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View From Down Under: Australia the favorite for Boxing Day Test and Ashes sweep

After reclaiming the Ashes with a third straight Test win in Perth this week, Australia has its sights set on a 5-0 whitewash when the Boxing Day Test gets underway on Tuesday.

Australia has comprehensively dominated England so far this series, but will have one eye on the weather and the other on injuries as it looks to continue its winning streak.

Aussie captain Steve Smith was part of the Michael Clarke side that swept the last series in Australia four years ago and makes no secret of the fact that he wants to share another sweep.

“It’d be fantastic to do that and we’ll talk about Melbourne when we get there,” he said after claiming a 41-run win at the WACA ground on Monday.

“Right now, I’m really satisfied with what we’ve achieved in these first three Test matches. I’d love to do that again.”

Along with prolific run-scoring from Smith, Australia’s dominance has come from the effectiveness of its triple pace attack of Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

The three quicks are routinely clocking deliveries over 85 miles per hour and have used bouncers to devastating effect.

Australian punters will be sweating on the fitness of Starc over the Christmas break after he carried a heel injury through the final day at the WACA and is in doubt for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Starc has been cleared of major foot damage, but has a bruised heel that may cause selectors to rest him. He is the leading wicket taker so far this series with 19 dismissals. Seamer Jackson Bird remains the likely replacement should he not recover in time.

Australia is predictably the favorite to win in Melbourne, with William Hill offering $1.44 (-227) for Smith’s men to take a 4-0 lead. England is on $5.50 (+450) with $5 (+400) for a draw.

Australia is on short money to sweep the five-match series at $1.91 (-110), with $4 (+300) for a 4-0 series win and $5 (+400) for England to claim a Test win.

Ahead of the Test, the Big Bash League will dominate the betting with no joy in sight from Saturday’s marquee match between the defending champion Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers, with both sides paying $1.91 (-110) for a win.

The Melbourne Renegades are slight favorites to beat the Brisbane Heat in Saturday’s other encounter at $1.73 (-137) for a win and $2.10 (+110) for a loss.

In the A-League, title favorite Sydney FC should celebrate Christmas with a win at Wellington on Saturday.

Sydney is five points clear atop the table and is paying just $1.61 (-164) to beat the last-place Phoenix, with $5 (+400) for a loss and $4.20 (+320) for a draw.

Second-place Newcastle is tipped to stay in contention with a home win over the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, paying $2.20 (+120) for a win, $3.10 (+210) for a loss and $3.50 (+250) for a draw.

The Sydney to Hobart gets underway on Boxing Day with 2015 winner Comanche the clear betting favorite.

The U.S. boat is on $1.95 (-105) to take line honors in the annual yachting trophy, with Black Jack on $3.50 (+250), eight-time winner Wild Oats XI on $4 (+300), Infotrack on $8 (+700) and Ichi Ban at $15 (+1400).