Six Nations Betting Tips: England face Scotland challenge to maintain title hopes

George Ford playing against Wales
George Ford helped England recover to edge past Wales at Twickenham

The Six Nations resumes this weekend and Simon Mail previews crunch games including Scotland v England and Ireland v Wales...

  • England scrap to post back-to-back wins

  • Scotland suffer near miss against France

  • Ireland still on track for grand slam defence


  • Scotland v England
    Saturday, 16:45
    Live on BBC One

    England bid to end Calcutta Cup woes

    England have opened the Six Nations with back-to-back victories but face a major test of their progress against Scotland this weekend in their Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield. Steve Borthwick's team have been far from convincing at times but managed to grind out narrow wins against Italy and Wales.

    Trailing 14-5 at half-time against Wales at Twickenham, England were in trouble but found a way to recover in their 16-14 victory. Fraser Dingwall's try helped England get out of a hole but they will surely need to improve to overcome rivals Scotland in Edinburgh. Borthwick has been forced to recall scrum-half Danny Care after Alex Mitchell was ruled out through injury. George Furbank also starts at full-back with Freddie Steward dropped.

    Scotland ended their 22-year wait for a win in Cardiff after their opening victory against Wales. But Gregor Townsend's side were left frustrated after their agonising 20-16 home defeat to France. Scotland thought Sam Skinner had scored late on to win the match, but the TMO could not find conclusive evidence to change referee Nic Berry's initial decision not to award the try. Flanker Jamie Ritchie is recalled to the team, with wing Kyle Steyn also back and full-back Blair Kinghorn making his first appearance of the tournament.

    The last three showdowns have all been won by Scotland but the hosts are never easy to trust at odds of 1.695/7. England cannot afford to make a slow start at Murrayfield but their ability to stay in games can ensure this is close. Siding with England given a four-point handicap advantage is preferred in a match likely to be settled by fine margins.

    Back England +4.5 @ 1.814/5

    Bet here

    Ireland v Wales
    Saturday, 14:15
    Live on ITV

    Ireland target back-to-back grand slams

    Ireland have made a blistering start to the competition with the defending champions on course for successive grand slams as they prepare to face Wales. Andy Farrell's dominant team have suffered no hangover from the World Cup and dismantled France in their opening match.

    Italy were no match for Ireland in the last round, with the hosts easing to a 36-0 victory in Dublin. Dan Sheehan scored twice as Ireland cruised to a bonus-point victory. Italy could not make any headway as Ireland consolidated their status as the favourites for the Six Nations. Ciaran Frawley makes his first start at full-back this weekend in place of the injured Hugo Keenan.

    james lowe ireland.jpg

    Wales have started the tournament with successive defeats but Warren Gatland will have been encouraged by their recovery since a forgettable first half at home to Scotland. Wales gave their opponents an almighty scare with their second-half rally and they led for much of the second game at Twickenham. England rallied to edge home 16-14 and Gatland has made only one change to the team, with fly-half Sam Costelow replacing Ioan Lloyd.

    Ireland are exceptionally shorts odds at 1.061/18 to extend their winning run this weekend and it is hard to make a case for Wales causing an upset. Six of the last seven clashes between the teams have been won by Ireland and the hosts should dominate again. Expect Ireland to start fast in Dublin, having scored 11 tries in two matches, by covering a first-half handicap of 10 points in another convincing win.

    Back Ireland -10 in the first-half handicap @ 5/6

    Bet here

    France v Italy
    Sunday, 15:00
    Live on ITV

    Misfiring France struggle to convince

    France have made an unconvincing start to the Six Nations and were fortunate to claim a victory against Scotland. A heavy home defeat to Ireland was a reality check and Les Bleus needed a late try from Louis Bielle-Biarrey to edge to a win at Murrayfield.

    Italy are propping up the table again although they gave England a major scare in their opener. Tries from Alessandro Garbisi and Tommaso Allan edged Italy in front at half-time in Rome before England ground out a 27-24 win in Rome. Italy were no match for Ireland though as they were shut out by the champions.

    This is another daunting task for Italy but France have not performed in their opening matches and this suggests the underdogs could be worth backing in the handicap market. France will surely claim a 15th successive win against their opponents but their lacklustre performances this year suggest a 26-point advantage is within Italy's range.

    Back Italy +26.5 @ 10/111.91

    Bet here

    Read Six Nations previews and get tips on Betting.Betfair


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