Sport Lions Tour

Thursday 21 September 2017

Bookies make Australia favourites after BOD omission

Brian O'Driscoll will play no role in the Lions' deciding Test against Australia
Brian O'Driscoll will play no role in the Lions' deciding Test against Australia

Tony Kelshaw

Bookmakers now believe Australia are slight favourites to prevail in the deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions following Warren Gatland's surprise decision to drop Brian O'Driscoll.

With key forwards Paul O'Connell and Sam Warburton also missing through injury, the tourists can be backed at 6/5 with Paddy Power to secure a 2-1 series success in Sydney.

A spokesman for the Irish firm said: "In BOD we trust is obviously not a mantra for Gatland after the centre was unceremoniously dropped from the final Test squad. We think it could make quite a difference for the Lions, particularly late on in what will be a tight and nervy game."

Coral have seen plenty of support for the Wallabies to follow up their 16-15 win in Melbourne with another victory since Gatland opted to name a record 10 Wales players in his starting line-up and now make the home team 4/5 to come out on top, with the Lions again 6/5 here.

"Gatland's decision to drop O'Driscoll for the series decider has not gone down well with patriotic punters, with Australia now favourites to win in Sydney," said spokesman David Stevens.

Australia will be very much the underdogs when the Ashes series gets under way next week, though, with the Baggy Greens as big as 9/2 to win back the iconic little urn over five Tests and England a top-priced 2/5 at Paddy Power to prevail for the fourth time in the last five renewals of this famous contest.

Punters can get 10/11 for the hosts to take an early lead in the opening match at Trent Bridge, while the tourists are 10/3 to claim victory in Nottingham and it is 13/5 at Sportingbet for a draw, with good weather forecast at this stage.

England have triumphed 2-1 in the last two series on home turf and are 9/1 with the last-named firm to oblige by the same margin again this summer, while it is 6/1 elsewhere for a repeat of their 3-1 success Down Under when these old enemies last did battle.

Alastair Cook is 3/1 favourite to be the leading batsman for the hosts over the whole series, with Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott both quoted at 7/2, while James Anderson is 2/1 at Ladbrokes to be the top wicket-taker, with Graeme Swann 3/1 at BetVictor and Stuart Broad 7/2 with Spreadex.

At least Andy Murray doesn't have any Aussies to worry about at Wimbledon and the British ace will go into today's semi-final as a top-priced 19/10 second favourite with Bwin to claim outright victory at the All England Club, with past nemesis Novak Djokovic 3/4 at best with Sportingbet to lift the trophy.

Murray is 1/5 to get past rising star Jerzy Janowicz, 6/5 at Spreadex to brush aside the Polish youngster in straight sets, 14/5 at Sportingbet to prevail 3-1 and 13/2 with several firms to repeat his five-set success against Fernando Verdasco.

Bookmakers predictably fear a home victory and William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams stated: "We have had an excellent Wimbledon after so many top players were knocked out in the early rounds, but following a serious patriotic punt, a Murray victory will almost certainly mean we will be paying out a seven figure sum."

The Scot is currently 11/10 with Coral to be named Sports Personality of the Year and their spokesman Stevens said: "Murray gave his backers a scare when he trailed by two sets against Verdasco, but his fightback gave them hope that he can go all the way, and the betting suggests a final showdown against world number one Djokovic is on the cards."

The new football season is still over a month away but the transfer window is in full swing and one of this week's surprise betting moves was a major plunge on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez switching to Arsenal this summer.

"The big bets were from a group of punters based in Barcelona which would suggest that they have heard something a little bit more substantial than a rumour. We would not be surprised if he is off to the Emirates before the start of next season," said Adams of William Hill.

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