All Blacks Overwhelming Favorites Against Ireland Despite Players Unavailable
Heading into the first of three matches against the All Blacks, Ireland had good reason to be confident.
They had won two of their last three matches against the three-time world champions, including their most recent meeting in November 2021.
However, bookies weren’t giving them much of a chance down under, with odds of -550 for an All Blacks win, and +350 for Ireland.
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Home field advantage all the difference
For twenty minutes last Saturday, it looked as though bet-makers around the world had got their odds horribly wrong.
Ireland came out strong, dominating the All Blacks in the first quarter, and securing a 5-0 lead. Starved of possession and territory, New Zealand looked shell-shocked, and certainly not the -550 favorites they were supposed to be.
Until everything changed.
Jordie Barrett crossed over after a storming run by Leicester Fainga’anuku, followed in quick succession by a 60m Sevu Reece try, a clever Quinn Tupaea kick chase, and an impressive Ardie Savea effort. At half-time, it was 28-5, and the match was all but won.
With a 42-19 final score, it seemed the All Blacks had proved worthy of the -550 odds in their favor.
All Blacks Odds increase for round two
It’s no surprise then, that bookies are putting the All Blacks at -800 this weekend, and Ireland at +500.
However, this could be an opportunity for some brave betting.
Despite the heavy scoreline against them last weekend, Ireland were right in the game for big chunks of it. They smothered the All Blacks in the first twenty minutes, and were held up over the line four times in the second half. Mistakes, discipline and decision-making ultimately cost them—all areas you’d expect them to tidy up in the coming weekend, given that for the majority of this match, they were without veteran pivot Johnny Sexton due to concussion.
Odds of -800 and +500 suggest this will be an easy win to the All Blacks, however, anyone who has watched Ireland play in recent years know this is unlikely to be the case.
Will injuries change the equation for Ireland this weekend?
Heading into a repeat of last weekend’s clash between the All Blacks and Ireland, there are some critical changes to either team.
Though squads for the match have not been announced yet, we know that both Sam Whitelock and Tupou Vaai are unavailable for the All Blacks, courtesy of a delayed onset concussion, and covid-19.
This means either shifting Scott Barrett out of blindside flanker back to lock, which alters a combination that worked fantastically for New Zealand on the weekend, or, bringing in one of either inexperienced Josh Lord or recent recall, Patrick Tuipulotu. Neither are ideal situations.
On the other side of the equation, Johnny Sexton should be back from his concussion for Ireland. Add to this the increased motivation that will surely come from a stinging Irish side, and Saturday night’s second Test is suddenly looking a whole lot more competitive than odds of -800 and +500 suggest.
For those wanting to take a punt on Ireland, this weekend may well be the best time to put money down.
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