The All Blacks have been on rampant form since suffering a narrow 31-29 defeat to World Champions South Africa to end their Rugby Championship winning campaign with defeat.
Indeed, they’ve won both games against USA and Wales by an aggregate scoreline of 158-30, albeit a weakened Wales side, so that doesn’t bode well for the Italians.
Italy remain the whipping boys of the Six-Nations and have done for a number of years now, with the gulf in class seemingly increasing in recent editions.
This year’s renewal saw them concede at least 40 points against every side, with their 23-point defeat to England the closest they ran anyone all tournament.
They’ve now lost 39 consecutive outings against tier-one sides since they narrowly beat the Springboks in 2016.
The head-to-head meetings don’t make for pretty reading if you’re and Italian either, with New Zealand winning all 14 meetings, and although the Europeans haven’t managed to get within 10 points in any of those clashes, history would suggest the handicap line might be in favour of the hosts here.
Indeed, Italy have covered the 59-point line in seven of their last 10 outings against the All Blacks, while they’ve also not lost by more than that margin in any of their last 22 matches against tier one nations since they last faced the Pacific side.
Italy +59 Handicap
While New Zealand certainly have more of an ability to put sides the sword than any other team in world rugby, those who watched their victory over Wales last week will know it wasn’t as convincing as the scoreline suggested.
Indeed, despite facing a near second-string side, there were only 12 points in the game with just 17 minutes left to play before the hosts lack of depth showed and fatigue set in through the dying embers.
The All Blacks have only covered this 59-point line twice in their last 18 matches, coming against weak USA and Tonga sides, both of whom sit lower than Italy in the world rankings and having the line sitting here seems to do Italy a disservice.
The home advantage will certainly count for something, and the Italians will fight to the end to muster up every point they can manage against the world number one side, so we’ll back them to stay the right side of the handicap in what will certainly otherwise be a very heavy defeat.
ITALY +59 HANDICAP