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View from Down Under: All Blacks Favorites to Win Bledisloe Cup III, but Wallabies Have a Chance of an Upset

On paper, the all-conquering All Blacks are rightful favorites to win the Bledisloe Cup dead rubber against the Wallabies this weekend.

New Zealand dominated the five-nation Rugby Championship and trounced Australia to claim the Bledisloe Cup after two matches, but the fast-improving Wallabies are oddly confident as they prepare for their clash at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Michael Cheika named an unchanged squad from the one that downed Argentina 37-20 last time out for the first time in his three-year tenure.

The Australian side, meanwhile, has nothing to lose, finished second in the Rugby Championship and will feel unlucky only to have drawn its two matches against South Africa.

The All Blacks are William Hill’s $1.17 (-588) favorites to complete a three-game sweep of their trans-Tasman rivals, but with the match played at Brisbane and the return of key players, the $5 (+400) on offer for a Wallabies win could turn out to be a good investment.

On the plus side for the Wallabies is the fact that the match is being played in Brisbane, where Australia has traditionally proven difficult to beat.

Adding to Australia’s fortunes is the return of playmaker Karmichael Hunt from an ankle injury.

In-form Kurtley Beale, who has assumed Hunt’s No. 12 jersey, this week told reporters he was looking forward to Hunt injecting “creativity” in the second half.

“I’ve always said it, test match football you need creativity, along with a lot of the one-percenters that need to be done,” Beale said.

Formula 1 heads to Austin, Texas for the U.S. GP this weekend, with Daniel Ricciardo back level with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen as fourth favorite to take the checkered flag.

While most F1 fans will be waiting to see if Lewis Hamilton can wrap up the driver championship on Sunday, Aussies will be hanging out for another podium for Ricciardo as Red Bull seeks to consolidate third spot in the constructor standings.

Ricciardo is paying $13 (+1200) to win in Austin, along with Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, with Hamilton the favorite at $1.80 (-125) and Sebastian Vettel on $3.25 (+225).

The Australian claimed a career-best ninth podium for the season at Japan earlier this month and is paying just $2.35 (+135) to extend that feat in the U.S.

Closer to home, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso lead the MotoGP championship as the best in the motorcycling world converge on Phillip Island, but for local fans, all eyes will be on Queenslander Jack Miller.

Miller, who missed last week’s Japanese GP, had a plate and eight screws inserted in his leg following a crash just over two weeks ago. He will nonetheless line up on the grid on Saturday, with $26 (+2500) on offer for a comeback win.

In the A-League, Melbourne City is tipped to hold on to their championship lead when it hosts Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, with $1.50 (-200) for a win and $6 (+500) for a loss.

NSW rival Sydney FC is separated only on goal difference after two matches and has a chance to leapfrog City with a big win over Perth Glory. Sydney is on just $1.55 (-182) for a win against $5 (+400) for a loss.

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