Kick-off: 1415, 13/02/2021
After last week’s shock loss to Scotland, England face Italy knowing points difference is likely to play a part if they are to recover and retain the Six Nations title.
That spells bad news for the Azzurri, who looked a lost cause when thrashed 50-10 at home by France in the opening round of fixtures.
We’re taking 4/5 for last year’s champions to win by more than 37.5 points for our first England vs Italy prediction.
A Look At England’s Betting Odds
England were lacklustre in pretty much all departments when going down 11-6 to the Scots, tasting Calcutta Cup defeat at Twickenham for the first time since 1983.
However, it is worth remembering that they kicked off with a loss in France last year before rallying to top the table.
Eddie Jones has added props Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola to his 28-man squad at the expense of Harry Williams and Tom West in a bid to recapture some intensity up front.
“They’re both exceptional players,” said Jones, who has lifted the Six Nations trophy three times in the past five seasons.
“Mako is the elder statesman of the side, an experienced player. He’s been training really well. He’s got a lot of conditioning in him.
“Kyle was dynamic for us during the autumn. It’s good to have those two back.”
In six previous meetings with Italy, Jones predictably has a 100 per cent win record, with 250 points scored and just 58 conceded.
He will have the favourites fired up from the outset here, so 4/5 they lead by over 18.5 points at half-time also appeals from the England vs Italy odds.
A Look At Italy’s Betting Odds
Italy actually had 57 per cent of possession versus France and 53 per cent of that match was played in their opponents’ half, which suggests a willing spirit.
However, they could only huff and puff with the ball in hand, while a fragile defence looked in danger of being carved open every time Les Bleus moved forward.
Some of the Azzurri’s stats do not make good reading, with 16 handling errors, the same number of bad passes and an alarming 28 missed tackles standing out like a sore thumb.
There are some that dismiss all notion of Six Nations promotion and relegation, but Italy are doing a pretty good job of convincing the most ardent doubters.
Their latest crushing defeat was a 28th successive loss in the tournament and they have not claimed a victory since 2015.
Head coach Franco Smith refused to press any panic buttons, stating: “I don’t think the French are that much better than us.
“Ball in hand, we played very well and we suffered five tries from our mistakes, but we can improve and recover immediately.
“Growing a team internationally is very difficult, but physically the boys were fine and we were equal to them in intensity.”
It is hard not to think the South African is being deluded with those comments, though, and heads are expected to drop again once they fall behind.
Let’s finish off our England vs Italy betting tips by taking 4/6 for more points to be scored in the second half, as the Azzurri become more and more ragged.
ENGLAND 6-11 Scotland
ITALY 10-50 France
Head-to-head: Italy 5-34 England, England 37-0 Italy, England 57-14 Italy, Italy 15-46 England, England 36-15 Italy
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