It is that time of the week when we put our head on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s weekend predictions.
It’s here at last, after all the build-up and anticipation, the Six Nations kicks off tonight with a blockbuster clash at the Millennium Stadium.
England’s trip to Cardiff will grab most of the headlines, but Saturday offers some intriguing ties with injury-hit Ireland seeking revenge for their 2013 defeat in Rome, while a resurgent Scotland fancy their chances of ending their Paris hoodoo.
Elsewhere Super Rugby is almost back upon us, while the LV= Cup continues in earnest.
We have you covered for rugby bets so without further ado, let our team take you through the best options on Paddy Power that we hope make you some extra cash.
Before we get into the first round of matches, it’s worth looking at some overall bets. Wales at 3/1 has come in over the last couple of weeks, but still remains good value with home games against both their main title rivals.
Meanwhile England have three games at home against sides that traditionally struggle at Twickenham, so the likes of Jonathan Joseph, at 25/1, or even Billy Vunipola, at 35/1, to be the tournament’s top try-scorer, appeal.
Friday’s game hinges on two things: how Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph’s defence holds up in their first outing together, and whether through power or skill England can find a way to manipulate the Welsh defensive line enough to create chances, along with the quality of their kicking game. With Wales at full force though and England weakened, the outcome feels inevitable. Wales by 8.
In terms of other odds to look out for in this game, Jamie Roberts looks a good bet at 18/1 for man of the match. He was outstanding against Northampton a couple of weeks ago and will relish another run at Burrell. If Wales are to win, their big backs will likely have a major influence, and Roberts may well lead the charge. At 16/5, Rhys Webb might be worth a little flutter as an anytime scorer. Wales don’t have huge ball carriers in their pack, but if they get close to the line, Webb’s sniping ability will come into play.
It is rarely easy at the Stadio Olimpico with Ireland’s last two visits there equating to an aggregate score of 33-26 in favour of the Azzurri. However with that impressive back-three and in Paul O’Connell’s farewell campaign, we’re going with Ireland by 8.
The Italians will come out firing though, and given the injury-hit nature of the Irish side, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them start slowly before taking control. So odds of 6/1 on Italy to lead at the break before Ireland come back and win might be of interest.
The Cotter factor is huge for Scotland, who have gone from having probably the only man with a poorer coaching reputation than Philippe Saint-Andr