Attention switches to the Challenge Cup semi-finals this weekend as four teams dream of heading to Wembley.
Hull and Leeds meet in Huddersfield on Saturday while Wigan face Salford in Warrington on Sunday as both sides look to put a trophy in the cabinet.
As usual, this should give you a clue as to who the bookies expect to be at Wembley, and Wigan are the favourites to lift the cup next month – best priced 6/4. Hull and Leeds are quite difficult to separate as they are 11/4 and 3/1 respectively with Salford the outsiders at 8/1.
Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos:
Hull managed to bring their losing run in Super League to an end on Friday against Huddersfield. They can be a streaky side and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were to kick on from here.
Leeds won the recent meeting between the two sides just under two weeks ago but a lot will depend on how many players they will have back in the squad after a vastly changed side took to the field in a 34-0 defeat to Wigan on Friday.
For now, Hull are made the slight favourites. They are best priced 10/11 while Leeds are available at 11/10. Some outlets are finding them hard to separate and are not offering a handicap yet – but there are some two-point and four-point starts available for the Rhinos.
One price that sticks out at this stage is 11/10 on Hull -2 with William Hill and Stan James. If Leeds name a 19-man squad that sees plenty of familiar faces return, then it wouldn’t be a surprise if 11/10 on a Rhinos win in 80 minutes isn’t available for much longer.
Wigan Warriors v Salford Red Devils:
Ever since making it to the last four of this competition, Salford’s league form hasn’t exactly been much to write home about, while Wigan’s quarter-final win over Warrington seems to have sparked some signs of revival – though they are nowhere near the level they want to be.
The Warriors are the overwhelming favourites having won three of their last five games since their cup tie with Warrington while Salford’s league form of late has been nothing like the form that saw them in the mix towards the top of Super League. They have lost four of their last five since defeating Wakefield to book their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup – their latest defeat a 25-0 defeat to Leigh Centurions.
You’ll get Wigan a 4/9 in some places while Salford are best priced 13/5. The Red Devils have so far been given an eight-point start on the handicap. Depending on where you look you can get Wigan -8 at 11/10 and Salford +8 at 11/10. Given recent form of both sides, at this early stage we’d probably fancy Wigan to cover eight points.
We’ll have more detailed previews of these semi-finals the day before the games.