Round 18 has some important looking games in Super League, including local derbies, games with both sides in good form and matches that have implications for all areas of the table. Some parts of it could look very different following these fixtures. A lot of bookies have their early prices up, and we’ll have a brief look here before more detailed previews on the individual games:
Leigh Centurions v Wigan Warriors
Leigh may have slipped to the bottom of the table following their defeat to Leeds last Friday, but they are in better form than local rivals Wigan. The Centurions have at least managed to win one of their recent games, while Wigan are without a win in their last six Super League encounters.
This is a huge game for the Warriors after their recent run as they bid to bridge a sizable gap to those towards the top – with four of the top five facing each other this weekend. For Leigh, they will love nothing more than to give a bloody nose to Shaun Wane’s side – and try to lift themselves off the bottom.
You can get 9/4 on them to do just that, while Wigan are available at 1/2. Leigh have by no means disgraced themselves in recent weeks, and that probably shows in the +8 handicap that is offered pretty widely at 10/11. You can get the same price on them with a +10 start with William Hill which we like the look of right now.
Salford Red Devils v Hull FC
Salford’s winning run came to an end against Wakefield last week while Hull ended their losing run against Wigan. The Red Devils have yet to lose back-to-back games this season – and put 50 past their opponents when they met in April – while Hull can be a funny side. Lee Radford’s side seem to be very much a momentum side, they can be formidable after one or two good results, but on other occasions they look ordinary.
The best price you’ll get on Salford is 10/11 – meaning that very few bookies will offer a handicap (and that will be Hull +2), while the Black and Whites are 11/10 with Sky Bet and Bet Victor. We might fancy that bet as they look to back up their win over Wigan.
St Helens v Widnes Vikings
Saints have had a promising start to life under Justin Holbrook but after recording back-to-back wins over Hull and Wigan, they narrowly missed out to a much-changed Castleford side on Sunday. They face a Widnes side that recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season, and narrowly beat the Saints earlier on in the campaign.
This is a different kind of test for St Helens, one where they will be expected to win well. It’s of little surprise they are as a short as 2/9 while Widnes are 10/3 to record a third straight win.
The Vikings have been given a +12 start with many bookmakers at 10/11. We’d fancy Saints to cover that in light of their recent displays – though they could face a confident and stiff resistance.
Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants
Catalans have been through a really poor run of form. Their only win in their last seven league games came against Hull. During that time they have changed their coach and have looked pretty lacklustre.
Huddersfield, however, have shown some real signs of improvement and are breathing down the Dragons’ necks and could leapfrog their opponents into the top eight. They have yet to record back-to-back wins this season despite their improvement, but can go to France in confidence that several other sides have left with positive results this season.
The Dragons are favourites – and are best priced 8/13, with Huddersfield available at 15/8. The Giants look a good price with Bet365 and we’d be very tempted to back them. The Giants have widely been given a +6 start on the handicap at 10/11.
Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos
This is a very interesting game in prospect which would see the winner sitting in at least third place at the end of the weekend. Wakefield have won each of their last six Super League games and have been tricky customers for whoever they’ve been up against this season. Leeds have been pretty good this season, but their recent form has been indifferent. Their recent league form reads ‘LWLWLW’.
Trinity are 2/1 with SkyBet to continue their remarkable run and have been given a +6 start at 10/11 – though +8 with Sky Bet is available and is worth taking. Leeds are best priced 1/2 but it wouldn’t be surprising if they end up longer close to kick off.
Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves
Castleford stretched their lead to four points at the top of the Super League table last weekend, and preserved their 100% home record despite a much-changed side against St Helens.
Warrington, however, suffered their third consecutive defeat and were on the end of another hiding against Huddersfield. Not many people will be surprised if they were well-beaten again this coming weekend.
The Tigers are best priced 1/5, with Warrington as long as 4/1 (Bet Victor). Wire have been given a +14 start and one wouldn’t be surprised if Castleford – with some of their big guns returning – cover that and preserve their home record.