Rugby League betting: Back Australia to cover the Handicap in Four Nations clash with New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are set to square off in the what will probably be the a preview to the Four Nations' final, both following a victory in their opening matches.

Recommended bet: Australia -8 points Handicap @ 10/11 (1.91) with bet365

It’s the heavyweight clash of the Four Nations between New Zealand and Australia at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday evening in what, in all probability, is very likely to be a taster for the final in a fortnight’s time.

A drop-goal with 14-minutes remaining from Shaun Johnson was just enough to see defending champions New Zealand overcome England 17-16 in their opening Four Nations game at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium.  It’s a victory that realistically already puts the Kiwis well on course for the final at Anfield on 20th November.

It was no great surprise that things were far more straightforward for the Australians in their match against Scotland, with the Bravehearts being the rank outsiders in what is their Four Nations tournament debut.  The Kangaroos ran in 10 tries on their way to a 54-12 win at Hull KR’s Lightstream Stadium and were far too strong for their willing, but limited, opponents.

The Kiwis win over England was much-needed after what has been a difficult year or so.  England had beaten New Zealand 2-1 in a Test series last year and the Kiwis recent record against Great Britain and England away from home had been far from impressive, with just two victories in their previous 10 attempts.

This is another step-up in class though and the Kiwis have already been well beaten twice this year by the Kangaroos, during which they could only manage one try themselves through Kevin Proctor.  

The Wallabies ran out 16-0 winners at the Newcastle International Sports Centre in May and then 26-6 at the nib Stadium in Perth just a few weeks back, with centre Greg Inglis scoring a try in each half for Australia.  The Kiwis did win each of the previous three meetings prior to those games though, including the last Four Nations final.

The momentum does appear to be with the Wallabies here and the England game may have also taken rather more out of New Zealand than the Scotland game did with Australia.  It’s no great surprise that Australia are short odds to win this match and they look to be worth backing giving New Zealand an 8-point start.