Mon, Oct 28, 1:41pm by Rob Sheeley
Bet On The Rugby World Cup With: Centrebet.com
The Rugby League World Cup offers the rare opportunity for some of the lesser known countries to mix it with the big guns of the game. The tournament often throws up it’s fair share of lop-sided results, but there is also sure to be plenty of cracking games.
As usual, the three powerhouses of Australia, New Zealand and England dominate tournament betting, and it’d be highly irregular if the winner was not to be one of those squads. In fact, it would probably be world-shattering news. This year the tournament is being held in the United Kingdom which gives England an added advantage. Full previews of the Quarters, Semis and the Final will be available for you as soon as the participating teams are decided. There should be ample opportunity for us to make some money in the early group games too, so let’s take a look at the prospects of the top three favourites and the next two fancied teams, Samoa and Tonga, in the betting market:
The Kangaroos are firm favourites to win the tournament and justifiably so, especially after beating England 28-20 on Saturday. The team is flushed with some of the best players in the world who compete at the highest level week in, week out. After losing the championship to New Zealand back in 2008, the Kangaroos will be desperate to regain the title and it would take something special from either NZ or England to knock them off.
Players to watch: Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith.
02/11: Aus v Fiji – Win
09/11: Aus v Ireland – Win
Current World Champions New Zealand held off a brave Samoa to win 42-24 on Sunday, and the Kiwis pose the biggest threat to Australia’s attempts to secure the trophy. They have plenty of players who star in the NRL each week and some say this NZ squad is more powerful than the one that beat the Kangaroos back in ’08.
Players to watch: Sonny Bill Williams, Keiran Foran, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
01/11: NZ v France – Win
08/11: NZ v Papua New Guinea – Win
Following a shock loss to Italy in the warm up matches, England suffered a bigger blow to its tournament chances, going down to Australia 28-20 after building a 10-0 lead early in the game. Sam Burgess was reported for an ugly challenge on Sam Thaiday. They will need to improve sharply to challenge for the title, but there’s no doubting they are up to the task on their home turf.
England is likely to meet either Samoa or France in the Quarter Finals and should be strong enough to progress to the Semis.
Players to watch: Sam Burgess, Kevin Sinfield and Sam Tomkins
02/11: England vs Ireland – Win
09/11: England vs Fiji – Win
Prediction: Semi Finalists
Samoa’s valiant 18-point loss to the Kiwis proved it is not an easy-beat team. The Samoans are certainly going to be very competitive during the group stages with a host of players with significant NRL experience. They have the ability to overcome Papua New Guinea and France if they perform at their best and are a strong chance to progress through to the play-offs
Players to watch: Daniel Vidot, Junior Moors, Tim Lafai.
04/11: Samoa vs Papua New Guinea – Win
11/11: Samoa vs France – Win
Prediction: Quarter Finalists
Tonga looks to have a strong and competitive team and the upcoming clash with Italy should be a real gem of a match. The team boasts several top-range NRL players, and a couple of very powerful forwards too. Only the winner of Group C will advance to the play-offs, so Tonga needs to beat Italy if it is to make a case to play finals. This group also plays one cross-over match with Group D.
Players to watch: Nafe Seluini, Konrad Hurrell, Brent Kite.
29/10: Tonga vs Scotland – Win
05/11: Tonga vs Cook Islands – Win
10/11: Tonga vs Italy – Win
Prediction: Quarter Finalists
Realistically, most other sides are going to find it very difficult to stay competitive in the tournament against the best teams in the world. The winner of Group D looks likely to be the USA, but priced at $1001 to win the title, it would appear it might struggle to progress any further.
Winners In Bold:
QF1: New Zealand vs Tonga
QF2: Australia vs USA
QF3: England vs France
QF4: Samoa vs Fiji
If predictions stand, this should give Australia and New Zealand saloon passages in to the Semi Finals. England should easily account for France, while the Samoa and Fiji match should make for some compelling viewing. I’m leaning towards Fiji to claim victory, possible at good value too.
If everything continues to follow suit, it’d mean Australia would meet England again in the Semis; a possible chance at redemption for the home team. New Zealand would then tackle Fiji and barring any hiccups, should have no troubles progressing to another World Cup Final. I’m tipping Australia to atone for its 2008 loss and come home with the trophy this time around.
The Kangaroos remain at short $1.30 odds to win the tournament and for good reason. Anything other than regaining the title would be a major underachievement for the Aussies. Throughout the Pool stages I’d look at backing sides like Tonga and Samoa in their early matches. Be sure to check back for an in-depth analysis of the Quarter Finals.
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