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Wales v Georgia: Warren Gatland's challengers may not cover handicap in victory

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar
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Wales start their Rugby World Cup campaign on Monday and Simon Mail expects Warren Gatland's side to see off Georgia...

"The handicap mark has been pitched at 28 points and it looks worth siding with the outsiders. Georgia have won ten of their 12 handicap bets, when given a head start, in the World Cup and come up against a Wales team not known for their prolific attack."

Wales v Georgia
Monday, 11:15
Live on ITV

Gatland hoping for glorious farewell with Wales

Wales come into this year's World Cup with high expectations after their 14-match winning run earlier this year. Warren Gatland guided his team to the Six Nations Grand Slam and they briefly topped the world rankings this summer. This will be the New Zealander's final tournament in charge and he is bullish about their chances of an extended run in Japan.

Their preparation has been unsettled slightly in the last week after the news backs coach Rob Howley was sent home, due to an investigation into an alleged breach of betting rules. Stephen Jones has been brought in to replace him but it could be that Howley's exit actually galvanises the squad. Back-to-back warm-up defeats to Ireland will not be a major concern for Gatland with his sole focus on peaking for the World Cup.

Gatland has not held back with his side after picking a full-strength team for their opener. Captain Alun Wyn Jones will equal Gethin Jenkins' Wales record when he wins his 129th Test cap in his fourth World Cup. Inexperienced flanker Aaron Wainwright has been given a place in the team while Jonathan Davies partners Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield.

Georgia aiming to muscle their way to shock

Georgia head into the World Cup hoping to cause an upset against Wales or Australia. Renowned as a physically strong team, Milton Haig's side will look to outmuscle Wales in the scrum. Veteran forward Mamuka Gorgodze starts in his fourth World Cup and the tier two nation will be keen to show more after two disappointing defeats to Scotland in the buildup to the tournament.

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This will be only the second match between the teams after Wales limped to an unconvincing 13-6 win in Cardiff two years ago. Gatland will not take their opponents lightly and knows Georgia could trouble them if they are complacent. But Wales have prepared too well to slip up and the Six Nations winners should win comfortably enough.

The handicap mark has been pitched at 28 points and it looks worth siding with the outsiders. Georgia have won ten of their 12 handicap bets, when given a head start, in the World Cup and come up against a Wales team not known for their prolific attack. Wales have not scored more than 26 points in any of their last ten matches so Georgia should be able to hold them off with a significant handicap advantage.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

Check out our Rugby World Cup podcast, with the Pod Nations Predict panel previewing the tournament and picking out the best bets

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Simon Mail,

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