The Guinness Six Nations championship has got off to a flying start in 2019. After only six games over the first two weekends, we have already had a massive 276 points, at an average of 46 points per game or a point every two minutes. We’ve also been treated to an impressive 34 tries, which is one every 15 minutes or so.
There have been two hat-tricks, from Jonny May and Blair Kinghorn, and one spectacular comeback from Wales in Paris. Down 16-0 at half time, the visitors transformed themselves to win the second half 24-3 and stun the French. Still, to look at the Six Nations betting, you’d think that the tournament was already over.
Will England go all the way?
After two weeks, England are sat on top of the table with two wins from two, plus a try-scoring bonus point from each game. Naturally, this makes them the favourites for the championship. They are also odds-on for both the Triple Crown and the Grand Slam, both at 5/6.
However, England’s widely available odds of 1/6 seem harsh on the rest, especially the Welsh. Wales have also won their first two games, although they haven’t achieved a bonus point in either one, yet they rate a lowly 5/1 chance. Scotland and Ireland have both won one from two, and although Ireland are rated by many as the best in the world or at least a close second to the All Blacks, a bad day at the office against England leaves them at odds of 11/1 to take the tournament. An ever-improving Scotland are virtually written off at 33/1.
Everything Could Change
The best bet advice could be to grab these prices while you can because with three games to go, everything could change at any moment. The bounce of the odd-shaped ball makes rugby as random as the Rugby Star slot machine based on the game. In both cases, anything can happen when it starts to spin.
Despite their long odds-on status, England still must negotiate the cauldron of Cardiff next weekend where a loss could turn the tournament on its head and make their current 5/1 seem generous. Equally, if England sweep aside the Welsh with the same brutal physicality and dashing flair that they showed against the French at Twickenham, then 1/6 may seem like a great price that you wish you’d taken.
What’s more, with only one defeat to England, Ireland are far from out of it, as winning their next three games, and they will be right in there, belying their 11/1. Scotland may also prove to be a dark horse, although their visit to Twickenham for the last game of the season will not be an easy prospect.
Eyes on Japan
Of course, in a Rugby World Cup year, there is more to winning the Six Nations than lifting the trophy on 16th March. These are the last competitive games for most of the teams taking part, and their last chance to test new strategies, blood new players and try new combinations. It’s also a chance to put a marker down in world rugby and get the rest of the teams to sit up and take notice. England’s last World Cup win, in 2003, came on the back of a comprehensive Grand Slam in the Six Nations, and we cannot underestimate the power of momentum.
England are currently the second favourites for the World Cup at a backable 4/1, with New Zealand no longer the odds-on favourites that they usually are. Ireland are also in with an excellent shout at 9/2, with Wales an even more generous 11/1. Once again, these odds could change dramatically after next weekend, and Welsh fans should perhaps consider taking the 11s while they are still available, and England fans should also jump on now or risk losing half a point or more from their World Cup bets if the team continue their unstoppable carnage in the championship at Cardiff.
For the third weekend of the Six Nations, the safe choice is especially unrewarding, with England at 8/13 and France 4/6 against Scotland paying only 5/3 for the double. Turn those games around, with a Welsh triumph in Cardiff at 11/8, and Scotland capitalising on a demoralised France, at 13/10, and you have a daring double at a much more attractive 9/2. In a game where anything can happen on the bounce of an odd-shaped ball, it’s a tempting choice.