The next round of 2019 Six Nations games kicks off this weekend and Wales-Scotland has our attention.
After a rousing victory over England, can Wales continue to control their own destiny, or has their time run out? Scotland plays the role of spoiler on their own turf while Italy tried to hold steady against England (good luck with that), and France attempts to steal pivotal match points from Ireland in this weekend’s matchups from the 2019 Six Nations!
Scotland +165 vs. Wales -185
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Saturday, March 9th – 9:15am
In the tightest Six Nations matchup on the betting board, Scotland hosts a surging Wales team that profiles perfectly as a letdown candidate. Gareth Anscombe engineered a brilliant comeback victory against England two weekends ago that must have shaken Cardiff to its gleeful core. Nobody enjoyed a better night than blindside winger Josh Adams, who was on the receiving end of a glorious cross kick try that sealed the victory for his side.
Wales is most certainly the heart warming story of the series so far, booking a logic defying win against France, slipping an easy one past Italy and then barnstorming the Brits. They’re the only undefeated team on the table, and are leading the way with 12 match points. Worth mentioning is the fact that they also don’t have any bonus points to show for their efforts. Defensively, they’ve been outstanding, and the creases are coming on offense. There is just a ton of Dragon-born toughness and resilience paying out for this team.
The dent in Scotland is the absence of all-world fullback Stuart Hogg, who remains out with a shoulder injury. But Scotland is getting plenty of help back off the injured reserve with Finn Russell in the lineup. Flanker Hamish Watson and three others will suit up for Scotland and offer the reinforcements they desperately need to regain respectability in the competition.
From a rugby vantage point, Scotland is putting a patchwork side of premier talent together to joust with the best team on paper in the 2019 Six Nations. But any betting man will tell you that there’s some voodoo in the clouds. Wales feels due for a loss, and they may have blown a gasket or three after that tremendous victory against England. American bettors will have no qualms about betting against a letdown candidate whenever they pop their heads out of the ground, and Wales fits the bill perfectly: favored on the road after a huge win against a massive rival.
There’s been a ton of skill involved with Wales’ run, but there’s also been a bit of luck. Personally, I’m a fan of Welsh rugby, but mostly because they are the definition of a plucky underdog at the international level. But I can’t deny that Scotland is a worthy bet at this price as a home dog considering all the extenuating factors looming over this one.
2019 Six Nations Free Pick – Scotland +165
England -2000 vs. Italy +2200
Tiwckenham Stadium, London
Saturday, March 9th – 11:45 am
Woof. The odds here speak for themselves. Italy’s not only the worst team in the competition, but they’re also facing an England side that is fresh off a loss against Wales. Eager to show their true form, England’s sure to rise up to the challenge and give Italy yet another beating. Manu and Slade at center, along with the ever-present threat of speed demon Jonny May, makes this a brutal track meet that the Italians are not equipped to handle. England’s in desperate need of another victory, and won’t leave anything to chance here. Stay away for betting purposes, but keen rugby heads will be eager to tune in to see England – hopefully – getting back on the proverbial horse.
2019 Six Nations Free Pick – England -2000
Ireland -710 vs. France +520
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Sunday, March 10th – 10:00am
The sheen on France has died down, and the scrappy little kicking game that they present at the international level is not playing out well. Les Bleus are just 1-2 SU in the tournament with a -24 point differential. After losing in a historically comical comeback by Wales, 19-24, the French were absolutely demolished by England, allowing four tries in the 44-8 beating. Switching out Morgan Parra and Camille Lopez at the link spots in exchange for Antoine Dupont and Toulousain’s Romain Ntamack has paid dividends though. Dupont is a talented scrum-half who pilots a good game, and was instrumental in their 27-10 rebound against Scotland.
Then again, this is Ireland we’re talking about and nobody likes losing to the French. Since a crushing loss to England in the opening week back in February, Ireland’s hung 22 on Scotland and 26 against Italy while controlling the game defensively. They’re not taking that many risks anymore, and are playing much more vigorous defense, which was their main weakness against the men of the Rose.
Still, those odds on Ireland are not at all inviting, and France has a sliver of momentum. There’s a chance here that they upset Ireland on their home turf. A very slim chance, but one worthy of a flier play if you want to be invested in the match. Obviously, the way Ireland’s playing doesn’t invigorate an underdog chip shot, but rugby is a cheeky game sometimes and nobody is better at staging an international upset when you least expect it like the French.
2019 Six Nations Free Pick – France +520