Six Nations: England to win but Scotland pack can keep it close

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Having beaten New Zealand 38-21 in the autumn, big things are suddenly expected of this England team at the Six Nations, but there is a strong possibility that the winning margin in their Twickenham opener with Scotland is on the small side.

It was at the ruck where England had the most joy against the Kiwis, but they are unlikely to have the same joy against Scotland, with Scotland’s forwards a match for anyone, especially in the second row.

The very large Scottish pack will have to play to their best if there is a chance of an upset and 7/1 is the price for an away win.

Meanwhile, there is also reason to believe that Scotland’s back three is not as conservative as that of England and therefore offers more attacking threat than in recent years.

If Scotland can get the ball wide quickly, there are grounds to believe they could claim a first Twickenham victory in 30 years.

England are 1/10 to beat Scotland, which is hardly a price to get excited about if put in a three-game accumulator for the first round of Six Nations fixtures.

Thus, attention is turned to the handicap markets and Scotland look far too big at 1/1 to come out on top if given a 14-point start.

The absence of Manu Tuilagi is a major blow for England as his bursts do tend to open up extra corridors for others to exploit.

Stepping into his shoes is a big ask on debut for Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees, but he has the size and weight to get on top of the Scots.

He will have to be careful though in terms of conceding turnovers as this is an area where he sometimes has trouble in league action.

With England’s game based more around territory, the boot of Andy Farrell is expected to have a big bearing on the result and 5/6 is a decent price that he contributes 14 points or more.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.