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View From Down Under: Australia on Short Money to Win Rugby League World Cup, But By How Much?

Australia hosts England in the Rugby League World Cup opener on Friday, with Australian punters closely watching the form of the tournament favorite Kangaroos.

Australia is the league’s most dominant force and has won 10 of the 14 World Cup tournaments to date.

There is little joy for those wanting to profit from the Kangaroos’ impressive muscle, with William Hill paying a miserly $1.30 (-333) for the hosts to win the Cup without losing a match.

But veteran Australian coach Wayne Bennett, now leading the England side, says that prediction may be premature.

The longtime rivals meet at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Friday night, with Australia looking for a 10th straight test win over an England or Great Britain side.

Bennett says he’s seen plenty of growth in his team since taking the helm last year ahead of the Four Nations tournament in England, which was won by Australia.

“We’re much further ahead than that,” Bennett said. “We’ve had 12 months together so we all know each other.”

Regardless of any England improvement, Australia is on just $1.14 (-714) to extend its record, with England paying $5.75 (+475).

Despite England’s expected loss, the bookies are willing to pay $2.25 (+125) for Australia to eventually meet, and beat, England in the final.

Another tempting bet for Aussie fans is the $4 (+300) for Australia to win every match by at least 13 points, $12 (+1100) for Australia to win every match by 20 points and $6.24 (+524) for the Kangaroos to win a final against Tonga.

In other opening matches this weekend, Papua New Guinea is the $1.12 (-833) favorite to beat Wales, New Zealand is paying $1.22 (-455) to down Samoa and Fiji is unbackable at $1.02 (-5000) to defeat the USA.

Italy is paying $1.17 (-588) to beat Ireland, Tonga is on just $1.03 (-3333) to trounce Scotland and France is a narrow $1.80 (-125) favorite over Lebanon.

In Formula 1, Daniel Ricciardo’s failure to finish last week’s U.S. race has lengthened the Aussie’s odds ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, which could be good news for punters following the Red Bull resurgence.

Ricciardo is sixth favorite to win in Mexico at $26 (+2500) after being forced out of the race in Austin, Texas with an engine failure.

Max Verstappen was denied a spot in the top three on a technicality last week, proving the Red Bulls have the pace and making the $3.75 (+275) on offer for Ricciardo to claim his 10th podium of the season a sound bet.

Closer to home, Sydney FC is tipped to claim top spot on the A-League table after this weekend’s fourth round.

Sydney is paying $1.55 (-182) to beat Perth Glory at home on Friday, which would send it one point clear of current leader Melbourne City.

The Sydney FC could hold on to top spot if City loses a predicted tough encounter at Adelaide and the Newcastle Jets fall short against Western Sydney.

Adelaide is a slight favorite to beat Melbourne, paying $2.50 (+150) against $2.60 (+160).

The Jets are similar odds, paying $2.60 (+160) to win their home match against Western Sydney, which is on $2.50 (+150).