Six Nations preview and best bets

Six Nations preview and best bets

Six Nations betting tips: France v Ireland

2pts France to win by 1-5 points at 5/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes)

2pts France try to be the first scoring play at 4/1 (bet365)

2pts first half to be highest scoring at 11/10 (Sky Bet)

1pt Peato Mauvaka to be the player of the match at 33/1 (William Hill)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

The Guinness Men’s Six Nations couldn’t have asked for a better start than a match between the two highest ranked teams in the competition and the two most recent Grand Slam champions.

In each of the last two years, it’s this fixture which has ultimately decided the outcome of the Championship. Considering this, both teams will be only too aware of how crucial this game will be in the context of the race for the trophy.

The danger with these hyped-up fixtures is that they either fail to live up to their billing or they slowly come to the boil after a tentative period of sparring. But not this one. Everything points to the meeting in Marseille being a blistering encounter from the start.

In the 2023 Six Nations, 12 tries were scored in the first 10 minutes of matches and these two protagonists accounted for exactly three-quarters of them. If you bet on the race to 10 points, our advice is to ignore the delivery driver’s knock at the door and stay glued to the screen.

Knowing that a win in the first match of the Championship will set them up for a serious tilt at the title whilst also damaging their main rivals’ own hopes of silverware, neither team will hold anything back in what should be a wince-inducing, full metal jacket type of contest. Odds-against about the first half to be the highest scoring look worth taking.

Ireland fans will hope that the appointment of Karl Dickson is a lucky omen for them given that they haven’t lost the four previous times they have been refereed by him. But we believe that FRANCE, our outright selection, have the greater capacity to keep the scoreboard ticking over in and between the tries that will inevitably be scored, thanks to the unerringly accurate boot of Thomas Ramos.

In Ramos, France boast the leading points scorer in world rugby in 2023 and any indiscretions from Ireland will be punished. That said, both teams have been very disciplined of late with just one sin-bin apiece at the World Cup and a single-digit penalty count going against them. Any kickable penalties will have to be taken and Ramos has the pedigree under pressure to out-perform rookie Ireland 10, Jack Crowley, in that respect.

The now-retired Johnny Sexton might not just be missed for his goal-kicking. Ireland tend to have plenty of visits into the opposition 22, on the back of a strong territorial game, but without Sexton’s game-management skills to help the Ireland attacking machine go through the gears, they may lack the key personnel to control the game as they normally like to do.

In last year’s match-up, Ireland had three times as many visits to Les Bleus’ 22 as the other way around, and they needed them, because it was a one-score game until Garry Ringrose bumped off some tired tackles to secure a 32-19 win.

France, on the other hand, need very few chances to strike, with their tries often coming from counterattack turnover ball, and no one is more dangerous in those scenarios than Damian Penaud, whose odds are as big as 8/1 to be the first try-scorer if you shop around. You’d half your return if you just went for a FRANCE TRY to be the first scoring play, which may be the way to go given their options.

If it’s not from broken field, France can also get you in the tight exchanges, and more often than not it is hooker PEATO MAUVAKA who profits. Mauvaka has barely missed a lineout throw for Toulouse this season and scores tries for fun at Test level, marking him down as one to watch in the Player of the Match market. There may be more obvious contenders but we reckon it’s worth taking William Hill up on their offer of 33/1.

France have won their opening match at the last four Six Nations Championships and have only lost twice in 14 matches at the Orange Vélodrome, their home this weekend with the Stade de France undergoing renovations ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. We believe that home advantage will just about see France to victory, by something in the region of 1-7 points.

BetVictor offer that spread and a very fair price of 11/4 which would be recommended for those who can access it. The more widely available spread is FRANCE BY 1-5 POINTS, which gets the vote at 5/1 in places.

Posted at 0820 GMT on 02/02/24

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