Australia and England have a rivalry steeped in history, one that particularly comes to the fore whenever the two nations are pitted against each other in a sporting arena.
That is epitomised by the Ashes, with the tiny urn the ultimate prize for whichever side can hold their nerve in the various cauldrons of noise over the course of the next two months.
Criticism has been laid at England’s feet since their squad announcement, while the home side have been lambasted in recent days for comments coming out their camp.
Despite this though Australia are listed as favourites worldwide, with England mere rank outsiders.
Rick Wallace, Media Relations Manager at Australian gambling company Tabcorp, gave an insight into how an Ashes Series is viewed ‘down under,’ and the huge numbers expected to be waged by punters across the five tests: “It’s one of the biggest events on our sporting calendar both from a betting and interest point of view.
“We are expecting to hold around the $5 million mark for the Ashes series. In context, this is approximately the same hold as what we had for the McGregor v Mayweather fight a few months ago
“While the Aussies are favourites, England certainly are in with a chance. There remains uncertainty around Australia’s line up, and while we expect plenty of patriotic money for Australia, there will no doubt also be support for England.”
What was once a series entrenched with Australian dominance, with all eight contests between 1989 and 2003 won by the Aussies, has developed into one that the hosts normally come out triumphant.
Only once in the last eight series have an away side managed to come out victorious after five tests, with England taking advantage of a poor Australian side in 2010/11 to emerge on the right side of a 3-1 scoreline.
In the sport mad nation of Australia, cricket quite rightly plays a huge part, however, as Wallace points out The Ashes has major competition from consumers throughout the country, adding: “While the Ashes is big, the trend from a betting point of view with cricket is moving towards the Big Bash.”
The first Ashes test gets underway at The Gabba in Brisbane at midnight tonight UK time, ie the first minutes of Thursday 23 November, and 10am local time.