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Six Nations: England favourites to defend

Frank Monkhouse | 3 February 2017

Red Rose are expected to get off to a flyer

2017 Six Nations gets underway on Saturday afternoon, with Scotland vs Ireland at Murrayfield bringing the curtain up on what promises to be one of the most-competitive renewals in recent years.

England cleared up last year, winning the tournament outright, their 27th title, and Eddie Jones’ side added Grand Slam, Triple Crown and Calcutta Cup titles to their haul. They will face an uphill struggle to match that effort this time out, and injury to some of their star names has made things more difficult.

Injury-hit England to battle through

Winger Anthony Watson is a doubt for week one and that has added to an injury list containing Chris Robshaw. Despite those worries, Coral traders have England priced up as odds-on favourites to win the crown at 4/5. Another Grand Slam for the Red Rose is 2/1, which is sure to catch the eye of those siding with the defending champions, while a Triple Crown can be snapped up at 6/4 when getting your bet on with us.

England face France on Saturday afternoon, 4.50pm kick-off, and although drama is guaranteed when these sides go head-to-head, a home win is no better than 1/7. Playing the handicap market is sure to bring plenty more joy and, if England are so well-thought of here, then they should surely cover a 13-point deficit at 10/11.

Ireland v Italy - 2016 RBS Six Nations - Aviva Stadium

Ireland expected to win in Edinburgh

Ireland face a tricky opener in Edinburgh

Second favourites for the Six Nations title, leading the chasing pack at 9/4, Ireland make the journey to Edinburgh to get the ball rolling. Anything other than a convincing win would see England’s already wafer-thin outright price reduced further.

That shouldn’t be the case however, not according to the betting, and Ireland to leave Scotland with the win is yours at 4/9. That price would pull its weight in your weekend rugby accumulators. The Scots are always a tough crowd to better, and certainly won’t be expected to lie down in front of their own vocal support. Ireland -6 points on the handicap may make more appeal, with 10/11 doing the rounds.

Scotland to shake up the competition at the earliest opportunity with a win, that’s yours at 15/8. A nice price indeed, but surely won’t be taken by many other than fans of the locals.

A George North wincast is among our proferred Wales v Argentina punts and 2016 Autumn Internationals week 2 tips.

Wales could be a lively outsider

Save the Wales

In a tournament famed for upsets, punters may want to take a shot on one at a better price and that could come in the form of Wales at 9/1. Warren Gatland’s side open their account against Italy, who are multiple wooden spoon winners, and that must be the perfect opportunity to set up a solid foundation. If they smash the Italians, as expected, and a couple of results go their way elsewhere, that price should take a tumble.

Wales to win after giving their opponents a 12-point head-start is 10/11, and you shouldn’t go far wrong with that, while victory in the match winner market sees them start at 1/6.

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