Out of faith or out of pocket: There has been a swing in favour of Australia in terms of punters betting on the series

By Alan Dymock

EVERYONE IN Britain and Ireland would want the Lions to win on Saturday, right?

Well according to Ladbrokes, the betting on Saturday’s landmark series decider has swung in favour of the Wallabies as the betting powerhouse today announced that the Lions are no longer the favourites to win on Saturday, as they have been for every match on tour up until this point, and that droves of gamblers have backed Australia.

David Williams of Ladbrokes said: “We’ve been staggered by how quickly the punters have deserted [Warren] Gatland’s men. We never thought we’d see the day when the Aussies were more popular with punters than the Lions. That day has now arrived.”

A cursory glance at Oddschecker supports this, with 46.59% of bets through their site going on Australia to win and 43.28% going on the Lions.

Winners: will some Brits and Irish celebrate a Lions loss, too?

Fickle? It would be interesting to know how much of a surge has come in the Wallabies’ favour since Gatland’s team announcement, but in a series where some have described the Lions as the latest distraction on TV, a sentimental throwback that is more of a product than a team, it would perhaps not surprise many casual fans want to make money rather than “support” the Lions.

It may not help when Australian playmaker Will Genia says: “I’m very confident that we haven’t produced our best performance yet,” and that they are improving all the time while Lions forwards coach Graham Rowntree calls the game the “last throw of the dice.”

However, punters stepping away now tells of a complex. Many may expect to lose, and while they can explain away chasing bets on Australia as covering themselves either way, it is a disassociation from the movement that may worry some already concerned about protecting the tour.

Such negative news from home may be kept from the squad, but on the other hand they will almost certainly be made aware that they are underdogs. They were always up against the odds, but now we have the numbers to back it up and record numbers are betting every day.