THE popular opinion may be that the England-Wales Rugby World Cup clash is a 50/50 call, but the bookies think otherwise.
Stuart Lancaster’s men are odds-on to beat the Dragons in Saturday’s titanic tussle at Twickenham, with the home advantage the key for the oddsmakers.
WATCH: The England v Wales Rugby World Cup debate
Mike Brown was a popular first try scorer against Fiji for England
The injury problems suffered by Warren Gatland’s men, rather than England’s team changes, which seems to have tilted the balance towards the Red Rose. The loss of Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb would leave any team in the world weakened and it’s no exception with Wales. Coupled with the Twickenham factor and it’s a home victory ..just.
Odds: 1/3 England; 11/4 Wales; Draw 25/1.
Bets: As painful as it is, it's England by a score.
Gethin Jenkins is a big outside bet at 50/1 for first try
There were a few punters punching the air when Mike Brown went over for England’s first bona fide try (as opposed to one of the penalty variety) against Fiji and his odds have come in to 10/1. Needless to say, it’s the wing men who are at the head of the betting, though William Hill have noted support for rugby league convert Sam Burgess. You have to dip into the 20s to find most of the forwards, with Gethin Jenkins out at 50/1.
READ: The England v Wales head-to-heads
Odds: 7/1 J May, A Watson (E); 9/1 G North (W); 10/1 M Brown (E); 12/1 H Amos (W); 14/1 Liam Williams (W); 16/1 B Vunipola (E), S Williams (W), S Burgess (E), No try; 20/1 B Youngs (E), G Davies (W).
Bets: Despite Brown being flavour of the day, you’d fancy him to do it again. Alternatively, Liam Williams’ shift to full-back has seen his odds to drift to 14/1 and his attacking flair could be worth following. Among the forwards, Billy Vunipola’s 16/1 catches the eye, but not as much as Sam Warburton’s 40/1.
England's Sam Burgess' surprise call-up has been reflected in his man-of-the-match odds
It’s going to be tense and it’s going to be thunderous, and there’s unlikely to be much in it. Yet, the bookmakers think it’s odds-on England will hold the advantage after 40 and 80 minutes.
Odds: 4/7 Eng/Eng; 4/1 Wal/Wal; 5/1 Wal/Eng 5/1; 10/1 Eng/Wal; Draw/Eng 14/1; Draw/Wal 33/1.
Bets: The enormity could mean that neither side gets an advantage at half-time. With England likely to edge in by the end, the Draw/Eng bet at 14/1.
Wales beat Uruguay 54-9, though the bookies thought the victory margin would be bigger
The bookmakers have come in with a nine-point start for England and, while they are rarely wrong, they were way off the mark with the 66 points offered for Wales-Uruguay (45 was the eventual margin).
READ: Sir Clive Woodward's verdict on England v Wales
Odds: 1-10pts Eng 7/4, Wal 10/3; 11-20pts Eng 11/5, Wal 10/1; 1-5pts Eng 5/1, Wal 13/2; 6-10pts Eng 9/2, Wal 9/1; 11-15pts Eng 5/1, Wal 5/1; Eng 16-20pts Eng 6/1, Wal 28/1.
Bets: While the bookies may have been way off last Sunday, they could be closer this time. One score could settle it in England’s favour. The 1-10 market is 7/4 (with Wales worth a saver at 10/3), with 5/1 available for the more adventurous.