The most hectic time of year in the rugby league calendar brought about some fascinating results – with a couple of changes in the Super League outright markets.
Grand Final winner:
Leeds Rhinos seem to be the biggest movers when it comes to lifting the big prize in October. After their 52-24 drubbing of Hull FC on Good Friday, they backed it up with a 42-22 win over bottom-of-the-table Widnes Vikings. At one point it looked as if the Vikings were threatening a remarkable comeback, but Leeds did enough to put themselves into second place in the Super League table.
The Rhinos are best priced at 8/1 to become champions once again but are as short as 4/1 with Sky Bet making them third favourites.
Castleford and Wigan are now joint favourites with many bookmakers – with best price of 2/1 for both sides. Wigan backed up their Good Friday win over St Helens with a 16-10 win at Wakefield, while Castleford couldn’t make it five consecutive wins as the Saints were 26-22 winners at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The Saints are best priced 11/1 to win the main prize – which makes them fifth favourites as Hull FC bounced back from two awful home results against Salford and Leeds by getting the better of Leigh 24-10. They’re currently best priced at 10/1.
What makes little sense is how the Grand Final winner market tallies up with the Top Four market. While Leeds are overall third favourites to become Champions, they are still odds against to get into the top four – fifth favourites at 5/4. Given that you need to finish in the top four to be in the play-offs, it’s a bit bizarre – and if you didn’t get on it an earlier price it’s certainly worth backing now.
St Helens are 8/11 – and they will be hoping their win over the league leaders sparks a revival, while Warrington edged out Huddersfield to make it three consecutive wins to continue their climb up the table. They’re currently 5/2 to complete a remarkable fightback over the course of the campaign.
Regular season betting:
Castleford are now odds against to be the side that will emerge top of the Super League ladder at the end of the season.
Following their loss at St Helens, Castleford are still the league leaders on points difference from Leeds having played a game less. The Tigers have a chance to move two points clear when they travel to on Sunday. They are best priced 6/4 with Bet Victor to finish top. They have been impressive so far but their trip to the KCOM Stadium is the start of a tricky run of fixtures.
Back-to-back wins means Wigan are the second favourites at 2/1. They climbed into fourth and three points off top spot. Leeds are available at 13/2 and you can get Hull at 6/1. Third-placed Salford are 20/1 with Betfred after their five-game winning run came to an end at Catalans (who are, incidentally a similar price).
Despite being odds-on for top four, St Helens are 28/1 to finish top but a seven-point deficit is a big mountain to climb even at this stage of the season.
It will be interesting to see the effect on pricing where the top eight from Super League last season are in action next weekend – with the remaining four, including Leeds and Salford, in Challenge Cup action.