Thursday, May 30, 2024

England vs Ireland predictions: Six Nations tips, rugby betting odds & free bets

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England vs Ireland predictions

The question was posed this week as to whether this Ireland side is the greatest team in Six Nations history as they prepare to go to Twickenham to face England on Saturday (4.45pm, ITV1). 

Ex-Wales captain Sam Warburton made the claim as Andy Farrell’s men aim to become the first side to win back-to-back Grand Slams since the tournament expanded. 

And they are well on their way to achieving that goal, recording bonus-points wins over France, Italy and, most recently, Wales as part of a record-equalling 11-game winning run in the Six Nations.

No one has got close to Andy Farrell’s charges so far, their smallest winning margin being 21 points, and they are favoured by 12 on the handicap on rugby betting sites against England.

The stakes for this round four clash have been slightly diminished by England’s loss to Scotland a fortnight ago

Steve Borthwick’s men had won their opening two games to spark talk of a title challenge, but an error-strewn display at Murrayfield saw them slip to yet another Calcutta Cup defeat.

They face a tough challenge bouncing back at home to this all-conquering Ireland side and the visitors should be extra motivated to deliver victory knowing a bonus-point win will be enough to see them retain the Six Nations title.

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Ireland to get out of the blocks quickly

There’s plenty wrong with this England team right now. A lack of cohesion in attack, a defence still not up to speed on their new blitz scheme and a general lack of identity perhaps occupy the top three places on England’s list of problems.

But they also aren’t helping themselves by making slow starts to games, going in trailing at the break against Scotland for the fifth Six Nations match in a row.

They’ve conceded the opening try in two of their first three matches and have trailed at the interval in the last four meetings with Ireland, all of which have ended up going the way of the men in green.

Ireland have had a helping hand in their three most recent victories with England having a man sent off on each occasion, including Charlie Eewls being dismissed after just one minute the last time these sides met at Twickenham.

Ireland may well have gone on to win those games anyway, but it will certainly have helped them come out on top in each contest by a minimum of 13 points.

Farrell’s side are arguably better now than they were in each of their last four wins over England with no obvious weaknesses in their game and betting sites can’t see a way Ireland don’t win this game, making them 2/9 for victory.

They are boosted by the return to fitness of Hugo Keenan for Saturday’s game and his inclusion at full-back is the only change made by Farrell from the win over Wales.

England’s team shows three changes with Exeter Chiefs wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso handed his first start, while Alex Mitchell and George Martin are recalled. Marcus Smith is back among the replacements after a calf issue.

It was on this weekend a year ago that France turned up at Twickenham and took England to the cleaners, but this looks a better match-up for Borthwick’s side.

England has shown they can ask questions of Ireland in their last two Six Nations encounters and have the attributes in their kick-chase and line speed to slow down the champions-elect.

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Ireland have only won by double figures at Twickenham once in the Six Nations era, which casts a bit of doubt on them covering the 12-point handicap on gambling sites

What makes more sense is for Ireland to hit the front early and cover a first half spread of 5.5 points against an England side with a tendency to start slowly. 

Ireland have been seven points or more ahead at half-time in each of their first three Six Nations games, scoring an average of 17.7 points per opening 40 minutes.

England vs Ireland tip 1: Ireland -5.5 first half handicap – 10/11 with Unibet

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England points hard to come by

Games between these two sides at Twickenham tend to be low-scoring with six of the last seven going under the 40-point mark and it’s tough to see where the England scores will come from.

If England try to make this an arm wrestle, then tries could be in short supply. Chuck the ball around, as they attempted at Murrayfield, and the Red Rose could be picked off by Ireland. 

Breaking down Ireland’s defence has proven incredibly difficult. Only New Zealand have scored more than 17 points against Ireland in their last 13 matches and they’ve shipped just 24 points and three tries across three Six Nations games so far.

Two of the three tries they’ve conceded have been penalty tries and it’s dificult to imagine this disjointed England attack going over their points line of 17.5 on betting apps.

England haven’t scored more than 18 points in the last five games with Ireland and the reigning champions showed against Wales that their defence can withstand serious pressure.

England vs Ireland tip 2: Under 17.5 England points – 4/5 with bet365

Nash can take a chunk out of England defence

Shopping around the any time tryscorer markets on betting sites for this game is key with a bit of variation in price when it comes to some of the top contenders to score a try for Ireland.

Take hooker Dan Sheehan, who is as short as 8/13 in the Six Nations odds in some places but on offer at 11/10 with BetMGM. He’s the obvious pick to get over the whitewash having scored four tries already in the Six Nations.

But England have only conceded one try to a forward so far and have looked far more vulnerable when teams have hit them on the break at pace, as Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe expertly demonstrated in round three.

A more intriguing prospect to score is Ireland’s rising star Calvin Nash, who has thrived in the absence of Mack Hansen, scoring two tries in the Six Nations.

The Munster wing has looked very accomplished five Tests into his international career and ranks top five in the tournament for both metres carried and metres gained. 

His opposite number James Lowe is an odds-on shot to score on Saturday but there doesn’t seem a great deal in it between the Ireland wings and Nash’s price potentially offers more value.

England vs Ireland Tip 3: Calvin Nash any time try-scorer – 7/4 with BetUK

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Free bets for England vs Ireland

Saturday’s clash at Twickenham is the pick of the fixture for round four of the tournament and it’s worth checking out the free bets offers from bookmakers if you are planning to have a wager on the game.

Bet365 are one of the top bookmakers for rugby and they are currently giving new customers up to £30 in free bets when they sign up using the bet365 bonus code INDY2023 and make an initial deposit of between £5 and £10. 

To earn the full £30 in free bets, users will need to wager a minimum of £10 on a selection with odds of 1/5 or greater.

Fans of casino sites may want to consider the sign-up offer for bet365’s casino instead of the sportsbook with 50 free spins on UK slots up for grabs.

Whichever sign-up offer you choose, always check the terms and conditions before opening an account. If you do have a bet on the Six Nations this weekend, remember to gamble responsibly.

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