Neither side really has anything to play for in the context of this edition of the Six Nations with just the single combined victory from their six outings so far.
That’s not a surprising return for the Italians who have now lost 35 Six Nations matches on the bounce, and it’s hard to see them winning another soon with the gulf in class between themselves and the rest seemingly increasing as time goes on.
Scotland will be disappointed with their return so far having started with a positive 20-17 victory over England, though they’ve failed to capitalise on momentum by losing to Wales and France in their subsequent outings, with the former of those particularly disappointing for the Scots.
Either way, we’d expect them to bounce right back in Rome, and again this is a matter of them covering the handicap or not. We’d expect them to pick up a bonus point victory and the handicap line at 19 points looks well within their range.
Scotland -19 Point Handicap
The Scots have won their last 10 matches against the Italians, covering that 19-point line on four occasions and while that’s not exactly a convincing amount, this is arguably the biggest gulf in class seen between the sides in that time.
The other may be in last seasons renewal of this competition, when the Scots ran out 42 point winners at Murrayfield, and although this is in Rome, the hosts haven’t shown enough to suggest they can keep this within just a few scores.
A narrow 25-22 victory over Japan back in June 2018 is Italy’s only result of note in recent memory, with all their victories since then coming against lower tier nations. In fact, each of their last 12 defeats since facing Scotland themselves back in November 2020 have all come by more than that 20-point margin.
There’s an argument to suggest that Gregor Townsend will be rotating his side for this clash, and that could hinder their chances of winning by a substantial margin, though that is also the case with all Six Nations sides who face the Italians, and yet their margins of victory seem to be increasing.
Ultimately, the 19 point line seems far to short considering the quality Scotland possess, and we’ll back the visitors to cover it.
SCOTLAND -19 POINT HANDICAP
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