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Super League: Leeds Rhinos v St. Helens betting preview

Leeds v St. Helens rarely disappoints – and if it does in terms of the quality of the rugby on show like on the opening night of the season then at the very least it’s a competitive encounter.

The Rhinos will be looking to continue their record of not suffering consecutive defeats at any stage of their season – as they look to put their defeat to Castleford behind them, in one of the more bruising encounters on show this season.

They face a St. Helens side coming into this on a relative high following their remarkable late turnaround to beat Salford – but as ever consistency is the buzzword with Justin Holbrook’s side.

Leeds can go second with a win while Saints could put themselves well in touch with the top four. They’re available at 8/11 but that could drift a little given they are without both Danny McGuire and Jamie Jones-Buchanan through suspension.

The visitors have Mark Percival missing through suspension too and are best priced 6/4. They have also been given a four-point start in many places at 10/11 on the handicap – though you could get Leeds at 11/10 to cover that with William Hill as of Tuesday night. It looks appealing and one we’d back.

As for the winning margin, Saints have often been in tight matches this season – that’s not to say this definitely will be. Leeds to win by 11-15 points at 17/2 sticks out as something realistic, and decent value.

 

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Super League Grand Final betting: Why Wigan Warriors may be second favourites despite sitting eighth

Wigan Warriors crest

This is a later round-up of the Grand Final betting than usual this week, and it’s going to be a bit different. We’re going to look at why the side sitting in eighth place, Wigan Warriors, are best priced 6/1 and are second favourites to win the Grand Final.

Castleford are unsurprisingly favourites, best priced Evens, after opening up a seven-point lead at the top of Super League last weekend. Their position is so strong that regular season betting seems to have closed for the foreseeable future.

Wigan are currently going through their worst winless league run in over 100 years having failed to record a victory since April. They are currently seven points off the top four with 11 games to play before the play-offs begin, and are also just three points ahead of the Super 8’s.

The Warriors have had well-documented injury problems but the majority of their well-known names have returned to the side now. Having seen some improvement in a draw at Huddersfield – which followed progression to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup – with three of their four games before the league splits at home, several will feel they have enough to at least avert the Middle Eights.

But for them to be in the hunt to defend their crown come the end of the season they need to be consistent. Earlier on in the season they strung some wins together – including their World Club Challenge triumph over Cronulla – which is probably why they are a shorter price than St. Helens (11/1) for the Grand Final, despite the Saints being two points ahead of them. Their longest winning run is two games, compared to Wigan who recorded five consecutive wins at the start of the campaign.

There is also the point that Wigan are the defending champions and if they were to get themselves in the play-off mix they have a track record for showing up for the big games. But then so do Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos who are ahead of them – with Hull having won the Challenge Cup last season and Leeds still have many members of their treble winning side from 2015 at their disposal. Both sides do have their faults, but they have had a taste for success like Wigan. Hull and Leeds are best priced 13/2 and 8/1 respectively.

Salford and Wakefield are also ahead of Wigan and look firmly in the mix for a strong finish but recent results may suggest their bubble has burst towards the top – hence longer respective prices of 16/1 and 66/1.

The next few weeks are pivotal to Wigan’s chances to closing the gap on the sides ahead of them, and a strong showing in the Super 8’s thereafter. Many would suggest that isn’t beyond them – and that if they are in the play-offs after 30 rounds then at the very least one big threat is going to be knocked out by another – who they’d potentially meet in the Grand Final.

Some will be scratching their heads as to why Wigan are second favourites to defend their crown given all the variables that are involved for them to repeat last season’s success – but there’s also an acknowledgement it isn’t impossible. But they need to start stringing Super League wins together quickly.

 

 

 

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Super League Round 20 early betting prices

r league punts revised crest

The bookies haven’t wasted any times in releasing prices for Round 20 of Super League action – which gets underway on Thursday. Given the nature of the competition this season – and some of the fixtures – we could end up in a situation when all six games are pretty close.

Here are our initial thoughts on the prices on offer:

Leeds Rhinos v St. Helens

Leeds will look to bounce back from defeat to league leaders Castleford when they take on a Saints side buoyant following their dramatic late turnaround against Salford – culminating in a late Matty Smith drop goal to win the game.

The Rhinos have yet to lose back-to-back games this season while questions surrounding consistency will continue to be asked of St. Helens until they string a significant run of wins together.

It’s of little surprise that Leeds are favourites – best priced 8/11 with Paddy Power – while Saints are 6/4 with Bet365. You can get varying handicap bets at 10/11 with Saints offered starts of either two points or four.

Castleford Tigers v Hull FC

Castleford bounced back from their Challenge Cup defeat to Hull in some style with a bruising win over Leeds last week, while Hull continued their recent good run after a slight scare against Wakefield – though their win looked comfortable on the scoreboard.

Hull will look to repeat their two victories over the Tigers they’ve recorded this season but they might have their work cut out – as Castleford have a 100% record on their own patch this season.

The Tigers are seven points clear of their opponents at the top – so a Hull win could revitalise the possibility of the league leaders shield really being up for grabs when the closing stages come around. If the home side win, it would take something staggering for them to surrender top spot in the remaining 10 games. Castleford are 2/5 while Hull are 23/10. Hull have been given an eight-point start with some bookmakers, with one or two offering Even money on the league leaders to cover it.

Catalans Dragons v Leigh Centurions

Steve McNamara got a first look at his side in the narrow defeat to Warrington – in what was regarded by many as a game low on quality. They will be looking for some improvement here against bottom side Leigh.

Both will fancy their chances, and there is an element of tossing a coin here. If Leigh turn up they could cause some problems, and we don’t yet know just how much progress the Dragons have made ahead of this encounter.

The home side are strong favourites at 1/5, with Leigh available at 4/1 – which some might think is on the long side. They have also been given a 14-point start which looks appealing as one gets the feeling this could be a bit of an arm wrestle.

Wakefield Trinity v Warrington Wolves

Warrington ended their winless streak with a narrow win over Catalans while Wakefield have lost each of their last three in all competitions – though in defeat they don’t disgrace themselves.

Trinity are slight favourites at 5/6 with Warrington available at 21/20. A lot will depend on whether Warrington can kick on or if Wakefield can continue in the same vein as they have done throughout the season.

Given the season both sides have had, some would suggest Wakefield should be a shorter a price.

Salford Red Devils v Huddersfield Giants

Has the bubble burst for Salford? They were certainly on the end of a sickening blow at St. Helens – making it their third consecutive Super League defeat – though in that run they have made it to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Huddersfield’s recent winning run came to an end with a draw against Wigan but they have improved markedly since they last faced Salford in February.

You can get Salford at 1/2 and Huddersfield at 19/10. Some might be tempted to back the Giants given their recent improvement, and the Red Devils’ recent wobbles. Huddersfield have been given a six-point start on the handicap across the board.

Wigan Warriors v Widnes Vikings

Wigan’s draw with Huddersfield on Friday brought about their worst run of league form since the start of the 20th Century, while Widnes go into this game having won three of their last four games – climbing off the bottom of the table in the process.

There have been signs of improvement for Wigan in recent weeks – with a Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to as well as the return of high profile first team players too. They are 2/11 to record their first Super League win since April.

Widnes are 9/2 and they have shown they can give any side a tough encounter – their lack of a killer instinct in certain circumstances has perhaps let them down this season. They have been given a 14-point or 16-point start on the handicap at 10/11 depending on where you look. That’s available with Bet365 and it seems to be worth backing at this stage.

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Super League: Warrington Wolves v Catalans Dragons betting preview

 

Saturday sees two sides in the bottom four of Super League who are both desperate for a win as Warrington meet Catalans.

Wire have lost each of their last four Super League games and were narrowly beaten by Wigan in the Challenge Cup last weekend.

Catalans haven’t been in great form themselves – and this will be the first time new coach Steve McNamara will get a look at his side in competitive action. Will there be a new coach bounce from the Dragons? They’ll certainly be hoping so having won just one of their last eight league matches.

Warrington are without Stefan Ratchford through suspension. He’s replaced in the 19-man squad by Jack Johnson, and Chris Hill returns after being suspended for the defeat to Wigan.

Tony Smith’s side are heavy favourites despite their recent form – and you can get them at 2/5.

Catalans have four players back in their ranks in Jason Baitieri, Ben Garcia, Justin Horo and Jodie Broughton all returning to their 19-man squad. They have been struggling with injuries themselves this season – and some might suggest the 12/5 on offer for a Catalans win will be tempting to some.

The visitors have been given an eight-point start on handicap at Evens with various bookies – Warrington are the same price with SkyBet to cover it. Given there are some many unknowns to take into account – Catalans +8 at Evens seems to be the bet for us.

Prior to their loss to Wigan, Warrington were showing signs it was hard for them to get beyond 20 points in a game for a few weeks. If they win, it could be a narrow one.

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Super League: Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity betting preview

Hull’s position seems to have strengthened in the betting markets as the week has progressed for their clash with Wakefield.

They were 3/10 at the start of the week but 2/7 seems to be the best you can get and odds are seemingly shortening across the board – while Wakefield are now 4/1 with Bet365. They have also been given a 12-point start on the handicap with many bookmakers.

It seems that Trinity’s injuries may be starting to bite – coupled with the fact that Hull are back in good form following their victory over Castleford to make the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. They are also boosted by the return of Marc Sneyd to their 19-man squad.

Wakefield have given a good account of themselves in nearly every game they’ve played this season – and have surprised many by being in the mix for a place in the top four.

They have made four changes to the 19-man squad with Tinirau Arona, James Batchelor, Max Jowitt and Adam Walker in place of Mitch Allgood, Jordan Crowther, Danny Kimond and Dean Hadley.

The current handicap available is a 12-point start for Wakefield. Some may fancy Hull to cover it after Wakefield were comfortably beaten by Salford in the Challenge Cup last week. William Hill seem to have acknowledged that Wakefield can make games tight this season – and have therefore offered 11/10 on Hull to cover it. It’s a price that feels a little too good to turn down, even if we anticipate it to be a tight one.

This chimes in with our margin of victory bet – a Hull win by 11-15 points is available at 11/2.

 

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Super League: St. Helens v Salford Red Devils betting preview

If there was an extra television slot available for this weekend’s games, then St Helens v Salford will have probably filled it.

It’s an interesting game in prospect as Saints are still struggling for that consistency – even under new coach Justin Holbrook – but they are more than capable of recording wins against good sides.

They’ve still yet to record more than two wins on the bounce – and were defeated by Huddersfield Giants last week with their game in hand on the rest.

Salford will look for their first league win in three games and retain second place in the Super League table. They managed to get back to winning ways by booking their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup with a comprehensive win over Wakefield.

As for health of their squads – the Saints are missing Ryan Morgan through injury but are otherwise at full strength. Josh Jones is a notable inclusion in the 19-man squad for Salford.

Saints sit in sixth and are the favourites – they are best priced 8/15 – while second-placed Salford are 2/1.

Some have given the Red Devils at +6 start at 10/11 – though some at Evens, while others are offering 10/11 on a +8 start for the Devils. If they were to lose, we’d think they’d make it a tight affair – if you’re cautious, take the eight-point start with SkyBet. We like the look of a six-point start at Evens with Bet Victor and Betfred.

As for a winning margin – we’d have a look at either St Helens by 1-5 points – available at 5/1 – or Salford by 6-10 points. You can get 8/1 on that kind of victory for the Red Devils.

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Super League: Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers betting preview

Friday night’s clash at Headingley could well be game of the season as Leeds meet Castleford. They have met twice already this season with the Tigers prevailing on both occasions – though their most recent meeting a Magic Weekend was significantly closer than the thrashing handed out at The Jungle.

This time, the Rhinos will hope to make it third time lucky, and chalk up a significant victory. They are close to full strength with Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan returning to the side – though they are still without Brett Delaney and Jimmy Keinhorst.

The Tigers are slight favourites – best priced at 10/11 – as they look to bounce back from their Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Hull FC. There have been occasions when they have struggled with another away match following a defeat this season. Here they will look to bounce back to preserve their six-point lead at the top of Super League.

They will have to do it without Michael Shenton who misses out because of a knee injury.

Leeds have only lost the one game at home this season and are available at 11/8 to record another home victory – it’s a price that we fancy. The Rhinos have been given a four-point start on the handicap at 10/11 – for those who don’t feel as bold about the Rhinos chances.

Given the tight nature of the game in prospect – a 6-10 points win for either side could be on the cards. You can get the home side at 7/1, with Castleford slightly shorter at 6’s.

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Super League: Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors betting preview

Huddersfield have shown some real signs of improvement in recent weeks – and have been a handful for even the best sides in the competition.

They are currently enjoying a three-game winning run and face a Wigan side that is desperate to get back to winning ways in the Super League – having not won since April.

However, they have made it through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and seen several of their more household names return to action – though a couple of their more youthful members of the squad are likely to feature here.

After blowing the cobwebs away last week, they’ll want improvements and consistency as they try and get themselves back into contention. A win here for the Warriors would see them climb above the Giants.

Huddersfield could be without a few of their first team players – most notably Jake Mamo whose omission is one of three changes to Rick Stone’s 19-man squad. Their full-back has been something of a talisman for their recent run and will be a big miss.

Earlier on in the week, we suggested that Huddersfield’s price looked a little long but given their absentees it’s probably justified that Wigan are favourites. You can get 8/15 on Wigan while Huddersfield are available at 2/1 – and their price could lengthen further.

A four-point start was available for the Giants on the handicap but you can only get a six-point start now at 10/11. We’d fancy Wigan to cover that if they improve on last week’s showing at Warrington.

If Wigan do improve, an 11-15 points win could be on the cards – and it’s available at 6/1. If Huddersfield can cope without a few of their players well enough, they could record a win by a similar margin – available at 12/1.

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Super League: Widnes Vikings v Leigh Centurions betting preview

The first match of Round 19 is a basement battle between Widnes and Leigh. The prize for the winner? Not being bottom of the table for at least a week.

They have both had a week off to prepare for this and come into this game with grounds for optimism. Widnes – who are currently bottom – have won each of their last two home games – and are favourites to make it three home wins on the bounce. They’re best priced 4/6 to do the double over their opponents.

Leigh climbed off the bottom last time out after putting 50 points on their old rivals Wigan. It’s not the only big scalp they’ve taken recently as they managed to defeat Hull on the road not so long ago – it seems they are capable of raising their game for bigger occasions.

The Centurions are 13/8 with Betfred and have been given a +4 start with many bookies at 10/11. The majority have Widnes at the same price to cover it but Stan James and Betway have got them at Evens. The Vikings have tended to win games in a tight fashion this season so that’s not unreasonable but it’s the bet we fancy.

As for margin of victory – Widnes’ victories range from two to 20 points. You can get them at 11/2 to win by 6-10 points. If you fancy the visitors, they’re not strangers to winning by double figures – and are 12/1 with BetVictor to win by 11-15 points.

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Super League Round 19 – Early prices

r league punts revised crest

A full round of Super League fixtures returns this weekend following the Challenge Cup quarter-finals – and two sides playing catch-up with the rest of the competition.

This weekend features several games where both sides are pretty close to each other in the table and there are some early prices out. As ever, we’ll have more detailed previews of each individual game later on in the week.

Widnes Vikings v Leigh Centurions

A basement battle kicks off the weekend on Thursday – and both sides had last weekend off to prepare for it – but both sides have shown signs of improvement of late.

Widnes have won their last two home games while Leigh managed to put 50 points past local rivals Wigan in the last round to move themselves off the bottom.

In their previous meeting it was Widnes that came out on top at Leigh Sports Village – and they’re favourites to do so again here. The Vikings are 4/7 while Leigh are 13/10. The Centurions have been given a +4 start on the handicap at 10/11, with the home side the same price to cover it.

We’d fancy Widnes to continue their recent improvement, and lift themselves off the bottom – backing them to cover the handicap at this stage seems like the value bet.

St Helens v Salford Red Devils

While there have been some signs of improvement from Saints since Justin Holbrook’s arrival, they still can’t get a good, consistent run of form together. Their longest winning streak still stands at two – and they come into this game on the back of a loss to Huddersfield.

Salford lost each of their last two Super League games but bounced back in some style last Thursday in the Challenge Cup against Wakefield to book their place in the semi-finals. They still sit second in the table but don’t seem to be fancied by the bookies on the early prices. You can get 7/4 on the Red Devils – and 2/5 on the Saints. Salford have been given an eight-point start on the handicap at 4/5 – with Saints at Evens. One would expect a slightly shorter handicap to be offered later on in in the week.

For value at this stage, one would be tempted to part a little bit of money on Salford finding their winning touch in the league again.

Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers

This is one we should all look forward to. Castleford have had the upper hand against Leeds so far this season – with two wins from their two meetings, though their last encounter at Magic Weekend was substantially closer than their early season meeting at The Jungle.

Castleford’s hopes of a treble are over following their Challenge Cup defeat to Hull FC but they will look to maintain their healthy lead at the top of the table – which currently stands at six points.

Leeds are 13/10 to make it third time lucky against the Tigers, with Castleford at 8/13 – and the home side have been given a four-point start. After a long winning run coming to a halt in such a big game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Leeds finally get the better of their opponents – and their underdog price looks appealing.

Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity

Hull have certainly returned to form after booking their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup – and one would expect them to continue that good form against Wakefield.

Trinity have been an awkward side for many to face this season, and have exceeded expectations by being so close to the top four – but injuries may have caught up with them, as seemed to be the case when they lost to Salford in the Challenge Cup.

Hull are 3/10 to record another win, with Wakefield available at 9/4. Normally we’d say that’s a bit big, but Lee Radford’s Hull side seem to have the bit between their teeth at the moment. We’d expect them to cover Wakefield’s 10-point start on the handicap at 10/11 as well.

Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors

Huddersfield just keep on improving having won each of their last three to climb above the Warriors into seventh, while Wigan need to end a winless streak in the league. However, last weekend they managed to book their place in the Challenge Cup semi-final despite doing their best to hand it to Warrington.

Wigan have seen several of their star men return to fitness and they will hope results follow, though there is still a lot of improvement to be made judging by their cup win against Warrington – while Huddersfield seem to be a match for near enough any side they face.

On recent performances, we’d fancy Huddersfield at 6/4. Wigan are available at 1/2 and the Giants have been given a +6 start. Any side at their best would probably find the Giants to be handful at the moment, and their price looks pretty good value.

Warrington Wolves v Catalans Dragons

A meeting between two sides who are badly out of form and they probably feel down on their luck. At the time of writing betting has been suspended on Betfred – we’ll look this up again later to update the piece.

Warrington have lost each of their last four games in all competitions – though they came very close in their cup defeat to Wigan – while Catalans have won one in their last eight. However, it is an opportunity for the Dragons to impress their new coach Steve McNamara.

Wire will be favourites and Catalans have been given a +6 start on the handicap. It’s a really hard one to call, but this might be a case of backing the visitors because they will be a longer price. If they were both the same price you’d probably toss a coin.

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Challenge Cup odds post semi-final draw

r league punts revised crest

The Challenge Cup semi-final draw sees Hull face Leeds while Wigan will take on Salford.

Wigan are the lowest ranked Super League side left in the competition following their 27-26 win over Warrington, in contrast to Salford who are the highest ranked side following Castleford’s defeat to Hull – and the Red Devils’ own win over Wakefield.

Hull and Leeds will mean the past two winners of the competition will meet for a place in the final. Hull laid down a marker by knocking out the Super League leaders, while Leeds’s route has been pretty straightforward – as they beat Featherstone Rovers 58-0.

Following the draw, Wigan seem to be the early favourites to lift their 20th Challenge Cup. Saturday’s game saw the return of many of their first team players and if they can keep them fit, while improving on certain areas that have let them down in recent weeks they will fancy their chances of making it to Wembley.

This is certainly their best opportunity to win silverware this season and one wonders if with more players now available prior to next month’s semi-final, whether a few of their front line players will be carefully managed with that game in mind.

Their meetings with Salford has seen both sides win once each. Salford are no strangers to taking big scalps this season and have been remarkably consistent. Early prices of 8/1 following the draw seem on the long side.

It has been a while since they’ve won silverware – and you’d have to go back to 1938 until the last time they won the cup. Salford are very much battling on all fronts and they’re not to be taken lightly.

Hull and Leeds looks like a game that could be hard to call for the bookies early on – with both at 3/1 with Sky Bet. If Hull are in the same kind of form they were against Castleford when they face Leeds then the Rhinos could have their work cut out – though in their last meeting, Leeds managed to put 50 points on Hull during the Easter period.

Leeds are currently a point ahead of the cup holders in the Super League table, and have yet to suffer back-to-back defeats this season.

Both ties look nicely poised. We’ll keep a close eye on their form prior to their meetings at the end of July.

Challenge Cup outright odds:

Wigan 13/8 (Various)

Hull 3/1 (Betfred)

Leeds 3/1 (Ladbrokes/Coral)

Salford 8/1 (SkyBet, Stan James)

 

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Challenge Cup: Hull FC v Castleford Tigers betting preview

The holders versus the favourites – another one of the stand-out ties from the Challenge Cup quarter-final draw.

Hull seem to have found their form again at just the right time for this fixture – two strong performances and results against Wigan and Salford has seen them put a run of defeats behind them.

Castleford are in their best run of form this season – having won eight consecutive games in all competitions – and recently rotated their squad through the ‘second Easter’ period, they should have some of their players fresh, though they are starting to pick up one or two injuries side’s inevitably do during the season.

The visitors are favourites and understandably so – they can be found at 4/7 with Betway while Hull are 15/8 with Stan James. That’s a pretty good price for a side that has once got the better of the Tigers on their own patch this season, but does lightning strike twice in this instance?

The home side have been given a +6 start on the handicap at 10/11 with various outlets, with Castleford the same price to cover it. For a bit of value, we’d look at Castleford -6.5 with Paddy Power at Evens.

It could easily be a game where they come unstuck, but it’s hard to see their momentum being halted right now.

For margin of victory – if you fancy the home side, then it’s probably going to be a narrow victory. Hull are 9/1 to win by 1-5 points. Castleford might put a bit of distance between themselves and their opponents if they win. You can get the Tigers by 11-15 points at the same price – both of those bets are available with Bet Victor.

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Challenge Cup: Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors betting preview

It was a stand-out tie when the draw was made but now it seems like a game that both Warrington and Wigan have to win in order to salvage something from their season.

Barring an improbable run in the Super League for either or both sides – they won’t be contending the Grand Final as they did last season in October.

It’s helpful for both sides that there are some key players returning to the squad. Warrington welcome back Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown and Kurt Gidley but are without Chris Hill through suspension.

Wigan could welcome up to six players back into their side for the weekend. Sam Tomkins, Anthony Gelling, John Bateman, Sam Powell and Sean O’Loughlin are back in their 19-man squad following injury, while Liam Farrell has returned from suspension.

Both sides will be hoping that a return of their better players will mean a return to better performances.

Wigan started off the week favourites and since the announcement of the squads, their position seems to have strengthened – seeing them as short as 1/2.

Warrington are as long as 15/8. Given that it is a game when confidence could be a huge factor, that is probably a good bet.

The handicap on offer is a six-point start for the home side. You can get Evens on them with SkyBet and Stan James – while Wigan are 6/5 to cover it.

The toss-up nature of this game suggests Warrington’s price is too big, regardless of how many players are returning for both sides. While returning players are a boost for the sides, there’s no guarantee of them hitting the ground running.

That said, if you want to look at the sides winning margin, look for scorelines that could be comfortable.

You can get 9/1 on Wigan to win by 16-20 points, but for the home side to win by a similar scoreline, you can get 18’s.

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Challenge Cup: Leeds Rhinos v Featherstone Rovers betting preview

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It would be the biggest of shocks if Leeds didn’t make it through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup when they take on Featherstone Rovers at Headingley on Friday night.

The Rhinos have already had two home ties in the cup so far this season – successfully dispatching both Doncaster and Barrow. Other clubs will have been envious of the draw the Rhinos have been handed so far.

Featherstone have shown they can be competitive this season, though. They currently sit in fourth place in the Championship – and have managed to put on good shows against the best sides in that division – notably a draw with Hull KR. They have, however, shown that a bad day at the office can result in a heavy defeat like they did against London.

The bookies have given Fev a +32 start on the handicap at Evens with SkyBet – you can get the same on Leeds to cover it. One would expect Leeds to win the game quite comfortably, it’s just a case of how much they want to cut loose.

The Rhinos on the handicap looks like the best bet. You won’t get any value on them to just win inside 80 minutes at 1/40 – though if you fancy the visitors to pull off a huge shock you can get them at 19/1.

It’s hard to offer a winning margin tip for these kind of games – but Leeds by 51-55 points does stick out at 16/1 with William Hill.

Leeds Rhinos crest

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Super League: Huddersfield Giants v St. Helens betting preview

With all the focus on the Challenge Cup this weekend, it’s worth noting there is one Super League game taking place – with Huddersfield and St Helens playing catch-up on the rest of the competition when they meet at the John Smiths Stadium on Friday night.

Both sides have shown some significant improvement in recent weeks – as both of them have won four of their last six league games.

Huddersfield have seen an upturn in their performances and fortunes recently. They recorded back-to-back win for the first time this season against Warrington and Catalans – in emphatic circumstances on both occasions – while games they’ve lost have been by narrow margins against sides in good form. Their recent form has seen them climb into the top eight – and a win here would see them sit in seventh.

St Helens have certainly been showing signs of improvement under Justin Holbrook. They have won three of their four games under their new coach’s stewardship – and have climbed up into sixth. They haven’t conceded many points in recent weeks – but the only game they seemed to cut loose was their 45-0 win over Hull at Magic Weekend. This could be another occasion when they are in a tight contest.

Some of the bookies are finding this one hard to call – but the Giants have been priced up as slight favourites with several bookies – and are best priced at 10/11 at Sky Bet.

Saints are available at 6/5 with various bookmakers and could be worth a match bet – purely for the value – though some handicaps are offering them a +2 at 10/11 if you want a tiny bit of insurance.

As for winning margin betting, if you fancy Huddersfield to continue in a similar vein as they have recently done – a 21-25 points win is available at 16/1 (Betfred & BetVictor). An arm wrestle win for Saints – by 6-10 points – can be found at 6/1.

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Challenge Cup quarter-final: Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity betting preview

Both Salford and Wakefield are enjoying terrific seasons as they sit in second and fifth in the Super League table respectively – but the magnitude of this game for both sides shouldn’t be underestimated.

Whoever wins will be in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup and really have a shot at silverware. It’s rare to have seen these two clubs in the mix for honours in recent years, and neither side is going to want any opportunity slip through their fingers.

These two sides only met a couple of weeks ago at the AJ Bell Stadium with Wakefield emerging as 34-24 winners. It was the first of two consecutive home defeats for the Red Devils as Hull managed to claim victory against them last Friday.

Wakefield’s own winning run came to an end last week as they were edged out by Leeds Rhinos at home. Trinity have been a handful for a lot of sides this season and will sense a great opportunity.

The bookies, however, have the home side as favourites – with some bookies offering 1/2 while Wakefield are as long as 15/8.

That means +6 handicap is available for Trinity, and it’s something we’d definitely back at Evens (Bet365). If Wakefield don’t win the game, the chances are they’ll make it a tight affair – much like Salford’s ties in the previous rounds. The Red Devils are the same price to cover it.

As for the winning margin bets for those that like to bet on slightly longer odds, we’d look at Salford by 1-5 points at 8/1, and Wakefield by 6-10 points at 17/2.

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Challenge Cup quarter-finals early betting preview

r league punts revised crest

The quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup offer some interesting match-ups this week. When the draw was made it raised a few eyebrows and there was wish for the season to fast forward up until this point.

All of the Super League’s top four are in action as well as the holders and two sides who are looking to use the cup as a springboard for the rest of the season while Featherstone Rovers are the sole representatives from the Championship.

Here’s our brief preview of the ties – accompanied by their odds to lift the cup – before we preview the matches in a little more detail later on in the week. We’ll also have a preview of one Super League game taking place this weekend as Huddersfield face St. Helens.

(9/1) Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity (25/1)

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Wakefield scored a big win on the Red Devils’ own patch, and they have been awkward for nearly every side they have faced to far this season. In addition, Salford go into this game in the unfamiliar position having lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, with Hull also leaving the AJ Bell Stadium with two points last Friday.

Wakefield’s impressive run of wins came to an end with a narrow home defeat to Leeds Rhinos. They are likely to make this another difficult game for Salford.

The home side are the favourites to make it through to the last four at 1/2 – with Wakefield as long as 15/8 to repeat their win from a fortnight earlier, which looks appealing. On the handicap, the visitors have been given a +6 start – available at Evens with Betfred. At other bookmakers, Salford are 10/11 to cover that deficit.

(9/2) Leeds Rhinos v Featherstone Rovers (500/1)

Please forgive us for making this preview more about the Rhinos than Rovers, as most will agree that if the Rhinos are professional then they should book their place in the semi-finals. They have had Doncaster and Barrow in previous rounds at Headingley, and some of the remaining sides will probably look at Leeds a little enviously because of the draw that has been handed to them.

Featherstone have been given a +32 on the handicap at 10/11. They’ve certainly been competitive in the Championship this season as they sit fourth. Their only real disappointment of late was a heavy defeat at the hands of London, but Fev will pose a threat if they are taken lightly.

Leeds are best priced 1/50 to win the game, and you can get Featherstone at 22/1 to cause the ultimate shock and knock the Rhinos out.

(13/2) Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors (11/2)

This is a really hard one to call – and for those that have been away for a while, it’s not because both sides are good. This is a massive game for both clubs in order to try and salvage something from their season. For the victor, there will be renewed hope but whoever loses could really see their season fall off the edge of a cliff.

Both sides could see some of their frontline players return to the respective sides – and they will be hoping for improved performances too. We’ll have more on them in our more detailed preview later on in the week.

Warrington have lost their last three games pretty heavily, while Wigan’s last win was in the previous round of the cup against Swinton Lions. They will want a response after being on the end of 50 points to Leigh.

The Warriors are the slight favourites – available at 13/20 – while you can get Warrington at 17/10. Given they’re at home, and it could be a case of ‘first try wins’ given the brittle confidence of both sides, the home side seem pretty good value.

(13/2) Hull FC v Castleford Tigers (3/1)

Now this one is difficult to call for good reasons. Castleford extended their winning run in Super League to seven games at the weekend, and in recent weeks they have cleverly rotated their side to keep the bulk of their frontline players fresh.

Hull have suddenly returned to form in the past couple of weeks and it’s hard to think they won’t be up for this as they seek to retain the cup this season.

The Black and Whites have also recorded a win over the Tigers this season so they know they have nothing to fear if they’re right at it. They are an appealing 15/8 to make it through to the last four. Castleford, who are understandably favourites, are available at 8/13.

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Super League Grand Final betting round-up. Castleford and Leeds show moves

Castleford extended their winning run to seven Super League games at the weekend. With other results going their way in recent weeks they have managed to extend their lead at the top to six points. It would take a massive wobble for them not to hold top spot after 23 rounds when the league splits.

Castleford Tigers crest

After being odds-on for a while to finish top, they are now odds-on for the main prize – with William Hill, Paddy Power and BetVictor all pricing them up at 10/11 to become champions. You can still get 11/10 on the Tigers with Betfred to lift that crown in particular.

Leeds are now second favourites as they joined Salford on 24 points. Given their experience of success down the years, and the pedigree is in the squad that’s of little surprise. You can get the Rhinos at 6/1.

Leeds Rhinos crest

They’re now ahead of Wigan in the betting with many bookmakers – who bizarrely are still third favourites given their utterly woeful run of form. It would require a remarkable transformation for them to be in the mix. They’re best priced 6’s.

Hull made it back-to-back wins when they faced Salford and they’re available at 8’s. They’re much better value than Wigan, even if you don’t know which version of Lee Radford’s side will turn up.

Bizarrely, second-place Salford are best priced at 12/1, and St Helens are 10/1 – as the Saints climbed to sixth following a win over Widnes, making it three wins from their last four. It might be worth keeping an eye on the Saints to see if they really can put a serious run together in the second half of the season and improbably challenge. They face a big test as they play their game in hand at the weekend away to an improving Huddersfield side.

Though Wakefield narrowly lost at the weekend to Leeds, they still sit in fourth place. At 50/1 (BoyleSports), they still seem really good value.

It will be interesting to see if any top four or top eight betting becomes available this week – we’ll keep our eyes peeled for it.

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Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves betting preview

At the beginning of the season this will have looked like a tasty battle between two good sides, but right now there should only be one winner.

Castleford will get the chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table, while Warrington are looking to find a way to get themselves in the top eight. They come into this game on the back of comprehensive defeats to Leeds, Salford and Huddersfield. Another one could be on the way here as Castleford look to make it seven consecutive league wins.

The Tigers have rotated their squad in recent weeks to keep players fresh – and you’d expect that to show during this period of the season.

It’s not surprising the home side are 1/6 with Warrington widely available at 11/2. Warrington have been given a +16 start on the handicap. Sky Bet don’t seem convinced they’ll keep it that close as they are offering 6/5 on Wire – while other bookies are offering 10/11 on both sides with that particular handicap.

Betfred are offering Castleford -20 at 11/8 which is something we really like the look. As for a winning margin bet, we are looking a little beyond that. Castleford by 26-30 points at 8/1 with Betfred could be one to back. Though having tipped it, it’d be typical of Warrington to put in a ‘brave’ performance that keeps the scoreline down. But their form doesn’t suggest they will.

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Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos betting preview

This is a game that many would wish was on the television as Wakefield v Leeds is set up for an intriguing encounter.

It’s fourth versus third in the Super League – with Trinity arguably the biggest surprise package of the season.

They have been in excellent form – winning each of their last six league matches – and they face a side that has bounced back from the troubles of last season in Leeds, though they are in an inconsistent run of form – winning three and losing three of their last six.

Both sides have their share of absences, perhaps Wakefield more than Leeds, but the home side have made it very tricky for any visiting side to play on their patch this season. No-one has left with a comprehensive victory and their home form has been the foundation for a strong showing in the competition so far.

Earlier on in the week, Wakefield were 2/1 to record a win, that has since come in to a best price 13/8 with Betfred. Leeds are still favourites and can be found at 4/6. We like the look of the Wakefield bet, and would probably back it but for those who aren’t as bold you can take Wakefield +4 at 10/11.

As for the winning margin bets, this is widely expected to be a pretty tight encounter – and Wakefield to win by 1-5 points is 7/1 with BetVictor, and could be worth backing.

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Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants betting preview

Saturday evening sees Catalans – who are still searching for a new coach – take on an improving Huddersfield Giants side.

The Dragons have won just one of their last seven games and will be looking to try and re-establish their home as something of a fortress, but Huddersfield will take a lot from the fact that plenty of sides have left the south of France this season with something to show for their efforts.

The home side is currently having their difficulties with injuries and have won just won one of their last seven, while Huddersfield have evidently improved their performances and results – and will look to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The Giants are odds against to do just that – with a price of 8/5 available and is something we like the look of. They have been given +4 start on the handicap at Evens, while Catalans are best priced 4/6 with Stan James.

Huddersfield have also started to find their scoring touch in recent weeks and as a long shot bet, we like the look of a 16-20 points win for the Giants – available at 16/1 with William Hill.

 

PS – apologies for the short preview and if there are any errors, this was done after a watching the entire General Election coverage.

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St. Helens v Widnes Vikings betting preview

Two sides experiencing something of a revival meet when St Helens take on Widnes on Friday night.

There have been promising signs for the Saints following the arrival of new coach Justin Holbrook – as he has overseen significant wins over Hull and Wigan – but there will have been some disappointment about losing out to a much-changed Castleford side last week after leading at half time.

Widnes have managed to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season at home to Leeds and Catalans – which managed to claw them off the bottom of the table. They also managed to get the better of Saints on their own patch this season. Given their league position, they have been a testing side for a lot teams in the competition.

St Helens are firm favourites to make it three wins from four games under Holbrook – you can get odds of 1/4 on a home win – while Widnes are as long as 4/1. Some may suggest that is a little on the high side.

It’s a very different test for the home side under their new coach. They’ve had games they will have expected to be battles under him so far – Hull wasn’t. This is a game they are expected to win, and win well.

The handicaps available are given Widnes either a 12 or 14-point start at 10/11. We’d fancy Saints to cover either of those, but of course you’d take the 12-point handicap in this instance.

The question is, if Saints are certainties to win – as the bookmakers suggest – then are they going to cut loose? If so, then looking at St Helens to win by 21-25 points could be worth backing, and is available at 8/1 with both William Hill and BetVictor.

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Salford Red Devils v Hull FC betting preview

Salford will look to bounce back from their defeat to Wakefield with a victory over Hull – who themselves managed to return to winning ways against Wigan.

The Red Devils sit in second place, four points off the top, while Hull are in fifth and three points adrift of their opponents.

Salford have yet to lose back-to-back games this season, and their consistently good form has been the catalyst to their current league standings. Hull have been an odd side this season. In spells they have looked the real deal but they can at other times look ordinary.

Therefore, this should be a hard game to call. Salford took advantage of Hull’s vulnerabilities to good effect earlier on in the season, but the situation is almost reversed this time, as Hull will hope to generate some momentum from their recent victory – even if they do have a couple of players on the sidelines.

Both sides being priced at 10/11 would be fair enough for the match – which is the case with William Hill, Paddy Power and BoyleSports. It’s the best price you can get on Salford to win, but Hull are as long as 11/8 – which is available with SkyBet. We like the look of that.

Hull’s average margin of victory this season has been between 11 and 15 points – Salford’s average margin defeat falls into that particular range too. Hull are 10/1 with BetVictor to win by 11-15.

Predictably, slender Salford victories are pretty short – with a 6-10 points home win available at 11/2.

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Leigh Centurions v Wigan Warriors betting preview

Leigh face Wigan in the opening game of Round 18 in Super League on Thursday, with the game arguably carrying even more importance than it usually would.

The Centurions will look to move off the bottom of the table while Wigan urgently need to end a six-game winless run in Super League to ensure they make up some ground on the five sides ahead of them.

The Warriors are the favourites to bring their poor run to an end but they are going to have to do it without Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Sam Powell who add to their list of absentees for the time being – though there is a chance of their three-quarter line being strengthened with the return of Oliver Gildart to their squad.

Leigh have plenty of former Wigan players in their line-up, which will no doubt give the contest that little more spice.

The home side are best priced 11/5 to inflict more misery on Shaun Wane’s men, with the Warriors available at 1/2.

The handicap price has changed a little in the week. You could get Leigh +10 at 10/11 earlier on in the week, now it’s a case of +8 at best – which we’d take given recent results for both sides.

If we had to be pushed on winning margin bets, Wigan by 1-5 points is one we’d look at – without necessarily assessing the value of the odds. That’s 13/2, and the same winning margin for Leigh is 15/2.

There is a chance of an element of the wounded animal being on show – so having a Wigan win by 16-20 points win at 7/1 could be worth a small go.

 

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Super League Round 18 early prices

r league punts revised crest

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.

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Super League Grand Final betting round-up

r league punts revised crest

Castleford only strengthened their hand in Super League at the weekend. Despite making several changes to their side to face St Helens, they managed to preserve their 100% home record – demonstrating that Darryl Powell’s men have the strength in depth to mount a serious challenge for all trophies on offer this season.

You can still get them at odds of 13/10 to win the big prize in October, and their four point lead at the top of the table sees them at 1/9 to be top after Round 23 when the league splits.

The bizarre thing about the Grand Final betting is that sixth-placed Wigan – who suffered another setback against Hull this weekend – are still second favourites. The Warriors are in sixth and are six points off the top four – they are in fact closer to not being in the Super 8’s than in the mix for a Grand Final place at this stage of the season.

Salford and Leeds are best priced 9/1 and 7/1 respectively and fifth-placed Hull are as long as 11/1. You can also get 10/1 on St Helens.

The side that has the longest price of the entire top seven is fourth-placed Wakefield. They recorded their sixth consecutive league win away to Salford, and had their share of injury worries ahead of that game, but are 66/1 to pull off a huge shock and become Champions. Only a few weeks ago you will have got odds against on Trinity to finish in the top eight, and that looks virtually assured.

Chris Chester’s side are seemingly a good value bet at this stage of the season as they are in a mix for a top-four finish. It’s doubtful they’ll end up winning it, but given how consistent they’ve been up to this stage of the season, they shouldn’t be as long as they are.

Wakefield Trinity crest

 

 

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Castleford Tigers v St Helens betting preview

St Helens will travel to Castleford hoping to avoid the humiliation they suffered in the Challenge Cup – when the Tigers put 50 past them.

Since then, the Saints have managed to record back-to-back wins with a 45-0 thumping of Hull FC, and a late winner against Wigan. They’ve also taken advantage of their Challenge Cup exit by rearranging their game with Huddersfield that was scheduled for Monday. As a result they should be fresher than the league leader.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell has said he has needed to protect some of his players because of the schedule. Michael Shenton, Luke Gale and Zak Hardaker are among those who have been omitted from the squad for this weekend. There could even be a couple of debuts. This is a real test for Powell’s side who will not want to surrender any initiative, especially against a side that has found a little bit of form.

As a result of those changes, many of the bookmakers have the Saints has favourites. The best price you can get on them is 10/11 with Stan James – you can get Castleford at 13/8. While Saints have shown some signs of improvement, and certainly have certain factors in their favour, Castleford will still put out a very good side on Sunday – and have a 100% home record to maintain. 13/8 just seems too good to turn down. Sky Bet are also offering Evens for the home side with a +4 start.

While St Helens have evidently shown a little bit of improvement, there are questions that still need to be answered. They have yet to record more than two consecutive wins this season – they will obviously see this as a good opportunity but new coach Justin Holbrook certainly still has some work to do.

A lot will depend on which St Helens side turns up. If they are at it – a 6-10 points win could be on the cards – which is available at 5/1. If Castleford’s depth is even close to being a strong as their front line players, however, an 11-15 points win for the home side at 10/1 is a tempting bet.

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Widnes Vikings v Catalans Dragons betting preview

Both Widnes and Catalans have been horribly out of form of late – with the latter feeling the need to change their coach – yet both sides will go into this game looking for back-to-back wins.

It’s the first time we can remember Widnes being favourites for a game this season – as a win would take them off the bottom of the Super League table. The Vikings managed to record an eight-point win over Leeds Rhinos last week. They have managed the odd big result this season but have failed to back it up. Here is a great opportunity for them.

Catalans ended a six-game losing streak with a narrow win over Hull last week. There have been times this season when they have managed to string together a couple of good results followed by a run of poor ones. Add in the fixture congestion surrounding this period of the year, it makes this game a hard one to call.

Widnes are available at 10/11, while Catalans are priced up at 5/4. Given the knife-edge nature of this match, we’d be tempted to back the latter purely because of the value offered.

The handicap bet offered gives Catalans a +2 start at 10/11, which offers little value given what’s available elsewhere.

If the French side do come away with a win, we’d expect it to be by a margin of 6-10 points at 13/2. Given the knife edge nature of this game, we’d also have a small go on Widnes cutting loose a little, and winning by 11-15 points – available at 15/2 with William Hill.

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Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity betting preview

Not many will have bet on Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity occupying two of the top four positions in Super League at this stage of the season – but here we are.

Salford sit in second and opened up a three-point cushion on the sides behind them prior to this weekend’s games – while Wakefield are enjoying their best run of form this season having won each of their last five Super League games.

The Red Devils have won 10 of their last 11 and their incredible turnaround after being so close to relegation last season shows no signs of letting up. They’ll be looking to build on comprehensive Bank Holiday wins over Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves.

Wakefield managed to get the better of Huddersfield Giants in a tight encounter, and fought back from 20-0 down to beat Wigan 42-30 on Monday. However, they have at least three players facing lengthy spells on the sidelines – including new signing Adam Walker.

The home side are strong favourites, and are best priced 2/7 with Wakefield are available at 3/1 – and have been given a +12 start on the handicap.

We’d expect the home side to win and cover that handicap at 10/11, but Salford-14 with SkyBet at 11/10 also appeals. We’re going to tip that – especially if you feel bold.

Following on from that, for a winning margin, we’re going to tip Salford by 16-20 points at 13/2 with William Hill. While the points have started to flow for Salford, it’s hard to see Wakefield being on the end of a battering given their good season so far.

 

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Huddersfield Giants v Warrington Wolves betting preview

When the prices first came out, Huddersfield were the early favourites. The Giants have had a week off after their clash with St Helens was postponed – and have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks in winning two of their last four games.

Warrington however, lost both of their games over the Bank Holiday weekend and it seems their slim chances of competing for a place in the Grand Final have come to an end. This game will carry huge significance for both side’s chances of qualifying for the Super 8’s. The Wolves are just two points ahead of their opponents, and sit in ninth.

Huddersfield are still slight favourites with many of the bookies – though some are struggling to separate them.

You can get 10/11 on a home win for the Giants – which will be just their second of the season – and they will be able to welcome Danny Brough back to the side following a two-game ban, and new signing Jordan Turner could make his debut.

Warrington are available at 5/4 (Marathon) and given how they have been performing for much of the season, they haven’t exactly been priced well by the bookmakers. On Monday for example, they were favourites to beat Salford – a side who are second in the league and left Wire well beaten. Daryl Clark is a notable absentee for them along with Kurt Gidley.

If pushed, one would have to back the Giants to record only their second home win of the season. Their performances have improved markedly of late, and they are the fresher of the two sides.

If they are to win, by 6-10 points seems a likely margin, and that’s available at 11/2.

 

 

 

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Hull FC v Wigan Warriors betting preview

Hull FC v Wigan Warriors will have been fancied as a game that could prove pivotal at the top of the Super League table, but Saturday’s clash will see both sides trying to stay in contention at the top.

Hull have lost each of their last three games, while Wigan are without a win in each of their last four Super League outings.

As a result, it’s probably a hard one for people to call. You never seem to know which Hull side can turn up, while you can’t really mention Wigan without looking at the bodies they have available. Their injury woes have shown signs of easing but they are still without some key players. It must be said that Hull are without at least five frontline players themselves.

A lot of the focus seems to be on how Wigan play when Sean O’Loughlin takes a breather in games as there is a correlation with them surrendering winning positions in their most recent games.

For the visitors, it is a must-win game for them to keep touch with the top four. Hull are a point off third place and sit in fifth, with Wigan a further three points back. If Hull were to end their recent barren run, it would be an uphill task for Shaun Wane’s side to contend for a place in the Grand Final.

But if Hull were to lose, there’d be serious doubts about their credentials too. They were hammered by St Helens, lost at home to newboys Leigh and Catalans – who’ve recently changed coaches – got the better of them late on in an arm-wrestle.

The home side are slight favourites, – though Sky Bet, Stan James and Ladbrokes have priced both sides at 10/11. That’s the best price you will get for Hull, though you can get longer on Wigan at 6/5 with the likes of Bet365 and Betfred. Given the magnitude of the game for the visitors, and that they’ve played some decent rugby in spells, we’d tentatively back Wigan at that price.

Given how crucial the game could be for both sides, 1-5 points margin could be worth looking at for either side. Both Hull 1-5 points and Wigan 1-5 points are offered at 13/2 with BetVictor.

One thing to mention is that both sides have average win margins that fall into the 11-15 points range. Hull are 17/2 with BetVictor to win by that margin – Wigan by 11-15 points is 10/1 with the same company. Either of those two could be worth a look at if you don’t fancy a tight margin of victory.

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Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Centurions betting preview:

The first game of Round 17 sees Leeds Rhinos take on Leigh Centurions at Headingley – with both sides coming into this game on the back of a mixed Bank Holiday.

After dismantling Warrington 40-0 on the Friday, you would have expected the Rhinos to back that up with a win at bottom side Widnes, instead they were defeated 28-20.

If offered before last weekend, Leigh will have probably taken the two results they were given as they ended their eight-game losing streak in the league with a win at Hull, but were comprehensively beaten to nil on their own patch by league leaders Castleford.

It just about keeps them off the bottom – a point clear of Widnes – but the chances are they are going to need favours from elsewhere to remain off the foot of the table.

Leeds are strong favourites. Though they have been inconsistent – winning three and losing three of their last six league games – they have yet to record back-to-back defeats this season.

Leigh have been given a +16 start with Betfred and Sporting Bet at 10/11 with shorter handicap bets available elsewhere. Some may be tempted by that given their close encounter earlier on in the season, while on other previous showing against the Rhinos the Centurions have usually given a good account of themselves.

Paddy Power have given them a +12 start and we’d back Leeds to cover that at 10/11.

The Rhinos are strong favourites to win the match, and are available at 2/9 but they are as short as 1/12. With Marathon Bet, Leigh are as long as 69/10.

You can imagine that Leeds will win comfortably, but their opponents won’t be disgraced. A 16-20 point for the home side at 11/2 is probably the one to back for a winning margin.

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Super League Grand Final and Regular season betting update – 100/1 shot in the mix

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The Super League table has a really interesting look to it now. Not many will have banked on Castleford, Salford and Wakefield making up three of the top four at this stage of the season – Leeds are the other side.

Warrington have dropped out of the top eight, a cushion is threatening to open up between the top five and Wigan while St Helens will be encouraged by their back-to-back wins.

Here we’ll have a look at the betting markets for Grand Final and Regular Season winner:

Castleford Tigers crest

Grand Final:

Castleford remain the strong favourites to become champions at the end of the season. They are best priced 6/4 and people seem to think the Tigers are by far and away the best side in the competition this season.

However, they only command a two-point lead over Salford. Bizarrely they are still as long as 12/1 with Paddy Power for main prize. That’s a lot shorter than the 33/1 they were a few weeks ago, but the Red Devils’ good season shows no signs of stopping just yet.

Leeds are going through a bit of an inconsistent phase in their season – as they have alternated between victories and defeats for each of their past six league games. Nevertheless, the experience and pedigree of their squad shouldn’t be underestimated come the business end of the season. They are 8/1 to win another Super League title.

Wakefield Trinity crest

As for the side sitting in fourth place in Wakefield, no-one would’ve thought they would be riding high in the table – with five consecutive wins putting them in contention for a top four place. You can get 100/1 on Trinity to be Grand Final winners. It’s doubtful they will win it, but if you’re in contention at this stage of the season, you should probably be shorter odds than that.

They’re longer odds than ninth placed Warrington, who are eight points adrift, but still have odds of 33/1. Wire’s revival has hit the buffers following damaging defeats to Leeds and Salford.

Wigan haven’t won in their last four Super League games and are sixth – and if they were to lose to Hull next weekend their chances of a top four finish could be in danger. Bookies still expect them to come back and be in contention for the big prize come October though, as they are best priced 3/1.

Hull, after three consecutive league defeats, are as long as 12/1. St Helens – who have recorded back-to-back wins in Justin Holbrook’s first two games in charge, and had their game with Huddersfield with postponed – are best priced 8/1. A good run of form is seemingly anticipated from the Saints.

Regular Season:

For the Regular Season winner prize – meaning after 23 games – it’s probably a two-horse race. Castleford are two points clear of Salford and there’s a further four-point cushion back to Leeds. Castleford are 1/4 to be top before the split, while you can get Salford at 7/1. The Tigers look set to be top, the big question is just how much can Salford push them?

Salford Red Devils crest

Super League Round 16 betting preview and early prices

FeaturedSuper League Round 16 betting preview and early prices

Given the quick turnaround in games, we’re probably going to stick to one piece to preview all of Bank Holiday Monday’s Super League action. Bet365 have been the first bookmakers to release some odds for tomorrow’s games – and we’ll try to update this piece as we go. You’ll notice there are only five games, as Huddersfield and St Helens took the decision to play their game next month – on the weekend of the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

EDIT: More prices have been put up and the piece below has been amended.

Here’s our look at the five matches:

Warrington Wolves v Salford Red Devils

Salford made it nine wins from their last ten Super League games when they hammered Catalans 50-12 on Friday night. Warrington, however, were on the end of a hiding as they lost 40-0 at Leeds.

It’s an interesting game this one. Warrington have shown signs recently of being competitive again after their awful start to the season – but heavy defeats come along like the one to Leeds from time-to-time that will ultimately prevent their Super League campaign from making the kind of recovery it needs.

They need to bounce back and will have their work cut out against in-form Salford side. The Red Devils will be determined to back up their most impressive home win of the season with another big scalp on the road.

Salford are as long as 7/4 (Sporting Bet) – no way should they be that long. They have been given a +4 start on the handicap too at Evens with Bet Victor and Bet 365. If Warrington were to win the likelihood it would be in an arm wrestle, and Salford’s handicap bet looks appealing. Sky Bet are offering 10/11 with the Red Devils given a +6 start. We’re going to tip the handicap bet (Salford +4 at Evens), but if you’re feeling bold, have a go at Salford outright. Wire are available at 4/7.

As for the winning margin market the two bets one probably should be looking at are either Salford 16-20 points win at 16/1 with Hills! For those that fancy the home side Warrington 1-5 points at 13/2 with Bet Victor could be worth looking at.

Wigan Warriors v Wakefield Trinity

Wigan were on the end of an agonising derby defeat to St Helens on Thursday night and have now gone four league games without a win. But with players returning, and performances improving – one would imagine that better results will soon follow.

Wakefield are on a bit of a roll and have won their last four league games – and have opened up a little cushion over their opponents. Their latest win was a hard-fought win over an improving Huddersfield side.

However, given that Wakefield have played a day later, Wigan might feel the benefit of a bit of extra rest, and end their recent winless run. It will be hard fought, but one would expect the Warriors to come through.

Wigan’s are available at 1/3 – which might be a touch short – while Wakefield look long at 7/2 with Sporting Bet. Trinity were on the big side on the handicap and were given a +12 start at Evens by Bet365.

If you got on that, well done as it isn’t available. You can get a +10 start at Evens which is still worth a look. Some outlets are still widely offering Wakefield +12 at 10/11.

For a winning margin bet, Wigan winning by 6-10 points at 5/1 could be worth a punt.

Widnes Vikings v Leeds Rhinos

Widnes looked as if they were about to pull off the biggest shock of the season so far when they were leading at Castleford, only for the league leaders to fight back late on.

Leeds continued their challenge towards the top of the table with a 40-0 demolition of Warrington on Friday night. Unsurprisingly the Rhinos are strong favourites to make it back-to-back wins at 1/3. Widnes are available at 3/1.

The Vikings have been given either a +10 or +12 start on the handicap at 10/11. Despite a performance they can take a lot of heart from, one is unsure they will be able to keep within that if Leeds only have a couple of spells when they at their best. Leeds-10 at 10/11 seems to be the bet from the early prices so far.

For a Winning Margin bet, having a look at Leeds to win by either 16-20 points at 6/1 or 21-25 points at 9/1 would be wise.

Leigh Centurions v Castleford Tigers

Leigh managed to end a miserable eight-match losing streak with a win away to Hull FC on Friday night, while Castleford had a scare against Widnes but managed to come through with a victory. It will be interesting to see just how both sides back things up following that encounter.

Unsurprisingly, the league leaders are favourites to record another victory, with the Tigers as short as 1/4. Leigh are 3/1 and have been given a +12 start on the handicap.

It’s pretty hard to know which way this is going to go as Castleford have had to dig out wins in the past couple of weeks, and Leigh will have inevitably found a bit of confidence from Friday’s win. Reluctantly, one would probably take Castleford at -12 on the handicap at 10/11 at Bet365. Leigh +14 is available at 10/11 elsewhere.

In the winning margin market, it could be worth looking at Castleford to win by 11-15 points – which is 13/2 with Bet Victor.

Catalans Dragons v Hull FC

This is a really hard game to call because of how poor both teams have been recently. Catalans are without a coach and have lost each of their last six games in all competitions – and will be in desperate need of a win here to arrest that decline.

Hull’s last win came a couple of weeks ago when they dismantled Catalans 62-0 in the Challenge Cup. Since then they have been embarrassed by St. Helens at Magic Weekend and humbled at home by Leigh.

This feels like a game that has two important factors. Which side has the most energy and confidence, and which Hull side is most likely to turn up?

The Dragons have been given the favourites tag at 8/11, with Hull at 6/4. Hull have also been given a +4 start on the handicap too.

Hull to win the match at 6/4 with Bet365 is the one to back given the price – that doesn’t mean we back it with much confidence. If they were to win, one wouldn’t be surprised if it came by a 6-10 points margin – which is 7/1 with Winner.

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Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves betting preview

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Leeds Rhinos take on Warrington Wolves in Friday’s televised games as both sides will look to find a win after missing out on victory at Magic Weekend.

The Rhinos came up against the irresistible force that is Castleford Tigers but were by no means disgraced in a highly competitive game in Newcastle – while Warrington will be smarting from a draw against Wigan. Having taken the lead late on themselves, there were pegged back by a last-minute try forcing a share of the spoils.

Despite Warrington recording a win against Leeds earlier on in the season – which was their first win of the campaign – the Rhinos are favourites and are best priced 4/6, Warrington are available at 7/5.

Given the handicap on offer – mainly giving Warrington a +4 start across the board – a tight game is expected. Most bookies are offering 10/11 with the exception of William Hill. They have Leeds at Evens to cover that handicap, with Warrington at 4/5 – so if you fancy the visitors you’d be better off backing them to win the match outright.

Leeds Rhinos crest

One would probably fancy Leeds to win the game, especially as they bounce back from any defeat they face this season and it could be hard to for Warrington to break that spell. As a result, one would feel inclined to back Leeds-4 with Hills at Evens, and that’s our bet.

Some may fancy the home side by a bigger margin, given they tend to win by double figures at home. Their average win margin is just under 16 points, while Warrington’s average defeat is just over 14 points. Leeds by 11-15 points is 13/2. If you fancy Warrington, look at their habit of winning games late on that has developed this season, which you can get at 6/1.

Warrington Wolves crest

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St. Helens v Wigan Warriors betting preview

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St. Helens v Wigan is always a fascinating clash, and though both sides are not exactly where they want to be in the Super League standings – as it’s Seventh V Sixth – but this could be a huge game in both side’s seasons.

St Helens will be looking to back up their 45-0 win at Magic Weekend with a win over their greatest rivals – and there would be no better way for Justin Holbrook to start life at home. Wigan will be out to rain on any parade that might be planned.

St Helens crest

The Warriors have been boosted by Thomas Leuluai’s return to their 19-man squad – meaning their first choice half-back combination is available for the first time in around a month.

But Saints are unsurprisingly the favourites – they are available at 8/11 but as short as 8/13 with Sky Bet who are offering a different handicap by giving Wigan a four-point start rather than the two that is widely on offer.

Wigan are available at 11/8 but have made a good first of their biggest games – with the exception of their hammering at Castleford – this season regardless of the resources at their disposal.

Wigan Warriors crest

The Warriors have tended to get the better of the Saints during their Good Friday fixtures in recent years – but the strange quirk has been that Saints have tended to find a way to win the reverse fixture in recent years.

One would anticipate this match to be pretty close – so backing either side to win by a 6-10 margin could be worth looking at. You can get 5/1 on Saints, and 6/1 on Wigan.

A really hard one to call – but taking Saints -2 on the handicap at 10/11 is one we’d (tentatively) back.

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Super League Round 15: Betfred’s early prices

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It’s a very busy period in Super League coming up – think of it as Easter mark two. After going on the road to Newcastle for Magic Weekend all 12 sides face two games either side of the Bank Holiday weekend. Betfred – as is usually the case – have been the first to price up the games for Round 15.

Here’s our early thoughts on them:

St Helens v Wigan Warriors

After their 45-0 win over Hull FC at Magic Weekend, it’s off little surprise that Saints are the early favourites at 5/6. Wigan are Evens have been given a +2 start.

It’s a fascinating game in prospect. Wigan may get one or two more players back from injury, while Saints will be looking for consistency after putting in their best performance of the season as Justin Holbrook took charge for the first time last week.

Even if Wigan do get a couple of players back, one gets the feeling that Saints price will shorten further and Wigan’s might drift – and a +4 start might be offered by bookies later on in the week.

Wakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants

Wakefield have been pretty impressive this season and have climbed up to fifth in the Super League table, while Huddersfield have shown evident signs of improvement in the past few weeks. Their game with Catalans wasn’t the greatest viewing but they managed to get the job done to make it two wins from their last three games.

One gets the feeling that this might be a game where Huddersfield do miss Danny Brough – as he serves the second of his two-game ban – though it might be a tight one. Giving the Giants a +6 start seems about right, and will probably be offered closer to kick-off. Trinity are 1/2 with Huddersfield 13/8. The value might be the home side on the handicap.

Salford Red Devils v Catalans Dragons

Salford have emerged as the main challengers to Castleford at the top of Super League and they will go in search of their ninth win in ten Super League matches. It will be interesting to see just how Catalans react after Head Coach Laurent Frayssinous left the club following their Magic Weekend defeat to Huddersfield – the Dragons fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions.

Salford are 1/3, with Catalans available at 11/5 – and they have been offered a +10 start on the handicap at Evens. There have been a few tight games at the AJ Bell Stadium this season so that could be an appealing bet, but one suspects that a +12 start at 10/11 will be available somewhere come Friday.

Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves

A big game in both side’s seasons. Warrington are still trying to recover from their poor start while Leeds will want to keep pace with the leaders and bounce back from their defeat to Castleford.

The Rhinos have yet to suffer back-to-back defeats this season. They are 4/7 to ensure they don’t on Friday night while Warrington are 11/8. Wire have been given a +4 start at Evens, with Leeds 5/6 to cover it – suggesting that Warrington might be given a +6 start on the handicap later on in the week.

If both sides turn up and are at their best, it could be a cracker on Friday night. One would probably want to look at the squads before parting any money on this.

Hull FC v Leigh Centurions

Despite losing 45-0 to St Helens at Magic Weekend, Hull are massive favourites to inflict a ninth consecutive Super League defeat on Leigh. Lee Radford’s side are 1/20 to win, with Leigh as long as 7/1 – and have been given a 20-point start on the handicap.

Taking Leigh +20 at 10/11 could be a tempting bet. They have been well beaten on one or two occasions this season but in the main their scorelines have been respectable, even in defeat.

You never know which Hull side turns up. You can get a side that will make hard work of things or play some scintillating stuff.

Castleford Tigers v Widnes Vikings

As has been mentioned before, Castleford are excellent at home. A 100% home record and they have yet to score fewer than 40 points in a single game on their own ground. It’s off little wonder they are 1/33 against bottom side Widnes. Widnes are 8/1 and have been given a +28 start at 10/11.

Given that Castleford have dismantled Leeds, Wigan and St Helens on their own patch this season, that is handicap they could well cover if they are at their best. A lot will depend on Widnes – who will be without Rangi Chase as part of the loan agreement that took him to the club.

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Post Magic Weekend: Super League Grand Final betting market round-up

Castleford Tigers crest

Castleford maintain their favourites tag to be crowned Super League champions at the end of the season. They are 6/4 to claim their maiden crown after they recorded a 29-18 win over Leeds Rhinos.

Wigan are still second favourites as a late Joe Burgess try salvaged a draw against Warrington Wolves – they’re 9/4 despite lying in sixth place.

Hull’s heavy defeat to St Helens means their price has been pushed out a little from 6/1 to 8/1. They seem to be an odd side – as they are clearly capable of competing against the best and towards the top end of the table, but three sides have now dished out comprehensive hammerings of them.

Leeds have also been pushed out following their defeat to Castleford – they’re available at 10/1 – but despite the defeat they are showing they are competitive in the big games too. Their price probably represents good value at this stage of the season.

Salford Red Devils crest

Salford’s win over Leigh has moved them into second place, but they are still 16/1 for the big prize. That’s still pretty good value even if they were as long as 33s only a couple of weeks ago.

St Helens crest

The big move seems to be from St Helens. Justin Holbrook was taking charge for the first time and it seems he had a big impact given their 45-0 win over Hull – a stark contrast to recent performances from the Saints. His challenge will be consistency between now and the end of the season – but they are best priced 11/1. They host fierce rivals Wigan on Thursday night – which will be a huge test for both sides.

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Magic Weekend Day 1 preview

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As well as the individual previews – which you can find below every mini-preview in this article – we are grouping Saturday and Sunday games of Magic Weekend. Here is our Saturday preview with the latest odds as of Friday afternoon.

Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity

All eyes may be on Rangi Chase as he makes his debut for bottom side Widnes Vikings in the opening game. Widnes have lost each of their last three in all competitions – and have yet to lose four on the bounce despite their position.

Wakefield have been going well this season and have been competitive in nearly all of their games. It’s of little surprise they are favourites. Chris Chester’s men are favourites at 4/9 with Widnes available at 9/4. The Vikings have also been given a +8 start – priced at 11/10 with Stan James – with Wakefield -8 Evens with Bet365 and BetVictor.

See also: Magic Weekend: Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity betting preview

Hull FC v St. Helens

Hull have been strong favourites all week and it’s of little surprise as they can finish Saturday on top of the table. They are going in search of a fifth consecutive Super League victory, while Saints are looking for a big win to kick start their season at a key stage of the season.

Having been hammered by Warrington and Castleford in the past couple of weeks, the Saints are probably low on confidence. It would take a lot of character, as well as ability, for them to record a win here.

Hull are best priced 2/5, while the Saints are 13/5 – and have been given a +10 start on the handicap. Some bookies have Hull at 11/10 to cover that (SkyBet, Stan James, Boylesports).

See also: Super League Magic Weekend: Hull FC v St. Helens – contrasting fortunes to continue?  

Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves

At the very start of the week Wigan were the favourites but that has turned around with Warrington becoming more and more fancied. Wigan still have numerous injury problems, while Wire have been boosted by the return of a couple of players – though Ashton Sims is a notable absentee as he serves a one-game suspension.

Warrington have rediscovered their form after a poor start to the season and could go within two points of their opponents – who currently sit fifth. Wigan will look to close the gap on the top four places – and avoid a third successive Super League defeat.

Wigan are available at 6/5 while Warrington are best priced 10/11. The Warriors have been given a +2 start on the handicap – with both sides Evens with Bet365.

See also: Super League Magic Weekend: Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves betting preview

 

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Super League Magic Weekend: Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos betting preview

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The final match of Magic Weekend 2017 is a big one. Castleford will be looking to remain top of the Super League with a win in the style that has seen them claim so many plaudits this season, while Leeds will look to go level on points with the Tigers and put down a marker to suggest this season marks a serious resurgence.

Castleford are as short as 1/4 to defeat Leeds – while the Rhinos are as long as 3/1 (Stan James). If someone had given you those odds a couple of seasons ago for a clash between these two sides, you would’ve probably laughed. The changes from Monday’s initial prices have seen Castleford shorten and Leeds drift with the bookmakers.

Leeds have been given a +10 start at 10/11, with Castleford at the same price to cover it. Apart from Stan James, who have Castleford -10 at 5/6 with Leeds +10 at Evens.

Earlier on in the season, Castleford were 66-10 winners at The Jungle. One wouldn’t anticipate a margin that great but when the Tigers win games they tend to put a decent amount of daylight between them and their opponents.

Castleford -12 at 11/10 with William Hill and SkyBet could well be a bet that appeals then. If you fancy a Leeds victory, you may as well take the 3/1 on offer.

Zak Hardaker limped from the field in the closing stages of Castleford’s win over Saints but there has yet to be an update on his injury. Even if he was absent, there’s plenty of firepower in the Tigers’ ranks for them to win well.

Leeds shouldn’t be discounted. They have plenty of attacking threats of their own but if they come out on top, the chances are it could be narrowly. They’re 9/1 to win by 1-5 points with BetVictor.

For Castleford a 16-20 point margin win is 13/2 with several outlets, but if they were to cut loose and win by a margin of 21-25 points – that’s available at 10/1.

The general thinking seems to be if Castleford win, they’ll win pretty well, if Leeds win it’ll be by a narrow margin.

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Magic Weekend: Leigh Centurions v Salford Red Devils betting preview

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Game five sees a Leigh side desperate to end a run of eight consecutive losses against a Salford side that wants to continue their run of good form – which has seen them win seven out of their last eight Super League games and put them within two points of top spot.

There hasn’t been much change in the betting from the first prices that were released on Monday. Salford are firm favourites to record another victory – best priced 2/5 – and make eight consecutive Super League defeats for the Centurions.

They’re available at 12/5 to pull off an upset and have been given a +8 start on the handicap at 10/11 in most places – with Salford the same price to cover it.

One difference is William Hill who have Leigh +8 at Evens with the Red Devils at 5/6.

It was a pretty tight game when the two sides met at the AJ Bell Stadium earlier on in the season – with Salford emerging 12-6 winners – and this could be another tight contest. But there is a chance of better conditions on Sunday and the chances of a bigger margin of victory as a result. There was plenty of handling errors from both sides in their last meeting.

Salford -10 at 11/10 with Sky Bet could be well worth backing if you want to get something that represents half-decent value on a Red Devils victory.

Popular winning margin markets seem to be Salford by either 11-15 or 16-20 – which can be found at 15/2 and 13/2 respectively with Paddy Power.

If you fancy Leigh then you’re inevitably going to get longer odds. When Leigh have won games this season, they haven’t been by particularly tight margins, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if their winless run came to an end in similar fashion. Leigh by 11-15 points at 18/1 with Paddy Power could be worth the smallest of small bets.

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Super League Magic Weekend: Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants betting preview – both sides in need of a win

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Purely from the point of view of how both sides have played recently, Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants could be one of the more intriguing games in Newcastle this weekend.

Huddersfield have shown signs of life in their past two games – stunning Leeds at Headingley – and were narrowly edged out by Castleford Tigers a week later. They had a weekend off last week after they were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Swinton Lions in the fifth round.

Catalans will be looking to put their hammering in the sixth round of the cup at the hands of Hull behind them but their Super League form of late isn’t so great either – having lost each of their last three.

The Dragons were made favourites earlier on in the week and there is no change on that front – though they can be found at 8/11 with Stan James. Huddersfield can be found at 11/8 – and have been given a +4 start across the board at 10/11.

Catalans have leaked points throughout the season – there aren’t many games that go by without them conceding at least 20 – and even without Danny Brough, Huddersfield may feel they have a chance – especially if Jake Mamo’s recent good form continues.

It could be a pretty close game, though maybe not of the highest standard. Catalans average win margin is 12 – and for them to win by 11-15 points is 8/1 with Paddy Power. If you fancy Huddersfield, they might by the kind of team to win an arm wrestle, and a 6-10 points win at 7/1 (Paddy Power and Betfred) might be worth a small go.

This is a very hard one to call – a lot of it could be down to how they start. Catalans are looking for a reaction following recent disappointments, while Huddersfield will hope they are fresh rather than rusty as they try and cope without Brough. Given they are the longer shot in a game that looks difficult to call, one might be tempted to take Huddersfield at 11/8.

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Super League Magic Weekend: Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves betting preview

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Clashes between Wigan and Warrington rarely disappoint – especially on the big stage and this could be a pivotal game in both side’s seasons.

Following their poor start to the season Warrington have been playing catch-up with the rest and could reduce the gap to their rivals to just two points – and possibly put themselves in a position to be in the mix for a top four finish come the end of the season.

Wigan will be looking to put a bit more breathing space between themselves and Wire – and close the gap on the top four in the knowledge that at least one side ahead of them won’t be winning this weekend.

Earlier on in the week, it seemed Wigan were clear, if only slight, favourites to record their eighth Magic Weekend win. They were 8/13 with Betfred initially, with Warrington at 13/10 – and the Wolves were given a +4 start on the handicap. If you were quick enough to take that price on Warrington, you’ve done well.

The bookies at one point seemed to be pretty split – with one some bookmakers making Wigan favourites, and others saying Warrington.  Now, it seems that Warrington are favourites in general – though you can still get them at 21/20 with Betway. Wigan are now best priced 6/5.

Wigan’s injury problems are pretty well documented and a lot will depend on how whatever half-back combination they start with and how they get on, along with the kind of impact Sean O’Loughlin can have on the side. Warrington have a couple of absences of their own so neither side are as strong as they’d like to be but have been boosted by the return of Joe Westerman and Daryl Clark to their 19-man squad.

Warrington have been behind at some stage in every Super League fixture this season – and even though Wigan may be depleted it’s probably something they can ill-afford here. Despite their injuries, Wigan’s squad on paper still looks pretty handy and 6/5 could be tempting.

In terms of margin of victory, if you fancy a Warrington win, a 6-10 margin might be worth looking, at about 13/2. For Wigan it could be the same, though their victories tend to be in double figures. A win by an 11-15 point margin at 10/1 with Paddy Power could take one or two people’s fancy. Though it may be one game to sit out that particular bit of betting, and keep that loose change in your pocket.

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Super League Magic Weekend: Hull FC v St. Helens – contrasting fortunes to continue?

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Hull FC could go top of the Super League if they were to beat a struggling St. Helens side at Magic Weekend in Newcastle.

Lee Radford’s side are just a point behind Castleford Tigers and are going in search of their sixth consecutive win in all competitions, while Saints will look to record a big win prior to Justin Holbrook taking charge of the club.

With Hull in second place, they are best priced 2/5 – shortened from 1/2 earlier in the week – to beat Saints whose struggles continued as they were dumped out of the Challenge Cup last weekend and are in danger of dropping out of the top eight.

You can get Saints at 11/4 with Bet365. They have shown they can get themselves up for the odd big game this season – notably at home to Castleford – but their confidence has been brittle of late. Once they concede, the game seems to get away from them and they can’t seem to dig in.

The handicap offered has changed from offering Saints +6 start to a +10 start at 10/11 – though SkyBet are offering 11/10 for Hull-10 which looks appealing. Saints +6 is now 13/10 with William Hill. Hull’s average margin of victory has been around 14 points, while Saints defeat is just over nine points – so one can see the sense in the handicap offered.

But given their recent displays against Warrington and Castleford – a third hammering could be on the way or there could be the backlash. If you fancy a backlash, you may as well take Saints at 11/4 – but for the other scenario, Hull -16 at 7/4 with Sporting Bet could be worth a look.

If Saints were to get the win, it’s likely it would be in a close game – so you might want to look at margins of victory of 1-10 points – any that fit into that range. They’re currently 8/1 to win by 1-5 points with Betfred. With Hull you could be looking at margins of 16+ points, and a win by 16-20 points is currently 13/2 with Paddy Power.

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Magic Weekend: Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity betting preview

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Widnes Vikings will be looking to move off the bottom of the table on Magic Weekend when they face Wakefield Trinity.

The Vikings have lost each of their last three games – including last weekend’s Challenge Cup clash with Warrington – and go in search of only their third win of the campaign at St James’s Park.

Trinity, however, will look to consolidate their position inside the top eight. They currently sit sixth and could at least temporarily leapfrog Wigan prior to their match with Warrington – which is the last game on the Saturday.

Wakefield have won each of their last three games in all competitions and got the better of Widnes when they faced each other at Belle Vue earlier on in the season.

The Vikings have their fair share of injuries and have recruited three players on loan this week – most notably Rangi Chase on loan from Castleford until the end of the season, in a deal which could see him stay beyond this campaign.

Widnes have the bluntest attack in the division, according to the statistics, while Wakefield have shown they can be a match for anyone this season.

Earlier on in the week bookmakers priced up Trinity as 4/7 favourites – and you’ll be lucky to get that now. They are best priced 1/2 with some firms going as short as 4/11.

Widnes are best priced 2/1 – which can be found in several places. If you like to follow patterns, bizarrely the Vikings have yet to record four consecutive losses in all competitions this season – and with a trip to Castleford next week, this might be a game they target.

Denis Betts’ side have been given a +8 start on the handicap at 10/11. There are others available but that seems pretty fair but when Widnes lose games this season, they tend to lose by a big margin. Wakefield -10 at 11/10 with both William Hill and Sky Bet could be appealing.

There aren’t many prices up for margin of victory betting but there are one or two to look out for when they are available. Wakefield’s recent wins have been by 20+ points, but on the lower side a 16-20 win margin might be worth backing at 7/1 with Paddy Power.

If you fancy the Vikings, and want a longer shot than their 2/1 match bet, Widnes winning by 6-10 points could be the bet for you. That’s available at 10/1 on Betfred.

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Super League Magic Weekend betting preview: Early prices

Magic Weekend

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.

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Challenge Cup betting round-up: Castleford the favourites as Wigan’s price lengthens

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After a pretty good weekend of Challenge Cup action, there have been some dramatic shifts in the betting market following the draw for the quarter-finals. There are new favourites and there’s some value to be had if you fancy one or two sides to come through difficult games.

First of all here’s a recap of the results, followed by the draw for the last eight:

Featherstone Rovers 24-12 Halifax

Dewsbury Rams 6-54 Wakefield Trinity

Hull FC 62-0 Catalans Dragons

Salford Red Devils 24-14 Hull KR

Castleford Tigers 53-10 St. Helens

Leeds Rhinos 72-10 Barrow Raiders

Swinton Lions 12-42 Wigan Warriors

Warrington Wolves 34-20 Widnes Vikings

The draw:

Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors

Leeds Rhinos v Featherstone Rovers

Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity

Hull FC v Castleford Tigers

Following that draw Wigan are no longer favourites to win the competition, and you can’t get the longer odds on Castleford Tigers that were available prior to their win over St Helens. It seems the bookies will price Warrington and Castleford as favourites to progress against Wigan and Hull FC respectively.

Castleford Tigers crest

The Tigers are the favourites to lift the cup in August and are best priced 7/2 to do so. Leeds – who have drawn the only side outside of the top flight – come next at 9/2 (bet365 and SkyBet) though Paddy Power has priced them as short as 10/3.

Wigan Warriors crest

Warrington are also best priced 9/2 with Sky Bet and Paddy Power while Wigan are now 5/1. It will be interesting to see if that price swaps around following Magic Weekend where the two sides meet in Newcastle on Saturday evening. The Warriors may feel they can progress if they get one or two more key players back.

Hull are 11/2 with Ladbrokes/Coral. They have already beaten Castleford at the KCOM Stadium this season so they might fancy their chances again.

Salford and Wakefield are 8/1 and 25/1 respectively. Though it isn’t the glamour tie of the round it could be intriguing – and whoever progresses is going to provide a stern test for whichever side they face in the last four.

Unsurprisingly, Featherstone are the long shots at 500/1.

There’s a market with plenty of value in it, which we’ll recap in the week ahead of the ties.

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Challenge Cup sixth round betting previews – the ‘other’ games

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Followers of this site will have noticed that other games that had early prices out for them have been previewed here.

It features early previews on Salford v Hull KR, Hull FC v Catalans, Castleford v St Helens and Warrington v Widnes.

This piece will be constantly updated over the weekend as prices become available for the remaining Challenge Cup matches.

Dewsbury Rams v Wakefield Trinity

Wakefield Trinity crest

It will be interesting to see how Wakefield approach this. They are performing admirably in Super League this season, and despite the four changes made to their 19-man squad – and it looks like that’s mostly through necessity – they seem to be taking the challenge that Dewsbury will provide them pretty seriously.

It’s worth mentioning that 25/1 looks pretty good value for them to win the competition in general.

The bookies are giving the home side around a +36 start, and it may be tempting to back the home side on that handicap. Wakefield should get through, but they know they won’t necessarily have to be at their best to book their place in the last eight. They’re best priced 1/66 to just win the match – with the Rams available at 25/1.

Dewsbury +36 at 10/11 (with William Hill and Stan James) looks tempting.

Wigan Warriors crest

Swinton Lions v Wigan Warriors

There’s some weird and wonderful pricing early on for this fixture as Wigan travel to the side that knocked out Huddersfield Giants in the last round.

The only thing they seem to agree on is that the favourites to lift the trophy in August are favourites to win the match. In the early pricing, Sky Bet have offered 1/16 on a Wigan win, while Stan James have offered 1/200. That means Swinton are priced up at 13/2 and 25/1 with the respective bookmakers.

As a result, there is something of a disagreement when it comes to the handicap betting – varying between a 24-point and 30-point start for the Lions. It could be a tricky encounter for Wigan with their injuries – especially as they are likely to pick yet another unfamiliar half-back pairing so backing Swinton with a +28 start with Bet365 is probably a good shout at 10/11. Bet Victor are offering Swinton +24 at Evens.

If you fancy Wigan to prevail handsomely, they’re 11/10 to win with a -26 handicap with Sky Bet. We might have to update you again on this one tomorrow.

Leeds Rhinos crest

Leeds Rhinos v Barrow Raiders

Leeds may have been tempted to rest a few of their front line players for this game as it comes in between their win over Catalans in France and a huge clash with league leaders Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend but Brian McDermott has named a very strong squad in the build-up.

The Rhinos didn’t cover the handicap in the previous round’s win over Doncaster and Barrow have had a good start to the season in League One – and are the only side keeping pace with Toronto at the top of that division which may tempt some punters to back the Raiders to win on the handicap.

You can get Barrow +38 at Evens which looks a little tempting, but if Leeds cut loose and really put them to the sword, Leeds -42 is available at 11/10, both bets with Sky Bet.

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Early Challenge Cup sixth round prices and bets to look out for

r league punts revised crest

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.