France vs Scotland – Improving Scots to provide stern test

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Venue: Stade de France, Paris, Date: February 5th, 2011
Coverage: Live on BBC1, Kick Off: 5.00pm

As the reigning Grand Slam champions, France are the team to beat in this year’s Six Nations.

But a poor autumn international campaign that saw Marc Lievremont’s side thrashed by Australia in their last game has seen the French hand over the favouritism in the Six Nations betting to England.

However Scotland have never beaten France in Paris and while France don’t provide punters with any value at 1/10 to beat Scotland, a quick glance at the handicap betting can find some value.

Giving Scotland a 13-point lead France are 10/11 to win, but punters may want to back Scotland with a smaller points advantage considering France are fielding a back line that hasn’t had much game time as a unit.

Scotland are 11/8 with a ten point start over France and that looks the pick of the market considering they have come within nine points in the last two years.

Scotland were a mixed bag in their autumn campaign, narrowly beating Samoa 19-16 and causing the upset of the series when beating South Africa 21-17.

But Andy Robinson’s side were outclassed by New Zealand 49-3 in their last game serving a reminder to Robinson that his side still have a long way to go.

However while the Scots struggle to score tries, their defence, bar the performance against New Zealand, is solid and backing France to win by 1-10 points at 5/2 is a very strong bet.

13 tries in five home games against Scotland suggest France are going to cross the try line at some point, and Maxime Medard is the pick of the French wingers at 6/5 to score any time.

Scotland have scored one try in their five games since the end of last year’s Six Nations and it’s difficult to see them crossing the try line.

Teams
France: D Traille, Y Huget, A Rougerie, M Mermoz, M Medard, F Trinh-Duc, M Parra; T Domingo, W Servat, N Mas, J Pierre, L Nallet, T Dusautoir, J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy
Replacements: G Guirado, L Ducalcon, J Thion, S Chabal, D Yachvili, D Skrela, C Poitrenaud

Scotland: H Southwell, N Walker, J Ansbro, N De Luca, M Evans, D Parks, R Lawson; A Jacobsen, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, A Kellock (c), N Hines, J Barclay, K Brown
Replacements: D Hall, M Low, R Vernon, R Rennie, M Blair, R Jackson, S Lamont

Referee: W Barnes

A £25 stake on France beating Scotland by 1-10 points would return £87.50. New customers can sign up here for a free bet worth £25.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.