Six Nations Round Two Tips & Betting Preview
The first weekend didn't disappoint, we've picked out the best bets for round two.
Round one of the Six Nations certainly delivered all that fans were expecting and much more. An epic French collapse on the opening night was followed by a Scotland win over Italy (but the Azzurri did cover the +24 handicap). Finally England produced their most stunning display since the 2003 World Cup beating Ireland 33-20 in Dublin (also covering their +9 handicap).
Here are my best bets for round two where we have more brilliant matches in store.
Scotland v Ireland - Sunday 1:15am
Scotland opens up round two of the competition as they welcome Ireland. The visitors are on something of a recovery mission - after they were completely dismantled by England last weekend, but I fancy Scotland to maintain their 100% start to the competition.
Gregor Townsend’s men have turned Murrayfield into a real fortress, losing just four of their last 17 games at home – with only England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand claiming victories in Edinburgh since 2016.
Another stat which gives me confidence is that Scotland has won two of the last three meetings between the sides at Murrayfield. Combine this with the big question marks surrounding Ireland after their heavy defeat and I’m taking Scotland at a very generous price of $3.25*.
In the try-scorer markets, Stuart Hogg is always a safe and reliable play. The fullback is one of the world’s most exciting players and creates magic out of nothing.
His try against Italy last week was his first in international rugby since March 2018; but he has a very good record against Ireland with three tries in his last four appearances (two of those were the first scores in those games) and at $15* he is worth a little punt to get the weekend off to a flyer.
Italy v Wales – Sunday 3:45am
Wales travel to Italy full of confidence after overturning a 16-point deficit against France (the biggest in Six Nations history) and they should continue their strong recent record in Italy.
The last three games in Rome have all followed the same pattern, a close first half followed by a rampant Welsh performance in the second half (Wales have outscored Italy 94-10 in the second half of these contests) and despite 10 changes to the Welsh side, this trend should continue.
The prices on the second half handicap are slightly on the short side with Wales odds-on to cover around 11 points, so I’m going to take a bit more of a punt on Wales to win the game by 16-20 points at $7.50* – this looks to be a bit of value given that the average winning margin for Wales in Rome is 16 points.
Thomas Young makes his first Six Nations start for Wales on Saturday and the Wasps man could enjoy the dream day. The son of Welsh legend Dai Young has produced some superb performances for his club over the last couple of years and has shown his ability to score big tries in big moments.
With a couple of bookmakers offering three places on the first try-scorer markets, Young is certainly worth a small each-way bet at $23*.
England v France – Monday 2:00am
France and England could not have started their tournaments in a more contrasting fashion. England was dominant, powerful and controlling against Ireland. While France did their very best to make sure one of sports best clichés “which French team will turn up” remains as relevant as ever after they followed a sublime first 40 minutes followed by a shambolic second 40 minutes.
After their shocking second half performance last week it is very hard to look past the second half handicap in this match which stands at -7 for England.
Under Eddie Jones England have been very strong finishers in matches and would have covered the -7 second half handicap in 6 of their last 11 home games, scoring a total of 183 points in the final 40 minutes (an average of 16 per half).
Contrast that with France who has conceded 178 points in the second half of their last 11 away matches (an average of 16 per half) whilst only scoring a total of 68 points (average of 6 per half).
These stats plus in the inexperience of the French replacements, make the second half handicap of -7 for England my best bet of the weekend and my only selection for this fixture.