Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes previews this weekend's Six Nations action and tells us where the smart money will be going
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @SkyJordanFiddes. Last Updated: 08/03/13 5:17pm
In the penultimate round of this year's Six Nations competition, only three remaining teams are able to take the prestigious trophy.
While England host Italy in what is likely to be a fairly one-sided affair, Wales' trip to Scotland has a lot more impetus.
Both teams are level on four points apiece with the loser officially out of the running to be crowned tournament winners.
Scotland haven't beaten Wales in five previous Six Nations matches and have lost eight of their last nine.
Their one win in nine, however, came at this weekend's venue Murrayfield in 2004 - a 21-9 victory.
The Scots will be seeking their third win on the bounce on Saturday, a feat they have not managed since the Five Nations in 1996.
Wales have been given a five-point handicap for the game at Murrayfield and that looks a little too easy for me.
In four of their last five games against Scotland in this competition, the Welsh have won by more than 13 points, and averaged 28 points per game.
There are a number of alternative handicaps for this game, but I'm going for Wales -11 at 19/10 on Saturday.
Wales currently boast the best ball retention at rucks and mauls so far in the competition and, with Sam Warburton returning, expect the majority of possession to be in Scotland's half.
In all Six Nation's games, Wales have won nearly 70 percent of them with the back-rower in the side.
Fofana has scored five tries for France in the Six Nations
In Saturday's other game, I'm going to boost the odds with a try scorer bet.
Wesley Fofana scored the opening try against England at Twickenham last weekend and he's 12/1 for the same feat this weekend against the Irish.
Fofana has now scored five tries in eight Six Nations matches and he beat four England defenders last weekend when he crossed the line.
Inside Fofana in the French backline, Mathieu Bastareaud and Yoann Huget have evaded 10 tackles so far in the tournament, more than anyone else.
Since his try-scoring debut for France last year, Fofana has been praised for his work rate and support play.
If he supports the breaks made by his team-mates this weekend, expect him to cross early on.
Finally, on Sunday, England take on the Italians at HQ in a fixture which has an aggregate score of 274-66 in the home side's favour.
However, we've seen a resurgent Italy side competing in this year's tournament, compared to that of recent years so I am backing Italy to beat the handicap on Sunday.
The Italians upset the odds in week one against pre-tournament favourites France, and have a huge 26-point start against the English at 10/11.
That's the biggest handicap we've seen in the competition so far and with captain Sergio Parisse and Luciano Orquera returning, they should be able to restrict England's attacking prowess.
Orquera was the star for the Italians when they upset the French in round one, claiming 10 of his team's points, and his return will give them a huge boost.
There may even be an outside bet to be had in an Italy penalty as 'First Scoring Play' at 11/4 as they have an 89 percent kicking success rate in the competition, higher than anyone else.
View from the Trading Room...
"There is no real value in the England game this weekend as the home side are such strong favourites.
"The punters are divided in the other two fixtures with Wales and Ireland proving popular early on.
"Ireland have not lost three games in a row since 1998 and, at even money, it's seen some shrewd punts on the Irish outright in Dublin this weekend."