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Italy vs Ireland Six Nations Picks and Odds

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Rugby

Feb 25, 2021 · 8:09 AM PST

Ireland's Cian Healy leaves the pitch after a clash of heads
Ireland's Cian Healy leaves the pitch after a clash of heads during the Six Nations rugby union match between Ireland and France Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Brian Lawless, Pool via AP)
  • Ireland are 19.5-point favorites as they travel to Italy for a Six Nations rugby match on Saturday, Feb. 27th
  • Both the Irish (0-2) and Italians (0-2) are winless in the tournament
  • It’s the first time that Ireland has opened the Six Nations 0-2

Starting the Six Nations off 0-2 was a history-making experience for Ireland. It was business as usual for Italy.

The Irish opened with back-to-back losses to Wales and France to begin the competition 0-2 for the first time ever. Italy suffered setbacks at the hands of the French and England to also break from the gate 0-2.

Italy have now lost 29 consecutive Six Nations matches. The last win by the Italians was a 22-19 verdict over Scotland in 2015.

No wonder then that Ireland will be 19.5-point favorites when they take the pitch in Rome. The Irish are 28-4 straight up all-time against Italy.

Ireland vs Italy Six Nations Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Ireland -3345 -19.5 (-120) OFF
Italy +1200 +19.5 (-107) OFF
Draw +5000

Odds as of Feb. 24th at DraftKings.

The kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 9:15am ET at the Stadio Olimpico. NBC Peacock Premium is carrying the broadcast.

Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

Fourteen has proven to be Ireland’s unlucky number. Against Wales, the Irish played the majority of the match down to 14 players after Peter O’Mahony was sent off. Versus France, French captain Charles Ollivon spent 10 minutes in the sin bin following a yellow card infraction. However, it was the French who scored a try while down a player, taking the lead for good at 10-3.

However, there is cause for optimism in the Irish camp this week. Captain Johnny Sexton, scrum-half Conor Murray and lock James Ryan are all back in the squad. Sexton (concussion), Murray (hamstring) and Ryan (concussion) all were missing in action for the home loss to France.

Finishing is proving to be a real issue for Ireland. The Irish have held the lion’s share of possession in both of their matches. Unfortunately, self-inflicted wounds have limited them to just a pair of tries thus far in the tournament.

Moral Victories for Italy

Winless and showing a -63 point differential, there was a moral victory for the Italians during their 41-18 loss to England. They actually opened the scoring via a third-minute try by winger Monte Ioane, and they covered the 37-point spread.

Another bonus for Italy, manager Franco Smith will have his entire squad at his disposal for selection. The Italians report no injuries. Center Marco Zanon has regained his fitness after missing the England match due to a right leg muscle injury.

Italy have surrendered 13 tries during their two losses in this competition. The Italians are going with an inexperienced squad. Just six players have over 20 international appearances on their resumes.

Some Props to Consider

Ireland have won 10 in a row and 27 of 28 from Italy.  The Italians earned victory most recently via a 22-15 verdict at the Stadio Olimpico in 2013. In the previous meeting between two countries during the Autumn Nations Cup in October, Ireland ran in seven tries during a 50-17 drubbing of Italy.

Taking Ireland and laying the points is the obvious play. Dig below the surface, though, and there’s a couple of prop wagers on this match that are worth the investment.

An Ireland team try as the first scoring play offers value at +145. A betting line of +245 that the first try of the match won’t be converted is worth giving a go as well.

Pick: Ireland -19.5 (-120)

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