Rugby League World Cup Betting 2017 Winner Odds & Predictions

Tonga trimmed for success after players switch

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Rugby Betting

The fifteenth edition of the Rugby League World Cup starts on October 26th with fourteen nations from across the globe descending on joint-host nations Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The final of the Rugby League World Cup 2017 will be hosted on December 2nd and the tournament itself will produce 28 games in total.

The fourteen nations are split across four groups in the first round of action and that of course, doesn’t split up evenly in numbers. The first two groups each have four nations in them, while the other two groups feature three each. This is all still based on the usual round robin format, but in the smaller groups, there will be an additional inter-group game for each team so that everyone does end up playing three games in the group stage.

The top three teams from Group A and Group B all go through to the knockout stages and they will be joined by the winners of Group C and Group D. As a side note, all eight of the teams who get through to the quarter final will all qualify for the 2021 World Cup.

Group A
Austria, England, France, Lebanon

Group B
New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Tonga

Group C
Papua New Guinea, Wales, Ireland

Group D
Fiji, United States, Italy

Rugby League World Cup Betting Winner Odds

Australia 1/4, England 15/2, New Zealand 15/2, Tonga 20/1, Samoa 66/1, bar 100/1

Australia 1/4

So there may be fourteen teams in the competition but the winner is likely only going to be one of three. The Australians are firm odds-on favourites for this one and they have won three of the last four editions of the event since it took on its expanded format in 1995. The one time they didn’t win it, they still got to the final and lost against New Zealand in a bit of an upset. The Kangaroos won the Four Nations last year as well and no-one has been even remotely close to challenging them in matches over the last twelve months. They won all three matches at the Four Nations 2016, scoring 104 points in total with a +66 points difference. They are just devastatingly good with the finishing power or the likes of Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson in there was well as the boot of Jonathan Thurston, along with the heavy influence of captain Cameron Smith. They are going to take some stopping and it’s hard to see anyone actually doing it.

England 15/2

The English have finished fourth at each of the last three Rugby League World Cups. Can they at least go a bit better than that this time around? They do look to have a balanced squad which will get tested over the six-week period and they look very strong in the forwards. England’s only win at the Four Nations last year came against Scotland, but they were embroiled in a tight scrap with New Zealand, losing 16-17 in that one. England’s best result at the World Cup was their second placed finish to Australia back in 1995. It will likely be down to them, New Zealand and Fiji for the top four positions. They would avoid Australia until the final again wherever they finish. Still, even as second favourites they are long way back of Australia’s overall quality.

New Zealand 15/2

The Kiwis have never really had that big of an impact in the history of the Rugby League World Cup. Their lone success came in 2008 when they recorded an upset over rivals Australia in the final. But they aren’t going to really get close to pulling off that kind of result again. In the Four Nations last year they were brushed aside easily by the Kangaroos and they were stumped in a draw with Scotland as well. They will have their moments, but overall don’t look strong enough to go and win the event. They don’t even have a comfortable group draw either with the quick and combative Samoa in there along with the improving Scotland and Tonga.  They should be a semi final side and with strong home backing but even that doesn’t look totally assured. Basically if they don’t win this group, they would be meeting Australia earlier than the Final.

Tonga 20/1

Why would be looking at one of the outsiders for the tournament? Well that is because recent developments have made Tonga a strong threat in the tournament. Eight New Zealand players and on one Australian have defected to the Tonga set up. This is all legal as players are eligible to switch between Tier 1 sides (Australia, New Zealand and England) to a Tier 2 side.  Jason Taumalolo who is on a $1m a year contract with the North Queensland Cowboys is the highest-profile player to switch. This is one of the best players in the game and totally chances the face of Tonga set up who were around 100/1 for the tournament before all of the switches came up. They are now a 20/1 shot at Coral. In addition to Taumalolo, Manu Ma’u, David Fusitu’a, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Tui Lolohea, Solomone Kata, Konrad Hurrell and Manu Vatuvei have swapped allegiance. Switching over from Australia is Andrew Fifita. This rule has been designed to add depth to international rugby tournaments, because players not selected by a Tier 1 side can go and play for a heritage country to boost their competitiveness. Suddenly they are a huge threat.

The Draw

As the draw is set up if England finishes second in their group they would end up with a tough semi final against potentially New Zealand, Tonga or Somoa and then have to go up against Australia in the final. Despite their loss to the Kiwis in the Four Nations last year, England look to have a more powerful and well balanced set up than the Kiwis do, but of course, there is the home advantage for New Zealand so things are just too tight to call between those two. Fiji who have finished third at the least two events would land in Australia’s quarter of the draw and could have a huge clash with Samoa in the quarter finals. That’s a tough route for them and actually Samoa are trading stronger than Fiji this time around though. Tonga’s boost in new personnel is bad news for New Zealand in their group and they could well be worth a flutter to win Group B. Will it all come together for them or will the new-look team fall down from not having played with each other?

Prediction

It would be a huge surprise if anyone stopped Australia from having a cake walk to the title in this one. If they win their group they will be unchallenged in the knockout stages until the final and then, even if it was them going up against New Zealand or England, who would the money be on? Yes, the Kangaroos without question and they are justifiable 1/4 odds on favourites at Coral. No-one is going to match their kind of scoring power. Tonga are sort of the dark horse, but not. They can put out a tremendous side now which no-one will want to face and will at least be targetting a semi final berth.