Scotland v Russia and Wales v Fiji Preview
We are approaching the business end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup group stages with the Pool A to Pool D taking shape. There are bitter battles raging at both ends of the table as nations scrap it out for wins and bonus points.
Each of the remaining matches will be shown live on ITV and followers and a busy morning to look forward to in midweek. Scotland takes on Russia from 8.15am on Wednesday morning before Wales and Fiji battle it out from 10.45am later that day. There are three games scheduled, the spare being Argentina v USA which has an advertised 5.45am start time. It’s unlikely too many sports fans will be willing to set their alarm for that one, however.
Scotland Simply Must Win
That leaves us to concentrate on the two biggest and best matches of the day. Scotland simply must beat Russia if they are to keep up with the furious early pace set by Japan and Ireland. The host nation has played three and won three, picking up 14 points. That leaves them ahead of nearest rivals Ireland on two wins and a loss, showing 11 points. We’re then back to five points for Scotland in third place but they have a game in hand over their rivals and play it here. Samoa is also on five points, ahead of Russia who is bottom of the pile, yet to get off the mark.
We find Wales in Pool D and they are second behind Australia. The number one ranked team in the world has played two and won two so far, boasting nine points on the board and is expected to close the gap then move ahead of the Aussies with a strong win over Fiji on Wednesday. This is looking like a team capable of living up to expectations, that’s for sure, but we also believe there’s plenty more to come from this outfit and they’ll grow into the challenge as the opponents improve and the need to win increases.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the two games taking place on Wednesday, the current betting odds and how you can profit from your viewing.
Scotland v Russia
The pressure is on Scotland to beat Russia on Wednesday evening and they must do it convincingly if they are to keep alive their World Cup hopes. Despite the pressures, head coach Gregor Townsend has made no less than 14 changes to his team ahead of this make or break tussle. Winger Darcy Graham is the only player to retain his place from the starting 15 that hammered Samoa 34-0 last time out.
Is that risky? Some believe so and Townsend’s decision has been pulled over hot coals by some sections of the media in the run up to kick-off. If Scotland loses, the gaffer will feel the full force of the Scottish press but if it pays off, they get the win – as expected – rest a few key players and go into the next match with their dreams alive, Gregor will be praised. This is a gamble. Which way will it go on Wednesday morning?
Bookmakers have had their say and they price Scotland as red-hot favourites to get the victory. There’s currently no better than 1/66 at Ladbrokes and that’s better than the 1/100 you’ll get at Unibet and with most other firms. Russia doesn’t stand a chance, according to the money men, and there’s a whopping 68/1 at Betfair if you fancy an interest bet on the underdogs. If that’s your approach we would be keen to ensure you keep your stakes low. The draw is as big as 125/1.
Plenty in the Specials
Those quotes are sure to push punters into the specials markets and there’s plenty to get involved with. The handicap betting challenges sports bettors to predict how many Scotland will win by. The -33 points is available at even money with Betfair. Russia +33 points is 11/10 – top price with bet365. The handicap draw is 33/1 through Ladbrokes.
The first try scorer list is another that should attract attention, especially from value hunters seeking a bigger price. Darcy Graham is favourite to prove Townsend shrewd by scoring the first try and punters betting at Betfair can get their hands on a decent 13/2. He’s joint-favourite with Tommy Seymour who is also 13/2. Next in line is Stuart McInally at 10/1, Blair Kinghorn 10/1 and George Horne 10/1 – all three quotes taken from the Betfair sportsbook.
This is a particularly interesting market, as is the anytime try scorer list, as it’ll be intriguing to see which of the players handed a chance to impress by Gregor Townsend grabs that opportunity. With big games on the horizon, especially if Scotland wins here, it’ll be difficult for the coaching staff to remove any of the top performers from Wednesday. Those drafted in must win, but they must also put on the kind of show that will see them hold their place in the team.
Wales v Fiji
Wales are expected to complete the World Cup Pool D hattrick by beating Fiji and moving back to the top of the pile. They head into this match with nine points on the board after two games, leaving them two behind Australia who has played a game more. The Aussies have won two and lost one, the spare coming against Wales. They’ve also banked three bonus points while their rivals have picked up only one so far.
Fiji can be found down in third place and the team knows any slim hopes of them getting out of the pool are fading fast. Fiji has played two, won one and lost one. They have seven points on the board. Lose here and the team will be up against it, to say the least, but if they are able to upset the odds and win it would blow the group wide open. Fiji would throw themselves into contention and the group would take on a new look.
Wales to Win at a Canter
Bookmakers have had their say on this match and it’s another betting market that comes down heavily on one team. It’s difficult to make a strong case against Wales losing this match and that has been reflected in the betting. There’s no more than 1/8 at Ladbrokes on the favourites doing as expected. Fiji is 8/1 on the Betfair Exchange, a draw chalked up at 40/1 by bet365 traders.
There’s no value in the pre-match betting so that forces us into the specials. The handicap betting is of particular interest to us and it gives accumulator backers something to work with. Flick through the various specials and you’ll note Wales -17 at even money, best price with William Hill. Fiji +17 points is also even money at William Hill and the handicap draw is a tempting 28/1 when getting your cash down at Unibet.
The first try scorer betting market is topped by George North at 8/1 with Unibet, ahead of Josh Adams at the same price with the same online bookie. Liam Williams appeals at 10/1, Gareth Davies is also 10/1 and Tomos Williams is bigger at 14/1.