Wednesday, June 17, 2009

‘Best Bet Summer Special’ - English & Irish Lions Betting Tips with Betfair

Hello and welcome to my latest guest betting blog with Betfair. With the football all done and dusted for another season we now have to get our sports betting fix from somewhere else, and where better than South Africa for the British and Irish Lions tour.

Ahead of the main event there were six warm up games to get themselves primed for the World Champions. But Ian McGeekan’s men found it tough going at times. Here is a quick review of the action so far:

Royal XV 25-37 Lions

Royal XV (18) 25
Tries: Koch, Barnes, Roux Cons: Olivier, Viljoen Pens: Olivier 2

Lions (10) 37
Tries: Bowe, Byrne, Wyn Jones, O'Gara Cons: O'Gara 4 Pens: O'Gara 3

A slow start from the Lions saw them slip to an 18-10 half-time deficit, but a battling second half performance saw Tommy Bowe go over and Ronan O'Gara convert to reduce the Royal XV's lead. Late tries from Lee Byrne, Alun Wyn Jones and O'Gara saw a relieved Lions home to record an opening tour victory, against the stubborn Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace team in Rustenburg.

Golden Lions 10-74 Lions

Golden Lions (10) 10
Try: Frolick Con: Pretorius Pen: Pretorius

British and Irish Lions (39) 74
Tries: Roberts 2, O'Driscoll, Monye 2, Croft, Bowe 2, Hook, Ferris
Cons: Jones 6, Hook 3 Pens: Jones 2

As sluggish as they were in the tour’s opener the Lions were as slick, energetic and powerful in their second game as they finally put a marker down with an impressive and convincing win over the Golden Lions.
Tries from Brian O'Driscoll, Ugo Monye, Tom Croft and two from Jamie Roberts helped them into a 39-10 half-time lead at Johannesburg's Ellis Park. A brace from Tommy Bowe and further scores from Monye, James Hook and Stephen Ferris will have made South Africa sit up and take notice.

Cheetahs 24-26 Lions

Cheetahs (14) 24
Tries: Dumas, Du Preez, Uys Cons: Potgieter 2, Strydom Pen: Potgieter

British and Irish Lions (23) 26
Tries: Ferris, Earls Cons: Hook 2 Pens: Hook 4

Bloemfontein was the next venue on the list and a third Lions win out of three was secured, though they were severely tested against a determined Cheetahs side. Converted tries from Stephen Ferris and Keith Earls gave them a flying start. But when Ferris was sin-binned late on the Cheetahs took full advantage and closed the gap to just two points with eight minutes of the match still remaining. This set up a tense, nervy finish for the tourists but they stood firm and held on for a narrow victory.

Sharks 3-39 Lions

Sharks (3) 3
Pen: Kockott

British and Irish Lions (7) 39
Tries: Mears, Phillips, Fitzgerald, Byrne, Heaslip Cons: O'Gara 3, Hook
Pens: O'Gara 2

Things were much more straight forward against the Sharks in Durban. They would have been frustrated to only have a Lee Mears try to show for their first half efforts, as they dominated their Super 14 opponents. But they were more clinical in the second half with Mike Phillips, Luke Fitzgerald and Lee Byrne all going over. Jamie Heaslip completed the scoring right at the final whistle to give the scoreline a comfortable look.

Western Province 23-26 Lions

Western Province (12) 23
Try: Pietersen Pens: De Waal 4 Drops: De Waal, Pietersen

British and Irish Lions (18) 26
Tries: Bowe, Monye, M Williams Con: Jones Pens: Jones 2, Hook

As the first test gets ever closer so does the quality of the opposition and the Lions endured their toughest game yet, needing a late James Hook penalty to overcome Western Province in a soggy Newlands.
The Lions fell behind 9-6 early on but Tommy Bowes fourth try of the tour and a second from Ugo Monye gave them a 18-12 advantage at the break. Martyn Williams increased the lead but Western Province fought back and leveled the scores just after the hour. Defeat was looking a real possibility, before Hook held his nerve to calmly convert a long range penalty between the sticks with just three minutes remaining.

Southern Kings 8-20 Lions

Kings (3) 8
Tries: Mbiyozo Pens: Van der Westhuyzen

Lions (3) 20
Tries: Monye, penalty Cons: O'Gara 2Pens: O'Gara 2

The final warm-up game proved just as tough though coach Ian McGeekan will be pleased at the resilience showed after a second half onslaught by the Southern Kings. Jaco van der Westhuyzen put the Kings ahead early on before two O'Gara penalties and a Monye try put the Lions ahead. They pulled clear with a penalty try in the second half before a tight finish was ensured when Mpho Mbiyozo reduced the arrears.

The British and Irish Lions V South Africa – 20th and 27th June, 4th July.

Lets face it, these are the games everyone is waiting for. Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg play host to the three tests and The Lions will hope they can re-create the events of 1997 when they last toured South Africa.
On that occasion Jerry Guscott and Co. came away with a 2-1 series win, but the current crop of Lions will have to be at their best if they are to overcome the World Champions.

Betfair has variety of bets available if your want to bet on the Lions this summer.

Here is a selection to get you started:

Series winner:

South Africa 4/9 Lions 12/5 Draw 37/1

Series correct score:

Lions to win:
1-0 119/1 2-0 69/1 2-1 4/1 3-0 16/1

South Africa to win:
1-0 139/1 2-0 35/1 2-1 5/2 3-0 5/4

Drawn series:
0-0 999/1 1-1 69/1

Selected 1st Test Odds:

Lions 13/5 South Africa 2/5 Draw 33/1

Winning margin:

South Africa under 12.5pts 11/5 South Africa over 12.5pts 5/4
Lions under 12.5pts 7/2 Lions over 12.5pts 7/1

First team to score a try:

Lions 2/5 South Africa 6/5 No try 9/2

My 'best bet' prediciton:

The Lions victory in 1997 was based on a solid defensive unit, and I expect that to be the bedrock of any victory charge this time round. The Springboks have an imperious backline themselves and it is a tall order to expect the Lions to score a hatful of tries. Therefore I would back all the matches to be low scoring affairs. But in all honestly I can't see beyond the World Champions in this one.
I predict a 2-1 series win for the South Africans at 5/2.

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