Wins for England, Ireland and France on the first weekend, and two out of three handicap wins for us. Three more games this weekend in the 2015 Six Nations

Recommendations (all with Skybet)

England v Italy : Second half highest scoring half 8/11

Ireland -6 points to beat France 10/11

Scotland +3 points to beat Wales 10/11

England v Italy (2.30pm Saturday)

England’s underdog win in Cardiff was impressive missing so many players and built off great defence and impressive forward power. The consequence of that win is that they are installed as no less than 28 point favourites to beat Italy. England have kept the same matchday 23 despite the return to fitness of key players

In their defeat in Rome to Ireland, Italy performed to a familiar pattern. Competitive in long stretches, able to defend well for an hour but eventually tiring and at the same time without the creativity to break down good defence and score tries.

It is difficult to see anything different this weekend. England should win comfortably but a 28 point handicap is an uncomfortable one to try to cover as an England bettor. I prefer the 8/11 Skybet offer about the second half being the highest scoring half. The combination of tiring Italian legs and strong England bench should make this a good bet

Ireland v France (5pm Saturday)

Both teams will need to improve to feel confident here. Ireland laboured for long stretches in Rome but the return of nny Sexton at fly half should help enormously both in the kicking game and speed of service to the backs. For the French, they seem stuck between styles. Potentially the most exciting backline in the tournament hamstrung by slow ball and a pack that doesn’t produce consistent enough performances

Ireland have been installed as six point favourites for the game and that seems fair enough. If this were a match played on paper you would have a tough time arguing that man for man Ireland were better but two factors must sway this towards Ireland -6. Firstly coaching and style where Joe Schmidt has Ireland playing to a pattern and secondly French away form, where year after year the French are poor travellers and underperform

Ireland -6 10/11 Skybet is the percentage bet here

Scotland v Wales (3pm  Sunday)

Scotland came close in Paris and certainly showed signs of being a much improved team under Vern Cotter. They lack a  bit of power in the front five but have  key elements that will keep them in a lot of games, the game control of captain Greg Laidlaw and, for the first time in  many years some threat in the back line with the mercurial Finn Russell creating chances. I continue to expect them to win at least a couple of games in this six nations

Wales led England 16-8 at half time in Cardiff but were blown away in the second half up front, and showed no sign whatsoever of a “Plan B” when their attacks were thwarted at source by England.  They should at least have parity up front in Edinburgh and it sets up to be a very close game indeed

The handicap is established as Scotland +3 for the game, and they are at home. The value here is in backing the home side as the underdog.

Recommendations (all with Skybet)

England v Italy : Second half highest scoring half 8/11

Ireland -6 points to beat France 10/11

Scotland +3 points to beat Wales 10/11