Six Nations Betting Tips - Round 3

Six Nations Betting Tips - Round 3

The opening fortnight of the 2024 Six Nations was open and exciting, with experimentation aplenty as the teams began their new cycle towards the World Cup in 2027.

There were some shreds of comfort to hold onto, though, with Ireland as efficient as ever in going two-from-two ahead of Saturday's game against Wales, while England are also unbeaten. 

However, after the first fallow week, their tournament is set to ramp up on Saturday as they head to Scotland for the Calcutta Cup in the middle round of matches before the final fortnight of the Championship, which sees them face the Irish and France.

Italy and Wales have each lost both games and their final weekend clash already looks set to decide the Wooden Spoon, while both the Scots and France find their campaigns in the balance after a defeat and win apiece.

  • England to win
  • Ireland -23.5 handicap
  • Dan Sheehan anytime tryscorer 
  • Italy +20 handicap

Scotland vs England

Scotland have dominated recent Calcutta Cups, beating England in 2021, 2022 and 2023, with coach Gregor Townsend admitting that he previously got "too pumped up" ahead of the annual fixture and that learning from those experiences has been crucial to his side's improvement.

The Scots head into this year's edition, scheduled for 16:45 on Saturday, on the back of a couple of rollercoaster results. They beat Wales 27-26 on the opening weekend, their first win in Cardiff since 2002, but that achievement was met with mixed feelings as a drop off in discipline meant they almost squandered a 27-0 lead.

Townsend's side then dominated much of their second match against France but failed to take their chances and were unlucky not to have a final play try awarded in their 20-16 defeat to France.

They will need to be more clinical against the Red Rose, who are still on for a Grand Slam, albeit they have played the tournament's two weakest teams, beating Italy 27-24 and Wales 16-14.  

After employing a limited gameplan in guiding his team to the Bronze medal at last year's World Cup, Steve Borthwick promised that England would play with more adventure in 2024 and he and his reshaped coaching staff have given their players more licence.

They are still far from the finished article, both with and without the ball and Scotland co-captain Finn Russell, often the star of these fixtures, will have spent the last fortnight poring over video footage, searching for persistent holes he might be able to glide through himself or give his colleagues a chance to exploit.

The Scots' record means they are the favourites and may look to run the ball more often than they did against France, a game where they had the better possession but too often kicked the ball away.

Repeat those tactics and George Ford could outmanoeuvre them. That occurred in England's win over Wales and the fly-half's game management might be the decisive factor at Murrayfield, making the visitors, underdogs in the betting, a reasonable price to win the game.

There has been something striking about how Scotland almost succumbed to Wales and then stole defeat from the jaws of victory against France and if Borthwick's boys can hang in the game against the Auld Enemy, they could lift the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 2020.


Scotland vs England Teams

Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell (cc), 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge (cc), 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Bench: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Elliot Millar-Mills, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Andy Christie, 21 George Horne, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Cameron Redpath

England: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George (c), 1 Ellis Genge

Bench: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 George Martin, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

Ireland vs Wales

Before all that, tournament favourites Ireland host Wales at 14:15 in what looks set to be a one-sided affair between the experienced Irish and their very young Celtic cousins.

Glorious defeat has been the theme of Wales' campaign so far. They almost did the impossible against Scotland before pushing England hard, only for Ford's knowhow to see the Red Rose through.

Those opponents, however, are a few years behind Ireland in their development, with the reigning champions appearing to be on course for unprecedented back-to-back Grand Slams.

They put on a real show to beat France 38-17 on the opening night before outclassing Italy 36-0, a scoreline that would have been better if Jack Crowley had kicked his goals.

However, Ireland's dominance allowed them to rotate some of their big names and run a few moves and throw the ball around.

Wales have not recorded a Six Nations win in Dublin since the opening round of the 2012 edition and that is unlikely to change on Saturday.

Visiting coach Warren Gatland has gone early with his selection, with fly-half Sam Costelow coming back in for Ioan Lloyd but with less than 10 caps, the playmaker's inexperience sums up where his side are in their development.

There have been positive signs in the defeats to Scotland and England and Gatland always has a gameplan. However, barring some key moments in their World Cup quarter-final loss to New Zealand, Ireland have been irresistible over the last year.

They could go big on Saturday, with a -23.5 start unlikely to be enough, while hooker Dan Sheehan has scored three tries so far in the tournament and the home pack's dominance makes him a candidate to add to his tally.



Ireland vs Wales Teams

Ireland: 15 Ciaran Frawley, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter

Bench: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Oli Jager, 19 James Ryan, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Jack Conan, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Stuart McCloskey

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Alex Mann, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Dafydd Jenkins (c), 3 Keiron Assiratti, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Gareth Thomas

Bench: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady

Watch In The Zone with Mike Tindall

France vs Italy

Last but not least, to Sunday's game in Lille, where France host Italy at 15:00.

The French were tipped to bounce back from their Rugby World Cup quarter-final exit by beating Ireland on the opening night but the visitors failed to comply, winning with 21 points to spare in Marseille.

Fabien Galthie's side were only slightly better against Scotland but sometimes it is better to be lucky than good and they came out on the right side of a now infamous late refereeing call at Murrayfield.

Even after that victory, the way his side struggled to control the game led to talk that Galthie could depart in the fallow week but those discussions were probably unrealistic and turned out to be unfounded, meaning he will again be in the stands to oversee things in Lille.

In the opposite coaching box will be Gonzalo Quesada, who often played at fly-half under the French boss when they were together at Stade Francais.

Quesada took over from Kieran Crowley in time for this competition, charged with lifting a side that improved under the Kiwi but lost momentum and was demolished by both New Zealand and France in Pool A of the World Cup.

An encouraging performance against England was followed by a shocker against Ireland in Dublin, where the Azzurri failed to score a point.

Injuries played their part at the Aviva and Quesada should be able to recall a couple of high-profile names. France's form also suggests they will be far from the side that beat Italy 60-7 at last year's World Cup.

That game at the World Cup was in Lyon but Sunday's scoreline could be closer to when Les Bleus last visited Lille earlier in the pool stages at the global showpiece, recording a 27-12 victory over Uruguay.

It could, therefore, work to back Italy to fall inside the handicap, with +20 the general mark that is bringing them inside of Evens.


France vs Italy Teams

France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Lucu, 8 François Cros, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 6 Paul Boudehent, 5 Posolo Tuilagi, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille

Bench: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Alexandre Roumat, 21 Esteban Abadie, 22 Nolann Le Garrec, 23 Yoram Moefana

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Tommaso Menoncello, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Federico Mori, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Martin Page-Relo, 8 Ross Vintcent, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 6 Riccardo Favretto, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti

Bench: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Matteo Canali, 20 Andrea Zambonin, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Stephen Varney, 23 Leonardo Marin


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