With the start of the 2017 RBS Six Nations Championship just around the corner, excitement is starting to build. Scotland and Ireland get this year’s tournament underway at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh this Saturday, followed by England v France later in the day and Italy v Wales on Sunday.
With the likes of England, Ireland, Wales and France all battling it out for Six Nations glory, we should be in for a fascinating competition. Last year, Eddie Jones’ English won five out of five to lift their fifth Six Nations crown (27th overall) and take the Grand Slam bragging rights. Since the tournament was extended in 2000, England have won 60 of their 85 matches in this prestigious competition and they will be hoping to add another five wins to their tally this time.Who Will Win The Six Nations?
As is usually the case these days, England head into the Six Nations as the favourites. However, last year’s triumph was their first championship win since 2011. With Jones still undefeated as boss, England are certainly the team to beat this year. The holders are priced at just 20/23 with Betfair to retain their crown. They are very strong favourites and after having completed a whitewash against their hosts in Australia, it’s easy to see why.
Their closest challengers are set to be Rob Howley’s Wales and Joe Schmidt’s Ireland. Wales, who finished second last year, head into the tournament as third favourites behind the English and the Irish respectively. Ireland are available at the tasty price of 5/2 (Betfair), with the Welsh coming in at 9/1 with Coral.
France may also be tempting to some at 14/1 (Coral), but as we touched on, it’s difficult to see past England coming out on top come mid-March. The dreamers and patriots might be interested in Scotland (25/1) and Italy (1,000/1) but we think this looks set to be a battle between England and Ireland. The pair meet in Ireland on the final weekend of the Championship and that one could be a Grand Slam decider.Top Tryscorer
Versatile Gloucester star, Jonny May, heads into the RBS Six Nations as the favourite to land the top tryscorer accolade. The 26-year-old, who’s scored 40 points for England in 22 senior international appearances, is certainly a good bet to top the charts. His national teammate, Jack Nowell, is also tipped to have a high-scoring tournament, with Coral pricing him at 12/1. However, we believe May will end the tournament as top dog, and feel there’s excellent value in Coral’s 9/1.
That said, other more flamboyant teams may outscore England in the try stakes. Obviously this is a tricky bet to land and whilst we think May is a very solid choice, it may be worth covering more than one player. George North could be a good pick and the Welsh star is available at odds of 14/1.To Finish Bottom
Italy and Scotland are set to go head-to-head to avoid finishing bottom of the pile. The Italians lost all five of their matches to prop up the table last year, but beat Scotland at Murrayfield the year before to avoid the dreaded Wooden Spoon award. Going into 2017’s edition, Italy are the 1/9 favourites with Ladbrokes to finish bottom of the pile. As for Scotland, who have improved in recent years, they are available at 10/1 with Betfair. The odds may be short, but we believe Conor O’Shea’s troops are considerably weaker than their opponents, and as a consequence will finish the 2017 Six Nations in last place.Outsiders, Each Way Tips and Other Bets
In terms of Dark Horses, we think Wales could push England and Ireland all the way this year. The Welsh, who are no strangers to winning this competition, having won it on four occasions since 2000, have a very strong squad and an exciting new head coach at their disposal. The Dragons, who last won the Six Nations back in 2013, will no doubt be aiming to put the cat among the pigeons during the Championship. Howley’s men start with a winnable away match with Italy, which will give them a chance to put some big points on the board before welcoming England to Cardiff a week later. At 9/1 with Coral, we believe Wales could be a great choice for an outside bet.
Last year, England stormed to Grand Slam glory, sweeping aside all in their wake. Many bookies and pundits alike are expecting Jones’ men to do the same again this time around. The English begin with a tough match with France at Twickenham, before travelling to Cardiff to face Wales in what promises to be a blockbuster contest at the Principality Stadium.
Assuming England do go on and seal their sixth Six Nations title, second spot is certainly up for grabs. You can get Wales at 2/1 (Ladbrokes) for a top two finish, whilst they are 10/3 (Betfair) to finish second. However, the standout bet is for a repeat England/Wales Straight Forecast, which you can get at the tasty odds of 6/1 with Sky Bet.
For those who think England could disappoint, one interesting bet is a Wales/Ireland dual forecast. That’s priced at 6/1 with Ladbrokes and will be a winner if those two finish first and second in either order. With England playing both of their main rivals away from Twickenham it’s certainly a possibility and 6/1 looks reasonable value.
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The Rugby Six Nations will resume this weekend with Ireland that are going to take on Italy in Dublin on Saturday afternoon (BBC1, 2.30pm). The Irish are the massive favourites ahead of this match and they should react immediately following the disappointing defeat against England in the last encounter.
Joe Schmidt’s men were defeated 13-10 and due to that defeat they have lost their first position in the tournament that has become suddenly very open with two games left to play. 4 teams are now with the same points and not surprisingly the outright market is very tight with Ireland that are available at 7/4 chance to win their first Six Nations crown since 2009.
Top tip: Italy to cover +22 points in the handicap market @ evens with SkyBet
Italy won for the first time since 1997 in Rome against Ireland in the last edition with the end result of 22-15. That match showed how the Italians have improved in this tournament and have started to show more confidence recently also when playing on the road. They are therefore tempting to cover a +22 advantage in the handicap market with Sky Bet at even money. Although if we look at the table we can see that Italy have lost every game we need to realise that they have been heavily affected by injuries and that they only conceded narrow defeats against Wales, France and Scotland.
Simon Zebo should make his return from injury and his pace is likely to cause the Italians all sorts of problems. The Munster man is therefore tempting to score the first try at 11/2 with Paddy Power. Brian O’Driscoll is also expected to produce a very good performance against Italy. He will reach the 140 th cap on Saturday and this might well be the last final Six Nations appearance on home soil before international retirement so he is at a tempting 15/8 to score a try anytime and leave a mark in this game.
Tip 1: Italy to cover +22 points in the handicap market @ evens with SkyBet.
Tip 2: Simon Zebo to score the first try @ 11/2 with PaddyPower.
Tip 3: Brian O’Driscoll to score a try anytime @ 15/8 with PaddyPower.
One round remains in the 2016 Six Nations Championship. England have already claimed the title for the first time since 2011, but there is still plenty of betting to be had with three more matches yet to be played. On Saturday, England will face France, Ireland will face Scotland and Wales will face Italy to determine the final standings.
England locked things in after earning a lead that no one else could possibly overcome. Prior to last weekend, France was the one team that could close the gap and challenge England for the title. Scotland’s 28-18 victory over France ended all French hopes of staying in contention. With the 2016 title firmly decided, all that remains for the English side is to achieve the grand slam by defeating France.
As far as betting goes, don’t assume England will take the next week off. Eddie Jones actually said he had “mixed feelings” after winning the title. He said that as nice as it is to win the championship, what they really want to do is win their first grand slam since 2003. Otherwise, they will feel like they “haven’t achieved what we want to achieve.” That’s the type of competitive spirit that was able to turn things around so shortly after last year’s World Cup debacle.
Where to Bet on Six Nations Matches
Six Nations Final Round Match Markets
The Rugby betting markets reflect the surging English hopes as they are favoured to win both the next match and the Grand Slam title. Wales are dominant favourites over Italy with Paddy Power paying just 1/100 on Wales and a massive 45/1 on Italy. The Ireland/Scotland fixture looks to be a little more competitive with Ireland priced at 4/11 and Scotland priced at 11/5.
Wales will be starting without Allun Wyn Jones, Sam Warburton, Alex Cuthbert and Thomas Francis in its match against Italy, but the Welsh side is still expected to put on a dominant performance over the struggling Italians. Dan Lydiate will step in as captain for Wales in place of Sam Warburton.
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Scotland are coming off an important home victory over France that ended a 10-year losing stretch to the French. They’ll be coming in as underdogs on Saturday but have momentum on their side and pose a serious test for Ireland.
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France and England are heading in opposite directions in the run-up to the final Six Nations match of 2016. France are coming off their first loss to Scotland in a decade that also killed their chances to capture this year’s title. Meanwhile, England have already won the title outright. Now, England will be fighting for their first grand slam in 13 years while France merely hope to even out their record to 2-2.
There’s a four way battle emerging as this year’s Six Nations championship hits the home straight, with Ireland, England, Wales and France all well placed to secure the title this year.
All four teams are locked on four points with a double-header of games over the next two weekends having the ultimate decision on who wins one of the tightest Six Nations in recent years.Ireland v Italy Betting Tips
Ireland will be looking to push home their slight advantage as table toppers this weekend as they host winless Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Josef Schmidt has turned around the fortunes of the Irish, who finished fifth last season, with them now leading the championship on points difference. This is a factor which could determine the winner come next weekend, and the Irish will be looking for a big win to boost the gap between them and the other title contenders.
The hosts make just one change to their starting XV from their 10-13 defeat to England last time out, with Iain Henderson coming in for the in-form flanker Peter O’Mahony who is out with a hamstring injury.
For Italy, a calf strain keeps captain Sergio Parisse out whilst Alessandro Zanni’s 58-game streak without missing a game comes to an end as he’s out with a knee strain. Marco Bortolami and Paul Derbyshire come in.
Italy nicked a 22-15 win over Ireland last season in Rome but with such opposing runs of form, they are priced out at 25/1 with Paddy Power. Ireland are best priced at 1/50 with William Hill.
BET OF THE DAY – An Ireland winning margin of 11-20 points is good value with Paddy Power at 5/2.
This match is live on BBC One from 2:30pm on Saturday.Scotland v France Betting Tips
Then France travel to Murrayfield to face a Scotland side whose biggest problem this year has been their lack of firepower, with only two tries in their first three games.
The hosts make three changes with Kelly Brown returning as captain, whilst David Denton comes into the back row instead of Ryan Wilson who has tonsillitis and Geoff Cross is preferred to Moray Low.
The French need a win on Saturday with a possible winner takes-all clash against Ireland in Paris next Saturday.
Coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has rung the changes in the wake of their 27-6 defeat to Wales a fortnight, with Louis Picamoles being one of seven men axed from that squad.
France have won 14 of the 15 meetings between the two sides and they are 4/11 favourites with Ladbrokes, whilst Sportingbet price Scotland at 14/5.
Catch this one live on BBC One from 5pm.England v Wales Betting Tips
Probably the most crucial game of the weekend sees second placed England take on third placed Wales at Twickenham on Sunday, with the loser likely to out of contention after the weekend.
Ben Morgan comes in for Sstuart Lancaster’s side, replacing the injured Billy Vunipola at number eight.
Jonathan Davies makes his first appearance for Wales since November after recovering from a chest injury whilst Alan Wyn Jones returns following a foot infection and Jake Ball replaces Luke Charteris.
Wales won the last three meetings between these sides but are priced as slight outsiders, with Coral representing the best value at 13/8. SkyBet offer 4/6 on an England win.
This game is live on BBC One from 3pm on Sunday.
Keep up to date with the latest Six Nations odds with BritBets.
You can also claim free bets with Paddy Power.
© Sports Betting 2018