Justin Holbrook will have a big job on at St Helens when he takes over in just under two weeks’ time – with the Challenge Cup tie against Castleford Tigers and their Magic Weekend clash against Hull FC taking place in the intervening period.
Holbrook is likely to be in place for their derby clash with Wigan at home on 25th May after an interview process which has been likened to TV show The Voice – and is worth a read on Channel Nine’s site.
So his side could be out of the Challenge Cup and facing more of an uphill battle to make the top four in the Super League come the end of the season.
This piece is a reference point as to where his side are at in the betting markets prior to his arrival. Last month we discussed Saints’ position immediately after Keiron Cunningham’s departure as Head Coach.
We decided to wait following the weekend round of Super League games – as results elsewhere also have a big impact.
To finish in the top four, they were best priced 8/11. Now they find themselves out to 5/4 – and are not among the four favourites to occupy one of those positions after 30 games.
That’s largely down to the fact they are seven points off fourth-place Leeds at the moment in seventh place. How Holbrook will start his reign as Saints boss is going to have a big say as to whether they can find themselves in the mix come the business end of the season.
Just under a month ago you would have got 12/1 on Saints to win the Grand Final – now they are as long as 16’s.
In terms of match betting, only two sides have been favourites across the board against Saints in Wigan and Castleford – and they are two names featuring prominently at the top of the competition markets.
Though their league position looks precarious, it’s not expected they will finish outside the top eight. They’re 1/12 to be involved in the Super 8’s with Bet Victor, but that price has been drifting.
They’re best priced 14/1 to win the Challenge Cup – meaning the caretaker coaching team of Sean Long, Jamahl Lolesi and Derek Traynor will have to mastermind a victory that no other side has managed to do this season – by beating Castleford Tigers on their own patch on Saturday.
How Saints do from the end of May towards the end of the season could dictate the betting markets going into the 2018 campaign. An impressive run would certainly make punters sit up and take notice.