Back Les Bleus

MARK KEOHANE says you should put your money on France to beat England on Saturday, and go on to win the Six Nations.

One fact that I came across while researching the competition is that most years following a British & Irish Lions series the winners have been … France. It's quite a record and more often than not they haven't simply 'won' the Six Nations, but they've turned it into a procession, winning the Grand Slam in 2002 and 2010 – the year after the Lions lost in South Africa.

In 1998, even a year after the Lions beat the Springboks, France went on to take the Six Nations and one needs to go back two decades to buck the trend.

So, let's splash the cash and make some money by backing France to win the Six Nations.

They are 2.45 to 1 on to win the tournament, so let's put R100 on that and when they do we'll get R345 as a return on our investment. At the same time it won't hurt to have a small stake on them winning every match they play, and those odds are 5-1. Remember, the first figure is always the monetary return and the second figure is your stake money. Add the two together for your total return.

France start their campaign with a home match against England, so again, I need to be consistent and back them to do the business.

On there are so many different types of bets, including exotics whereby you can put your money on who will be leading at half-time and then at full-time, or even just the half-time result.

In pricing up on even-money (double your stake), is among the online bookies who have given England a three-point start. I'm backing France to run that down and win by about eight points, so will be taking the 1.45 to 1 on them winning by more than six points that is on offer. R100 for France to win by more than six would result in R245 as a return.

I'm expecting Wales to stretch away from Italy and although it's a double-your-money scenario, I'm backing Wales to win by more than the 18-point spread that is offered between the two sides.

Ireland are playing host to Scotland and the Irish should be too committed and feed off the frenetic home support. I'm going for Ireland to win this one by 12 points, which is incidentally the same way the bookies see the result going. Therefore, I'm saving my cash on this game.

Elsewhere there are odds for who the top try-scorer will be and the name and price that immediately caught my eye was George North. He is at 5-1 to be the man to dot down the most in the competition and I'm having a good bet on this.

We'll address this later but my idea of wooden spoonists is Scotland. They travel to Italy on 22 February which will be the match that decides who finishes last. Home ground advantage will be crucial so take the double on Italy winning at least one match and then on Scotland finishing bottom. The double is on offer at 4-1.

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Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP Photo