Most people expect the All Blacks to beat the Wallabies quite comfortably this weekend.

The stats seem to bear that expectation out. But I noticed a little stat that spells trouble for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks have built up an exceptional record over the past two years. From 2016 till now they have played 24 matches, won 21, drew 1 and lost only 2. In these 24 matches, they have scored a total of 952 points and limited their opponents to 394!

It’s no surprise they are going into this Saturday’s match against the Wallabies as overwhelming favourites. The bookies price them as $1.15 favourites. That’s like saying they have an 87% probability of winning the match.

The bookies reckon that when the teams run onto the field in Brisbane Saturday, the scoreboard will already say 14-0 to the All Blacks. That’s the size of the handicap they are giving the All Blacks!

Subset of figures needs consideration

However impressive these figures are for the All Blacks, there is one little subset of numbers that tell a different story.

If you look at the ratio of tries the All Blacks have scored to the number they have let in, you notice that the ratio has been declining from 2016. This means that the All Blacks are currently scoring fewer tries for every try conceded, or to put it differently, they are letting more and more tries in for every try they score themselves. What’s more, if you leave out the 8 tries to 0 drubbing of the Springboks in Albany, the decline of the All Black ratio is even more pronounced.

Although they are still scoring tries, the All Blacks are not scoring as many relative to the opposition as last season.
Although they are still scoring tries, the All Blacks are not scoring as many relative to the opposition as last season.

In contrast, the picture in the Wallaby camp is quite the opposite. The Wallabies have been able to improve their tries scored to conceded from 2016 to 2017. They clearly have improved both their attacking and defensive abilities.

This graph makes it clear how the ratio has changed.
This graph makes it clear how the ratio has changed.

Bookies and their odds

All I am saying is that the bookies 87% probability and 14-point margin for an All Black win on Saturday in Brisbane is probably wrong. I am expecting a much tighter match. I would not be surprised if the Wallabies bag this one.

(If you are a bit of a punter like me, there is a great opportunity here to LAY the All Blacks before the match starts at around $1.20, and when the Wallabies show up on the day, as I expect them to do, BACK the All Blacks before halftime at probably around $1.80 or more.)

Author: Willem Van Rensburg

I was raised among Springboks, then matured among Kiwis, and now live among Wallabies. What’s next? I have never been good at playing this game, but what a game! Show me any other team sport that has equal room for the big, small, quick, slow, smart, not so smart. And when they work in unison it is like watching a symphony.

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