Nick Pulford expects the All Blacks to prove too strong for the Pumas in his best bets for the Rugby World Cup semi-final.
Having played out one of the most dramatic quarter-finals to beat Ireland 28-24, three-time champions New Zealand head into World Cup semi-final action against Argentina on Friday night.
Argentina have improved as the tournament has gone on but their journey in France might well be brought to an abrupt end when they take on the All Blacks under the lights at the Stade de France.
New Zealand -17.5 @ 17/20
Over 49.5 total points @ 21/20
All Blacks on course for final return
When it comes to the head-to-head record between New Zealand and Argentina, the results stack heavily in favour of the All Blacks.
First meeting in 1985, Argentina have recorded only two wins over New Zealand, while there has also been one draw in their 36 encounters.
The last two meetings have resulted in runaway victories for the All Blacks. They won 53-3 in their last meeting on New Zealand soil in Hamilton and ran out 41-12 winners in the most recent encounter in Mendoza in July.
Considering the All Blacks’ epic performance to see off Ireland in the quarter-finals, Ian Foster’s side should have too much quality with and without the ball to be troubled by Argentina.
Looking at the handicap market, and considering the last two results between the sides, New Zealand should be able to come out on top, even conceding 17.5 points.
Expect plenty of points
Encounters between these sides have tended to be high-scoring affairs, especially considering New Zealand have scored 94 points in their last two games against the Pumas.
When looking at the total points markets, it’s important to consider goal-kickers and both sides have strong players in that regard.
New Zealand’s Richie Mo’unga has been strong off the tee, with only Johnny Sexton and Thomas Ramos scoring more conversions than the All Blacks No.10.
When it comes to penalties, Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli is joint-top with Ramos on nine for the competition.
Points from the tee are important to help rack up the points and over 49.5 points in the match certainly looks achievable considering the kickers and the recent results between these nations.
More tries to come
New Zealand have been phenomenal in attack at this World Cup, scoring a remarkable 41 tries in their first five games.
Argentina have managed 17 tries and should still be able to cross over for perhaps a couple of scores as they did against the All Blacks in Mendoza in the summer.
While New Zealand will be focused on lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, individual players will have one eye on finishing top try scorer at the tournament.
Will Jordan, Damian McKenzie and Leicester Fainga’anuku have all scored five tries, with only France’s Damian Penaud ahead on six.
All three will be keen to add to their tallies on Friday night in a game that should see plenty of tries.
With that in mind, over 5.5 total tries is the way to go.