Saturday July 8, 5:35pm AEST

After one of the great Test matches in Wellington where the Lions handed the All Blacks their first home loss since 2009, we return to Eden Park for a decider that is being labelled as the Test of the century.

The Lions took full advantage of an ill-disciplined All Blacks team in Wellington that saw Sonny Bill Williams sent off.

As a result of Williams’ suspension, Steve Hansen has made a number of changes with Jordie Barrett handed his debut and Ngani Laumape coming into the team.

Warren Gatland is going in with the same 23 as the Lions look for their first series victory against New Zealand since 1971.

The All Blacks have won 12 of the last 14 Tests against the Lions and it is hard to see them losing two in a row.

Eden Park has been a particularly unhappy hunting ground for the Lions, who have not won there since 1959. The last four matches have been decided by margins of greater than 17.

Since 2012, the All Blacks have lost just five of 72 Tests.

Of the 16 Tests played at Eden Park since 2010, only two have finished with a margin of single digits.

With everything on the line, the All Blacks look the bet in this.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – New Zealand -11.5

Saturday July 1, 5:35pm AEST

The All Blacks landed the first punch of the series with a devastating 30-15 win over the touring British and Irish Lions at Eden Park and will be looking to put the tourists to bed in Wellington on Saturday night.

Warren Gatland has certainly made some compelling changes to his team pairing two fly-halves in the 10 and 12 in Owen Farrell and Johnny Sexton while captain Sam Warburton returns.

Injuries have forced Steve Hansen into two changes with fullback Ben Smith and centre Ryan Crotty both out. Israel Dagg moves to fullback, Waisake Naholo comes onto the wing and Anton Lienert-Brown comes into the midfield.

The All Blacks swept the Lions in 2005 and who have won 12 of 13 Tests dating back to 1977 so the Lions have a fair bit of history to compete with.

That one win though was in Wellington, a 20-7 win at Athletic Park back in 1993. The only time the teams have met at Westpac Stadium though, the Lions were humiliated 48-18.

Since 2001, the Lions have won just four of 14 Tests while since 2012, the All Blacks have lost just four of 71 Tests. Their last loss on home soil was in 2009 to South Africa.

The All Blacks are just far too good.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – New Zealand -13.5

Tuesday June 27, 5:35pm AEST

The Lions’ final midweek clash comes against defending Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes in a fascinating affair. Warren Gatland’s team broke their midweek duck against the Chiefs a week back but face a different proposition against attacking juggernaut the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes will no doubt have their confidence boosted by the addition of four All Blacks, who were released from the national squad this week. For the Lions, it will be the midweek crew again but after a first Test defeat the likes of George North, Courtney Lawes and Jack Nowell will all be driving for selection in the second Test this Saturday.

Wellington have enjoyed another good Super Rugby season with 11 wins from 14 outings. The top tryscoring team in the competition, they will be using flair and plenty of it to break down the stout Lions defence.

Wellington have not defeated the Lions since 1966 but seem poised for an upset in this one.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – Wellington +3.5

Saturday June 24, 5:35pm AEST

The hour has arrived with the first Test between the All Blacks and the touring British Lions from Auckland this Saturday.

Warren Gatland has sprung a major surprise in team selection, dumping captain Sam Warburton to the bench. After a comprehensive defeat of the Maori All Blacks, Gatland has stuck primarily with that side while making some changes to the backline including the addition of fly-half Owen Farrell and fullback Liam Williams.

There were few surprises in Steve Hansen’s New Zealand team after skipper Kieran Read was cleared to return from injury in the No.8 jersey and Rieko Ioane was a bolter named on the wing.

History is certainly with the All Blacks, who swept the Lions when they last toured in 2005 and who have won 11 of 12 Tests dating back to 1977.

Eden Park has been a particularly unhappy hunting ground for the Lions, who have not won there since 1959. The last three matches have been decided by margins of 19, 17 and 32.

Since 2001, the Lions have won just four of 13 Tests with six of those defeats coming by more than 18 points.

Since 2012, the All Blacks have lost just four of 70 Tests. Their last loss on home soil was in 2009 to South Africa.

Of the 16 Tests played at Eden Park since 2010, only two have finished with a margin of single digits.

New Zealand should be too strong with a comfortable cover forecast.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – New Zealand -11.5

Tuesday June 20, 5:35pm AEST

The Lions enter this midweek affair with the Chiefs coming off their best win, a 32-10 win over the New Zealand Maori side where Warren Gatland’s men dominated the scrum in an overpowering display.

In this last hit-out before the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday, Gatland claims there are still Test berths to be won but will not play any starters from the team that downed the Maori All Blacks.

The Lions’ midweek form has been scratchy this tour with back-to-back losses to the Blues and the Highlanders with the second-stringers struggling to match the enthusiasm offered by the home teams.

The Chiefs have enjoyed a solid Super Rugby campaign having lost just two of their 13 games and have not lost in their last three. Dave Rennie has his Chiefs fighting for the respect they deserve in 2017 and a win over the Lions would achieve just that.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – Chiefs +4.5

Saturday June 17, 5:35am AEST

The Lions tour of New Zealand has no doubt been tougher than expected with the Lions now 2-2 on the tour following a dramatic 23-22 loss to the Highlanders in a thriller. Warren Gatland’s team led going into the 70th minute but a late penalty saw Tony Brown’s team pull off a famous win, channeling the famous win by Otago in 1993.

The tour will not get any easier when the Lions tackle the Maori All Blacks on Saturday night in Rotarua. New Zealand Maori have not lost a match since 2003, an incredible run that included a 19-13 win the last time the Lions toured New Zealand.

Warren Gatland has named a strong Lions team that includes 11 starters from the team that defeated the Crusaders but will be without captain Sam Warburton, who has been named on the bench, star Owen Farrell and Alun Wyn Jones.

This is an incredibly strong Maori team and Gatland is not playing his full hand. This will be hard fought and close with the Maori side presenting plenty of value.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – New Zealand Maori +4.5

Tuesday June 13, 5:35am AEST

The Lions stumbled into their rhythm – somewhat at least – with their most impressive performance of the tour, downing undefeated Super Rugby team the Crusaders 12-3. In the try-less encounter, the Lions got their scrum in order and their defence right on song. The Crusaders are not a team held to three points so it was a big win.

The midweek clash against the Highlanders though looks a letdown spot for the Lions, with an entirely new starting 15 named for the affair. The Highlanders have been in good form of late with 10 wins from their 14 Super Rugby matches this year. With three All Blacks turning out for the Highlanders, they are the bet with a try start.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – Highlanders +4.5

Saturday June 10, 5:35am AEST

The Lions are officially in crisis control after a shocking start to their tour where they snuck home against a bunch of second-rate Barbarians side before a 22-16 loss to the Auckland Blues, blowing a lead inside the last 10 minutes after Sonny Bill Williams setup a famous upset.

Warren Gatland’s team will be searching for answers on Saturday against the high-flying Crusaders, arguably the greatest provincial side in World Rugby. The Lions appear set to enter outsiders with their first Test against the All Blacks only a fortnight away.

The return to superiority of the Crusaders has been stunning this year, undefeated through 14 games. They have not allowed more than 24 points this year and have posted 40-plus on seven occasions.

With the Lions still showing plenty of rust, the Crusaders are the bet.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – Crusaders -2.5

Wednesday June 7, 5:35am AEST

Warren Gatland’s British Lions team were decidedly unimpressive in their tour opener, defeating a Barbarians team made up of fringe Super Rugby players 13-7 in a dour affair. The Lions looked scratchy from the kickoff and getting across the line four times for just one try was a clear sign of rustiness.

The Blues are last in the New Zealand conference of the Super Rugby standings but have a 7-6-1 record and have played well in recent weeks with wins over Queensland and the Cheetahs and a draw with the Chiefs in their last four.

The Lions have gone 8-1 against Super Rugby teams on their last two tours and did not lose to a provincial team on the 2005 tour of New Zealand. This looks a good matchup for the Lions, who should cover the pretty small start.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – British Lions -5.5

Saturday June 3, 5:35pm AEST

The British and Irish Lions start their tour of New Zealand with a cupcake game against a Barbarians teams on Saturday. The Barbarians squad has been changed noticeably because of six players being called up to Super Rugby.

It should pose few issues for a very good Lions team hoping to emulate the success of the Australian tour four seasons back. On that tour the Lions opened with a 59-8 win over a Barbarians team in Hong Kong, before decimating the Force 69-17. Fringe Lions players will be pushing for selection as they usually are in the opener so expect little mercy to be shown.

Betting Strategy

  BACK – British and Irish Lions -29.5


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