia $4.25 New Zealand $1.22
Handicap: Australia +10.5 $1.90
Margin: Australia 1-12 $5, 13+ $15
New Zealand 1-12 $3, 13+ $2
New Zealand $1.06 Australia $9
Correct Series Score
New Zealand 3-0 $1.62
New Zealand 2-1 $3
Australia 3-0 $67
Australia 2-1 $10
Any other result $15
New Zealand $1.17
South Africa $8.50
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