The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. This season the competition starts on Saturday 4th February when France play Italy in Paris, and Scotland take on England at Murrayfield.
Online bookmakers look forward to the Six Nations tournament as they offer all sorts of bets and betting opportunities on each of the 25 games that take place up to 17th March.
Italy only joined in the competition in 2000 and although they have yet to win a tournament they have made giant strides in just a few years – at the beginning they were always favourites to finish bottom, but that is far from the case nowadays.
England are the current Six Nations title holders, unseating France, who won a Grand Slam in 2010. England won the 2011 title on 19 March, when France defeated Wales at the Stade de France in a 28-9 win.
Each of the six sides play each other once, and they take it in turns each year to play at home – which is obviously the key to which team ultimately wins the tournament. The winner of each game receives two points and one for a draw and there are no bonuses available for tries.
When a team wins all its games, they are said to have won a Grand Slam, while wins by one Home Nation over the other three Home Nations is called a Triple Crown'. At the end of the tournament the team that finishes at the bottom of the table is said to have won the Wooden Spoon, while a team which loses all five matches is said to have been 'whitewashed'.
Online bookmakers offer their clients odds on all of the likelihoods. Punters can bet on who will win the Six Nations Championship, whether a team will go unbeaten and win the Grand Slam (or even if there won’t be a Grand Slam winner) and if one home nation will beat the other three and take a Triple Crown (or not). Odds are also available on which side will finish bottom.
In each game odds are available on which team will win, by how far they will win by (margin), what the method of the first score will be (penalty, try, drop kick) and which player will score the first try.
Also, online bookmakers will offer special bets and quite usually free bets to use when opening an account.
Quite often, the free bet will be given if a certain player scores the first try or if a team fails to win both at half time or full time.