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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# Flutter
Grand Slam winners? A last-day decider? Where punters are putting their Six Nations money
Ireland get going in Edinburgh this weekend.

Ireland to win the tournament – 5/2

Conor O’Shea, Rob Howley, Eddie Jones, Joe Schmidt, Guy Noves and Vern Cotter Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

ENGLAND ARE REIGNING Six Nations champions and Grand Slam winners so they more than justify the heavy 5/6 favourites tag they carry into the championship, but are punters backing Eddie Jones’ men?

The answer is ‘yes’, but not as much as you’d think.

Despite Ireland being out at 5/2, we’ve seen almost twice as many bets on Joe Schmidt’s men to win the tournament than on England who went through the entire year of 2016 unbeaten.

Experts may point to Ireland having home advantage against France and England, but trips to Cardiff and Murrayfield (where Ireland head on Saturday) are never easy and Joe Schmidt will know that more than anyone.

Injuries to the Vunipola brothers, former captain Chris Robshaw, wing Anthony Watson and a huge doubt over lock George Kruis may have dampened punters’ interest on England – or maybe it’s the fact that in Joe Schmidt, Ireland have a leader Donald Trump could learn a few lessons from.

Simon Zebo to be top tryscorer – 16/1

He has better moves than Paul Pogba or Des Cahill but his real talent is finishing.

zeebsdance

At just 26 years old, the versatile back is already 10 tries clear as Munster’s all-time top try scorer and after an initial struggle to break into Schmidt’s plans, he now looks to be firmly in the international picture.

Zebo, who has also crossed the whitewash four times in the Champions Cup this season, started in the three major November tests and scored a try in Ireland’s historic victory in Chicago over the All Blacks.

His six tries this season have the Munster man bang on form at the right time heading into the Six Nations, so is it any wonder we’ve taken more bets on Zebo than anyone else to be the top try scorer?

Scotland’s US-born wing Tommy Seymour has seen the second most punts. He can be found at a tasty 20/1.

Conor Murray to be Player of the Tournament – 20/1

Conor Murray Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

If there’s been a more in-form Irish rugby star than Munster’s Conor Murray over the last few seasons we haven’t seen him – although Leinster’s Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong also have strong cases for that accolade.

Punters have flocked in their droves to back him to be the Player of the Tournament in this year’s Six Nations and it’s not hard to see why, especially after his incredible man-of-the-match winning performance on that special day in Chicago.

Murray’s clear thinking, organisational mastery and towering box kicks have turned him into one of the best scrum-half generals in world rugby and, more than likely, a nailed-on starter for the Lions’ tour of New Zealand.

His partnership with Jonathan Sexton is almost telepathic at this stage, so with fitness doubts still swirling about Ireland’s talismanic out-half, Murray’s influence on the international setup is needed now more than ever.

Ireland v England to be a Grand Slam decider – 11/2

England head coach Eddie Jones Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

If you’re a neutral, this is the finale to the Six Nations everyone wants and to be quite frank, it could be the one the championship needs.

The potential Dublin Grand Slam decider could be more box office than Joshua v Klitschko and to be fair there’ll probably be more blows landed in it too.

It has Lions places on the line, an England team potentially looking to break New Zealand’s 18-game unbeaten streak and an Ireland outfit in search of a first Grand Slam since 2009 (only their third in history).

This market is easily our most popular special and, money aside, it’s the one punt we want to come in.

Fancy a punt on the Six Nations? Ireland’s biggest bookmaker Paddy Power have the odds on every market – plus when you sign up and bet €10, you’ll get €30 in free bets. Check out Six Nations odds here, or simply download the Paddy Power app for iOS or Android

For more tips, insight and the odd star columnist, head over to the Paddy Power blog.

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