All rugby union fans around the world look forward to the start of February for one reason only, and this is the beginning of the Six Nations. This is an extremely prestigious competition that sees England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales battle it out to be declared the best international rugby team in Europe. Due to this history of this competition, the matches are full of rivalries and drama, and there is plenty of 6 Nations betting available. Below we will take a look at who the favourites are for the 2023 edition and take a look at each team’s realistic prospects.
Six Nations Championship Odds - Value Picks
All of the best sports betting sites out there will offer outright odds for the Six Nations because it is such a big competition. At the time of writing, Betiton, a sportsbook that has come on in leaps and bounds since it first opened its doors to the public at the beginning of 2020, had some of the best odds for this event. Whenever you are betting on rugby, or any sport for that matter, it is always important to find the best odds so that you get the best value for your money - the higher the odds, the higher the profit you will make if your bet is a winning one.
Below are the odds that they are offering for each team to go on and win the 2023 6 Nations:
- Ireland - 2.40
- France - 2.55
- England - 5.25
- Wales - 14.60
- Scotland - 22.00
- Italy - 550.00
So, as you can see, Ireland are their favourites to win the 2023 title. If you are considering placing an outright bet, you do not have to do so right away. You can, if you prefer to play it safer, decide to wait until the first round of matches have been played in order to see how each team starts, but by doing this you might end up missing out on some value. For instance, at the moment Betiton have given Ireland odds of 2.40 to lift the title, but if they win their first game, these odds will decrease. So that is something you need to keep in mind.
Six Nations 2023 Predictions
It is never an easy task making 6 Nations predictions because all teams, excluding maybe Italy, can give all of their opponents a hard time of things if they show up on match day and play to the best of their ability. So, with that in mind, let us now take a closer look at each of the six teams.
Ireland Listed as Favourites
Ireland, as we have already mentioned, are listed as the favourites to win the title, and this really is not surprising when one considers the amazing 2022 that they had. They only lost two rugby matches throughout all of last year, and they went to New Zealand, and picked up a 2-1 series win to become just the fifth tea to beat the All Blacks in their own back garden. The last team that managed to go to New Zealand and not return home with their tails between their legs was France, who beat the Kiwis on their own soil back in the 90s.
To add to this, in the previous three 6 Nations competitions, Ireland have only missed out on winning the title by the slimmest of margins. In 2022, they lost to France by a mere six points, and this proved to be the match that decided where the title ended up. Ireland have one of the best squads that they have had in a long time, and there will certainly not be any surprised rugby fans if the Men in Green manage to land their 14th 6 Nations title and their first one since 2018.
Pressure On France
France did not lose a single match in the 2022 6 Nations, meaning that they picked up the Grand Slam - the award that is given to the team that wins all five of their matches. They won every other match that they played last season, so there is definitely a target on their back, and the pressure is on them to perform just as well once again. Their first game of the 2023 edition is against Italy, so they have a relatively easy game to ease themselves into the competition and get rid of any rustiness.
Fabien Galthié’s side is playing some really attractive free-flowing rugby, and he will hope that they carry on doing so because later this year there is the little matter of the 2023 Rugby World Cup that is taking place in Paris. France, if they carry on their current form, will be one of the favourites, and they will hope to become just the second northern hemisphere side, after England, to win the title.
With top players such as Damian Penaud, Antoine Dupont, Gael Fickou, Charles Ollivon, Romain Ntamack, and Matthieu Jalibert, there are no teams out there that are going to relish taking on the French. It would be no surprise at all if they went on to retain their title while picking up another Grand Slam.
Gatland Return Boosts Wales
Wales had a 2022 to forget as they lost all but three of their matches, which included embarrassing home defeats to Italy and Georgia. This poor run of form saw Wayne Pivac lose his job, and the WRU decided that the best course of action was to recall Warren Gatland, a man who has been there and done that with Wales. The New Zealander was in charge of Wales from 2008 until 2019, where he picked up a win percentage of 55.38%.
During his time as the coach of Wales, he won three Grand Slams in 2008, 2012, and 2019, while he also won another Six Nations title with them in 2013. Now, there is obviously no guarantee that he will be as successful in his second stint as Wales manager, but we are pretty certain that his presence will lead to improved performances from the Welsh players. They probably got a bit too comfortably with Pivac, knowing that if they performed poorly that they would still, more than likely keep their place in the team, but Gatland is not accept poor performers, and the players will know that nothing short of their best will keep them in the side.
While we do not expect Wales to go on and win the 2023 Six Nations, we are expecting much better performances overall.
England Start a New Era
England are another team that had a poor 2022 by their usual high standards, and their average showings ended up costing Eddie Jones his job - he has since signed as the head coach of Australia, so that should be a tasty match should England and Australia meet at some stage in the 2023 Rugby World Cup. There were a number of men on the shortlist to replace Jones, but the men in charge of England rugby decided to go for Steve Borthwick. We are not sure that many people would have had their money on him to be made head coach.
However, he has been a part of the England rugby team for the last 15 years as a player and a forwards coach, so he has a really good idea as to how things work. He will also know many of their players pretty well, which is something that could go on to help England have success at this year’s Six Nations. He has also shown that he can win things as a head coach as he led the Leicester Tigers to their 11th Premiership title in 2022.
England will start afresh under Borthwick, and we feel it was just what they needed as things had started to become a little bit stale under the guidance of Jones. As a tough forward in his playing days, Borthwick will take no nonsense from anyone, and will instil passion and pride into his players. England have plenty of quality at their disposal, so if Borthwick can get them to ignite, they could definitely derail Ireland or France.
Scotland Introducing Fresh Faces
Scotland had a pretty average year, and while many Scottish rugby fans believed that Andy Townsend should have been shown the door, the SRU decided to stick with him until the end of his contract later this year. Scotland have only a slim chance of winning the 2023 Six Nations, which would actually be the first time that they have won the title, so Townsend has decided to use this competition to introduce some fresh faces and look ahead to the future.
Townsend recently revealed his squad for this year’s competition, and in the form of Ruaridh McConnochie, Stafford McDowall, Ben Healy, and Cameron Henderson, he has four new faces who are ready to make a name for themselves in Scottish rugby. Their first game of the competition is against England at Twickenham, so if they play well in that and help Scotland pick up a famous win, they will definitely get their international careers off to the best of starts.
Will Scotland be able to do that though? Well, they always turn up against England and have a solid recent record against the “Auld Enemy”, so we would not be too surprised if they managed to win. However, we would not be too surprised if they then lost their remaining games because they have been pretty inconsistent under Townsend.
Italy Hoping To Avoid Wooden Spoon
Italy have played in the Six Nations 22 times, and they have finished at the bottom of the pile on 17 occasions, meaning they have a pretty big collection of wooden spoons. However, in 2022, they picked up the scalps of Wales and Australia, so there will be hope among Italy fans that they can carry on with this success under Keiran Crowley and pick up a scalp or two in the 2023 Six Nations.
While Italy, as can be seen from their odds, have no chance of winning the title, they do have some quality players at their disposal such as Ange Capuozzo, Michele Lamaro, and Tommaso Allan, and this will give them hope of competing in matches, especially their games at home at the Stadio Olimpico. They play Wales at home this time around, so they will probably have already earmarked that as a match they could win.
If Italy can finish 5th, they will consider that some sort of win because they will not have to take home yet another wooden spoon.