William Hill have put up some early prices for three games of the next round of Super League action. Huddersfield Giants entertain Catalans Dragons on Wednesday evening, Warrington make the short trip to Widnes on Thursday and the first kick-off on Good Friday sees Wigan host St Helens.
There are three other games of course. Castleford take on Wakefield, Salford face Leigh while Hull take on Leeds in what promises to be an intriguing encounter. At the time of writing there are no early prices on these games yet.
Wednesday’s game sees a Huddersfield side that has not won in their last six take on a Catalans side who showed signs of returning to good form with a win at Leigh.
The Giants did fight back to secure a draw at St Helens on Friday but apart from a couple of promising wins in the opening weeks of the season they have struggled for form.
Though Catalans won last time out, they were going into that game on the back of three successive defeats so it’s probably of little surprise that both sides are priced up at 10/11 for Wednesday’s clash.
The Dragons will be without Luke Burgess and Jason Baitieri for large parts of the season so a lot could depend on how they react to those losses but were boosted by the return of Tony Gigot to the side in their win over Leigh.
Given Catalans attacking capability, one would probably more inclined to lean towards backing the visitors at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Warrington are predictably strong favourites to overcome Widnes on Thursday in a battle of the bottom two – though if betting odds dictated results so far this season then Wire would be in a substantially stronger position.
They did, however, look more like their best in their win over Leeds. They looked aggressive in their defence – perhaps a bit too aggressive in Ben Westwood’s case – and had a decent structure in their attack.
Widnes have got a +12 start on the handicap and have taken one or two beatings so far this season, so backing Warrington to cover that at 10/11 may take many people’s fancy. Widnes on average have conceded the most points per game, and have scored the fewest, so far this season of any side in the competition.
The Vikings didn’t beat Warrington in any of their three meetings last season, and are 3/1 to do so on Thursday night but are going to have to produce something against their recent form to pull off an upset.
The first game on Good Friday sees both sides really in need of a win. Wigan have had the stranglehold on this fixture in recent years having won the Easter meeting between the two sides every year going back to 2010.
Two points separate them in the Super League table and despite losing their last three, Wigan are expected to end that run and continue their Good Friday hoodoo over their bitter rivals. Saints have been given +8 start on the handicap at 10/11 with Wigan to win at 2/5.
A lot has been made of Wigan’s injury crisis, but they could be boosted with the return of Anthony Gelling and their captain Sean O’Loughlin. If the latter is included in their 19-man squad it will be interesting to see if that affects the betting market. On paper Saints look as if they have enough to hurt a lot of sides in the division, it’s just a question of which side will turn up.
While plenty will point to Wigan’s injuries, their run of fixtures without key players has been pretty difficult in Hull, Leeds and Castleford. If it was a game played on paper they would fancy their chances here.
Saints are 2/1 to record their first Easter win since 2009 and purely for value the price is tempting – it feels long for a derby clash.