Ireland head to Italy on Saturday for their opening Six Nations game devoid of some of their finest finishers, but Keith Earls continues to attract money in the top tryscorer betting market.
Earls is 12/1 to be the top tryscorer in the Six Nations and considering Ireland have managed 43 tries against Italy, the winger has the chance to get a head start on his competition on Saturday.
Ireland are 1/10 to beat Italy in Rome on Saturday but with so many injuries affecting the Irish team, Italy will fancy their chances of taking the game to the Irish.
Italy (9/2 to win) have never beaten Ireland in the Six Nations and have recorded just three wins over Ireland in 18 attempts, but with a generous handicap of +12, Italy look a solid bet at 10/11 against a weakened Ireland team.
In the absence of Tommy Bowe, Shane Horgan, Rob Kearney, Geordan Murphy and Andrew Trimble, Declan Kidney has handed a debut to Fergus McFadden on the left wing, while Earls will play on the right and Luke Fitzgerald will shift from the wing to full-back.
Earls is the favourite at 7/2 to be Ireland’s top tryscorer in the Six Nations, ahead of Brian O’Driscoll (5/1), Fitzgerald (6/1), Bowe (8/1) and McFadden (8/1).
But Sean O’Brien could be a potential star in this year’s Six Nations and the in-form Leinster man replaces Jamie Heaslip at number eight for the Italy clash and is 12/1 to be Ireland’s top tryscorer.
With Heaslip and Stephen Ferris missing, Ireland’s back row has also taken a beating but in O’Brien and Denis Leamy, Ireland have more than capable replacements.
But with so many disruptions to the Irish team, Italy look the best bet at 10/11 with a 12-point start.
A £25 stake on O’Brien being Ireland’s top tryscorer would return £325. New customers can sign up here for a free bet worth £25.