It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits down in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give you his calls. Brace yourself for November's Tests.
Remember you can contact Russ with all your comments and questions on Twitter - @rpetty80.
When Wales beat World Cup nemesis Samoa by 7 points in 2011, their opponents were missing fly-half Tusi Pisi and had 3 days less time to prepare. This time, the visitors go into this game with key players rested and on the back of demolishing Canada. The average score in this fixture is 24-17 to Wales and the +11 available for Samoa would have covered in 5/6 meetings between the sides and in their last 10 games against all sides. The hosts' defeat to Argentina was the first time in 22 matches that they had failed to score a try (Samoa have scored in their last 20 games) and also their biggest loss in as many games. It also marked the fifth consecutive match that they had conceded over 20 points and was a fourth straight loss. They have made some necessary changes to the side but it isn't enough to put me off taking Samoa with the points.
The All Blacks have won 11/11 games against Italy by an average score of 59-10 and scored over 55 points in 8 of those matches. The most recent contests however have been closer with 27-6 and 20-6 scores in Christchurch and Milan which saw half-back pairings of Brendon Leonard/Luke McAlister and Andy Ellis/Mike Delany with no Richie McCaw or Dan Carter featuring. Italy relied upon some 'buona fortuna' when edging past Tonga in a sloppy performance but like their opponents have made a number of changes to their starting XV. The Azzurri would have covered +31 points in 31/33 home games and the ABs have won by that amount in 3/31 away games in a comparable time period. I took that big handicap for Italy, but not with much confidence and it looks the match to avoid from a betting perspective.
You know something is wrong in an England vs Australia fixture when David Campese brings out a "can't pass, can't catch" comment and doesn't direct it at the 'Poms'. The Wallabies have lost the last 2 games to England and by 20+ points in recent away games to France, South Africa and New Zealand. They haven't scored a try in 177 minutes and despite spending plenty of time in the opposition 22, have struggled to convert possession into points all year. The sight of the French pack dismantling the Aussie scrum will have had Dan Cole, Joe Marler and company licking their lips, though England would do well to heed the lessons of Perth 2010, that scrum penalties alone won't win a match. Roles reversed, the Wallabies would show no mercy (76-0 in 1998, 51-15 in 2004, 34-3 in 2006 etc) and Stuart Lancaster's young team must do the same with vital ranking points available. I took England -5 at start of week and the Australian suspensions and injuries haven't put me off.
Scotland have won 5/16 home games versus South Africa by an average score of 10-24 and won the last match in 2010 by 4 points. Since that game, the Boks have won 2/7 away games and have led at half-time only twice in their last 10 trips. The last time New Zealand conceded over 20 was back in August 2011, so Scotland should be applauded for last week's attacking efforts and they are already reaping the rewards of Tim Visser's inclusion. The line speed in defence has to be improved upon but the pack looks well equipped to deal with the South African physicality. Scotland have led at half-time in the last 2 meetings so I'm tempted with taking them with +5 points in the opening 40 minutes and with +11 points overall. Both teams have tended to dominate possession and territory in games this year but turn over ball in vital attacking positions. SA's goal-kicking accuracy has averaged 41% in the last 4 games which could prove costly and puts me off backing them on the road.
Last week I thought that it was generous to give Argentina +11 points against the Welsh and so was surprised to see the same amount available for this clash in Lille. The average score in the 46 matches between the sides is 24-16 to France, and Los Pumas have won 8 of the last 12 meetings by 22-20. That 11-point handicap would have been covered in 11/12 of those games, only failing in the most recent 39 point loss in Tucuman, and that was very much a second or even third Argentinian XV. Plenty of the visitors have experience of playing in France and I think it will be a lot closer than the bookies expect. Argentina have clearly benefited from their Rugby Championship debut and haven't lost back-to-back games to France since 1999. It looks another game where taking the points is the right option and despite there only being 2 drops landed in the last 12 clashes, I like the 1.8 price available.
Moving away from the main markets there are a few bargains knocking about. A double of Samoa +17 and Argentina +16 with Sky Bet works out at odds of 2.2. If you throw in England -2 and Scotland +16 too, then you have a 4.4 accumulator. If you want to go greedy (and who doesn't..) with anytime try scorers then David Lemi, Aaron Smith, Juan Imhoff and Visser all to score is a whopping 188.0. The first try scorer at Twickenham to be a penalty try is 21.0, while giving Samoa, Scotland and Argentina each a 5-point lead at half-time works out at around 7.3. A card to be shown in the potentially bruising clashes in Scotland, France and Wales is 3.5. Finally Wales, England and South Africa all to win by 1-12 points is at 19.0.