Home advantage should make the difference
England and Wales are tussling for the Championship, but the hosts should edge it
Ireland -23 points
England -5 points
Scotland to beat France
All to win – 6/1
Ireland v Italy – Saturday 1.30pm | Bet Now
It’s time for Ireland to step up. The Championship is gone, but they need to finish with a couple of strong performances. In fairness, Ireland have been sharp at times so far, but they haven’t got over the line. That will change this weekend.
Italy tend to tire as the tournament progresses and if Ireland get on top early, they can cover the 23 point handicap. I’d expect things to be close enough for the first half, but as long as they’ve nudged ahead by then, they can increase the lead in the closing stages.
Ireland will move the ball about and avoid playing into the Italians’ strong point which is undoubtedly their powerful pack. The back three will find gaps, particularly if the midfield can make inroads and get the offloads going. Simon Zebo has come in for Rob Kearney and he’s a good footballer and an excellent finisher so at , he’s a tempting bet.
Ireland to win and by enough to cover the 23 point handicap at in this one.
England v Wales – Saturday 4.05pm | Bet Now
This is the Championship decider and it’s a coin toss. The scrum is where this will be won and lost. If Wales can hold their own and get their big runners going, they’ll nudge it, but if England get the upper hand, Owen Farrell will kick the penalties to keep them ticking over.
Having a weapon like Tuilagi on the bench for England is huge. He’ll come on at some stage and make an impression. Wales have Justin Tipuric to call upon which could boost them in the closing stages and that just shows what a close contest we’re dealing with here.
Wales with a five point handicap at is tempting but I have to let my head rule my heart on the match betting. With home advantage and the more solid scrum, England should win the game at and considering how quickly a three point lead can become a six point lead, I’d side with the Sweet Chariot on the handicap at .
Scotland v France – Sunday 3pm | Bet Now
Scotland have improved and look more together than they have in a long time. They’ve simplified their game, focused on cutting out silly errors and with Vern Cotter’s knowledge of the French game, he’ll know what areas of the game to target and which to avoid.
France haven’t shown us much, but they’re always capable of turning it on and that is always worthy of a note of caution. Les Bleus are all over the shop at present. They’re playing as individuals and I can’t see what system they’re working towards.
Scotland have got a monkey off their back by beating Italy and I’ll take them to win the game at .