Both will protect you just fine. Avast! is a complete package against malware - it has everything you need, antivirus, antispyware, antirootkit, mail,p2p and web shields and improved self-defense. For Free !
Avira Free lacks the antispyware component and a web scanner, but it is also a fine choice.
BTW, don't forget to check out avast! website for nice looking skins !
Not sure about CIS final release date, but the BETA period shoudn't be long
Can't tell really