Six Nations 2019 Tips & Betting Preview
The Triple Crown and Top Tryscorer markets throw up the best value in this year's tournament.
The Six Nations is nearly upon us as the Northern Hemispheres biggest tournament pits arch rivals against each other across five action packed rounds. Ireland are the team everybody is looking to catch after dominating the competition last season en-route to their first Grand Slam since 2009 and an impressive autumn campaign.
Triple Crown to elude all
History and the fixture list suggests that there is potential value in the Triple Crown market.
In 2018 Ireland claimed a record breaking fifth Triple Crown of the Six Nations-era, with comfortable wins over Wales, Scotland and England. While they rightly sit at the head of the market for this year’s tournament, back-to-back Triple Crowns may prove elusive to Joe Schmidt’s side and every other home nation for that matter.
No side has taken successive Triple Crown victories since Ireland in 2006 & 2007. The fixture format and the sheer ferocity of the matches make the Triple Crown almost as difficult to achieve as winning the title or even a Grand Slam.
Ireland open their campaign at home to England, but then face Scotland at Murrayfield, before a final round trip to Cardiff to face Wales, where they haven’t won in the Six Nations since 2013. So it is difficult to say with confidence that Ireland will once again sweep all before them.
What of the other home nations? Wales travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland, but then face England in Cardiff (where they haven’t beaten their fiercest rivals since 2013) before that epic clash with Ireland on the final day.
England face the two toughest away fixtures in the tournament travelling to Dublin and Cardiff, which makes their task difficult to say the least. Wins in both of these fixtures would be some achievement.
Scotland are undoubtedly a team on the up but have a very patchy recent record against their nearest and dearest. Granted, they have beaten Ireland on their last two visits to Murrayfield. However they have only one victory against Wales since 2007 and are winless at Twickenham since Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and beer was 50p a pint!
When you add all of this up and look at the records of the sides and how finely balanced these fixtures often are I just can’t hang my hat on any side to take this seasons Triple Crown, which makes no Triple Crown winner a very good bet.
Value to be found in top tryscorer markets
Last season Jacob Stockdale was simply unstoppable in the Six Nations, as the Irish winger broke the single tournament record for tries scored as he crossed the line 7 times. While I have no doubt that Ulsterman will be there or thereabouts come the business end of the tournament his price means there is some good value to be had by looking elsewhere.
Under Gregor Townsend Scotland have started to play some really exciting and open rugby, which really suits the likes of Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland – and its Maitland who appeals given he is the biggest price of the trio.
The Saracens winger is an extremely intelligent player who runs great lines and has a habit of scoring in big moments. He scored three tries in last season’s competition, thriving in Townsend’s attacking gameplan and I think he can at least match if not better that tally which should see him make the places.
My second selection for the top tryscorer market is Welsh scrum-half Gareth Davies, the Scarlets star has a healthy record at international level with 11 tries in 35 games. His pace, sharp brain and eye for a gap make him a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He scored twice in last season’s competition and I think there is some juice in his price to better that total in 2019.
England are blessed with an abundance of talent in the back-three with the likes of Chris Ashton, Elliot Daly, Jack Nowell and Joe Cokanasiga in the squad. But in the last two years Jonny May has established himself as first choice winger and one of the world’s best finishers.
The Leicester star broke his Six Nations duck last season and ended the tournament with 4 tries – two clear of the nearest England player. The stats show that 12 of his 18 Test scores have come at Twickenham and given that England play three games at HQ in 2019, May looks a fantastic bet to once again be his country’s top tryscorer.