The Challenge Cup is the focus this weekend with 16 clubs in sixth round action, and for the first time the top eight Super League clubs from last season will participate as they look to book a place in the quarter-finals.
Several bookies have put up prices for some of the games but not all of them – we’ll preview those that have prices available now. Other games should be available later on in the week and we’ll put something together on those too. We’ll add to the previews if we think there is more to be said or any dramatic price changes take place.
Below we will also feature videos of the last time the sides met:
Featherstone Rovers v Halifax (Thursday)
Home advantage should suit Featherstone here as just the two points separate themselves and Halifax in the Championship table. However, they have been involved in a few tight games on their own patch this season, while the two sides previous meeting at Halifax only went the way of the Rovers by six points. This could be another close game, and the visitors have been given a +8 start. It might be worth backing them on that at 10/11.
As for the match odds, Fev are available at 2/5 and Halifax – who are in decent form – can be found at 11/5.
Hull FC v Catalans Dragons (Friday)
A tricky looking fixture for the holders as the Dragons came away from the KCOM Stadium with a narrow victory in the early rounds of the Super League season. Since then, Hull have shown they are real contenders for the Super League crown while Catalans have struggled for consistency – and to keep things tight in defence. Hull managed to record their fourth successive win at the weekend, but they did it the hard way by coming back from 22-0 down at Widnes.
The home side are favourites at 1/3 – with the Dragons at 10/3 – but you can find some variation on the handicaps. The visitors are being given a start varying between +8 and +12. Taking Hull at -10 at 10/11 could be the bet to back early on the handicap.
Salford Red Devils v Hull KR (Friday)
A repeat of the Million Pound Game from the end of last season, though a change of venue, which saw Salford secure their Super League status in the most dramatic of circumstances, and condemn Hull KR to a season in the Championship.
Salford have gone on to challenge towards the top of Super League, currently sitting in third, while Hull KR look in pretty good shape to attempt to reclaim their place in the top flight.
Rovers got the better of Leigh Centurions in the last round, while Salford edged past Toronto having played much of the game with 12 men.
Salford should see the Challenge Cup as a really good opportunity to win silverware but several of their home games have been tight this season. Hull KR at +12 on the handicap at 10/11 could be worth backing, even if you fancy the Red Devils to make it through to the last eight.
The home side are 1/4 to make it through, while you can find the Rovers at 10/3.
Castleford Tigers v St Helens
Arguably the tie of the round, and the chances are you won’t get better odds between now and August on either side winning the competition. Whoever wins is likely to see their odds shorten.
However, Castleford are rightly strong favourites. Their ‘worst’ home performance this season was a victory by a 17-point margin. Some bookies are offering a -10 and -12 starts for the home side. Though Saints beat them a few weeks ago, one would probably look beyond those starts as the Tigers can be irresistible at home. It’s some task facing the Saints. Taking Castleford at -10 at 10/11 with SkyBet seems to be a great bet they can’t be ignored.
Castleford are best priced 1/3 to win in 80 minutes, and if you fancy the Saints you may as well take the 7/2 on offer.
Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings
After their poor start to the Super League season, this might be Warrington’s best chance of silverware, and they will be looking to continue their good recent run of form which has seen them win five of their last six games.
Widnes are rock bottom of Super League and will be looking for a positive response following their collapse against Hull FC as they surrendered a 22-0 lead.
When the two sides met at Widnes during the Easter period this ended up being a tight encounter with Warrington prevailing 19-10.
Widnes do have the habit of taking the lead against sides, and Warrington have fallen behind in every game this season, so this could be another close one.
Wire are 1/5 to win the game, and Widnes can be found at 17/4 – and the Vikings have been given a +14 start on the handicap at 10/11. This could be a really tough one to call given Warrington’s recent thrashing of St Helens but if both sides keep up their traits from throughout this season, it could easily be a tight one. Warrington might go through, but not by such a big margin – Widnes +14 could be worth a flutter.