It’s only after this weekend that bookmakers have started to show any real uncertainty over their picks for a top four place.
St Helens have been odds on for much of the season to finish in the top four – and firmly be in the mix for a Grand Final place as a result. Their poor start culminating in the sacking of their coach Keiron Cunningham didn’t do much to the pricing that would suggest the Saints would squeeze into the top four.
BetVictor have published their prices for a top four finish (it looks like after 23 games before the Super 8s) following the weekend’s results and Saints are still fourth favourites – but have been pushed out to Evens following their 16-14 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Widnes on Friday night.
It still doesn’t make a lot of sense when you tally it up against either the regular season or Grand Final betting – which both have Leeds Rhinos ahead of them in the betting. One other price that stands out is Warrington at 5/2 while Salford are 3/1. The Red Devils currently have a five-point lead over the Wolves.
Leeds are still 11/10 for a top four place having had a very strong start to the season. It’s also worth remembering that St Helens have to travel to Leeds before the Super 8’s where the Rhinos currently have a 100% home record – contributing to their position where they are level on points with league leaders Castleford Tigers. Saints have a mountain to climb in terms of overturning that seven-point deficit.
Wigan, Castleford and Hull are priced at 1/16, 1/12 and 1/4 respectively. They’re well fancied to occupy one of the top four positions, it seems to be a question of who can join them.