Both sides had contrasting starts to their campaigns last weekend with Scotland comprehensively beaten 38-18 against England and the Italians stunning France with a 23-18 victory in Rome.
But Beattie was not surprised by the Italians' display and feels their recent record makes the visitors the favourites at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Italy have won four of the last six meetings between the teams in the competition and Scotland are odds-on favourites for a second successive wooden spoon.
When asked who the underdogs were, Beattie said: "Absolutely us. We have seen the level of performance that Italy have put together over the past few years.
"They are not the team that maybe they were three, four, five years ago. They are a very, very different animal.
"We have come off the back of a disappointing performance against England, they have just beaten France, in my eyes the pre-tournament favourites.
"We are definitely the pre-match underdogs for this game."
The Montpellier number eight had not played an international for 18 months before his Twickenham outing last weekend but he was quick to take his share of the collective responsibility for Scotland's decline in recent years.
But the 27-year-old also knows he and his team-mates have the opportunity to re-assert Scotland's standing in the world game.
"We did analysis of the way we played against England and in many, many respects we were nowhere near where we wanted to be," the former Glasgow player said.
"It was very easy to see where we went wrong, and that was a positive thing, but the only people that can change that are the players.
"We have everything in our hands and everything is on us, and we are just looking forward to going out there and trying to play better."