As ever with Ruby World Cup Outright Betting - 2003 being the exception - there are two crucial questions that need immediately confronting: are you for, or against the All Blacks at prohibitive odds? And from there, how best do you support or oppose them?

To my mind, New Zealand are rightly short-priced favourites and big (or brave) bettors should find odds-against quotes - 13-10 is currently the best available - irresistible about them becoming the first country to retain the Webb Ellis Cup and the first to win it three times. New, small-staking punters have to open up a Betfair Sportsbook account and get their 7-1 to a maximum of £10 (any winnings paid out in free bets).

The All Blacks have been the number one side in the world for the whole cycle between global tournaments, losing only three games and with excuses for two of those defeats. They have the easiest group of all and head coach Steve Hansen has shown a ruthless streak in terms of omitting players from his first squad after taking over from Graham Henry in 2012 to this 31-man collection.

Classy, proven outside backs Israel Dagg and Cory Jane have been left at home in favour of exciting new kids on the block Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo. Inspirational legends Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and veteran front-rowers Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu are not indulgent picks. If their physical stats didn't match up, they wouldn't have been on the plane either.

The positive influence on teammates had by Kieran Read, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Liam Messam, Jerome Kaino and even the maverick Sonny Bill Williams, cannot be underestimated either.

These All Blacks are better than the rest of the teams and they should show it. Like four years ago, missing out on the southern hemisphere championship spoils should have sharpened minds.

And apart from Warren Gatland, Hansen is the only head coach of a contender to have guided a team at a World Cup (Wales 2003). This knowledge base will be key to maintaining perspective in the upcoming frenzy.

However, it won't be a stroll for the ABs. It wasn't four years ago with plenty of injuries, most notably Carter, and in the knockout stages, McCaw couldn't be replaced as early as wanted against Argentina in the quarter-finals while France pushed them all the way in a nervy final.

There are though too many doubts about fitness, form and potential match-ups to be confident of finding a value alternative in the All Blacks' main rivals.

One of the Pool A big guns - England, Wales, Australia - will miss out and the runner-up surely will be in for a bruising quarter-final tussle with South Africa. In 2011, the Wallabies had just seven days to recover from a no-holds-barred slug-fest with the Springboks in their last-eight meeting before tackling the AllBlacks. It will be the same next month for one of these quartet if the Kiwis win their quarter-final.

In Pool D, back-to-back Six Nations champs Ireland are enjoying current supremacy over France but those last two see-saw, tough successes were preceded by two draws. Although Schmidt has a squad to go to war with, Ireland's World Cup record is poor and tournament proof is needed before a bet.

Les Bleus are stereotypically unpredictably dangerous. The runner-up in the section meets the All Blacks. In all likelihood the winner has its pack pummelled by the Pumas and then meets the Pool A winner in the semi-final.

If it has to be one each-way selection then go for 16-1 France. Les Bleus have been more feeble than fabulous in recent years but they have beaten the Wallabies twice in November meetings and came roaring back in a 26-19 Paris defeat to New Zealand in 2013, camping on their line for minutes at the end but kept out. They have a huge pack that showed up well in the warm-ups against England and backs that can dazzle out of nowhere. France have also reached the last four or better in each of the last four RWCs including when losing the opening game of 2007 as hosts to Argentina and then somehow overcoming the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.

Facing the Kiwis in the quarters or a final will probably bring both a smile and grimace of determination to French faces, plenty of whom will feel that they personally did not get what they deserved In 2011. It is interesting that Paddy Power are shortest about Philippe Saint-Andre's side at 12-1.

New Zealand - 5pt @ 13/10
France - 1pt e/w @ 16/1
However, a scan of oddschecker.com and bookmaker's concessions/enticements means that there is another approach to take to tournament outright betting if you are not convinced by New Zealand's claims or courageous enough to lay them for chunks on the exchanges. And that approach is this.

Betway are offering money back if the All Blacks retain their crown so take their 9-2 England and 13-2 South Africa.

Betbright are offering money back if New Zealand don't make the final so snap up their 10-1 Ireland and outrageously dismissive 40-1 Wales. The staking plan should be 2pts England, 2pts South Africa, 1pt Ireland, 1pt France and half a point Wales.

For a long time now, opening accounts with as many bookmakers and exchanges as possible has been the best ways to maximise chances of making a profit whatever the sport. With all the new account bonuses on offer, it is a no-brainer in this tournament whatever your size and style of bet.

The logic of this betting tactic is that these bets offer cover - via voids/refunds/free bets and a back-to-lay strategy - whether it goes right or wrong for New Zealand and gives much more flexibility in terms of how the matches pan out than bets on name the finalists or which hemisphere will prevail. There should be twists and turns. There nearly always are in World Cups.

England have a superb set-up and a very good bunch of players, enough of whom either inflicted one of the three defeats since 2011 on the All Blacks at Twickenham or worried them on two occasions in their 3-0 defeat down in New Zealand last summer. And they will be boosted in the ultra-hard Pool A by fervent home support but this could hinder too in heavyweight knockout games. And for all the good that Stuart Lancaster, his coaches and his side have done, there has been no Six Nations silverware in four years and many more defeats against the southern hemisphere big guns than successes.

Wales have suffered the two major injury blows of all the warm-up matches in losing ace goal-kicker Leigh Halfpenny and first-choice scrum-half Rhys Webb. But Betbright's exaggerated easing of the Dragons takes no account of the fact that Gatland and plenty of players still in the squad have enjoyed Grand Slam and Six Nations successes over England in their time and British & Irish Lions victories over Australia even if recent national head-to-heads with the Wallabies make poor reading. Gatland and his backroom staff also galvanised a written-off Wales to reach the semi-finals in 2011. A margin-call over whether a James Hook kick went over may have cost them a win against South Africa in the pool stages before they stayed calm to see off Samoa and Fiji. They were then brilliant against Ireland in a wet and windy quarter-final before skipper Sam Warburton's early red card for a tip tackle meant France were always going to find a way to win their semi-final.

South Africa were the last winners of a northern hemisphere World Cup (2007) and may be in better shape than their three Rugby Championship defeats this summer suggests. The Boks got beat in injury-time in Australia after emptying their replacements bench and made a few wrong tactical calls when in front against New Zealand in Johannesburg. The home loss to Argentina looks a one-off horror show from the start and was avenged in time-honoured grizzly fashion a week later in Buenos Aires, albeit in a warm-up. South Africa will love it if bad weather means forward and kicking-dominant matches.

Ireland have been the most consistent northern hemisphere side for the last two seasons and stung Australia in their pool four years ago when getting the upper hand in the pack. They also beat the Boks last November and two years ago stormed into a decent half-time lead against the All Blacks in Dublin only to not score after the break and be overhauled in the last seconds.

There is no Australia punt because their schedule of up to five-straight Saturdays (England, Wales and then knockouts) against major opposition looks a mission impossible in terms of keeping their best players, particularly the forwards, in prime shape.

If the All Blacks win then a small loss will be made as expected for taking them on. If they slip up these teams, at these prices with these firms should put you in a position for profit.

Of course, the perm may be too time consuming, unappealing or unavailable. But take on board the thinking and apply where and when best to betting on what should be a wonderful tournament.

England (Betway - Money back if New Zealand win) - 2pt @ 9/2
South Africa (Betway - Money back if New Zealand win) - 2pt @ 13/2
Wales (Betbright - money back if New Zealand don't make final) - 0.5pt @ 40/1
England have a superb set-up and a very good bunch of players, enough of whom either inflicted one of the three defeats since 2011 on the All Blacks at Twickenham or worried them on two occasions in their 3-0 defeat down in New Zealand last summer. And they will be boosted in the ultra-hard Pool A by fervent home support but this could hinder too in heavyweight knockout games. And for all the good that Stuart Lancaster, his coaches and his side have done, there has been no Six Nations silverware in four years and many more defeats against the southern hemisphere big guns than successes.

Wales have suffered the two major injury blows of all the warm-up matches in losing ace goal-kicker Leigh Halfpenny and first-choice scrum-half Rhys Webb. But Betbright's exaggerated easing of the Dragons takes no account of the fact that Gatland and plenty of players still in the squad have enjoyed Grand Slam and Six Nations successes over England in their time and British & Irish Lions victories over Australia even if recent national head-to-heads with the Wallabies make poor reading. Gatland and his backroom staff also galvanised a written-off Wales to reach the semi-finals in 2011. A margin-call over whether a James Hook kick went over may have cost them a win against South Africa in the pool stages before they stayed calm to see off Samoa and Fiji. They were then brilliant against Ireland in a wet and windy quarter-final before skipper Sam Warburton's early red card for a tip tackle meant France were always going to find a way to win their semi-final.

South Africa were the last winners of a northern hemisphere World Cup (2007) and may be in better shape than their three Rugby Championship defeats this summer suggests. The Boks got beat in injury-time in Australia after emptying their replacements bench and made a few wrong tactical calls when in front against New Zealand in Johannesburg. The home loss to Argentina looks a one-off horror show from the start and was avenged in time-honoured grizzly fashion a week later in Buenos Aires, albeit in a warm-up. South Africa will love it if bad weather means forward and kicking-dominant matches.

Ireland have been the most consistent northern hemisphere side for the last two seasons and stung Australia in their pool four years ago when getting the upper hand in the pack. They also beat the Boks last November and two years ago stormed into a decent half-time lead against the All Blacks in Dublin only to not score after the break and be overhauled in the last seconds.

There is no Australia punt because their schedule of up to five-straight Saturdays (England, Wales and then knockouts) against major opposition looks a mission impossible in terms of keeping their best players, particularly the forwards, in prime shape.

If the All Blacks win then a small loss will be made as expected for taking them on. If they slip up these teams, at these prices with these firms should put you in a position for profit.

Of course, the perm may be too time consuming, unappealing or unavailable. But take on board the thinking and apply where and when best to betting on what should be a wonderful tournament.

England w/o New Zealand - 2pt @ 3.25
Wales w/o New Zealand - 0.5pt @ 15.00