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England – Italy

England Italy Six Nations betting preview

England will attempt to stay alive in the race for the 2019 Six Nations title, as Italy will come to Twickenham in Round 4 on Saturday.

It was all going great for The Three Lions in this competition, after superb and convincing wins in the first two rounds against Ireland (32-20 away) and France (44-8 home). There was talk about England returning to being the second best team in the world behind the All Blacks, and those talks are still alive – for good reason. But England suffered a crucial loss in Cardiff last round against Wales. Despite playing well, the English lost 13-21 and are now underdogs in the race for the championship.

The Italians are having one of their best Six Nations in years. After multiple humiliating losses in the last seasons, the Italians were competitive in their first three games, losing by 13 points in Scotland, by 11 against Wales, and by 10 against Ireland. While the first two performances weren`t very conclusive (Scotland blew a 30 pt lead in the last 10 minutes, and Wales fielded a second string lineup), Italy`s display against Ireland in the last round was really impressive, with the Italians truly challenging an absolute top side.

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Team news & lineups:

England doesn`t have new notable injuries, but they will still make 5 changes to the lineup that lost in Wales. It`s still a very strong starting XV for the Three Lions.

Italy doesn`t have new injuries either, and the Azzuri will be ecstatic to get back talismanic captain Sergio Parisse, who missed the game against Ireland.

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 George Kruis, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Braam Steyn, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Federico Ruzza, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti

The English lineup looks like a perfect one to take on Italy here, it`s a very strong one, with a few usual substitutes starting, just to provide that extra motivation and explosion. But England should not need extra motivation here.

The English will surely be desperate to bounce back after the defeat in Wales, both to claim redemption in front of their fans, but also to keep alive their chances for the title. If Wales loses in Scotland earlier in the day, England could reclaim the top spot with a win. But even if Wales wins, England will still have a real shot at the title next week if they win this one big. No matter how you spin it, England will want to win this with a bonus point in order to put itself in the best possible position next week.

Italy has played well this year in the Six Nations, there`s no doubt about that, and there are some improvements which are visible, including physically. That being said, they are still miles off the level of England, and can still get beaten badly in this competition on a given day – as shown against Scotland, when the Scots were casually leading by 30 points before completely taking the foot of the gas in the last minutes.

You have to feel that after three good matches, Italy is due a beating. It`s been ages since they had a Six Nations tournament without suffering a blowout – and this looks like the most likely occasion for that big beating to come this year. England is a hurt lion, plays at home, and will field an excellent lineup. That can not be good news for Italy.

The 31,5 point handicap is indeed a large one to cover, and England only covered it once in the last 7 H2H meetings against Italy. But, on the other hand, 4 of the last 5 meetings were won by England by 30 or more points (41, 30, 31, 21, 30).

Stakes should be kept at a reasonable level here given the fact that the handicap is pretty high (7-8 units are absolutely enough in my eyes), but chances are Italy will be in for a long evening. And if the English keep their foot on the gas, as expected after last week`s loss, it could get even uglier than the point spread suggests. My tip will be England to cover the 31,5 point handicap. Prediction: England – Italy 45 – 8.

Pick: England -31,5
Odds: 1.92 @ Sbobet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.36
Event date: 9 March

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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