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Latest Super League Grand Final betting: post Round 3 of Super 8s

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Hello, it’s me again! Back to clog up your social media feeds with more writing about betting and rugby league after a small break.

There have been a couple of rounds of Super 8s and Middle 8s games since the last post. Here we’ll focus on the battle for Old Trafford, while we have our piece focussing on the Middle 8s later on.

Castleford secured the league leaders shield on Thursday night with their comfortable win over Wakefield. The Tigers have bounced back with consecutive wins in recent weeks, while Wakefield have had two defeats from three games – with a victory over Leeds sandwiched in between this defeat and their one at Huddersfield.

The Tigers are best priced 6/5 to add the Super League title to their League Leaders shield.

Leeds have won both of their home games against Wigan and St. Helens and are 7/2 with Hull at 4/1. Despite their loss to Huddersfield last week, their wins over Salford and St. Helens as well as their three-point cushion over fourth-placed means they are still highly fancied despite their inconsistencies.

After the top three it gets interesting. Fourth-placed Wakefield, occupying the last play-off spot, are 80/1 but are just three points clear of eight-placed Huddersfield.

Trinity’s nearest challengers are St. Helens. A couple of weeks ago they went as short as 5/1 after ending Castleford’s 100% home record but are now 8/1 after narrowly missing out against Leeds and Hull in recent weeks.

Saints’ next opponents are sixth-placed Wigan who are 14/1. They meet at Langtree Park after Wigan’s Challenge Cup final date with Hull on Saturday. As a result of the week off, along with home advantage, one would imagine Saints would be favourites. But if Wigan were to win their third meeting of the season with their great rivals, their price is going to tumble somewhat even if they have three of the top four to face subsequently.

Huddersfield seem to be the darkest of dark horses at 250/1, but they have recorded a couple of impressive wins in the Super 8s over Wakefield and Hull, but they may have left themselves a little too much to do to make a run for Old Trafford.

 

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Super League Super 8s Round 2 early prices

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Prices are up for the second round of Super 8s action. Some sides will be looking to bounce back from damaging defeats from the first week while others will look to maintain the momentum they developed over the closing stages of the regular season rounds.

Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos

Wakefield’s bubble might have burst but they may raise their game for the arrival of Leeds on Thursday night in front of the Sky cameras. Only St. Helens have managed to come away with a convincing win here – Leeds’ last visit was a tightly contested game with the Rhinos coming out on top.

The Super League’s second-placed side are best priced 4/11 to record another victory here with Wakefield as long as 11/4. The home side have also been given a 10-point start on the handicap. Given the contrasting fortunes of the sides in the last game, you’d think Leeds would cover that, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Wakefield were to raise their game and keep it within those 10 points. Wakefield +10 is 10/11.

Salford Red Devils v Castleford Tigers

Salford are really struggling to find form and the last thing they’ll want it is to face the league leaders – though they are facing a Castleford side whose 14-match winning run in the league came to an end last week.

They will look to end their five-match losing streak by repeating the narrow win they recorded over the Tigers in March. Bookies are varying between an eight-point and ten-point start for the home side. The Devils are pushing 3/1 while the Tigers are 2/5. As far as handicap bets go, Castleford -10 looks appealing at 11/10. When sides tend to get ahead of Salford of late, they tend to put a double figure margin on them.

St. Helens v Hull FC

This is a fascinating contest in store. Saints go into this in their best run of form of the season following their win over Castleford while Hull’s form seems to be on the up. As a result this should be a pretty hard one to call.

Apart from the meeting at Magic Weekend, the other two league games have been pretty tight contests, and this should be the same. Saints are best priced 8/13 and Hull are 13/8 – which looks a little on the long side as this promises to be quite a tussle.

Some bookies are varying between two-point and four-point starts for the visitors, but you can get Evens on Hull +4. While their match price looks a little long, if you’re a little more cautious this could be a decent bet.

Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants

The two meetings between Wigan and Huddersfield this season have finished in draws – and it’s 30/1 to become a hat-trick.

Wigan were in decent form prior to their defeat at the hands of Leeds last week while Huddersfield climbed above the Warriors with a win over Wakefield.

In defeat recently Huddersfield have managed to keep things pretty close while they keep picking up wins that are making them tough customers for the top sides to face.

They have been given a start between eight and ten points on the handicap. You can get evens on Huddersfield +8 which looks a reasonable bet at this stage.

P.S. This is the last piece you’ll see on here for a couple of weeks, I’m off away. In a bit!

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Super League Grand Final and top four betting latest

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There will only be a couple of pieces from me this week – I’m off away from a computer later this week for about a week or so.

The first piece is on the Super League Grand Final betting which has seen one or two dramatic changes.

This follows St. Helens ending Castleford’s 100% home record and climbing into the top four with Leeds and Hull beating Wigan and Salford respectively.

Castleford remain favourites but have drifted from Evens to a best price of 11/8. Last week you could have got 12/1 on St. Helens to claim another Super League crown but now they have come into 5/1.

Leeds are at 7/2, with Hull at 9/2. Wigan’s challenge to retain their crown looks all but gone at 40/1, with Salford now 80/1.

The other game in the Super 8s was Huddersfield’s win over Wakefield. Huddersfield’s good form continues but they are a long shot at 200/1 and while Wakefield have impressed during the campaign, it seems their bubble has burst and they are as long as 250/1.

As for the top four, Saints have now come into 8/13. Salford are in really poor form but still just a point behind at 3/1. The others see Wigan at 10/1, Wakefield at 14/1 and Huddersfield at 33/1.

It looks as though as the top four could be the same come the end of September, it’s just a case of what order from second to fourth if St. Helens maintain their good run of form. If they do they are going to be tough to beat come the play-offs.

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Middle 8s Qualifiers: Hull KR v Halifax betting preview

Hull KR take on Halifax in the last of the Middle 8 qualifiers from the opening round on Sunday. Rovers are the greatest threat to the Super League sides for a place in the top flight for next season as they topped the Championship during the regular rounds.

They face a Halifax side who did get the better of them during their last meeting, but the Robins knew they had top spot sewn up – it’s now a case of regaining their focus and mounting an assault for a place back in the top flight.

The home side’s 19-man squad has many familiar names to it. Mose Masoe is in line for his debut while Justin Carney returns to action following a couple of games on the sidelines.

There are probably fewer recognisable names in the Halifax squad for those that focus wholly on the top flight but there a couple of names that stand out – Simon Grix and Steve Tyrer to name a couple.

As for the odds, the home side are strong favourites at 1/5 while you can get 5/1 on a Halifax win. They have also been given a 16-point start on the handicap, best priced Evens, while Hull KR are 10/11 to cover it. In some other places they have been given a 14-point start a 10/11 with Rovers the same price to cover.

Prior to their two losses, Rovers were putting a bit of distance between the two sides, but with more at stake at this stage of the season and trying to find a return to form could mean this game is a little closer.

We’d probably take Halifax on the handicap at Evens, but a winning margin for Hull KR of 11-15 points at 13/2.

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Middle 8s qualifiers: Catalans Dragons v London Broncos betting preview

Catalans’ preparations for their Middle 8s campaign have been hampered a little as Tony Gigot has been banned by the French anti-doping authority – relating to the incident that also saw him sidelined earlier on in the season, and there might be more twists to come in that particular saga.

Though Gigot’s absence will be a blow, they have received boosts with Luke Walsh, Iain Thornley and Remi Casty among those returning to their 19-man squad.

They face a London side who finished second in the Championship during the regular season and dished out a couple of hidings to teams around them so they’re not to be underestimated.

Given they have a squad capable of scoring points, against a side that has been leaking them in recent weeks (despite improvements) it’ll be interesting to see if this game could be made into a tight contest.

The bookies suggest not, however, making the Dragons overwhelming favourites at 1/9, with London available at 9/1. The Broncos have been given a 22-point start on the handicap in most places at 10/11. The Dragons are 11/10 to cover it with Sky Bet and have been drifting a little since the Gigot announcement.

One wouldn’t be surprised by any result here, but if we were pushed, we’d back the Broncos +22 at 10/11 given that Catalans have still shown signs of a leaky defence late on in games in recent weeks.

It might be tight, though, which is why we’d suggest looking at Catalans by 16-20 points at 11/2 for a winning margin bet.

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Middle 8s Qualifiers: Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions betting preview

Featherstone and Leigh is arguably the most interesting Middle 8s game this weekend as a side who played their regular season games in the Championship hosts one from the Super League.

Fev had a promising home record throughout their regular season while Leigh’s Super League campaign saw them just pick up the one win on the road.

They do come into this game on the back of a narrow defeat away to Toulouse but they tended to respond pretty well to setbacks.

It’s probably a step up this week against Leigh who are the bookies favourites. They come into this on the back of a 25-0 home win over Salford a couple of weeks ago.

You can get the Centurions at 2/7, while Rovers are 7/2 with a 12-point start in most places on the handicap at 10/11 – with Leigh the same price to cover it with the exception of Betway, who are offering Evens.

One interesting piece of team news is that Connor Farrell is in line for his debut for the home side.

It might be a game when Featherstone will try and prove they are competitive against sides who have played in Super League – but given the quality within the Leigh squad, they might have a bit too much going into the latter stages of the game and that 12-point handicap could be covered at Evens – which we’d back.

As for a winning margin, we’d have a look at Leigh by 16-20 points at 6/1. It’s the kind of game where Featherstone will be competitive for long periods, but Leigh might just take it away from them if they get their act together.

 

 

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Super League Super 8s: Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors betting preview

This week’s meeting between Leeds and Wigan is likely to have a different look to it than the one at the DW Stadium a couple of weeks ago.

Wigan were 34-0 winners last time out but were up against a much-changed Leeds side who rested the majority of their frontline players for their Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull FC – which they ended up on the wrong side of.

The Rhinos will look to keep up a pretty good home record against Wigan from recent years having not lost to the Warriors at Headingley since 2012.

They welcome back Brett Delaney from knee injuries while Liam Sutcliffe is said to be in contention after a month out.

Wigan will look to build on their cup semi-final win over Salford, and on their recent improvement in form as so many of their frontline players are back and starting to perform.

They will be without Sam Powell who picked up one-match suspension from last weekend and is replaced in the squad by Josh Ganson – and Joel Tomkins drops out with a groin problem with Jack Wells taking his place in the squad. Liam Farrell, who was included in last week’s squad but missed the win over Salford, is in contention for this week’s game.

Leeds have been slight favourites all week with most bookies but the market has seemingly tightened up. You can get a best price of Evens with Stan James on a Rhinos win while Wigan be found at 6/5.

Wigan have been given a two-point start in most places on the handicap – but a couple of places are offering 11/10 on Leeds to cover it. There have been some tight tussles between these two sides in the past but it’s a bet that certainly raises an eyebrow, but both SkyBet and BoyleSports have Wigan at the same price to cover a two-point start for Leeds. We’d go with the home side’s bet, but a draw at 22/1 might be worth a go if you have some loose change.

As for winning margins, we’d look at Leeds by 1-5 points at 13/2, and if you fancy Wigan to win they haven’t made it that close on the scoreboard lately. An 11-15 points win for the Warriors at 10/1 is certainly worth a look.

 

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Super League Super 8s: Castleford Tigers v St. Helens

Castleford and St. Helens kick off the Super 8s section of Super League on Thursday night with an intriguing match-up.

The Tigers will go in search for their 14th consecutive league win, while Saints will want to extend their winning run to four games.

The sides have met on three occasions this season – with two wins for the Tigers and one for the Saints. The two Super League clashes have been tight while the cup meeting was a hammering win for the home side when St. Helens were at the lowest ebb this season.

A win for Daryl Powell’s side could take Castleford 12 points clear at the top and on the brink of the League Leaders shield, while Saints will look to climb into the top four.

The home side welcome three players back into their 19-man squad with the return of Larne Patrick, Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner.

Saints see the return of Matty Smith to their squad following an eye injury – giving Justin Holbrook a good selection headache in the halves thanks to good displays from Theo Fages and Danny Richardson in recent weeks.

It’s of little surprise the Saints are underdogs as they travel to The Jungle with the aim of ending Castleford’s 100% home record.

Castleford are 4/9 while you can get St. Helens at 12/5 to win the match. On the handicap, the majority of bookies are offering an eight-point start for the Saints. Their last three defeats have been by eight points or fewer and all on the road and you can get Evens on Saints to win on that handicap, with Castleford 10/11 to cover it.

We’d take Saints at Evens if pushed, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a rare drawn handicap comes in at 20/1 if you fancy a long shot. As for a winning margin bet, we’d fancy Castleford by 6-10 points at 5/1.

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Middle 8 Qualifiers Round 1 – Early betting prices

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The battle for survival and promotion also gets underway this weekend with Round One of the Middle Eight qualifiers. Sky Bet appear to be the first to have released prices – though one or two others may have done by the time this goes live.

A local derby gets us underway on the Friday before three more matches over the course of Saturday and Sunday – with one of the original Super League sides getting a test on the road.

Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves

They have met three times this season – and last time was a couple of weeks ago when Warrington made it three wins from as many meetings.

Warrington did start to find some form ahead of the split – winning four of their last five games while Widnes lost their last four games which is their longest losing streak of the season.

At home they did improve in the second half of the season but they’re rightly second favourites. It’s reflected in their odds of 2/1 and they may end up longer and they’ve been given an eight-point start at 10/11. It wouldn’t be surprising if Warrington covered that but it may be tighter than some think.

Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions

This is probably the most interesting game of the weekend. Leigh were good at home but recorded just the one win on the road in Super League. On the whole Featherstone’s home record was pretty strong and their home form is going to be key if they are to make an impression in the Qualifiers.

Featherstone have been given a 14-point start on the handicap at 10/11. They’re 7/2 to record a win, with Leigh at 1/5. A first home game, they might want to send a message and it could be tight for long periods. You can see the merit of backing the home side, but if Leigh get a roll on, they might win and win well.

Catalans Dragons v London Broncos

Catalans showed signs of improvement when it came to their performances in recent weeks but couldn’t really put it together over 80 minutes. London recorded some impressive wins en route to their second-place finish.

The Broncos have been given a 24-point start on the handicap but they are facing a side that has a habit of leaking points. No-one conceded more points in the regular round of Super League than the Dragons.

It could be a bit harder for the Catalans than it would seem on paper, and London +24 looks fairly appealing early on.

For the match betting, Catalans are 1/16 and London a 13/2.

Hull KR v Halifax

Halifax got the better of Hull KR in their most recent meeting quite comfortably, but Rovers had top spot secured in the Championship.

You could argue the visitors have momentum ahead of this one having put together a string of wins before the split, while Rovers lost each of their last two. It will be interesting to see what their response is like.

Their meeting at Craven Park earlier on in the season was a 14-point win for Rovers and a 16-point start is being offered for Halifax. It seems like a fair handicap to offer on the face of things, but one would be tempted to back the visitors at 10/11 at this early stage.

For the match odds, Hull KR are 1/6 and Halifax are 4/1.

 

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Super League Super 8s Round 1 – early prices

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The Super League Super 8s get underway from Thursday as the race to Old Trafford gathers pace – though with Castleford 10 points clear at the top it is fair to stay they have given themselves a head start following their impressive regular season.

They kick off the Super 8s at home to St Helens in one of four interesting match-ups. Huddersfield face Wakefield, Hull take on Salford and Leeds face Wigan. We have a brief look at the early betting here – along with videos of their last league meetings – before more detailed match previews later in the week.

Castleford Tigers v St. Helens

The Tigers could make it 14 consecutive league wins with a win. The Saints are one of three sides to have got the better of the league leaders this season – and they will aim to be the first to do so at The Jungle having failed twice already in league and cup games.

Castleford are 4/9 to record yet another win – and edge their way closer to the League Leaders Shield – with Saints available at 12/5. St. Helens have starts of eight and ten points available with certain bookies at 10/11.

When Saints have lost games of late, they haven’t been by the widest of margins – and a +10 start at 10/11 with SkyBet may be worth a go.

Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity

Huddersfield have improved significantly as the season has gone on to ensure their place in the Super 8s. Wakefield have exceeded expectations but there might be a worry their season is running out of steam but with a week off they could look to kick on again.

The games between these two sides have been close encounters this season – which is probably why, as the home side, the Giants are best priced 8/11 favourites – you can get Trinity at around 13/8. The visitors have also been given starts ranging from two points to six points at 10/11. A four-point start at Evens with SkyBet could be a tempter.

Hull FC v Salford Red Devils

Both sides were in Challenge Cup semi-final action at the weekend with conflicting emotions at the end of it. Hull made it to Wembley while Salford fell short.

Hull seem to be at the start of one of their winning runs while Salford’s season may be running out of steam – though a win here would make us think again. The Red Devils have lost six of their last seven league games as well as their defeat to Wigan in the cup.

The home side are best priced 2/5 and you can get Salford at 11/4. Handicap offerings vary between eight and ten points at 10/11. You’d probably fancy Hull to cover either of them as things start – and there might be bigger handicaps.

Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors

The game that probably catches the eye most of the first round of the Super 8s as second meets seventh at Headingley.

Wigan made it through to the Challenge Cup final at the weekend and Leeds were knocked out by Hull and it will be interesting to see how both sides respond to that.

One gets this game won’t be like Wigan’s 34-0 win prior to the split where Leeds named a much-changed side, and it’d be nice to see both sides close to full strength go at it.

Leeds don’t tend to lose many games back-to-back and they are rightly favourites – though only slightly – and are best priced 10/11 with Wigan available at 6/5. For large parts of their semi-final win over Salford it was the best the Warriors looked for some time as they have shown signs of improvement, making their price look appealing. Any handicaps being offered focus on slender two-point starts for the Warriors at 10/11.

Challenge Cup outright betting: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors final

FeaturedChallenge Cup outright betting: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors final

Hull FC will meet Wigan Warriors at Wembley on August bank holiday weekend following wins over Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils respectively.

Following the second semi-final – Wigan’s 27-14 win – it’s the Warriors who are the slight favourites, best priced 10/11 while you can get 11/10 on Lee Radford’s side to retain the trophy with Paddy Power. At this early stage most bookies are struggling to separate them.

Both sides are not exactly unfamiliar with facing each other in the final of the Challenge Cup. They have met three times in the final in the past with Wigan winning on three occasions.

In 1959 Wigan were 30-13 winners, the 1985 final 28-24 and 16-0 in 2013.

Hull have more recent history on their side though having won the semi-final between the two sides 16-12 last season en route to lifting the trophy. They have also come out on top in both games this season in Super League.

Both sides seem to like the big occasion, and recent history might see 11/10 for Hull as tempting at this stage. It will be interesting to see the kind of form both sides are in when the final comes around in just under a month, and if the prices change!

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Challenge Cup semi-final: Wigan Warriors v Salford Red Devils betting preview

Wigan v Salford semi

Sunday’s semi-final feels like a huge game in the context of both side’s seasons – though you wouldn’t think it judging by a very minor Twitter spat about how many fans are going to be there from each club as Wigan Warriors face Salford Red Devils.

The Warriors know this is their best chance of silverware given the effect injuries and poor results have had on their Super League campaign, while Salford’s season has hit the buffers a little but they still occupy fourth place by the skin of their teeth.

Given how much rides on this game for both sides no-one should underestimate the kind of performances both sides could serve up. Wigan are looking to enhance their impressive record in this competition while Salford are looking to reach their first Challenge Cup final since 1969.

Wigan go into the game as favourites and they will have been boosted by the return of Joel Tomkins and Liam Farrell to their 19-man squad – bringing them close to full strength and perhaps offering a little more potency in attack.

You can get them at 2/5 while the Red Devils are as long as 13/5. They’ve been sweating on the fitness of Robert Lui – who has been included in their squad along with Manu Vatuvei who could make his debut on the wing. Fellow new signing Tyrone McCarthy could also feature.

On the handicap, Salford have been given an eight-point start with the bookies. You can get Evens on Wigan to cover it – though Stan James after offering a 10-point start at 10/11. Others bookies are offering 11/10 on Wigan -10 – and if they click we wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors did so we’d give that bet a go.

They’re not at the level they want to be but they’ve won three of their last five games since their quarter-final win over Warrington – while Salford have lost four of their last five.

The head-to-head this season has seen both sides claim a victory – and the margin of victory has been into double figures.

Wigan to win by 11-15 points is available at 17/2, while Salford to cause an upset by the same margin is 20/1.

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Challenge Cup semi-final: Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos betting preview

Hull v Leeds semi

The last two winners of the Challenge Cup kick off the semi-finals when Hull FC take on Leeds Rhinos in front of a sell-out crowd in Doncaster on Saturday.

The bookies appear to have found this a hard one to call. They are separated by just the one place in the Super League table – with Leeds three points clear of Hull – and they were involved in a tight tussle a couple of weeks ago with the Rhinos just edging proceedings.

Hull come into this game on the back of a win over Huddersfield last week – a timely return to form as they ended a run of three successive defeats in the process. Their 19-man squad is unchanged from the one named prior to their win over the Giants, and are a hard side to stop on their day.

Leeds come into this game on the back of a 34-0 defeat to Wigan. Though they haven’t lost back-to-back games this season, one should take that loss with a pinch of salt. With the return of so many first team players to their squad it might as well be a different team lining up this week.

You can hardly blame them, either. They were guaranteed second place going into the Super 8s and this weekend’s game is a huge occasion for them. Rob Burrow is a notable absentee but seeing no fewer than nine players return is a huge boost for them.

From the meetings this season, Leeds have won both of the regular Super League fixtures this season. They are the slight underdogs here with some bookies offering around 11/10 along with a two-point start on the handicap, best priced Evens.

You can get a Hull victory at 10/11, but Hull -2 is available at 11/10 which seems like a decent bet and represents good value. One gets the feeling if Lee Radford’s side do win, it’s likely to be a wider margin and we’d back it.

Some may think it could be a tight game for long periods, but there is potential for a side to get a roll in. Hull by 11-15 points at 11/1 could be worth a small go. If you fancy Leeds, a 6-10 points win at 6/1 could appeal.

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Super League Super 8s and Middle 8s Qualifiers betting

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There’s not usually much excitement for rugby league fans in midweek, but they had something to look out for before or during the morning commute as the fixtures for the Super 8s and Middle 8 qualifiers were announced.

Instead of regurgitating what you can find elsewhere (like here) we’re going to look at a couple of betting markets that are currently available.

Super 8s:

To start with – the top four in the Super 8s. Castleford are already assured of their place so it’s a case of who will join them in the play-offs at the end of this phase of the campaign. The bookies who’ve released prices (so far Betway and Betfred) seem pretty sure that Leeds will join them and Hull.

They have priced up the battle for the fourth spot being between St Helens and Wigan who are best priced 11/10 and 6/4 respectively despite lying in sixth and seventh place.

It’s not unreasonable given the recent form of Salford and Wakefield as they appear to have been running out of steam going into this phase of the season. Those four sides at the moment are covered by just three points.

Hull are one point further ahead but shouldn’t be complacent. Their streaky nature could get them into trouble if they hit another bad patch – they are currently 8/13.

Salford are 2/1 while Wakefield are available at 3/1.

Middle 8s

Betway have a market up for a top three finish in the Middle 8s. They seem sure Warrington will secure their place in the top flight as they are 1/50 and they think Catalans will join them – best priced 1/8.

Who comes next will be the interesting thing and it’s a tight market between Leigh, Widnes and Hull KR. Leigh are 6/5 – and their home form might get them over the line while Widnes are 5/4 and Hull KR are 2/1.

Both Widnes and Leigh have the difficult trip to Catalans in their fixtures while Hull KR don’t – and the Robins will fancy their chances against those who played in the Super League this season after beating Leigh in the Challenge Cup this season as well as running Salford close. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them secure promotion without participating in the Million Pound game.

 

 

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Challenge Cup semi-finals early betting preview

challenge cup semis

Attention switches to the Challenge Cup semi-finals this weekend as four teams dream of heading to Wembley.

Hull and Leeds meet in Huddersfield on Saturday while Wigan face Salford in Warrington on Sunday as both sides look to put a trophy in the cabinet.

Outright odds: 

As usual, this should give you a clue as to who the bookies expect to be at Wembley, and Wigan are the favourites to lift the cup next month – best priced 6/4. Hull and Leeds are quite difficult to separate as they are 11/4 and 3/1 respectively with Salford the outsiders at 8/1.

Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos:

Hull managed to bring their losing run in Super League to an end on Friday against Huddersfield. They can be a streaky side and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were to kick on from here.

Leeds won the recent meeting between the two sides just under two weeks ago but a lot will depend on how many players they will have back in the squad after a vastly changed side took to the field in a 34-0 defeat to Wigan on Friday.

For now, Hull are made the slight favourites. They are best priced 10/11 while Leeds are available at 11/10. Some outlets are finding them hard to separate and are not offering a handicap yet – but there are some two-point and four-point starts available for the Rhinos.

One price that sticks out at this stage is 11/10 on Hull -2 with William Hill and Stan James. If Leeds name a 19-man squad that sees plenty of familiar faces return, then it wouldn’t be a surprise if 11/10 on a Rhinos win in 80 minutes isn’t available for much longer.

Wigan Warriors v Salford Red Devils:

Ever since making it to the last four of this competition, Salford’s league form hasn’t exactly been much to write home about, while Wigan’s quarter-final win over Warrington seems to have sparked some signs of revival – though they are nowhere near the level they want to be.

The Warriors are the overwhelming favourites having won three of their last five games since their cup tie with Warrington while Salford’s league form of late has been nothing like the form that saw them in the mix towards the top of Super League. They have lost four of their last five since defeating Wakefield to book their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup – their latest defeat a 25-0 defeat to Leigh Centurions.

You’ll get Wigan a 4/9 in some places while Salford are best priced 13/5. The Red Devils have so far been given an eight-point start on the handicap. Depending on where you look you can get Wigan -8 at 11/10 and Salford +8 at 11/10. Given recent form of both sides, at this early stage we’d probably fancy Wigan to cover eight points.

We’ll have more detailed previews of these semi-finals the day before the games.

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Super League Grand Final betting – where does the value lie after the regular season?

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“Never write off the Saints” is a phrase popularly used by those commentating on St. Helens within the context of their matches – maybe this time it is applicable to their season.

With all of the regular rounds of Super League completed and the Super 8s will get underway in a couple of weeks’ time, it’s worth having a look at the Super League Grand Final betting.

Saints are going to be the focus of our piece while we touch on others as for the first time this weekend they managed to record their third consecutive win with a comprehensive 41-16 win at Wakefield. No-one has managed to inflict that much damage on Trinity in front of their own support this season.

As it stands, you can get Saints at around 12/1 for the Grand Final. This could be the start of a good run, and if it is then they are handily positioned to get into the play-offs – as they sit in sixth place and just a point shy of the top four.

They’ve managed to record wins against all of the sides above them so there is evidence that on their day they can turn it on – and might be able to do that on the big occasion. Their price looks good value.

Salford look there for the taking given their recent form, and Hull have shown themselves to be streaky, while the extent of Leeds injury problems may become clearer in the coming weeks.

After extending their winning run to 12 games, Castleford are odds-on with a lot of bookies to win the Grand Final with the league leaders shield within touching distance as they are 10 points clear at the top – though they are best priced at Evens.

After them come Leeds and Hull at 11/2 and 6/1 respectively. Wigan – who are two points behind the Saints – are best priced 8/1.

Salford’s form has taken a knock of late and they are now 20/1 to land the big prize while Wakefield are available at 70s and Huddersfield are 80/1.

This week we’ll have more on the league action when the fixtures for the Super 8s and Qualifiers are announced, and tomorrow we’ll start looking at the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

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Super League: Wakefield Trinity v St. Helens betting preview

It’s disappointing that Sunday’s game couldn’t have been televised as it’s sure to be competitive. No-one has left Wakefield having had an easy game this season, while Saints are going in search of their longest run of wins this season – unfortunately for them they haven’t had a winning streak spanning longer than two games this season.

The home side’s recent form is pretty inconsistent but they have faced some of the league’s big hitters in recent weeks. As for Saints, they haven’t been great on the road lately in terms of results – though they have been involved in some tight tussles against decent sides.

It’s the lack of consistency that means the Saints are three points behind Wakefield ahead of this clash.

In terms of the squads Justin Holbrook has named the same side who overcame Catalans last week while Chris Chester has recalled Reece Lyne after suspension and James Hasson could make his bow for Trinity.

The visitors are the slight favourites for this game though at around 4/5 while Wakefield are at 13/10. One gets the feeling if the shoe was on the other foot in terms of form and league position that would be justified, but Wakefield really ought to odds-on.

If the home side are to win, they’re not averse to winning tight contests (and late on). A home win by 1-5 points at 13/2 could well be the bet, there.

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Super League: Catalans Dragons v Castleford Tigers betting preview

Castleford make their trip to the south of France to take on Catalans Dragons looking to extend their winning run on Saturday evening – and possibly their lead at the top of Super League.

The Tigers are currently in commanding position – eight points clear going into this round of fixtures – and look certain to pick up the league leaders shield, and face a Catalans side trying to turn things around under Steve McNamara.

He will have seen some positives during his time, he knows his side can score points, in a couple of games they have shown signs of defensive improvement but their habit of leaking points continues to blight them.

They have named the same 19-man squad who lost to St. Helens last week as they look to lay down a marker ahead of their participation in the Middle Eight qualifiers. The bookies don’t fancy their chances that much with the Dragons priced as long as 11/4 and have been given a 10-point start on the handicap with most outlets.

Castleford will be without Greg Eden with the extent of his absence because of a shoulder injury still to be determined, but Matt Cook returns after a seven week lay-off.

The league leaders are best priced 4/11. We’d fancy them to cover that 10-point handicap and pretty comfortably given the statistics from across the season. The Tigers average win has been just over 20 points, while Catalans average defeat has been… just over 20 points! We’d go a little bolder on that handicap and back Castleford -14 at 11/8.

As for a winning margin bet, we’re going to go alone with the average statistics and suggest a Castleford win by 21-25 points – available at 10/1.

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Super League: Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos betting preview

 

The televised fixture this Friday night sees Wigan take on Leeds at the DW Stadium. The Warriors will be looking for a win to keep themselves in touch with several of the sides ahead of them going into the Super 8s against the current second-placed side.

Wigan were showing signs of revival until last week’s defeat to Warrington and there is a real need for the side to bounce back here, while Leeds will be looking for their fourth consecutive win – and their first at the DW Stadium since 2013.

The home side have named an unchanged 19-man squad from last week’s defeat to Warrington but there is a chance that Tom Davies could return on the win in place of Liam Marshall if they were to make a change.

Leeds, however, look pretty thin on the ground. Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Ash Handley, Liam Sutcliffe, Brad Singleton, Brett Ferres, Josh Walters and Adam Cuthbertson are all among those on the sidelines. It might explain why their price has drifted to 6/1.

The Rhinos will not want to take any risks with a Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull on the horizon. As a result it seems the handicap bets offering are a little all over the place – with the starts varying from 14 points to 20 points.

Wigan to cover 14 points at 10/11 could be the bet we’d back. If you like to tightly hedge (not that we’d advise such a thing) the Leeds +18 bet at Evens does catch our interest. Edit: Having seen that line-up, it’s hard to back Leeds on anything tonight – it’d be a huge shock if they were to win, and utterly commendable if they keep it close.

Despite the amount of players Leeds have out, Wigan will still have to work for this and they’ll also need the win ahead of their own cup semi-final against Salford next week. A Wigan win by 11-15 points at 13/2 is what we’d look at.

 

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Super League: Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings preview

The last regular round of Super League action before the split commences with a local derby between Warrington and Widnes on Thursday. The first thought that came to mind was: why is this on television?

Both sides have their fate sealed and will play in the Middle 8s, and you could probably make a compelling case for two of the three non-televised games to be televised along with some changes to the running order. Probably not the best match to be on the ‘main event’ channel of Sky’s restructured sports channels.

One way of being interested in it is to have a little flutter. Despite their fall from grace it seems Warrington are generating some momentum ahead of their participation in the Qualifiers having won three of their last four games – including last week’s poor replay of the 2016 Grand Final against Wigan.

The home side’s 19-man squad includes the return of Kevin Brown and Matty Russell. With more options available to them in recent weeks, along with their improvement in form, it’s of little surprise they are best priced 1/6. That price has shortened from earlier on in the week.

Widnes go into the game on the back of three successive defeats – which will be disappointing for them as their season had shown signs of coming to life prior to that. It’s hard not to notice the omission of Rangi Chase from their 19-man squad, either. The Vikings are 5/1 and it wouldn’t be surprising if they are even longer than that before kick-off. They’ve been given a 16-point start in most places on the handicap at 10/11.

Their defeats in recent weeks have ranged from 16 to 40 points margins. Warrington should cover that handicap, and if they hit the kind of form they did against Leigh in their last home outing it could be a big win. Warrington -20 is available at 13/10 if you’re feeling bold, we’d certainly take the Wolves at -16 if you’re not so bold.

As for a winning margin, a home win by 21-25 points at 6/1 could be worth looking at. Both sides will want the win, but in the grand scheme of things they know the hard work and the battle for their Super League lives begins a couple of weeks later.

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Super League Round 23 early betting prices

r league punts revised crest

No sooner than Round 22 came to end where early prices released for the last regular round of Super League action.

The top eight has already been decided it’s just a case of what positions the sides now finish in to determine the kind of fixtures they get for the Super 8s and Middle 8 qualifiers.

Below we offer our thoughts on the early prices, accompanied by videos of their most recent Super League meeting:

Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings

It’s been some fall from grace from Warrington this season as they will play in the Middle 8s but they have found some form by winning three of their last four games – including at Wigan last week. They face a Widnes side they’ve beaten twice already this season while Widnes have lost each of their last three games, and won just the once on the road this season.

Warrington are understandably favourites at 1/5 with Widnes available at 9/2. You can get a 14-point start for the Vikings on the handicap at 10/11. Given their recent form, and if Warrington can click in attack like they did against Leigh in their last home outing, you may want to wait to see what other handicaps are on offer later on in the week.

Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos

Wigan’s revival hit the buffers against Warrington and they will demand a response but they come up against a Leeds side who have won each of their last three games against sides around them to consolidate second place in the table.

It’s a bigger game for the home side in many ways as they try and close the gap on sides above them, and they could get a slightly more favourable set of fixtures if they were to climb into seventh place.

They are the favourites with 4/7 available but you can get 13/10 on Leeds. The Rhinos have also been given a four-point start – available at Evens which might look tempting. It could be worth looking at their squad list this week though as a couple of injury worries emerged from Friday’s win over Hull.

Hull FC v Huddersfield Giants

Hull’s losing streak continued in a narrow defeat to Leeds on Friday but there comes a time when they will snap out of it – as they have done this season. They are a side that can go on good winning runs, and then losing a few on the bounce soon after. Huddersfield have found their form at the right time to secure their place in the top eight and are sure to give Lee Radford’s side a tough time of things.

The home side are the favourites at 2/5 and you can get Huddersfield at 23/10 – with the Giants given an eight-point start at Evens. If Huddersfield replicate their good performances of recent weeks, they could keep things tight, and that bet might be worth a punt.

Leigh Centurions v Salford Red Devils

Leigh’s last taste of a win was last month when they put 50 points on Wigan but they’ve had little to cheer since. They face a Salford side looking to revive their chances of challenging for the Super League title having lost five of their last six league games.

The Centurions are the underdogs at 9/5 with bookies varying between a four-point or a six-point start for Leigh at 10/11. Salford are best priced 8/13 and despite their form they have shown they can trouble sides, and one would expect them – at this stage – to have enough to cover the four-point deficit on the handicap at 10/11.

Catalans Dragons v Castleford Tigers

Castleford’s winning streak continues to go on and on while the start to Steve McNamara’s reign as Catalans boss has certainly not been dull, even if it hasn’t been as successful as he would’ve liked. The bottom line is they are still leaking too many points.

Given the eight-point cushion the Tigers have at the top there is always the risk of them rotating the side and losing, or complacency possibly setting in, even if they do emphasise they want to guard against it.

The Tigers are favourites to make it 12 league wins in a row at 2/5 with Catalans available at 9/4. The Dragons have been given an eight-point start which looks short. They’re Evens to win on that handicap with the Tigers 10/11 to cover it. One wouldn’t be surprised if there are better value bets later on in the week for bigger handicap prices.

Wakefield Trinity v St. Helens

Wakefield could put themselves in an excellent position going into the Super 8s by wrapping up a regular season top-four finish with a win over St. Helens. No-one has had an easy game away to Trinity this season and with Saints still searching for that consistency this could be another example.

Trinity are 11/8 with Saints available at 4/5. The bookies understandably think it could be tight but it wouldn’t be surprising if the prices were the other way around as the home side look good value at that price. They’ve also been given a two-point start on the handicap (available at Evens in some places).

If Saints were to win it would be the first time they’ve won three consecutive games this season and no-one has recorded a double-digit victory over Wakefield on their own patch this season. It’ll be a tricky afternoon for Justin Holbrook’s side.

We’ll have individual game previews as the week goes on. We’re going to leave the Grand Final betting preview until the conclusion of Round 23 – when the fixtures for the Super 8s will have been decided.

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Super League: St. Helens v Catalans Dragons betting preview

The last game of Round 22 sees St. Helens take on Catalans Dragons on Sunday afternoon.

The Saints have won every home game that Justin Holbrook has been in charge for – including some notable scalps – while the Dragons are trying to find their feet after three games under Steve McNamara in preparation for the Middle 8s qualifiers.

Saints will sense they have an opportunity to close up on the sides ahead of them with Hull FC and Salford both losing on Friday night.

Predictably they are favourites and best priced 1/4 with Catalans touching 4/1 with some bookmakers. The Dragons have been given 12-point start on the handicap at 10/11 in most places though +14 is available.

Jon Wilkin has returned to the Saints side after serving a suspension with Adam Swift dropping out, while Catalans include two loan signings from Wigan in the form of Lewis Tierney and Romain Navarrete.

Also, Richie Myler makes his return from injury while Greg Bird and Fouad Yaha make their return from suspension.

It could be a similar story to last week for the Dragons in that they keep the game tight for long periods but their opponents will have too much for them – and Saints will end up covering the handicap. We’d take them at Evens with William Hill to do just that.

As for a winning margin, we would look at Saints putting some distance between the two sides on the scoreboard and winning by 16-20 points at 11/2.

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Super League: Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves betting preview

A repeat of last season’s Grand Final kicks of Round 22 of Super League, but it’s a little far from being like the showpiece of last season given the campaign both sides have had.

Wigan might be starting to find a bit of form which could see them challenge to defend their crown but it’s increasingly likely Warrington will be in the Middle 8s. They need to win here to keep their chances of a top eight finish alive.

The Warriors sit in seventh but having recorded back-to-back victories from their last two games, they now find themselves four points off the top four. Their final 20 minutes during their win over Catalans showed signs of them getting back towards their best.

Warrington put in an impressive display themselves last week as they put 50 points on Leigh but their away record this season is awful – recording just the one win on the road this season.

The bookies don’t fancy their chances here as you can get about 13/5 on an away win with eight-point and 10-point starts offered at 10/11. You can get Warrington at 11/10 with the former start with BoyleSports.

They are boosted by the return of Ben Currie after a 10-month absence with a knee injury, but are without Ben Westwood because of suspension.

Wigan – who you can get at 2/5 – are without Liam Farrell because of a knee injury but Sean O’Loughlin is in line to make his 400th appearance for the club. Liam Marshall is also included in the squad after a two-game omission but it’s unclear whether he will be called upon after recent wins for the Warriors.

The bookies prices seem to be a little all over the place on the handicaps, though they fancy Wigan to make it three wins from four meetings against Warrington this season. William Hill are offering Evens on them to cover an eight-point deficit, and that’s something we fancy.

As for winning margin bets, judging by the recent form of the sides – Wigan by either 11-15 points at 13/2 or 16-20 points at the same price are worth having a look at.

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Super League Round 22 early betting prices

r league punts revised crest

Seven sides have secured their place in the Super 8s with just one place remaining as there are two rounds before leagues split.

This week sees some more pivotal games as sides jostle for position ahead of the Super 8s – or try to get the most favourable set of fixtures for the Middle 8s for the sides in the bottom four.

Top spot may be assured but there is a huge race on behind them, and two sides are battling it out for that remaining place in the top eight – guaranteeing Super League survival.

Here’s our (early) look at Round 22, along with clips of their most recent Super League meetings:

Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves

A repeat of last season’s Grand Final kicks off Round 22 on Thursday. The two sides have already met three times this season – with Wigan winning both of the Super League and Challenge Cup meetings at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with their Magic Weekend meeting ending in a draw.

Wigan have shown signs of improvement lately – and are unbeaten in their last three league games and look as if they have a chance of finishing in the top four if they keep improving. Last time out Warrington found their scoring touch against Leigh, and this is a must win if they are to be in the Super 8s for Tony Smith’s men.

The home side are 2/5 with Warrington available at 11/4. The visitors have been given an eight-point start on the handicap at this early stage. On that particular handicap you can get either side at Evens depending on the bookie. Given Warrington’s away form, and the way Wigan finished in Catalans, one would suggest the home side should cover that difference.

Castleford Tigers v Salford Red Devils

Castleford just keep on winning and look set to secure the league leaders shield way before the concluding week of the league season. Salford have lost three out of their last four Super League games, and the wheels may be coming off their season. Ending Castleford’s 100% home record on Friday would be the perfect boost.

Can the Tigers maintain their focus and good run? And can Salford get over having 50 points put on them by Leeds on Sunday?

The home side are favourites at 2/7 with Devils 11/4 to record a win. Salford have also been given a 10-point start at 10/11 which you’d have to think is in range for the Tigers to cover – and they’re the same price to do so.

Huddersfield Giants v Leigh Centurions

A win would secure Huddersfield’s place in the Super 8s. They are taking on bottom side Leigh who have conceded 90 points over the course of their last two games, while Huddersfield have seemingly found their stride at the right time this season.

The Giants have won four of their last six while their opponents have lost each of their last three. It’s of little surprise that Huddersfield are favourites at 1/4. Leigh are available at 10/3.

The Centurions have been given a 12-point start on the handicap at 10/11. Judging by the manner of Huddersfield’s win over Widnes last week, along with Leigh leaking points pretty freely, at this stage you’d fancy the Giants to cover that margin at 10/11.

Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC

A dress rehearsal for one of the Challenge Cup semi-finals two weeks later, and both sides will want to be in good form by that time that comes around. Leeds have recorded wins over St Helens and Salford in their last two games while Hull have lost tight contests on the road to both Castleford and the Saints.

Second-placed Leeds will look to consolidate their position while Hull look to start bridging a three-point gap that has opened up between them.

The Rhinos are favourites at 4/7 with Hull available at 13/10. The Black and Whites have been given a four-point start on the handicap. Given Hull have lost a couple on the bounce you don’t know whether their losing streak will continue or if they will bounce back with a statement of intent. At this stage, we’d probably back Leeds -4 at 10/11.

Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Trinity

Widnes have won each of their last three games at home and at the moment they seem a different beast on their own patch compared to their away games. The ever-tricky Wakefield will look to bounce back from their narrow defeat to Castleford.

Trinity’s recent defeats have been against the league’s big hitters and have beaten the sides below them. They are the slight favourites here at 4/6 with the Vikings 13/10 to record their fourth consecutive home win.

Widnes have been given a four-point start at 10/11, with Wakefield the same price to cover it. One would be tempted to back the visitors on the handicap at this stage.

St Helens v Catalans Dragons

Saints have been doing well at home of late having won each of their four home games since Justin Holbrook’s arrival as Head Coach. They welcome Catalans Dragons on Sunday, who have shown some signs of improvement under Steve McNamara but they will be playing in the Middle 8s. He’ll want his side to be competitive here as they prepare to battle for their Super League lives.

Considering their respective positions, Saints are naturally the favourites at 3/10. 10/3 is available for the Dragons with a 10-point start. You can get Evens on the Dragons with that handicap, and 10/11 on Saints to cover it, depending on the bookmaker you visit.

The statistics from recent weeks suggest that Saints will just have enough to cover the 10-point start.

We’ll have preview for each individual game later on in the week.

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Super League Grand Final betting post Round 21 – where the movement is

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As expected last week there has been some movement on the Super League Grand Final markets following the Round 21 matches.

Significant results for the Grand Final betting included wins for Wigan over Catalans, Leeds over Salford and St. Helens over Hull.

While Castleford stretched their winning run – and extended their lead at the top of the table to eight points, there are just seven points covering second to seventh. It means that three of the play-off places for the end of the season are up for grabs ahead of the league’s split.

Castleford are unsurprisingly favourites to win their first Super League crown at Evens but it’s interesting to see the betting behind them.

Wigan are second favourites despite sitting in seventh. They are best priced 9/2 but having been unbeaten in their last three – and two home games to come prior to the Super 8s – there is a suggestion they could build the momentum they need to mount a challenge to defend their crown. That has shortened from last week’s 6/1 price.

Fourth-placed Hull are 11/2 after suffering back-to-back defeats. As has been mentioned before they are a streaky side, while second-placed Leeds are as long as 13/2 – though that has come in slightly from last week. Having beaten every side bar Castleford this season, that probably strikes as a good value bet.

St. Helens are best priced 16/1 and have shown they can win games against good sides at home – but their lack of consistency has cost them dearly this season, and there are still doubts over whether they can go on a good run that would force themselves into the top four.

Salford sit in third place but having lost three of their last four league games – which included conceding 50 points to Leeds at the weekend – there may be a feeling that their bubble has started to burst a little. You can now get them at 14/1 (they were 12s last week) but you’d want to see some improvement from them in the coming weeks if they are going to really challenge.

The over achievers of this season – fifth-placed Wakefield – are 66/1. They have been really tough opponents for almost every side this season, but despite being reasonable value, they have been on the wrong side of those tight scorelines too often this season to suggest they will end up causing one of the biggest shocks in the Super League era.

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Super League: Salford Red Devils v Leeds Rhinos betting preview

Sunday’s only Super League game could prove to be a really close one as Salford Red Devils take on Leeds Rhinos – the sides sitting second and third prior to the weekend.

Both sides have shown this season they are capable of stringing a good run of wins together and will be looking to build on victories in their previous games ahead of the Super 8s. They have everything to play for as they bid to be in the shake up for the Grand Final – and both sides also have Challenge Cup semi-finals to look forward to.

Dan Murray, Jake Bibby and Josh Wood all come into the 19-man squad for the Red Devils while the Rhinos are able to welcome back both Danny McGuire and Jamie Jones-Buchanan from suspension. Ashton Golding is also included their squad after missing last week’s win over St. Helens through injury.

The bookies are finding them hard to separate with Salford best priced 10/11 in most places while 11/10 is available for a Leeds win. Home advantage might be the reason behind that though last week Leeds came through their game with St Helens with a couple of injury worries and some players not looking quite 100%.

However, with over a week off, that might be less of a problem and 11/10 could be good value. They have been slight underdogs going away from home before – and on one particular occasion (Hull away over Easter) they came away with a handsome victory.

There is a two-point start on the handicap for the Rhinos are available but they are favourites to win on that with most bookies. Only SkyBet and BetWay seem to be offering 10/11.

As for a winning margin bet, one would look at Leeds by 6-10 points. Their past three wins have been under 10 points, and that particular bet should get you a price of 11/2. Salford by the same margin, incidentally, is the same price.

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Super League: Catalans Dragons v Wigan Warriors betting preview

Both Catalans and Wigan will want to use last week’s results as building blocks for the rest of the season.

It was the first win of the Steve McNamara era for the Catalans Dragons but they left it late against bottom side Leigh Centurions. Nevertheless, it keeps their hopes of a top eight finish very much alive – sitting two points off eighth prior to this round of fixtures.

Wigan ended their worst winless run in the league since 1903 with a win over the Widnes Vikings. Warriors boss Shaun Wane – who won’t be present for their trip to France – says there is lots of room for improvement but a win here could generate some momentum. Their last three games in all competitions sees them unbeaten in three and with players returning there are some signs of progression.

The home side have a few suspended with Greg Bird, Ben Garcia and Fouad Yaha all finding themselves in front of the disciplinary panel while Richie Myler and Mika Simon miss out through injury.

Lambert Belmas, Nabil Djalout, Paul Seguier and Lucas Albert all come into the squad for the home side.

Wigan see the return of Taulima Tautai from a calf injury – who takes Lewis Tierney’s place in their 19-man squad, suggesting that Tom Davies will play on the right wing. It’s intriguing that for two consecutive weeks, Davies has been preferred ahead of top scorer Liam Marshall.

As for the betting, Wigan are the favourites and can be found at 2/5 – while Catalans are available at 11/5. They have been given an eight-point start on the handicap in many places at 10/11 – though Betfred have the Dragons at 21/20 at +8.

Wigan are 10/11 to cover it and one would be tempted to back that purely because if there’s one thing consistent by both sides this season, Catalans have a tendency to leak points and even when not playing well Wigan have found ways to score.

As for a winning margin bet – Wigan by 11-15 points at 7/1 looks a reasonable punt.

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Super League: Huddersfield Giants v Widnes Vikings betting preview

Huddersfield will be looking to find the form that has seen them in the top eight in recent weeks, while Widnes will be looking to get back to winning ways themselves after being beaten by Wigan last time out.

The Giants were on four-game unbeaten run prior to their defeat to Salford last weekend but they’re looking over their shoulders – as they are just two points ahead of ninth-placed Catalans.

Widnes are six points behind their opponents and they need to win – probably convincingly – to keep their slim chances of a top eight finish alive. Prior to their loss to Wigan, the Vikings recorded three wins from four and in their recent defeats they’ve by no means disgraced themselves.

Huddersfield are without Jake Mamo for the rest of the season – and have been for the past couple of games – but they do have Martyn Ridyard, Adam O’Brien and Gene Ormsby in their 19-man squad this week.

Widnes are still without Rangi Chase but have close to the same squad available for this week as they did for their clash with Wigan.

It’s the Giants who are favourites with the bookies at 4/11 with Widnes as long as 5/2. The Vikings have also been given an eight-point start on the handicap – you can get Evens on them to win with that with SkyBet. Huddersfield are 10/11 to cover it. Despite recent impressive displays from Widnes, we’d fancy the Giants to just squeak that.

For a winning margin bet, we’d have a look at a home win by 11-15 points at 7/1.

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Super League: St. Helens v Hull FC betting preview

Saints have been notoriously inconsistent this season – having failed to record a winning run longer than two games – while Hull have shown their quality on many occasions but can be streaky in terms of results.

Both sides come into this game on the back of defeats. St. Helens were narrowly beaten at Leeds while Hull fought back bravely but were still edged out by league leaders Castleford. Both sides will fancy their chances in this fixture if they’re at their best.

The Saints are without a couple of key players. Matty Smith is out indefinitely having had surgery on a horrible looking eye injury, while Jon Wilkin is suspended. Their 19-man squad sees Danny Richardson and Matty Lees come in – while Mark Percival returns from suspension.

Hull have named the same squad as last week, and they will hope to break a trend from this season when they have gone on to lose a couple of games following an initial setback. Performance wise last week they were excellent for large parts of the game despite coming up short.

Saints are the favourites but only very slightly. One or two bookies find the two sides hard to separate – meaning St. Helens are best priced 10/11. Hull are available at 11/10. If both sides play to their best we’d fancy the visitors, and would take that price. Some bookies have given Hull a two-point start at 10/11.

When Hull win they tend to put a big margin between themselves and their opponents while Saints have been renowned for pretty tight wins in big games this season.

If you like your winning margin bets, two to consider are: St. Helens by 6-10 points at 11/2 or Hull FC by 11-15 points at 10/1.

 

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Super League: Wakefield Trinity v Castleford Tigers betting preview

A local clash kicks off round 21 of Super League when Wakefield Trinity host league leaders Castleford Tigers on Thursday night.

Both sides are having terrific seasons, with Wakefield unexpectedly putting pressure on for a place in the top four – as they sit in fifth and just two points behind second. Castleford have top spot secured ahead of the Super 8s which gets underway after the league splits following the 23rd round. The Tigers are eight points clear at the top and it seems to be a case of when not if they will secure the League Leaders shield.

They may have their work cut out this week as they put their nine-game winning run in the Super League on the line against Wakefield – no-one seems to have an easy time of things when they pay a visit to Belle Vue.

Trinity named an unchanged squad following their win over Warrington – but they’ll be without Reece Lyne because of suspension – while Greg Minikin and Andy Lynch return for the visitors.

Castleford are unsurprisingly favourites given their recent form. 4/11 has been on offer for a Tigers victory while Wakefield are available at 5/2. One would suggest that is a little long on the home side, especially as they have been given a 10-point start on the handicap at 10/11. No visiting side has left Wakefield with such a comfortable win this season. We’d fancy Wakefield +10 at that price.

As for a winning margin bet, we’d look at the close margins. You can get 6/1 on Castleford winning by 1-5 points, and 8/1 on Wakefield in the same margin range.

 

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Super League Round 21 – early betting prices

r league punts revised crest

Round 21 could see the Super League table shaken up a little as many sides who are relatively close to each other go head-to-head.

With a round that could have huge implications when it comes to the standings after 23 Rounds – and the fixtures each side will be handed when the leagues split. Here we have a look at the early prices available for each game along with videos recapping their previous meetings.

Wakefield Trinity v Castleford Tigers

Wakefield have made it difficult for every side they have hosted this season and there is no reason to think it won’t be the same for Castleford – who have guaranteed top spot ahead of the Super 8s.

The home side got back to winning ways against Warrington, while the Tigers were narrow winners over Hull FC – stretching their Super League winning run to nine games.

You can get 5/2 on Wakefield, while Castleford are 1/3 – with Trinity given an eight-point start on the handicap. That’s available at Evens with Bet Victor and looks appealing. You can get Castleford at 10/11 elsewhere to cover it.

Huddersfield Giants v Widnes Vikings

Both Huddersfield and Widnes have had something of a renaissance lately but were defeated last time out by Salford and Wigan respectively. Unsurprisingly the home side are favourites – available at 2/5, with Widnes at 12/5. The Vikings have also been given eight-point and 10-point starts on the handicap depending on where you look.

Widnes might make this a close one as Huddersfield’s injuries have started to bite once again, and taking the Vikings +10 at 10/11 could be worth a punt.

St. Helens v Hull FC

An interesting game on Friday night that will depend entirely on which of the two sides’ incarnations will turn up. Both come into this on the back of narrow yet spirited defeats. It could be a last roll of the dice for Saints, while Hull will want to show they’re real contenders for the Grand Final.

Saints are the narrow favourites – though they could be missing a couple of key players, including Matty Smith. The best price you’ll get on the home side is 10/11 while Hull can be found at 11/10 with Hills. We’d take that at this stage.

Warrington Wolves v Leigh Centurions

Both sides suffered setbacks last week – and it looks increasingly likely that both sides will meet each other in the Middle 8s – unless Warrington suddenly find some form.

For Leigh it’s about preparing for those games to ensure their Super League survival following their late defeat to Catalans. Warrington are 4/9, with Leigh available at around 2/1 – with bookies opting to give the Centurions starts of either six or eight points. When Warrington win games they don’t tend to be comprehensive – at this stage we’d take Leigh +8 at 10/11.

Catalans Dragons v Wigan Warriors

Both sides will want to build on important wins from last week. Catalans need the win to sustain a challenge for the top eight, while Wigan will be looking to consolidate their position, and possibly kick on. The visitors are strong favourites at 1/2 – you can get Catalans at 2/1 with a six-point start offered by the bookies. You can get Evens on Catalans to win with that start with BetVictor. Both sides have been low on quality in different areas in recent weeks, but the Dragons tend to leak points. Wigan -6 at 10/11 could be worth backing.

Salford Red Devils v Leeds Rhinos

Going into this round of games it’s second versus third. Salford ended a recent run of three defeats in the Super League, while Leeds bounced back from a defeat of their own with a narrow win against St. Helens.

It could be a case of what kind of resources both sides have available to them when they meet on Sunday afternoon. The bookies are anticipating a close game. You can get 10/11 on Salford and Evens on Leeds. Salford -2 is available at Evens which might be the bet to consider – but we’d wait for squad announcements ahead of this one.

We’ll have more detailed previews of these games individually, starting from tomorrow.

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Super League Grand Final betting – there could be movement with Round 21!

r league punts revised crest

After a weekend where many of the favourites won, it’s of little surprise there is no real movement in the Super League Grand Final betting.

There are a couple of things to point out though, and we will pinpoint a couple of the upcoming fixtures that may have some significance.

Five of the table’s current top seven recorded wins in Round 20. The biggest movement was Hull FC moving downwards to fourth after their narrow defeat to Castleford Tigers – allowing both Salford Red Devils and Leeds Rhinos to leapfrog them. Wakefield Trinity managed to keep the pressure on the top four with their win over Warrington Wolves – and are fifth – but only two points behind second place.

Wigan Warriors managed to end their worst winless streak in the league since 1903 against Widnes Vikings while St. Helens and Huddersfield Giants were the two sides on the end of defeats to Leeds and Salford respectively. Castleford’s win over Hull ensures the Tigers will be top going into the Super 8s.

The top seven is below with their best odds alongside them:

  1. Castleford Tigers – Evens
  2. Salford Red Devils – 12/1
  3. Leeds Rhinos – 7/1
  4. Hull FC – 6/1
  5. Wakefield Trinity – 50/1
  6. St Helens – 16/1
  7. Wigan Warriors – 6/1

The games for Round 21 are as follows:

Wakefield Trinity v Castleford Tigers

Huddersfield Giants v Widnes Vikings

St. Helens v Hull FC

Warrington Wolves v Leigh Centurions

Catalans Dragons v Wigan Warriors

Salford Red Devils v Leeds Rhinos

Plenty of sides close to each other in the table are playing. If Salford were to beat Leeds, one would imagine their price would shorten, likewise if Wakefield were to get the better of Castleford. Trinity have been a handful for anyone who has visited them this season, plus there’s added incentive of local pride too.

St Helens and Hull can both be inconsistent and after both sides lost this weekend, it would be a big boost for whoever comes out on top. Wigan’s price looks short but we had a go at explaining why that might be last week – and it might even shorten if they get a win in France.

That also has implications over who might be in the Middle 8s – as does Warrington v Leigh and Huddersfield v Widnes. We’ll have an early preview of the betting prices for all of those games when they are available.

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Super League: Salford Red Devils v Huddersfield Giants betting preview

Salford will be looking to get their league campaign back on track after three consecutive defeats – the latest of which was a huge kick in the teeth as they were on the end of a stunning late comeback against St. Helens.

They will face a Huddersfield side who are unbeaten in their last four games and have shown a great deal of improvement in the past couple of months.

Salford look to be close to full strength if their 19-man squad is anything to go by while Huddersfield have made two changes with Sam Rapira and new signing Jordan Rankin coming in for Sam Wood and Martyn Ridyard.

The bookies have made the home side favourites, perhaps unsurprisingly – best priced 8/15. You can get 15/8 on the Giants – and they have been given a six-point start on the handicap. You can get the Giants at Evens with Stan James on that bet – with Salford the same price to cover it with Betway.

It’s another tricky one but we’d be tempted to back the Giants on the handicap given the recent form of both sides.

We wouldn’t be surprised if it was a tight victory either way. A 1-5 point win for Salford is 13/2, for Huddersfield it’s 15/2.

A tough one to call.

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Super League: Wigan Warriors v Widnes Vikings betting preview

Wigan are currently on their worst winless league run since 1903 as they host Widnes at the DW Stadium on Sunday.

If you remember, this should have been played earlier on in the season but was switched to Widnes at the last minute because of concerns with the pitch at Wigan. Shaun Wane’s side narrowly won that contest with a late fightback.

He would take any win for his side at the moment as they look to stage a remarkable comeback in terms of their league season – but it would mean starting a long winning run and it has to begin here you’d feel if they are to harbour any hopes of retaining their Super League crown.

Widnes by contrast have found a decent bit of form – having won three of their last four games but all of those victories have been at home. Nevertheless, they will take heart from their two visits to Wigan last season, when they came away with the two points on both occasions.

The Warriors welcome back Anthony Gelling and Tony Clubb to their side. It appears from their 19-man squad list that Liam Marshall, the club’s top scorer, will miss out but on the wing is a position where there seems to be plenty of depth.

Widnes have a couple of absences themselves with Rangi Chase suspended but have far more of their first team players available than they did a few weeks ago. They’ll be confident of making it difficult for their opponents.

The bookies have Wigan as firm favourites. Most places have them at either 1/6 or 1/7 – and you can Widnes at 11/2 with Betway. The Vikings have been given a 16-point start on the handicap at 10/11 with Wigan Evens to cover it with William Hill.

If Wigan can click then that handicap will be firmly in their sights, but Widnes have given a lot of sides a tough time this season, despite their league position and we’d fancy the Vikings on that particular handicap.

When it comes to a winning margin, having a look at Wigan by 11-15 points at 13/2 could be the one.

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Super League: Wakefield Trinity v Warrington Wolves betting preview

An intriguing game awaits on Saturday evening when Wakefield take on Warrington. There are a couple of questions that some will ask. Are Wakefield starting to run out of steam? And, did Warrington’s win last week breathe new life into their season?

Wakefield have had an excellent season so far – as they currently sit in fifth place – but have lost their last three games in all competitions – though they have all been against sides above them in the table.

Warrington, by contrast, have been a huge disappointment this season. Just when their season showed signs of revival they went on another losing run, and they weren’t convincing in their win over Catalans. They will be boosted by the return of Stefan Ratchford from suspension, but Joe Westerman misses out.

Wakefield have also made two changes to their 19-man squad with Dean Hadley and Jordan Crowther potentially having a part to play.

It’s the home side who are favourites – but only ever so slightly at 10/11, with Warrington available at 21/20. You can get a two-point start on the handicap for the Wolves – and Wakefield are 11/10 to cover it. That’s a bet we fancy.

If Wakefield manage to get on a roll, it wouldn’t be surprising if they put a little bit of distance between themselves and Warrington. A win by 11-15 points for Trinity at 9/1 could be worth a small go.

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Super League: Catalans Dragons v Leigh Centurions betting preview

It’s the first home game of the Steve McNamara era for Catalans as they entertain Leigh in the south of France on Saturday evening.

Both sides are in need of a win – with the Dragons only winning one of their past nine Super League games, and the Centurions currently sit bottom of the pile.

The visitors do have cause for optimism having recorded significant wins over Hull and Wigan in recent weeks.

Catalans seem to be coming through the other side of a pretty rotten run of injuries with Greg Bird, Justin Horo and Krisnan Inu all included in their 19-man squad.

The home side are strong favourites with the bookmakers with their best price at 1/4. Leigh probably look a little long at 4/1 – and they’ve been a given a 14-point start on the handicap at 10/11 which looks appealing. Five of Catalans six league wins this season have been by 11 points or fewer.

For a winning margin bet, we’d fancy the home side by 6-10 points at 11/2.

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Super League: Castleford Tigers v Hull FC betting preview

 

The top two meet on Friday night at The Jungle as Castleford put their 100% home record on the line against a side who have got the better of them twice already this season in Hull FC.

Castleford bounced back from their recent Challenge Cup exit at the hands of this week’s opponents with a win against Leeds in a bruising contest – putting them seven points clear at the top of the table.

Hull have won each of their last four in all competitions. If they hadn’t had a couple of wobbles throughout the season, the chances are they would have mounted a real challenge for top spot in the Super League.

The Tigers welcome back Michael Shenton into their 19-man squad in place of Greg Minikin. You can get 4/9 on a home win.

Hull have included Albert Kelly and Mark Minichello in their squad after being rested for their win over Wakefield, though Steve Michaels misses out. You can get 12/5 on Hull FC making it three wins over the Tigers – and the visitors have been given an eight-point start on the handicap at Evens with SkyBet. Castleford are the same price to cover it.

The handicap is set at just the right level, but with Castleford at home – we’re a little more tempted to back them. As a result, a home win by 6-10 points at 5/1 is what we’d look at when it comes to winning margins.

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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.

Middle 8s Qualifiers: Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves betting preview

Widnes will be aiming to make it fourth time lucky against Warrington this season when they meet in the first round of the Middle 8s.

The Vikings finished bottom of the regular season Super League table and have lost each of their last four games while Warrington appear to have found some form by winning four of their last five games.

The home side have been boosted by the return of eight players to their squad from their last outing – a defeat to Warrington in the regular season Super League rounds – with Rangi Chase, Rhys Hanbury, Lloyd White and Chris Bridge among them.

Edit: Rangi Chase has been declared unavailable for selection after testing positive for cocaine. You can read their club statement on that here.

One notable change to Warrington’s squad from their meeting two weeks’ ago sees Dom Crosby come in for Ben Currie – who seemed to have picked up a knock to his knee in that game.

The prices see Widnes as underdogs at 12/5 with Warrington at 2/5. The Vikings have been given an eight-point start on the handicap which is available at Evens, with Warrington 10/11 to cover it.

When Widnes had their better players available in the latter part of last season they proved to be tough customers at home and they could be again here. We’d fancy the Vikings +8 at Evens.

As for a winning margin, Warrington might run it close with a 6-10 points win at 19/4, but those who fancy a home win might like the look of the Vikings by 1-5 points at 6/1.