Ahead of the first round of the Rugby Championship, we take a look at the best bets from the two games; Australia v New Zealand and South Africa v Argentina.
Australia v New Zealand
Most of the debate heading into this encounter his centred on Steve Hansen’s comments, suggesting that the Wallabies are favourites going into the game. Those words have, of course, been rubbished by most observers and the bookmakers back up the assertion that the All Blacks should start their campaign with a victory.
There are factors which go in the hosts’ favour, however. Hansen based his pre-match talk on the previous contest between the two which saw Michael Cheika’s men claim their first win over New Zealand since 2015, while they once again have home advantage.
Other than that, everything else falls on the side of the visitors. Although Sonny Bill Williams is out, that is offset by the fact that Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani are missing for the Wallabies, while first choice prop Scott Sio is injured.
Sky Bet and Bet365 therefore have the three-time world champions at 2/9 to begin the defence of their Rugby Championship title with a win. Australia, meanwhile, are 4/1 with Marathonbet to upset the apple cart and claim what would be a huge triumph.
We can’t see that happening, although it should be closer than recent tournament openers. In 2016, New Zealand thrashed their antipodean rivals 42-8 and last year they put over 50 points on the 2015 World Cup runners-up in a 54-34 victory.
With Australia looking in better shape, the All Blacks are 11/2 at Ladbrokes and Coral to overcome the home side by 6-10 points.
South Africa v Argentina
There will be both familiarity and uncertainty when Los Pumas head to Durban to take on the Springboks at Kings Park on Saturday. The former because new head coach Mario Ledesma’s methods are well known to the squad but the latter as it is impossible to predict how successfully that will transfer onto the international arena.
After guiding the Jaguares to seventh in Super Rugby and their first ever quarter-final appearance, the former hooker has taken the reins from Daniel Hourcade for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Argentina will be desperate for an immediate impact having emerged victorious in just two of their past 17 matches. That includes last year’s disappointing tournament which saw them go winless for the first time since 2013.
They lacked direction under Hourcade but it is difficult to see the new boss turning it around in time for the game this weekend. South Africa showed improvements against England in June and deserve their status as 1/9 favourites (Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power).
Ledesma’s outfit are therefore outsiders for this clash with Marathonbet having them as long as 73/10 for this contest and it is tough to argue with those odds.
They must start well to stand a chance and Ramiro Moyano is 14/1 (Betfair), while Bautista Delguy is 16/1 (Bet365), to cross the whitewash first, which are reasonable shouts following the issues the Springboks had early on against England.
However, should South Africa iron out the problem of beginning matches slowly then Aphiwe Dyantyi is 15/2 at BoyleSports and Unibet to open the game’s try-scoring account.