Italy easily covered the handicap line in their clash with New Zealand last week, so despite a 38-point defeat, they’ll be relatively satisfied with the performance and outcome, though they’d want to keep this one much, much tighter.
Argentina also covered their handicap line against the French, though they won’t be happy that they’ve now suffered four successive defeats to Les Bleus, and seven on the bounce now since a victory over Wales back in July.
While that’s a poor record on the surface, the quality of outfit they’ve faced in that time is second to none, facing the top three ranked sides in the world on two occasions each and a tough, full strength French side, so they should have no trouble getting back to winning ways here.
Gli Azzurri are on a horrible run of 15 defeats from 16 outings now, with their only victory in that time coming against Tier Two Fiji, while each of their six outings this year have seen them lose by a minimum of 33-points and concede at least 40 on each occasion.
Italy +8 Handicap
We wouldn’t expect the scoreline to be as harsh on the hosts this time round though, with Argentina a less formidable outfit than most of the other Tier One nations, and past meetings would suggest this will be a more hotly contested clash.
Indeed, although Los Pumas have won each of the last seven meetings since 2008, 16 points has been the biggest margin of victory in that time, with five of the other six seeing a maximum of just eight points separate the sides, while never in 22 meetings has either side hit that 40 point mark.
Italy have made five changes to the side that held New Zealand out for the opening 25 minutes, before the All Blacks showed their class and ran away with it.
We wouldn’t expect those changes to make any difference to the outcome here, with Argentina still likely to take the victory, though Italy showed in that opening period that they can make life tough for sides, and that’s exactly what we’d expect here.
The Handicap line currently sits around that eight point mark, and with five of the last seven meetings seeing Italy cover that line, there’s little to suggest that can’t manage that again.
As mentioned, Los Pumas will still be low on confidence following their Rugby Championship campaign and although they should get over the line, the home crowd will make this a difficult afternoon for the visitors, and we’ll get behind the hosts on the handicap here.
ITALY +8 HANDICAP