World Cup treble: Italy fancied for Fiji upset
The line-up for the quarter-finals at the Rugby League World Cup will be determined with the final round of group games over the weekend.
Australia remain clear 2/11 favourites for the competition with New Zealand (15/2) looking like strong challengers, but England should still be confident of having a say and can be backed at 9/1 in the outright betting.
We've picked out our three best bets from the weekend's matches, with a treble available at around 38/1.
New Zealand to beat Tonga by more than 11.5 points @ 11/10
The Kiwis have swept aside all the pre-tournament tales of strife to open their competition with impressive wins over Samoa and Scotland. In the case of Scotland the opposition was certainly poor, but that should not detract from a fluid display in which the likes of scrum-half Shaun Johnson and full-back Roger Tuivasa-Sheck underlined their class.
They look like a genuine force again and should be more than two tries better than Tonga, even though the Pacific Islanders have lived up to their billing as potential semi-finalists with two good wins. The presence of former New Zealand international Jason Taumalolo in their side adds extra spice to what should be a competitive fixture.
Italy to beat Fiji @ 9/1
Jarryd Hayne-inspired Fiji have been another outstanding performer in the early part of the tournament, demolishing the United States and Wales, and seem destined for the quarter-finals regardless of the outcome against Italy.
The Azzurri would need to win by more than 45 points to have a chance of supplanting Fiji at the top of Group D and pinching their place in the last eight. That seems highly unlikely but it is possible Fiji could ease up and allow a fired-up Italy to end their difficult tournament on a high. Negative headlines following a fight in a bar have detracted from Italy's campaign but the likes of James Tedesco - at the centre of that controversy - and Terry Campese, if fit, can be a handful while the pack is strong.
More than 54.5 points in Samoa v Scotland @ 17/20
Scotland have hit rock bottom in the past week with three of their players, including influential captain and playmaker Danny Brough, sent home in disgrace following a drinking session. Coming after conceding 50 points to Tonga and 74 to New Zealand, it is difficult to see anything but another heavy loss this weekend.
With three teams qualifying from Group B, victory would still send Scotland through to the quarter-finals but that seems beyond them. This looks a nailed-on Samoa win and form suggests they will do it emphatically.
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