Six Nations Round Two Preview
The opening round of action in the 2013 Six Nations was one of the most exciting in the tournaments history with each game providing plenty of tries and drama. We are set for more of the same in round two, here is my preview and best bets.
Scotland v Italy – 2.30pm
Italy produced the result of round one with a stunning 23-18 upset of favourites France in Rome, and now they have their sights set on a second victory as they travel to Murrayfield to face Scotland. The hosts were completely outplayed by a confident England side at Twickenham and they know they must up the physicality of their game to avoid another defeat.
Despite the contrasting performances of the sides the bookies are still siding with Scotland making them odds on favourites, at a best price of 8/13 (Coral), while Italy are a best price of 15/8 (SportingBet). On the handicap market I really like Italy +5 at evens (Paddy Power), this game is going to be a tight affair and I just cannot see Scotland winning by 6 points.
Before the tournament started I tipped this game as the lowest scoring of the tournament and I am sticking by that call. Under 36 total points is priced at evens (William Hill) but the bet I really like is total points between 36-38 at 15/2 (William Hill).
On the try markets last weekend’s anytime scorer tip Sergio Parisse is again a good contender at 11/2 (Paddy Power) to score anytime and is 20/1 (Coral) to score first. For Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg is a good price at 14/1 (Ladbrokes) to score first, and is 10/3 (Paddy Power) to score anytime.
This is set to be a tight affair mainly due to the fact Scotland won’t want to start the tournament with back to back defeats, but the confidence Italy gained in beating France last week should give them enough to make it two wins from two matches.
France v Wales – 5pm
Both France and Wales made the worst possible starts to their campaigns with defeats to Italy and Ireland respectively. Wales have now suffered nine defeats on the bounce since winning the grand slam last year, while France never really got going against a pumped up Italian side.
France enter the game as heavy favourites and are as short as 1/4 (Paddy Power) and this price reflects just how strong Les Bleus are at home, with outsiders Wales a best price of 3/1 (Boylesports). On the handicap France are generally given a -8 start at evens (Ladbrokes), this looks a solid bet as France will be coming out all guns blazing after last weekend and the Welsh pack doesn’t seem to have to power to stop them.
French number eight Louis Picamoles has a good record of finding the line for both club and country and is good value at 4/1 (Bet365) to score anytime. Centre Mathieu Basteraud looks a good price at 10/3 (Ladbrokes) to score anytime, the Toulon man has adds considerable size to the French midfield and is 14/1 (Ladbrokes) to score the first try.
For Wales Alex Cuthbert is always a danger, and he scored in the fixture between the two sides last year, he is 14/1 (Paddy Power) to score first and 11/4 (Ladbrokes) to score anytime. Leigh Halfpenny is another who scored in last week’s defeat to Ireland and the Cardiff full-back is worth backing at 4/1 (Stan James) to score anytime.
France have picked a forward pack to bully the Welsh and have also looked for power in the back-line, they have classy players all over the park and will be hurting after last week. Wales look more vulnerable than ever after their first round defeat and I can see them sitting bottom of the table with Scotland after Saturdays matches.
Italy to win – 15/8 (SportingBet)
Italy +5 – evens (Paddy Power)
Stuart Hogg anytime scorer – 10/3 (Paddy Power)
Mathieu Basteraud anytime scorer – 10/3 (Ladbrokes)
Leigh Halfpenny anytime scorer – 4/1 (Stan James)
France/Italy double – (look for best price to double up)
Hogg/Basteraud anytime scorer double – (look for best prices to double up)