England v New Zealand, Monday 12th November 2.15am AEDT Elland Road

The market has been totally off in this series with England remarkably starting outsiders in both Tests, two Tests they went on to win. The market has finally adjusted with England to start slight favourites in the third Test at Elland Road but it has not adjusted enough. The numbers are staggering in favour of England. Wayne Bennett’s team have won 20 of their last 24 Tests when not playing Australia and 12 of 14 home non-Australian Tests.

By contrast, New Zealand have won just five of their last 14 and just three of 13 against Tier 1 nations. England have posted 16 or more in six of their last seven against New Zealand and have conceded 18 or more in eight of their last 11. The Kiwis look like they are ready to get on the plane home so a blowout celebratory win for England wuld not surprise in the slightest.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – England –

England v New Zealand, Monday 5th November 1.30am AEDT Anfield, Liverpool

England astonishingly go in outsiders again at home to New Zealand despite a win in the series opener and a dominant mid-year win. They again are max confidence plays getting a start of 2.5 and outright at odds-against. It is hard to make a case for the Kiwis being favoured in this one. They have won just three of their last 12 Tests against Tier 1 nations and just four of their last 16 internationals on foreign soil.

England, by contrast, have won 11 of their last 13 Tests against teams other than Australia and have not conceded more than 18 points in their last 10 Tests. England have lost skipper Sean O’Loughlin but still go in with a formidable and stronger lineup. New Zealand are still in a full-on rebuild and are missing plenty of stars themselves and were found wanting when the game was on the line last week with their defence again letting them down. England should be favoured by at least a try in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – England +2.5

Tonga v Australia, Saturday 20th October 5.45pm AEDT Mt Smart Stadium

Australia and Tonga meet in the Test arena for the first time and it is arguably the most anticipated match on the international calendar after Tonga’s remarkable emergence during the last World Cup. Australia won the tournament – as expected – and conceded just three tries in their six games but it was Tonga who were the story after they stunned New Zealand before marching to the semi-finals.

Led by the defections of Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumalolo, Tonga have emerged as a genuine fourth power in Rugby League, not seen in the game since France were a force in the 1950s. Tonga capitalised on that with a strong mid-season Test win over Samoa.

The worst thing to happen for this emerging Tonga side though was the surprise defeat suffered by Australia last week. The Kangaroos were stunned by the Kiwis and will be chaffing to avenge the loss. Australia have dropped consecutive Tests just once since 1979 and last week was the first loss and worst defensive performance under Mal Meninga.

Australia are in a big bounceback spot here and Tonga are unlikely to be at their best outside of a tournament structure.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Australia -10.5

New Zealand v Australia, Saturday 13th October 5.45pm AEDT Mt Smart Stadium

The Rugby League international calendar kicks off this weekend when Australia and New Zealand square off at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. The Kangaroos are in a season of transition following the representative retirements of Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk and the suspension of Greg Inglis.

Much like NSW this year though, Mal Meninga has at his disposal a young and hungry squad in great form and eager for an opportunity. The likes of James Tedesco, Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell have all been named to make their debut while the Trbojevic brothers, Valentine Holmes and Tyson Frizell also feature.

The only significant concern for the Kangaroos is the halves with Daly Cherry-Evans and Luke Keary the new partnership. They hold a significant talent edge over the Kiwis side that is missing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Issac Luke.

Since a very good 2015, New Zealand have been downright awful with just three wins in their last 13 Tests with two of those wins coming against Samoa and Scotland. In their first outing under Michael Maguire in Denver midseason, the Kiwis were thumped 36-18 by England. Australia have won all five Tests against New Zealand since Meninga took the reins with only one game closer than 16.

The Kiwis have been held to an average of 6.8 points a Test over that run. Australia should have too much speed and too much organisation.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Australia -8.5

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