Australia 1-12 Winning Margin v England

Rugby league - World Cup - 27 Oct 10:00

In the opening game of the World Cup we have Australia as short price favourites at odds of around 1.17, they're also conceding 16 points on the handicap. Personally I'm anticipating a much closer game and a 1-12 win for the hosts looks like good value.

The key thing to consider is this is the opening game. Aside from recent warm up games which were nothing more than training sessions, neither side has played a competitive game for five months so we won't see the best of either side until they reach the knock out stages of this tournament. I think this game will simply be a battle of the forward packs, both sides looking for control with the fluid attacking play at a premium. It could actually be quite an ugly affair.

The England head coach has already conceded that a close defeat would be OK for England, a strange comment but it's actually true. They will certainly lose this game, just keeping it close is all they need to do before they move on to easier games. 5 of England's last 6 losses were by 1-12 points and they always defend quite well, it's just the attack that lets them down, reason to believe they will once again come up short but not by much.

These two sides met in the opening game of the 2013 World Cup and Australia won 28-20. Australia were giving away 14 points on the handicap that day too. 10 players remain from that fixture and the same difference in class between the sides remains, that opener was closer than anticipated and I think this one will follow suit.

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