File: Japan's fly-half Yu Tamura places the ball for a kick during the international rugby union test match between England and Japan at Twickenham stadium in south-west London on November 17, 2018.
It’s probably not the most enthralling match to get things under way at this year’s Rugby World Cup but when Japan take on Russia in Tokyo it will signal the start of a bumper six weeks of action.
It’s the chance for the home side to truly get into the swing of things early on in the tournament and as the betting suggests we’re looking at a match that will be dominated by the home side. They’re at 1/100 as far as a price for the Full Time Result while the Russians are at 35/1.
History tells us that these two sides have clashed six times since 2002. This will be the fifth time they meet in Tokyo, and the Japanese have been on the right side of the result on four occasions. Their most recent meeting took place late last year and saw Japan emerge 32-27 victors in a closely fought contest.
Russia’s solitary victory against this opposition was back in 2003 when winning 43-34. The Russians received their biggest hiding when the two sides met in 2010 as they were beaten 75-3.
Looking at the handicap betting and Japan (-40.5) vs Russia (+40.5) is quoted at 9/10 while Japan (-41.5) vs Russia (+39.5) is given at even money. Looking at the numbers, Japan’s average winning margin when meeting this opposition is 39 points.
Japan are expected to dominate throughout with 1/20 about them being ahead at halftime and at the final whistle while there is 16/1 on Russia leading at the halftime break but the hosts then coming back to claim victory.
There’s 50/1 on Russia trailing at halftime and then turning things around for victory.
As for predicting the exact winning margin, you can get 1/3 on Japan winning by 30+ points.
In the Winning Margin Spreads, Japan 36-40 is a tempting 11/2 or there’s 13/2 on Japan 31-35. You can also get 11/2 on Japan 41-45 or Japan 61+ but whether it’s going to be that brutal for the Russians remains to be seen. Japan 21-25 points is at 10/1.
In terms of their history at this tournament, Russia are yet to win a game in four attempts and have only scored 57 points, an average of 14.25 per appearance. Their world ranking of 20th doesn’t bode well for what they’re going to face at the tournament and this looks to be the start of a tough campaign.
Japan on the other hand are ranked 10th in the world and are vastly more experienced when it comes to this competition. Who could forget that monumental win over the Springboks in the last renewal. They should have this opener all sewn up against a Russian side that have been very inconsistent in 2019.