Bookmakers face a bruising time as the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 (RWC Japan 2019) kicks-off this Friday 20 September. Facing a raft of inbound patriotic bets placed on ‘home nations’, can bookmakers trust the formbook in what could become betting’s most unpredictable market of the year… SBC gets the bookies lowdown!
SBC: Featuring six market leaders that have all beaten each competitively within the past 12-months, is RWC Japan 2019 this year’s hardest sports market to call?
Harry Aitkenhead (PR @ Coral): The Rugby World Cup should be a great spectacle from a betting point of view with some colossal matches between the big sides, particularly the further into the tournament we get. The way that there are five or six teams that can all beat anybody on their day means we have one of the most open World Cups we have ever seen and it means whoever you are backing the odds will always be favourable.
In terms of other sporting events this year, it is an interesting comparison. New Zealand are a shorter price to triumph in Japan than England were to win the Cricket World Cup (11/8 vs 2/1), however, in the rugby edition, there are then five other nations around 10/1 or shorter. The market seems to suggest that the big six are all in with genuine chances, whereas everybody else is going to really struggle to get involved and will need to spring a few surprises.
We could easily see quarter-finals between England and Wales and Ireland and South Africa which would set the tone for the knockout matches and really drive interest from punters.
The time the matches are on should be good, although different, for the business with a lot of early morning action. On the weekends, in particular, these will lead to some fantastic days of sport and we are really excited about the next month or so.
SBC: Rugby prides itself on being a team sport… However which players will be the superstars of Japan 2019?
Alistair Gill (Sportsbook Analyst – Kindred Group): With New Zealand the short price favourites to win the tournament, we are expecting their players to star individually as well. Winger Rieko Ioane is the favourite to finish up top try scorer at 8/1, and could look a solid bet to finish in the top 4 try scorers at 2/1. Teammates Sevu Reece (10/1) and George Bridge (12/1) come in at 3rd and 4th favourites in a market where 3 of the top 5 are NZ players.
Patriotic Brits will have to trawl a bit further down the line for the first England player in the list, Jonny May in as a 14/1 shot and, should the 3rd favourites perform to expectations, again a bet for him to finish in the top 4 try scorers may be good value at 7/2.
In the top point scorer market, England captain and fly-half Owen Farrell tops the betting at 11/4. Although likely to score his fair share of points, 11/4 looks maybe a small bit short considering the big hitters in behind. Handre Pollard is second favourite here, installed as a 5/1 shot, with again 2 New Zealanders in behind, Beauden Barrett a 13/2 shot, who may well be the value play, and Richie Mounga in at 10/1. If Ireland go well in the tournament it would be no shock to see Johnathan Sexton up there at 12/1.
SBC: Will RWC Japan 2019 be the tournament where we see a new Rugby force emerge challenging established Northern & Southern hemisphere powers?
SBC: Without a ball being kicked, are England already marked as the ‘tournament bad guys’ of RWC Japan 2019?