When we recommended backing the British and Irish Lions with a +14 handicap for the second Test against New Zealand, we weren’t expecting them to overcome it so handsomely – but their surprise 24-21 victory at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday was the perfect set up for a series decider at Eden Park.
Of course, New Zealand won the first Test in Auckland by 15 points and will return to that city at best odds of just 1/4 with Paddy Power to clinch the series, with the Lions available at a best price of 4/1 with Stan James.
Saturday’s defeat ended a run of 47 successive home wins for the All-Blacks, who rarely suffer back-to-back losses – the last time was 19 years ago. They might already be celebrating the series win had it not been for the dismissal of Sonny Bill Williams after just 25 minutes and for a lengthy spell after being reduced to 14 men they defied their numerical disadvantage, putting the Lions on the back foot and forcing a string of errors.
The Lions came through in the end, but with New Zealand wounded and restored to a full quota this weekend’s match promises to be very different. The handicap line is reduced to 11 – and this time we’ll be siding with the hosts at the 10/11 with Bet365.