Couch Critic has come out of retirement and will be writing his unique and always popular previews for Goodforthegame over the Rugby World Cup. Here he takes a look at the outright betting markets at BoyleSports
Never have we seen a World Cup where things appear so even between a number of top contenders. It’s bound to be a dogfight, but who’s bark is bigger than their bite?
THE TOP DOGS
In the past the French have looked classy at their best but lacked the necessary grunt to get the job done in the trenches. That has changed and Les Blue now boast the very best blend of salivating backline play behind a pack of hard men who charge onto a rugby pitch with a “here-to-collect-debts” attitude. The question regarding the hosts is whether the home comforts and support let them grow an extra leg or see them trip over their own feet?
Breed: French Bulldog – Trendy, fun and plenty of charisma.
France Odds to Win: 13/4 at BoyleSports
Will Irish eyes be smiling this time around or will it be another year where they fail to make an impression on the biggest stage. The number one team in the world have the unfortunate honour of being paired with the defending champions and will also face a mean Quarter Final opponent (if they get past the Scots that is). They will certainly need to get their elbows out to keep their place at the feeding bowl amongst that crowd. A healthy dose of the luck of the Irish is needed for the team and probably an unhealthy amount of Irish nectar for their supporters during this campaign.
Breed: Bullterrier – Feisty, caring to their loved ones but socially awkward amongst their peers.
Ireland Odds to Win: 5/1 at BoyleSports
The All Blacks are used to marching out of any competition with the “best on show” rosette but not everyone is convinced this time around. There is still champion pedigree around the Kiwis and the patch-up job done after a home series loss to Ireland managed to not only stop the bleeding but now sees the New Zealanders strut into Paris as the title favourites although with far more trepidation after the 35-7 hammering by the Boks at Twickenham.
Can this vintage of the men in black run with the big dogs?
Breed: Border Collie – Hard worker with a big fan base who often has some nifty tricks.
New Zealand Odds to Win: 61/20 at BoyleSports
The Springboks as defending champions also have a tough draw and have struggled with stringing consecutive strong showings together. Despite struggling for consistency, the Boks have proven that they are still the leading force in terms of physical domination (just ask the All Blacks after Friday night) and their rush defence remains the Rubik’s Cube of World Rugby, leaving the others scratching their heads for answers.
Breed: Rottweiler – Everyone’s favourite, huggable monster.
South Africa Odds to Win: 73/20 at BoyleSports
THE UNDER DOGS
In terms of the rest there will be no whisky in the stocking for Bill Beaumont from the unfortunate Scots. As pleasing on the eye as a Minki van der Westhuizen swimsuit cover shot, the South African invitational will find it tough going to make it through to the Quarters (had they been drawn in Pool C or D I gave them a huge chance to reach the Semi’s).
Scotland Odds to Win: 39/1 at BoyleSports
The Corgi’s have been handed a very comfortable spot, cushion pillows and all, yet will surely piss the bed, with or without Farrell and his shoulders.
England Odds to Win: 27/2 at BoyleSports
The Aussies have changed trainer yet there is no getting rid of their bad habits at this late stage – these Wallabies would bite the hand that feeds them if they had any teeth left.
Australia Odds to Win: 12/1 at BoyleSports
Then we have the loyal yet docile Welsh. Their way has been smoothly paved but they could find themselves missing an open goal thanks to the rising star that is Fijian rugby at present.
Wales Odds to Win: 41/1 at BoyleSports
Fiji Odds to Win: 110/1 at BoyleSports
Whilst all signs point to Fiji being the land (or islands I suppose) of opportunity for this World Cup I find myself drawn to the Latin side of things. The Argies have a shrewd coach and the raw ingredients to be a real force in France.
Breed: Ridgeback - Tough, loyal and intense.
Argentina Odds to Win: 27/1 at BoyleSports
BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE
Sports punting is a dog-eat-dog world, but this is no time to pee like a puppy. Here are my outright plays for the Rugby World Cup.
For my mind the final would see the Springboks face the French in a beauty of a climax. The draw makes this scenario a bit less likely and given the current prices on offer the value has to lie with the men in green and gold. A settled squad and management team, an uncomplicated game plan and a host of players comfortable under the brightest lights on the biggest stages.
South Africa to win the World Cup @ 73/20 at BoyleSports
My second play is a cheeky punt on Los Pumas to trip up one of the big boys in the semi-finals and get themselves a ticket to the big dance. Here the moment will be just too big for them against the likes of France or SA.
Argentina to make the final @ 8/1 at BoyleSports
Prices correct at the time of writing but subject to change
Couch is first and foremost a Bok fan and a long-suffering Sharks fan. He loves the occasional bet and often plays in the exotic markets where his penchant for well-priced Hookers* became his trademark
You can follow him on Twitter @HDiemont
*Hookers to score the first try of the game – what were you thinking?