Ireland vs Italy Betting Tips: Back Italian Two Way Handicap
Chicago holds fond memories for the Irish and whilst beating New Zealand might not be a feat that they repeat this year, they could kickstart their autumn with a victory against Italy at Soldier Field. It’s no surprise that Ireland are just 1/33 with Star Sports with Ireland’s long winning run and Italy’s general weakness despite signs of improvement in the last year or two.
Returning to America will bring back very fond memories of the brilliant victory they had over the All Blacks, scoring five tries and taking a first win in 111 years, and since then they have gone from strength to strength under Joe Schmidt, taking a 6 Nations Grand Slam and then a series victory in Australia to boot.
Italy, as big as 40/1 with Ladbrokes to spring a shock, have put together some strong showings in the 6 Nations but they did not win a game and their only success in 2018 was a victory in Japan during the summer.
Unfamiliar Combinations to Start for Both Sides
Ireland are set a handicap of 27 points with 888Sport (which they are 10/11 to cover), which is reasonable given their depth. However, both teams will start with some unfamiliar combinations and that could make it hard for either side to hit the ground running. The 20/31 that SportNation offer on the second half having the most points could be of interest.
The handicap could also be hard for Ireland to give up. They beat Italy by more than 27 points in the 6 Nations, but both teams had a full-strength side that had already played two games beforehand. Italy, who managed to stay within that handicap on both trips to France and Wales, could be generously treated on the ‘two way’ handicap where 888Sport offer 10/11 on them with a 27.5-point start.
The winning margin is also an interesting market here. Ireland ought to be too good for Italy, but perhaps not by the margin the handicap suggests. Mansionbet offer 33/10 on Ireland winning by 11-20 points which looks interesting.
Ireland’s Squad Depth to be Tested
With under a year to the World Cup, Ireland look to be ideally placed for success and Schmidt is now testing his squad depth with a changed team likely to take to the field this Saturday evening.
Johnny Sexton has been left at home to prepare for tests against Argentina and New Zealand in Dublin, meaning that Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne will compete with Joey Carbery for the number 10 jersey. Both players have had on field experience, with Carberry capped in Australia, and both have been impressing domestically.
John Cooney and the in-form Luke McGrath will both vie for the scrumhalf spot, with McGrath perhaps likely to get the nod thanks to his experience with both flyhalves during his time at Leinster. McGrath, who scored twice in the Champions Cup recently, could be an anytime tryscorer option.
Keith Earls and Rob Kearney may not be present, the club game is flourishing, and Schmidt has backline options a plenty with Will Addison in line for a first cap as Jacob Stockdale, Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway and Darren Sweetnam are all available for Schmidt to use here. Bundee Aki, who has already made a name for himself, ought to provide some ballast outside of subtler flyhalf options.
The strong domestic form of the Irish clubs – of the two clubs that make up the majority of the Irish squad, Leinster are top of their Pro 14 division whilst Munster top their Champions Cup Pool – allows for strength in all areas. The likes of Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Dave Kilcoyne, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Devin Toner and Josh van der Flier can all be used.
Italy have been improving over the past year, with the performances of their two clubs Treviso and especially Zebre, cause for celebration. The two managed 18 wins from their Pro 14 games last season and already have six between them during this campaign, although that improvement on the domestic stage hasn’t quite translated to the International arena just yet.
Italy also bring a changed side – the fact this game falls outside the Test window means that the likes of Stade Francais’ Sergio Parisse or the excellent fullback Mateo Minozzi cannot take part – although the only uncapped player in the XV is South African-born Johan Meyer and having Exeter Chiefs centre Michele Campagnaro does give them one gamechanger at least in the centres.
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