Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Rugby World Cup: TAB sees big swing to arch rivals

One of the most popular bets is for Samoa to reach the quarter finals. Photo / Richard Robinson
One of the most popular bets is for Samoa to reach the quarter finals. Photo / Richard Robinson

If New Zealand's gambling reflects the public mood, the nation is losing confidence in the All Blacks claiming the Rugby World Cup.

Despite one $40,000 punt on New Zealand to win the trophy - the largest local bet - most gamblers have started to back transtasman rivals Australia.

New Zealand are still roaring favourites to win at $1.60 but all other contenders have had their odds shortened since the All Blacks' defeat to Australia two weeks ago.

TAB spokesman Mark Stafford said 65 per cent of bets on the World Cup winner since then have been for Australia, and bets backing South Africa and England have increased and bookmakers have cut Australia's odds from $5.50 to $4.50.

England's odds have been reduced from $15 to $12, "but that's possibly English fans arriving and seeing the price", said Mr Stafford.

And most people are downplaying the likelihood of a thrashing in the World Cup's opening match on Friday.

The TAB initially picked All Blacks to put 71 points past Tonga in that game. But that was revised to 67 and is likely to drop again.

Samoa are also attracting a lot of bets after they upset Australia in mid-July. Ten times more people have backed them to progress from their group compared with Wales.

"With Samoa at $4.25 to progress ... we're hurting a lot on that if Samoa was to go through," said Mr Stafford.

The TAB said another surprising trend was the number of people betting that Wales would beat South Africa on Sunday.

The most popular picks for top tryscorer are wingers, with All Black Israel Dagg heading the field, followed by Australian Digby Ioane and South African Bryan Habana.

Mr Stafford said Georgia, Russia, Namibia, Romania and Japan, who all have odds of 10,000-to-one to win outright. The person who stands to win the most is the punter who placed $30 on Russia. They will earn $300,000 if Russia do the unthinkable.

THE ODDS

Biggest bet:

$40,000 on All Blacks to win outright ($64,800 return)

Most popular bets:

* Samoa to reach quarter-finals ($4.25)

* Australia v Russia to be the highest scoring match ($3.20)

* Australia to make final ($1.90)

Surprise bets:

* Wales to beat South Africa ($4.50)

Biggest return:

* $300,000 for person who bet $30 on Russia to win World Cup

Top try scorer:

* Israel Dagg, Digby Ioane or Bryan Habana

- NZ Herald

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