Kangaroos still the pick for punters
Thursday November 25, 2004
The out-of-form Kangaroos are still heavily tipped to win this weekend's Tri-Nations grand final in Leeds despite below-average performances against Great Britain and France in the past two weeks.
The Kangaroo's series record of one loss, one draw and two victories was not enough to pip Great Britain of the top position on the Tri-Nations table, but it seems the wider rugby league community still views an Australian victory this weekend as predictable.
Major betting agencies from both Australia and the United Kingdom have the Kangaroos at short odds for an outright win, despite the impressive form shown by the Lions in their wins against Australia and New Zealand respectively.
TAB Sportsbet and Centrebet in Australia have the Kangaroos hovering around the $1.50 margin for an outright win, while the Lions are on a surprisingly high $2.40.
SportingBet UK prove the point that patriotism has no part in betting by offering the slightly reduced but similar odds of $1.57 for the Kangaroos and $2.37 for Great Britain.
The "Form Guide" is something no tipster could live without, and it's safe to say that history is well and truly against the Brits when you look further back than the past fortnight.
The last time Great Britain inflicted two successive defeats against Australia was in 1990, when they scored a 19-12 victory at Wembley after defeating the Roos 26-12 at Sydney in 1988.
Great Britain has also been unable to defeat Australia twice in the same year since 1970, when they last won the ashes by defeating Australia in the second and third tests.
Although the Lions have notched a formidable 60 wins from 135 matches thus far, the statistics from recent years is much less flattering.
However, with Golden Boot winner Andy Farrell leading the way and the flying Irishman Carney on the wing, it will take more than history and statistics to decide this battle.
Forty thousand Englishmen will pack into Leed's Elland Road Stadium to cheer their team on, and I'm sure that will go a long way to proving that Australia will need more than favouritism with the bookies to bring this one home.
*Note: All prices from the betting agencies were obtained online and were valid as of the 25th of November 2004.