The recent round of Super League games resulting in the top four being separated by just the one point with everyone having played each other once at this stage of the season.
Castleford still lead the way but only on points difference after a narrow defeat at Hull meant they recorded back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
Leeds are second with Wigan and Hull a further point behind, while Salford are fifth and just two points off the pace – meaning it’s shaping up to be a fascinating and exciting season.
Regular season betting:
Predictably it is still Wigan and Castleford at the head of this particular market – though a few more bookies are making the Warriors slight favourites as they have won on weekends when the Tigers haven’t.
Wigan have started to get some of their front line players back from injury and recorded their third consecutive win at the weekend, while the youngsters have been stepping up in the absence of others. Shaun Wane has a decent amount of depth at his disposal, and his side are best priced 7/4.
Castleford’s defeats have only come on the road this season and will be pretty happy with the fixture list they have up until round 23. They start off with hosting Wigan next weekend but also have St Helens, Warrington, Hull and Salford to come prior to the Super 8 stage of the competition. There are still some tricky away games such as Leeds and Catalans for them to face and are 2/1 with Betway.
Hull are 6/1 and seem to have put that wobble of back-to-back home defeats to Salford and Leeds behind them when they conceded 50 points in each game but one would think they are nailed on for a top four place come the end of the season if they keep on going.
Leeds are probably the value bet. They’ve visited St Helens, Warrington, Hull and Castleford already this season – while their most difficult away games before round 23 are likely to be against Wigan, Salford and Catalans – while Wakefield are also likely to provide a stern test if the evidence from this season is anything to go by. But 13/2 offers some value.
A lot of the focus on Salford is whether they will fade away over the course of the season. But still, two points off the pace and odds of 25/1 in some places seems far too long. They are rightly fifth favourites but at that price, if you have a spare fiver lying around it could be worth a punt.
EDIT: Coral have released some interesting Regular season prices which we’ll have a piece on soon.