The biggest games this weekend are as follows. All prices quoted are from William Hill
Rugby Union Autumn Internationals Weekend of 18th-19th November
England v Australia
England laboured past Argentina 21-8 in a disjointed performance to start their Autumn campaign and will presumably make changes for what should be a tougher task this coming weekend. Notable amongst those should be the return of the rested Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, two world class players
Australia beat Wales 28-21 in Cardiff but were two scores to the good and winning comfortably until a late Wales consolation try. They have come along way from their poor performances of a year ago, are much more solid in the scrum and have match winners outside.
Prices here are interesting. England have been installed as 2/7 favourites, Australia 11/4 underdogs and +8 on the point handicap. I would expect England to play much better now they have their first game of the season under their belts but -8 looks optimistic against an Australian side with this firepower. They may not win but Australia +8 at10/11 is an attractive bet.
Scotland v New Zealand
Scotland’s first game under their new coach Gregor Townsend against Samoa saw a 44-38 victory with Scotland ahead all the way and very much a curate’s egg of a performance. As last season, Scotland are fun to watch going forward and have a lot of attacking potential. Defensively though, they are below the best teams.
New Zealand began their tour with a 38-18 win in Paris against France scoring four first-half tries and understandably are strong favourites to win at Murrayfield, indeed outright they are a prohibitive 1/20 with Scotland 8/1. The point handicap doesn’t leave much to chance for New Zealand fans at 10/11 +/-21
Against France, New Zealand had a poor second half. “We lost our discipline a little and a result of that we allowed the momentum to shift and the French were good enough to put us under pressure,” New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said. “We gave away 11 penalties in the second half and some of them were pretty basic, like being offside.”
Get that right, against a porous defence and they will cover -21 here
France v South Africa
As above, France lost 38-18 to New Zealand having been 31-5 down at half time. Coach Guy Noves’ experimental side, featuring four players on debut and an inventive half-back pairing, gave the All Blacks a bit of a fright in the second half and will see this asa winnable game.
South Africa were desperately disappointing in Dublin losing to Ireland 31-3, a result and margin of victory no one would have predicted. South Africa are missing plenty of talent due to a selection policy that doesn’t allow players plying their trade overseas to be picked but the evidence of earlier games in 2017 was that a capitulation like we saw was highly unlikely and would expect a big reaction this weekend
Recency bias is at play in the outright prices here with France 4/7 and South Africa 6/4 (+4 on the handicap). I am going to be backing South Africa at 6/4 on the “money line”