The opening fixture of week two of the 2023 Six Nations could possibly be the match that decides the outcome of this year’s championship. Ireland hosts France at the Aviva Stadium, and the chances are that the winner of this match wins the championship. Here we look ahead to the heavyweight collision and choose our winner in our latest Rugby Union betting picks.
- What; 2023 Six Nations Rugby Championship
- Who; Ireland vs France
- Where; Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
- When; Saturday, February 11th, 2023
- Time; 9.15 am ET
Both these two teams got off to a winning start on the opening weekend of the championship. Ireland, convincingly. France, less so. And to help both nations, the only other side who were in with a realistic – if small – chance of contesting the Six Nations Championship with the two favorites, England, managed to blow their slender chances at the first hurdle by losing 29-23 at home to Scotland.
The early demise of England as championship contenders sets this match up nicely. With France having to play England in London this year, the Three Lions might have hoped this gave them a chance that – at the very least – they could still be in the competition when they turn up in Dublin for their final match of the championship.
That now looks unlikely after the home defeat to Scotland. And as a result, it’s now a two-horse race between the number one (Ireland) and two (France) ranked sides in the world.
Betting to win the 2023 Six Nations Championship
The odds are still stacked in Ireland’s favor. They host France on Saturday, and England on Week 5. As we’ve already mentioned, France has to visit Twickenham to face England in Week 4.
Even if France defeats the Irish this weekend, there is still a chance England might defeat Les Bleus and let the Irish back into the competition. But Ireland will be hoping they don’t need the help of Steve Borthwick’s team, and will be looking to put themselves in the driving seat with a win over France at the Aviva this weekend.
Last weekend’s results means in the futures market to win the Six Nations, Ireland is now just -175 to win the Six Nations championship. France is out to +275. At the start of the competition the betting was much closer with Ireland at +140, and France at +170.
As for England – having started the competition at +450 third favorites, they are now +2000. Scotland are third in the betting at +700.
|2023 Six Nations Winner Betting ahead of Week 2|
These odds are taken from Bovada. You can read more about them, including how to claim their new customer welcome bonus, in our Bovada sportsbook review.
Ireland cruise to win over Wales in opening fixture
One of two reasons why Ireland’s odds to win the championship have shortened so drastically is because of the performances and the results of both the Irish and the French last weekend.
Ireland crushed Wales 34-10 in Cardiff last Saturday. It was a statement win.
Kicking off the campaign with a big away win! 💪#TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 4, 2023
But as good as Ireland were, Wales were equally as bad. The Welsh are rebuilding, and despite pre-match optimism that the returning Warren Gatland could pull off a miracle, it wasn’t to be.
Whereas Ireland look like a team that is just where they want to be at the moment. They were ruthless and totally took an underprepared Wales apart. Based on that result and that performance, it’s no wonder Ireland’s odds have shortened to win the championship.
Edgy France see off plucky Italy
The second reason why Ireland’s odds have shortened is because of the way France struggled to see off a plucky Italy side.
Ahead of the match, pretty much nobody gave Italy a chance. And when France were 19-6 ahead after just 27 minutes, it looked like the routine expected win from Les Bleus was on the way.
Italy then rolled their sleeves up and gave the French an almighty battle up front, and somehow found themselves leading 24-22 with just 18 minutes left. Matthieu Jalibert scored a (converted) Try after 67 minutes to put the French 29-24 up.
Has Matthieu Jalibert's try snatched victory back from the jaws of defeat for @FranceRugby? #ITAvFRA | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/iqenREIiCm
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 5, 2023
But even from there it wasn’t plain sailing as the Italians had their chances. France were holding on at the end for their 29-24 victory, and if the same France turns up against Ireland on Saturday, the chances are they will get well beaten.
What do the bookmakers say?
The best Rugby betting sites are expecting a win for Ireland. The Irish are -260 on the moneyline, with France at +200. On the handicap spread, the French are receiving a 4.5 points start, that is a large amount for the team who is expected to win the Rugby World Cup this year.
From a start of +4.5 points, France is -105, and with the deficit to make up, Ireland are -115. The bookmakers seem to be of the opinion that this French side is there for the taking.
Our Ireland vs France Pick
And we agree. Yes, France are the only major rugby playing nation that Ireland have failed to beat under Andy Farrell’s tenure, and they are also the only visiting side who have won at the Aviva since the 2019 Rugby World Cup. But we see that run ending on Saturday. We think Ireland will win. But it’s not our Rugby pick!
But will Ireland beat the handicap spread? That’s another question altogether. France will be well up for this game, and they know they have to perform better than they did against Italy last week. Therefore, France +4.5 to win on the handicap is our pick.