Farrell or Flood to decide England Six Nations win margin over Scotland
With England 1/14 to win their Six Nations opener at home to Scotland, punters will have to look away from the match betting to try to extract some value from the Twickenham showdown.
This is unless of course they fancy the Scots at 13/2 to win at Twickenham for the first time in 30 years.
England may have won their last three with their Calcutta Cup opposition, but their 13-6 Murrayfield triumph in the last Six Nations was their widest-margined success in this period.
This may make Scotland a decent price at 5/4 to beat England if handed a 12-point handicap and much may depend on who is selected at fly half by Stuart Lancaster between Owen Farrell and Toby Flood.
Farrell is the obvious candidate given that he filled the role in the December victory over New Zealand, while he is a regular alongside centre Brad Barritt for Saracens.
However, with Barritt’s centre partner Manu Tuilagi missing the Scotland game because of an ankle injury, England are without their most explosive back.
Farrell’s clear main attribute is his kicking, particularly under pressure, but from an attacking ball-in-hand perspective, he rarely attacks the gain line and is much happier simply passing the ball on to the likes of Tuilagi to unsettle opposing defences.
But with Tuilagi out and Andrew Corbisiero another injury victim missing from the pack, England may need a plan B and a fly-half that creates himself.
Flood may be slightly weaker than Farrell from a kicking viewpoint, but his more adventurous passing, line running and general advanced play-making skills will provide England with a greater attacking platform, rather than kicking for territory and relying on the pack.
If Flood is selected, England are capable of overcoming an 18-point handicap at 5/4, but if things go as expected and Lancaster picks Farrell, they will still win, but probably not be more than 11 points.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date