- Odds for the third round of the Six Nations tournament are out.
- England is still the favorite, but winning for a third time in a row won’t be easy.
- Ireland faces a big obstacle this weekend at home in the form of Wales.
After two rounds of Six Nations play, the tournament isn’t exactly what we predicted. Ireland and England are still every bit the favorites, sure, but Wales is stronger than anyone thought.
The odds currently posted at BetOnline are worth taking a look at. (Learn the pros and cons of BetOnline as a sportsbook.)
France (-1250) vs Italy (+600)
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, Friday, Feb. 23rd
Italy is always going to be a longshot in this match, and every Six Nations match. Italy has not beaten France since 1997, and they’ve played a fair few times in the interim. They were still paying for tickets in lira and francs the last time the Italians won.
If Italy has a shot here, it’s because France has suspended a handful of players (likely including star wing Teddy Thomas) and enters the match somewhat weakened. The French team will also be missing centres Louis Picamoles and Remi Lamerat, which all adds up to a small crisis in the back line. France will likely weather the storm – their forward play is strong enough to make exceptional backs nonessential against Italy – but there are certainly cracks in Les Bleus’ armour.
There’s a reason France feels comfortable suspending its players. The risk they are taking is not a risk of an outright loss, merely a risk of losing the bonus point (an extra point for scoring four tries), as tough as that is to say.
Betting Tip: The favorite. As much as I’d like Italy to get a win this year, it won’t be happening this weekend.
Ireland (-400) vs Wales (+300)
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Saturday, Feb. 24th
Wales surprised everyone in round one by torching Scotland 34-7. The second round was slightly less impressive, holding onto England in a tough 12-6 loss. They’ve now added Dan Biggar at fly-half, brought back Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny from injury, and they go into this match with a 6-3-1 record with Warren Gatland as coach.
The Irish are strong favorites despite injury troubles of their own. Robbie Henshaw dislocated his shoulder in a 56-19 rout of Italy. Garry Ringrose is on the start sheet but still recovering from an ankle injury, so a centre channel consisting of Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell seems likely to emerge at some point.
There’s a distinct possibility of an upset here, as seen in the Irish side’s struggles against France in the first weekend (15-13).
Betting Tip: I love the underdog here. This match is a lot closer than these odds would suggest, and Wales is surprising everyone.
Scotland (+220) vs England (-278)
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Saturday, Feb. 24th
England is still the favorite to win the tournament, whatever your Irish friends keep telling you. They’ve played two matches, but only one of real significance, escaping the Wales side that destroyed Scotland in the first round. Comparative results against Italy don’t strictly matter, the idea is just to get your bonus point, get your win, and get out with as few injuries as possible, which they did.
Scotland are fetching such short odds because they are the sentimental choice. Everyone’s rooting for England’s ten-year streak of victories over Scotland to come to an end. Nobody’s rooting for the team with the biggest budget and, frankly, boring dominance to win. There’s a great story here, with Scotland at home and feeling themselves, but it’s just not likely. Not with James Haskell and Joe Marler back in the lineup, not with the way Scotland got flattened by Wales (34-7).
Betting Tip: Love the favorite here, hate the story. You have to take the value that England offers you, though.