Scotland v Italy: Handicap the way for Cotter’s troops

Scotland v Italy: Handicap the way for Cotter’s troops

Kick Off: 1230, 18/03/2017

Stadium: Murrayfield

TV: BBC1

Scotland wind up their Six Nations campaign against an Italian side that has finished with the wooden spoon for the third time in four years.

Vern Cotter’s men went into last weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash with England knowing that victory would secure a first Triple Crown since 1990 and put them on the brink of a maiden Six Nations title, but they were ultimately outclassed by a much more powerful unit. However, Scotland can finish on a high by beating Italy which potentially could see them finish in second place if other results go their way on Saturday.

Scotland have been given a boost ahead of the game after hooker Fraser Brown’s yellow card for an illegal tackle on Elliot Daly was deemed sufficient punishment. Even without Brown, Scotland would have been considered hot favourites to beat Conor O’Shea’s men, whose ‘no-ruck’ plan used so effectively against England came in fits and starts during the defeat by France and will probably be abandoned in Edinburgh.

Scotland may be heavy favourites to win the game in the Six Nations betting, but encounters between the teams are level pegging at five wins apiece over the last 10 years and Italy also won the last Six Nations match to be played at Murrayfield in 2015. This is a powder-puff Italian side, though, and the best they can hope for is to open the scoring as they did against France last weekend.

Italy on the scoreboard first is the first of our Scotland v Italy betting tips at 19/10.

The 11/1 odds for Italy to beat Scotland is surely beyond them though, after shipping an average of 43 points per game.

As ever in these one-sided games, the handicap looks the way to go and Scotland to win with a -23 start at 91/100 looks to be the pick. Italy only managed to keep England down to 36 points with their disruptive tactics, but we don’t expect that to be the case on Saturday.

Scotland have been solid at home, beating Ireland and Wales by five and 16 points respectively, so with a final flourish they should be able to overcome the -23 handicap.

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