Betfred have released their early prices for Magic Weekend in Newcastle as Super League action returns.
Six games take place over the course of two days and one or two bets stand out at this stage. There might be some value ahead of the weekend because of a neutral venue and the high profile nature of this round of fixtures – some may feel it could have an effect on the sides in action.
Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity (Saturday 2:30pm)
Wakefield are 4/7 favourites to kick off Magic Weekend with a win against bottom-of-the-table Widnes. Trinity have won their last two Super League games, and were comfortable winners over Dewsbury Rams in the Challenge Cup to book their place in the last eight. Chris Chester’s side have been tricky customers for nearly every side to face this season, so it’s of little surprise they’re expected to get the win.
The Vikings have lost each of their last three games in all competitions, the latest a 34-20 defeat to Warrington in the Challenge Cup. They may have lost a couple of key players through injury ahead of this game too following that battle at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. One little statistic which shouldn’t make you discount the Vikings is that they’ve yet to lost more than three games on the bounce in all competitions this season. They’re 11/8 here to end that.
Widnes have been given a +4 start at Evens, with Wakefield 4/5 to cover that. One wouldn’t be surprised if there is better handicap value to emerge at the end of the week.
Their last meeting featured a 30-4 win for Wakefield. Wakefield’s recent victories have been by comfortable margins, as have Widnes’ defeats. More than four points on the handicap will surely be offered later on in the week.
Hull FC v St. Helens (Saturday 4:45pm)
Hull will look to finish Saturday on top of the table given they trail Castleford Tigers by a solitary point against a St Helens side in dire need of a change in fortune, performances and results.
Hull came out on top when the two sides met earlier on in the season at the KCOM Stadium – winning by 10 points – and are on a five-game winning run culminating in a 62-0 win over Catalans in the Challenge Cup. Saints, by contrast, can’t get a decent run together and were dumped out of the cup by Castleford on Saturday. This is a key period for the Saints, which could potentially define their season.
Betfred are offering 1/2 on a Hull win and have given St Helens a +6 start at Evens. Hull are 5/6 to cover that and one would expect a different handicap – perhaps eight points – to be offered at 10/11 this week. Saints are 13/8 to win inside 80 minutes.
Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves (Saturday 7pm)
This could be a cracker. Wigan have been priced up as the favourites but it might depend on the bodies they have available as they continue to steer their way through an injury crisis. Failure to win could leave them with a bit of work to do for a top four finish and Warrington could move to within two points of Shaun Wane’s men.
Earlier on in the season, Wigan were 38-16 winners at Warrington while Wire couldn’t buy a win. Tony Smith’s side have won six of their last seven games. There are still doubts about them but there’s some form there.
Wigan are 8/13 and Warrington are available at 13/10. Wire have been given a +4 start at 10/11 – with Wigan at the same price to cover it. Squad announcements might affect the pricing either way, but Warrington’s price could be an early value bet.
Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants (Sunday 1pm)
Catalans were victors by seven points prior to Easter over Huddersfield, but the Giants have shown some fight in recent displays – having won against Leeds and were edged out by Castleford. Rick Stone’s men have also had a week off, while Catalans were thumped 62-0 by Hull in the Challenge Cup.
That was the Dragons fourth defeat on the bounce. Despite their recent form, they are 8/13 favourites with Huddersfield at 13/10. The Giants have been given a +4 start at 10/11 – with Catalans the same price to cover it.
Huddersfield have shown signs of finding their feet, and if they’re not rusty – they could get their second win in three games.
Leigh Centurions v Salford Red Devils (Sunday 3:15pm)
It’s hard to see where Leigh’s next win is coming from. They have lost each of their last seven games and look destined to be in the Middle 8’s after 23 rounds. In contrast, Salford seem to be serious candidates for silverware as they sit third in the Super League table. They continue to grind out wins at home, and have put the odd hammering on sides on the road too.
They’ve won seven of their last eight Super League games and are 4/11 to pick up another win, with Leigh at 11/5.
On the handicap, Leigh have been given a +8 start at Evens, with Salford 5/6 to cover it. Although Leigh don’t tend to lose by many, as illustrated in their meeting over Easter, one would expect Salford to cover that and a different handicap bet to be offered at 10/11 closer to the weekend.
Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos (Sunday 5:30pm)
At home Castleford have been irresistible and have put every side to the sword – including a 66-10 hammering of this weekend’s opponents in March. This weekend, Leeds might sense an opportunity to get at them.
Rightly, the Tigers are favourites but Leeds can go level on points with Castleford if they get the win and the Rhinos have improved since the start of the season – even if there has been the odd hiccup along the way.
Castleford are 2/5 with Leeds at 2/1. The price on Leeds looks tempting, especially if they make the game more of an arm wrestle than the Tigers are accustomed to. This is probably the kind of game you’d just like to see the first five minutes of before settling on a decision.
On the handicap, Leeds have been given a +8 start at 10/11, with Castleford the same price to cover it. Given Daryl Powell’s side like beating sides well this season, it might be worth backing them on the handicap if you fancy them.