Ireland's odds are the only attraction

With such a small field and even fewer serious contenders, the Five Nations' Championship rarely offers any serious value for punters, and in this year's competition worthwhile bets are thin on the ground. The high-street bookmakers are displaying even more unanimity than usual, with France odds-on at 5-6, England top-priced at 13-8, and almost any price you like about the other three sides.

Clearly, the layers agree that the outcome of England's visit to the Parc des Princes next Saturday will decide the championship almost before it has started, but it is still hard to make a case for either side to win the Grand Slam at odds of either 2-1 (France) or 4-1 (England). Even if England win next week, their trip to Murrayfield is hardly a foregone conclusion, while France, too, have the unfortunate habit of losing games which on paper they should win with ease.

One minor glimmer of hope could be Ladbrokes' 12-1 about Ireland winning the Triple Crown, but only for the potential hedging opportunity if, as expected, the Irish beat Scotland and Wales at home before their visit to Twickenham on the final weekend. Otherwise, the bookies are betting so tightly that shrewd punters will just say no.

In contrast, the contest to succeed Terry Venables provided a major punting opportunity last week. With the best prices available during the first three days of betting, backers could have supported half a dozen candidates and still have been assured of a profit.

Ladbrokes now report, however, that for six hours on Saturday the money was exclusively for Bryan Robson, and as a result their book has closed.

FIVE NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Best prices (C Coral, H Hills, L Ladbrokes): 5-6 France (H), 13-8 England (H/L), 10-1 Scotland (C/H/L), 20-1 Ireland (L), 25-1 Wales (C/H). Grand Slam: 2-1 France (L), 4-1 England (C), 25- 1 Scotland (C), 40-1 Ireland (L), 50-1 Wales (C/H). No Grand Slam winner: evens with all firms. Triple Crown: 4-6 England (C/H/L), 7-1 Scotland (H/L), 12-1 Ireland (L), 18-1 Wales (C). No Triple Crown winner: 3-1 with all firms.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)