Rugby League World Cup Betting Tips

Rugby League World CupBy Mark Rawlinson

The Rugby League World Cup gets underway on Saturday afternoon with joint-hosts England taking on tournament favourites Australia.

Then later on in the afternoon, Wales face Italy in the inter-group stage matches between Groups C and D.

England v Australia

The opening match of the 2013 World Cup should be a classic and it will be a tough game for England as they take on 2008 runners-up Australia.

And Steve McNamara’s side will be looking to make up for the disappointment of last weekend’s defeat to Italy in the World Cup warm-up friendly.

England’s preparations were knocked even more in midweek with the omission of Gareth Hock from the squad after he reportedly failed to turn up for the training camp.

And now James Graham has been omitted from the 19-man squad amidst rumours he was one of the players who rebelled against an alcohol ban.

Three of the Burgess brothers, George, Sam and Tom, are all named in the 19 and could make history if they’re all involved on Saturday, however Sean O’Loughlin is not named after failing to recover from injury.

In Australia team news, Brent Tate has got the nod over Michael Jennings to replace the injured centre Justin Hodges.

Australia go into the match as big favourites, and Ladbrokes are one of a number of website providing odds of 1/5 on them getting off to a winning start. Bet 365 provide the best odds on an England win at 9/2.

You can watch the opening match live from 2:30pm on BBC One or Premier Sports, who have exclusive coverage of all the games in the tournament.

Wales v Italy

The first of the inter-group matches between the three-team Groups C and D take place later on Saturday afternoon as Wales face Italy at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff.

It’s Wales’ first appearance in the tournament for 13 years after they missed the 2008 event in Australia and they’ll be desperate to kick off this campaign with a win in front of their home fans.

Wales coach Iestyn Harris could hand Warrington centre Rhys Evans his debut alongside twin brother Ben in the 19-man squad.

Italy will be a tough side to beat though, as they have 10 players currently playing in the NRL, including Aiden Guerra, James Tedesco and Brendan Santi. Meanwhile, Saint Helens forward Anthony Laffranchi is also in the squad.

Stan James provide odds of 8/13 on an Italy win, whilst the best odds on a Welsh win come from Paddy Power at 6/4.
This game kicks off at 4:30pm and is live on BBC Two and of course Premier Sports.

World Cup Outright Odds

As mentioned earlier, nine-times World Cup winners Australia are favourites to add a tenth title this year, with Paddy Power, amongst others, providing the best odds of 4/11.

2008 champions New Zealand would be worth a punt as tournament champions, as a number of outlets, including William Hill, are offering odds of 4/1.

The only other realistic challengers for the title are hosts England, although the closest they’ve ever come to doing that in the past was in 1975 and 1995, when they were beaten finalists by the Aussies on both occasions. The best odds come from Bet 365 at 13/2.

Don’t forget, you can also claim free bets with Ladbrokes by clicking HERE.