Wales are aiming to create a little bit of history by becoming the first team in the history of the Championship to win three consecutive titles and Paddy Power, official betting partner of the Welsh Rugby Union, make them joint 9/4 favourites to deliver.
While securing a place in the history books is always nice, focus on the task at hand is essential and Italy have caused the Welsh enough problems in the past to not be taken lightly. Still, the Irish bookmaker makes Warren Gatland's men the heavy favourites to start the campaign with a win. Wales are 1/33 to win the match and 5/6 to do so with a -19 point handicap.
History is in favour of Saturday's hosts. In spite of a couple of blips along the way, they hold the upper hand over the Italians with 17 wins, two defeats and one draw against the Azzurri. Wales are unbeaten in six games against the Italians and their home record looks imposing. They've won six out of seven home RBS 6 Nations games against Italy, drawing the other. In those wins, the average margin of victory has been 29 points, suggesting the match handicap should be covered comfortably by Wales and maybe points in the direction of something more comprehensive. Wales can be backed at 15/8 to win -28 points on the Alternative Handicap while they're 11/2 to win -40 points, a score line that would be their record defeat of the Italians.
On their last two visits to the Millennium Stadium, the Italians returned home having been beaten by 21 and 23 points respectively. Wales are 6/1 to do something similar this time around courtesy of backing them to win by 21 to 25 points on the Winning Margin Betting.
There's one obvious port of call when looking for a First Tryscorer bet for the match and it's Wales wing Alex Cuthbert. Not only was he the Top Tryscorer of last year's Championship, but he also enjoys a good record against the Italians. He has scored two tries in his two appearances against Italy to date and he's 11/2 to score the first try on Saturday.
It's also interesting to note the Welsh centres have done well against Italy in recent years. Four of the last five meetings between the nations have featured at least one try from the Welsh midfield, accounting for five of Wales' last 11 tries against Italy. With Scott Williams and Jamie Roberts set to occupy those positions this weekend, there's once again no shortage of attacking threat. Williams is 15/8 to score a try at any time in the match with Roberts a very tempting 3/1 to touch down during the game.
Paddy Power New Account Exclusive - Wales v Italy - Get Wales to win by 13 points or more at 2/1.