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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Bookmakers on top as Lions secure dramatic draw

40-1 tied series is costly for punters

Rhys Webb of the Lions makes a break during the third Test at Eden Park
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Bookmakers were the real winners of the British and irish Lions' series against the All Blacks as the third Test ended in a draw, which left the three-match series tied at 1-1.

That outcome had been a top-priced 40-1 with BoyleSports at the start of the tour and although rugby punters were royally entertained in the series, few came out of it in profit.

"It was a great result for the Lions and the bookies,” said Hills spokesman Rupert Adams, who reported that the biggest bet his firm had taken on a drawn series was a handful of £20 wagers at 33-1.

Bet365's Steve Freeth said: "We're not singing from the rooftops as we had laid the draw in the third Test but the bigger picture was the series result and that was right up our street."

New Zealand had been 2-7 to clinch the series at Eden Park, Auckland, where they have not lost for 23 years. It was the first time they have failed to win there since a draw against South Africa in 1994.

The All Black had been 12-point favourites and they were on course at half-time when they led 12-6 after tries from Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett.

But a yellow card for Jerome Kaino after the interval harmed their chances and the Lions levelled the score at 12-12 with a huge penalty by Elliot Daly before Owen Farrell's fourth penalty of the game completed the scoring at 15-15.

Ladbrokes make the Lions side 4-7 favourites for this year's BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year award.

The All Blacks are 6-5 favourites for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, with England the shortest-priced team of the Lions' nations at 5-1. Ireland are 10-1, with Wales 22-1 and Scotland 50-1.

The Lions are next in action again in 2021. Bet365 and Hills both make them 4-7 to win their series in South Africa, with the hosts 11-8 and another tied series 33-1.

New Zealand had been 2-7 to clinch the series at Eden Park, Auckland, where they have not lost for 23 years
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