New Zealand v British and Irish Lions: Series on the Line as Lions Roar Back

Sonny Bill Williams

When the Lions lost the first test of this tour following a difficult set of warm up matches, few of us would have expected that the series would still be on the line at this point. However, with a few strategic changes and a new captain in Sam Warburton, the tourists showed all of their quality in taking the second test and while they were undoubtedly helped by Sonny Bill Williams’ dismissal, victory was fully deserved.

The teams now return to Auckland for the series decider which will take place at Eden Park on Saturday and despite a level scoreline of 1-1, the result market has a familiar look to it.

Match Odds

The All Blacks go into this game as clear favourites and the best odds available for the home side currently stand at 2/7 with either Paddy Power or Betway. Anyone expecting the Lions to win back to back matches and clinch the series can get a top price of 21/5 with MarathonBet while the draw deserves its final mention here at 33/1 with Bet365 and BetFred.

The unexpected win for the Lions in Wellington last weekend has really confused some punters who were certain that New Zealand would take this series by a comfortable 3-0 margin. Coach Warren Gatland has unsurprisingly named an unchanged side and that’s the first positive in the tourists’ favour as too much tinkering was thought to be affecting their chances.

The first thing for the All Blacks to do is keep all 15 players on the pitch and they simply can’t hand the Lions a numerical advantage as they did last time out. We still favour the home side but New Zealand on the handicap at -11 gives you more value. This drops in at best odds of Even Money with Paddy Power and Betway.

First Try Scorer

New Zealand will miss Sonny Bill Williams as he is suspended while Rieko Iaone, who scored two tries in the first test, is also missing. That leaves Israel Dagg to switch to the right wing and he starts as favourite to score the first try at best odds of 9/1 with Paddy Power and SkyBet.

All Black names continue to dominate this side of the betting and the first man on the Lions list is Elliot Daly who is way out at a top price of 20/1 with SkyBet. That’s a tempting figure but we are drawn to two players who were heroes of last week’s win in Wellington.

Jamie George and Conor Murray may be too long in the first try scorer market at 33/1 with Boylesports and 28/1 with SkyBet respectively but George’s surging run that set up a vital try makes him a confirmed tip in the anytime market at 11/2 with William Hill.

Other Side Bets

We didn’t quite land our total points bet last weekend, largely because we were expecting the All Blacks to run riot as the Lions came out chasing a win. This time around you could back over 50.5 at 11/10 with SkyBet but even against 15 men, it doesn’t look as if this Lions team are going to capitulate.

So, for our final tip of the game, half time / full time betting has some really good prices. We expect New Zealand to come out strongly and take the first period quite comfortably but as we’ve seen in the previous two matches, this touring side has such resilience that they can easily take the second half. Therefore, New Zealand / British Lions is the final bet to add this week and it would drop in at an outstanding top price of 12/1 with either Bet365 or SkyBet.

Above all we are certain to get another thrilling 80 minutes but can the All Blacks justify their billing as hot pre-series favourites or is there another sting in this Lions’ tail?

Best Bets

  • New Zealand to win at -11 on the handicap at Even Money with Paddy Power
  • Jamie George to score a try anytime at 11/2 with William Hill
  • New Zealand / British Lions in the Half Time / Full Time betting at 12/1 with Bet365
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