Friday, November 6, 2009

Autumn Rugby Internationals 2009: Betting Preview

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Autumn Internationals Week One Betting Previews

Saturday, 07 November 2009
England v Australia, 14:30
Wales v New Zealand, 17:15

No Australian team made the finals of the Super 14 this season. Australia have lost five of their last six games, and not only that, but they were losers on the bookmakers’ handicaps, too. And yet, the layers believe that the Wallabies are a considerably better team than England in the opener to the autumn international series at Twickenham on Saturday.

On the face of it, it is easy to see why the layers have taken that particular view. The November internationals have been a happy hunting ground for the Tri Nations teams in recent times. The Six Nations teams have won just four of those 23 matches going back to the autumn of 2006. It’s a shocking record, and it shows quite how far ahead the southern hemisphere teams are at the moment.

Australia come into this weekend’s fixture with the heartbeat of the team ripped out of them. Their skipper, Stirling Mortlock is still absent through injury, and if that wasn’t enough, his midfield partner and vice-captain Berrick Barnes also misses out. It’s quite an absentee list, and one that England coach Martin Johnson will appreciate. The former world-cup winning skipper has named three of his 2003 colleagues in his matchday squad, which includes a return to action for hooker Steve Thompson, who last played for England in 2006. His hand was forced by 13 injuries to his Elite Player Squad of 32. On that injury list, there were seven certain starters.

So what we have is a watered down version of the full-blooded Test that we were all hoping for. Australia’s squad may be thin on the ground, but it is their lack of experience that may be the greater weakness. Despite England’s threadbare cupboard, the return of Jonny Wilkinson will steady the ship somewhat. Wilkinson is in sublime form for his new club Toulon right now, vying to be the league’s top scorer with Clermont’s Brock James. Although statistics can be misleading, England have always played better with their talismanic fly-half – with him they win 78% of the time, without him, 47% of the time.

Australia gave away countless penalties throughout this year’s Tri Nations, and if there are too many indiscretions from the Green and Gold team, Wilkinson will punish them with his deadly left boot. Wilkinson has said himself in the build up to this series that he is in the best form of his life, but one if you want impartiality, Dave Alred, his long-time kicking coach, thinks the same. Alred has said that Wilkinson’s remodelled kicking action is leagues ahead of what it used to be and that is enough to consider buying England’s kicking meters on the spreads. It’s an unconventional way of making money, but if Australia are half as bad at giving away penalties as they have been in the past few months, and Wilkinson is half as good at Alred says at converting them into points, the kicking meters could soar.

In the other international, Wales try to stand tall and proud in the face of the mighty All Blacks at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. A match between these two sides is always worth watching for sheer attacking intent, but as far as the handicap is concerned, the bookmakers look to have got it spot on. Where a bit of value may be squeezed out of the game is in the half-time market. Wales are a side that like to start quickly, as evidenced by the fact that they have been leading at half-time in seven of their last ten matches, and they were drawing after 40 minutes against France in the Six Nations.

New Zealand are the ultimate come from behind side, which was obvious when they beat Australia in that manner in Tokyo last week. As a result, punters should be looking to either side with Wales on the half-time handicap at about six or seven points, or go for the big win and back Wales to be leading at half-time, but for the All Blacks to win the game.

BetRepublic Betting Recommendations:

1pt buy England kicking meters with Sporting Index
1pt Back Wales on the best available half-time handicap

Check out BetRepublic.com for Autumn Rugby Internationals 2009 Rugby Betting Picks, Rugby Betting Tips.

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