Super League Grand Final: Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos betting preview

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A new name could be on the Super League trophy on Saturday night in the form of Castleford Tigers or a familiar name in Leeds Rhinos. It’s the meeting of the league’s top two and whoever takes the Super League crown will have had a remarkable story behind it.

Castleford have been building a decent side for some time and a Grand Final win would cap off a great season – adding to the League Leaders Shield they won comfortably.

Leeds have bounced back from a poor campaign last season where they had to battle it out for their Super League survival in the Qualifiers. It’s quite a contrast as they’re within 80 minutes of regaining the title. The scale of their turnaround was not lost on their coach Brian McDermott who was visibly emotional following last week’s play-off win over Hull where he couldn’t say much during his post-match interview as he fought back the tears.

There has been plenty of news off the field to dominate the headlines ahead of Saturday evening’s game. Zak Hardaker has been left out of the Tigers 19-man squad following a breach of the club’s rules – meaning Daryl Powell might have to shuffle things around a little.

Leeds, however, have Stevie Ward in their squad as they look to give him every chance to take to the field.

The two sides have met on four occasions this season – with the Tigers winning every one of them. The two meetings at The Jungle have seen comprehensive victories for this season’s table toppers – while meetings at Magic Weekend and Headingley have been tighter but with Castleford emerging with the points on both occasions.

If the Grand Final is as good as the semi-finals last week – with Castleford beating St. Helens thanks to (now Man of Steel) Luke Gale’s drop goal in extra time and the Rhinos’ narrow victory over Hull – then we’re in for a treat.

Given the statistics in their favour, it is unsurprising the Tigers are favourites to win their first Super League title. They’re best priced 4/6 to win the title, with Leeds at 13/8. Both sides can be found at the same prices to win the match. The bookies seem to be of the opinion that Hardaker’s omission enhances Leeds’ chances of winning, while Castleford’s task could be a little more difficult as the price has changed slightly over the course of Thursday afternoon.

The bookies are giving the Rhinos a four-point start on the handicap. Both sides are Evens on that start. In each of the previous four games this season, Castleford have managed to win by more than four points so it would make sense to back it purely based on statistics.

Given the nature of the occasion – that it’s Castleford’s first Grand Final against a side that has a wealth of experience when it comes to these games – a tight final wouldn’t be a surprise. All things considered, we’d favour Castleford by either 1-5 points (5/1) or 6-10 points (11/2).

The Man of the Match betting will be worth a look to. It’s not surprising to see Man of Steel Luke Gale at the top of the market – best priced 3/1, especially after his semi-final exploits so soon after an appendix operation. The chances are he will have a pivotal role to play for his side.

Other names that catch the eye for Castleford could be Greg Eden and Paul McShane – both priced at 16/1.

Danny McGuire is playing in his final Leeds Rhinos game, and Rob Burrow is hanging up his boots. You can get 10/1 and 20/1 on them respectively to go out with the Harry Sunderland trophy in their hands. If you’re not a fan of the emotional aspects when betting then Matt Parcell could be worth a look at 10/1 after a decent season.



Million Pound Game: Leigh Centurions v Catalans Dragons betting preview


If this season’s Million Pound game is anything like as dramatic as last season’s then the neutrals are in for a treat. Both Leigh and Catalans will be hoping to avoid the agony that Hull KR endured last season, and are searching for almighty high that Salford had as they retained their Super League status.

Leigh come into the game as favourites after a better showing in the Middle 8s. The head-to-head may be 2-1 in Catalans favour over the course of the season, but it was the Centurions who were victorious in the south of France during the Qualifiers.

With the exception of Hull KR – who managed to secure promotion back to the top flight – Leigh got the better of every side who started the season in the Championship in the Middle 8 section. The Dragons lost to every one of their Super League opponents and were made to work for their victories over London and an under strength Hull KR. They haven’t really been convincing.

It’s why the home side are favourites – best priced 4/6 – with Steve McNamara’s side at 13/8. The Dragons have been given a four-point start on the handicap at Evens with the Centurions the same price to cover it. If recent form is anything to go by, we’d fancy Leigh to retain their Super League status and cover the handicap in the process and by 11-15 points at 7/1 could be worth backing.



Super League semi-final: Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC betting preview

Leeds and Hull meet in the second Super League semi-final. The Rhinos are looking to cap their renaissance season with a return to Old Trafford two years after completing a historic treble, while Hull are chasing the double after lifting the Challenge Cup for the second time in as many years.

The Rhinos may not have been as spectacular as in recent years when they’ve reached the business end of the season, but their experience and ability to grind out wins consistently meant they comfortably qualified for the play-offs in the end.

In many ways, Hull are the opposite. A side that has shown its ability to be formidable on its day – and their day usually comes with an occasion – and probably ought to have performed to a higher level on a more regular basis.

Four meetings this season sees Leeds lead the head-to-head 3-1 – though Hull’s victory this season came in the Challenge Cup semi-final meeting – and they will be hoping that another semi-final brings about a similar result.

But it’s Leeds who are the favourites with the bookies to make it to Old Trafford – though only very slightly. The Rhinos are best priced 10/11 while Hull are widely available at 11/10. Any handicaps available tend to give the visitors a two-point start. Hull are Evens to win off that, while Leeds can be found at 11/10 to cover it.

The home side have made a couple of changes to their squad which sees Brett Ferres, Stevie Ward and Brad Singleton return. They are named alongside two players making their last Headingley appearances for the Rhinos in Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire.

Lee Radford has made one change to his Hull squad which ensured their place in the play-offs with victory at Castleford last week – as Jordan Thompson replaces Steve Michaels.

This has all the hallmarks of being a pretty nervy play-off encounter. There’s a lot of emotion involved for the home side, but the perfect occasion for the visitors to thrive in. We’d be tempted to back Hull inside 80 minutes – and a 6-10 margin at 6/1 could also be worth a go.


Super League semi-final: Castleford Tigers v St. Helens

The first Super League semi-final sees Castleford, who are trying to complete a remarkable season in the play-offs, come up against St. Helens – the side that ended their unbeaten home record this season.

The Tigers had the League Leaders Shield wrapped up for weeks and are the favourites to win the Grand Final – but three of the four games from this season suggests they are going to be in for a tough 80 minutes at The Jungle.

The head-to-head between the two sides is locked at 2-2 for this season – and there was only one blowout scoreline in favour of Castleford in the Challenge Cup when it seemed Saints had hit rock bottom.

The Tigers lost just five games over the course of their league campaign and kept up their decent run of form while rotating their players in the Super 8s – though star players did miss last week’s defeat to Hull as they tried to keep players fresh for this week’s encounter.

Saints were afforded no such luxury and were made to work for their place. A late Jonny Lomax try at Wakefield started a three-game winning run which secured their place in the play-offs. They have improved under Justin Holbrook since his arrival midway through the season but there are still concerns over whether they can be clinical enough – and whether they have saved their longest winning run of the season until the right time.

The Saints have named an unchanged squad for this week’s game, while Castleford have welcomed back their big guns – including Luke Gale who could play just 16 days after having appendix surgery. Many would think that could be too soon but they have shown they have plenty of threat in their ranks aside from the Man of Steel contender – so much so they have another in Zak Hardaker.

Castleford are 1/2 favourites, while Saints are available at 7/4. The visitors have also been given a six-point start on the handicap with most bookies – you can get them as long as 11/10 but as short as 5/6. The Tigers are evens to cover it.

It’s a handicap that’s pretty well set given the tight nature of three of their four meetings this season – but we’d probably back the home side to just cover it – while 11-15 points at 7/1 could be worth a go. A close game for long periods could easily end with a sucker punch try to send Daryl Powell’s men to Old Trafford.


Super League semi-finals early betting & Grand Final Winner betting

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The final four in the race for the Super League title have been decided after 30 long rounds of action. It all comes down to these last two weeks. Below we look at the Grand Final betting – and the early prices for the semi-finals which will decide who will meet at Old Trafford on Saturday 7th October.

Grand Final betting:

Castleford may have finished top by 10 points but they are not Champions yet. They are 11/8 to add the Super League title to the League Leaders Shield.

Leeds and Hull seem pretty hard for the bookies to separate with 4/1 available for both sides while St. Helens are 5/1.

On a personal view, given Hull’s ability to turn it on in the big games – and they’ve beaten every side remaining in the competition – they could be worth a punt.

Castleford Tigers v St Helens

Castleford take on Saints in the first of the play-off games on Thursday night in the biggest game at The Jungle for a generation or so.

Though the Tigers finished 15 points ahead of their opponents on the league ladder, it would seem a pretty tough match-up on the head-to-head – this season, it stands at 2-2 – and Saints were the side that ended Castleford’s unbeaten home record when they visited in the first round of the Super 8s.

However, after weeks of Daryl Powell trying to maintain momentum and rotating his side simultaneously, he will have a relatively fresh side raring to go as well as a packed house behind them – and are 4/7 favourites. Saints are 2/1 and have been given a six-point start on the handicap. You can get Evens on either side with that particular handicap.

Three of the four meetings have been tight this season – and this might be another such occasion but one would have to fancy the Tigers to make it to Old Trafford, though backing Saints on the handicap might not be a stupid move.

Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC

Three of the four meetings between the two sides this season have resulted in Leeds victories, but when it really mattered in the Challenge Cup semi-final Hull managed to turn it on – leading to them defending the trophy.

That has been the story of their season. While several sides have managed to beat the Airlie Birds, they know when to perform, and no-one should be surprised if they do it again here.

The Rhinos have many players who have been there, done that and got the T-shirt when it comes to winning the big prizes so a fascinating match is in prospect at Headingley.

The bookies are finding them pretty hard to separate but home advantage for Leeds is tilting the balance their way a little. They’re available at 5/6 while Hull are 6/5. Hull have been given a two-point start available at Evens, with Leeds 21/20 to cover it with BoyleSports. We’d be tempted to back the visitors.

PS – Apologies for lack of activity. A couple of other commitments have been taking over.


Super League Super 8s: Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity betting preview

After defeats last week for both Hull and Wakefield, their meeting this Thursday at the KCOM Stadium will be pivotal to their chances of making the top four.

Hull were beaten late on by Wigan, meaning the Airlie Birds have slipped to fourth in the table, while Wakefield’s play-off chances were dealt a blow thanks to a late try from St. Helens, when it seemed Trinity were about to take a huge step towards a play-off appearance.

Just a point separates the two sides in fourth and fifth – and a win for either team would represent a significant boost going into the final round.

The home side are the strong favourites – with Hull priced at 4/9 and Wakefield at 5/2. Both meetings between the teams this season have seen Hull come out on top but they have had to work for it.

That’s reflected in the handicap being offered by most bookies – giving Wakefield an eight-point start.  That’s available at Evens with Betway – with Hull the same price to cover it.

It’s a case of which sides responds the better following last week’s disappointments. Hull showed some tremendous character to scare Wigan. Gareth Ellis missed out last week through suspension but returns to their 19-man squad with Steve Michaels also included.

There’s just the one change for Wakefield as Kyle Wood takes Dean Hadley’s place.

We’d expect Hull to bounce back from their recent defeats but will again be made to work for it. A home win by 6-10 points at 5/1 is one that might be worth backing.


Middle 8 Qualifiers: Hull KR v Widnes Vikings betting preview

Hull KR seem destined to reclaim the Super League place they lost in such dramatic circumstances last season having made it four wins from as many games in the Qualifiers so far.

They host a Widnes side this weekend who have won three of their four matches, and a win for either side here will see them clear a huge hurdle in their aspirations to be in the top flight for 2018.

Hull KR’s winning streak has not been without its nerves though – with their most comfortable victory coming last week at Featherstone by a 12-point margin.

Widnes have beaten the sides they should have beaten. After losing to Warrington in the first round they’ve recorded wins against Featherstone and Halifax at home but their most significant victory came last week away to Leigh Centurions.

The Vikings had one or two knocks following their win at Leigh, and are without Rhys Hanbury and Danny Craven in their 19-man squad.

Tim Sheens has made just the one change to the Hull KR squad with Jordan Abdull replacing Robbie Mulhern.

The Rovers are the bookies favourites but this has been tightening throughout the week, with the home side best priced 10/11 and Widnes available at 6/5.

Some bookies are giving the Vikings a slender two point start, but this might be another week to take a punt on Widnes to win the match but in a close fashion.

Depending on which side you fancy, have a look at them winning by 6-10 points. Hull KR are 5/1, with Widnes at 6/1.


Super League Super 8s: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors betting preview

A repeat of the Challenge Cup final takes place at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night as Hull take on Wigan.

While there may not be a trophy on the line this time, one shouldn’t underestimate the magnitude or importance of this fixture as both sides look to enhance their play-off chances – and their chances of ending the year as Super League champions.

Hull have been the victors in all three of their meetings with the Warriors this season – though Wigan will use last season’s Super 8s meeting at the same venue as a reference point for the beginning of a run that propelled them to the title.

A win of any description for Shaun Wane’s side will see them leapfrog Hull on points difference – and could put them third depending on the result of Wakefield and Saints the previous night. It would likely see Wigan as a shorter price for the Grand Final as a result.

Despite two consecutive defeats in Super League – including last week’s defeat at Headingley to Leeds – the home side are the favourites at around 8/11. Wigan – who have won each of their last three games surrounding the cup final – are 11/8 and have been given a two-point start on the handicap. That’s available at 11/10 with William Hill while Hull are Evens to cover it with Betway.

Lee Radford has made four changes to his 19-man squad that lost to Leeds last week – where some players were rested after Wembley. Josh Griffin, Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello and Masi Matongo have been included.

They are without Gareth Ellis and Steve Michaels because of suspensions while injuries are keeping Chris Green and Carlos Tumiavave sidelined.

Wigan have recalled both Joel Tomkins and Tom Davies to their squad – meaning they name the same 19 as they did in the build-up to the cup final. Davies will compete with Liam Marshall for a place on the wing while Shaun Wane seems to have a welcome selection headache in the forwards with Tomkins’ return.

Hull have snapped out of losing streaks before – previously against Wigan as well – but the Warriors seem to have got the bit between their teeth.

Combine that with the fourth meeting this season, it seems bizarre they’ve yet to register a win. Friday may be their night, and we’d take them to win the match, but narrowly. A 1-5 points victory is 6/1. Hull are slightly shorter to win by the same margin at 11/2.


Super League Super 8s: Wakefield Trinity v St. Helens betting preview

Wakefield are in the driving seat for a play-off spot as they host St. Helens on Thursday night in the first crunch match of the week in the Super 8s.

Trinity could go third with a win, and a take a big step towards the play-offs while Saints are looking to end their three-game losing streak to keep their fading hopes alive.

As things stand Wakefield sit in fourth place – three points clear of their opponents – and one point clear of Wigan who are sandwiched in between (and they visit Hull on Friday night who are a point ahead of Wakefield).

Saints can at least go into this fixture in the knowledge they are the only side to have left Belle Vue with a comfortable win.

They are 8/13 favourites to make things tighter for the last of the play-off places – but there have been several occasions this season when Wakefield have been priced a little long – last week they were odds-against against Salford whose last win was back in June.

They have made one change to their 19-man squad from last week’s defeat to Wigan – with Danny Richardson replacing Kyle Amor, while Wakefield are unchanged following their dismantling of Salford last week.

Trinity’s form has been mixed in the Super 8s – having won two and lost two – but their performance level has been of a pretty good standard, with their comprehensive victory over Leeds a stand-out so far.

Wakefield might be struggling for consistency at the moment, but many would suggest they should be favourites at home against a Saints side on a losing streak. We would recommend taking the four-point start on the handicap at Evens (with Saints the same price to cover), though backing the home side at 13/8 to win in 80 minutes shouldn’t be out of the question.

Saints may have been losing games of late, they haven’t been by huge margins. Wakefield by 1-5 points is 6/1, while Saints to win by the same margin is slightly shorter at 5s.



Latest Super League Grand Final odds – post Super 8s Round 4

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With three rounds of the Super 8s remaining, two sides have secured their place in the play-offs at the end of the season.

Castleford are assured of their match at home to whoever finishes fourth while Leeds secured their place in the play-offs thanks to a win over Hull on Thursday night – and should wrap up second place.

It’s the top three sides who sides who lead the betting for the Grand Final – though Hull’s place in the play-offs is by no means assured.

They are two points above fifth-placed Wigan – who they meet at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night. A Wigan win would take the Warriors above the Black and Whites thanks to their better points difference. Their third consecutive Super 8s win means their odds have come in from 50/1 to 6/1 to retain their title.

You can still get odds-against on Castleford to add the Grand Final to their League Leaders Shield at 5/4, Leeds are 7/2. Hull are 5/1.

Wakefield are the side sitting in between Hull and Wigan in the table – and they could deliver the knock-out blow to St. Helens chances of reaching the Grand Final.

40/1 on Trinity is still a value bet at this stage as they have both Saints and Wigan at home in their remaining fixtures, while Saints are 12/1.

Salford and Huddersfield’s defeats means their chances are now over and they are both now 500/1.

The Super 8s fixtures this week – which we’ll have previews on – are as follows:

Wakefield Trinity v St Helens

Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos

Hull FC v Wigan Warriors

Salford Red Devils v Huddersfield Giants


Middle 8 Qualifiers: Leigh Centurions v Widnes Vikings betting preview

Some might have wanted to see Leigh v Widnes on the television – as it is undoubtedly a big game for both sides as they look ensure they’re playing in Super League next season.

It’s a case of two wins from three for both sides so far. Leigh recorded wins against Featherstone and Catalans but lost to Hull KR, while Widnes lost to Warrington before victories over Halifax and Featherstone.

In the two Super League meetings this season, it was the Vikings who managed to get the upper hand but the bookies are pricing Leigh up as the slight favourites – probably because of home advantage.

You can get 8/11 on a Leigh win while Widnes are available at around 7/5. Handicap bets vary between two and four-point starts for the Vikings at 10/11. You can get Leigh -4 at Evens.

Their last meeting at Leigh Sports Village saw Widnes win by 13 points. You can get an 11-15 points win for the visitors at 12/1. For a match bet, we think the Vikings might be a touch too long and are worth backing at 7/5.


Middle 8 Qualifiers: London Broncos v Warrington Wolves betting preview

London and Warrington face each other late on Saturday night. It might not be the most convenient for travelling fans but for the rest of us it provides a distraction from some truly awful Saturday night television.

The Broncos have arguably been the unlucky side in the Qualifiers so far having lost to Catalans and Hull KR by two and five points respectively – and have drawn with Featherstone.

Warrington, by contrast, have continued pick up wins and look virtually assured of their place in Super League next season – though they were made to work a little by Halifax last time out. Complacency may be their biggest enemy for the remaining four games.

The Wolves are the favourites – best priced 2/11 – while London can be found at around 5/1. The home side have also been given a 16-point start on the handicap available at Evens.

Given the close nature of London’s games this season – coupled with the game being televised – they could make this awkward for Tony Smith’s side. You can get the same price with Bet365 on Warrington to cover it.

Warrington have had two wins by 14-point margins so far in the Middle 8s. An 11-15 points win for Wire can be found at 13/2.


Super League Super 8s Round 4: St. Helens v Wigan Warriors

Games between Saints and Wigan are always big – but this is a pivotal one which is likely to determine whether one side is in the box seat for the play-offs, or their dreams of Old Trafford are dashed for another season – with the just the one point separating the two sides.

Saints have had a week off and will be looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat while Wigan will be looking to bounce back from their Challenge Cup Final heartache of last weekend.

The home side are the favourites and will hand Ben Barba his long-awaited debut for the club. Jonny Lomax is expected to play in the halves while Luke Douglas is also included.

Wigan’s 19-man squad sees Jack Wells and Nick Gregson come into the squad. Liam Marshall is likely to retain his place on the wing with Tom Davies injured – while Joel Tomkins also drops out.

The bookies are making the Saints favourites – you can get about 1/2 on them while Wigan are available at around 7/4. Like the Leeds & Hull game it is pretty difficult to predict just how the visitors will respond following their trip to Wembley.

Wigan have been given a four or six-point start on the handicap depending on where you look. You can get 6/5 on Wigan +4 while Wigan +6 is 10/11 in places. You can get 10/11 on St Helens -4, and 11/10 on St Helens -6.

The Saints recent home wins against Wigan have tended to be by a close margin – so backing Wigan +4 at 6/5 does have some value. The Saints by 1-5 points for a winning margin bet at 13/2 could be one to go for, too. If you fancy the Warriors, a 6-10 points win at 15/2 could be the one for you.

Given the fuss surrounding Ben Barba’s debut it’s worth pointing out a couple of prices for him. You can get 11/1 on him to score the first try and 6/5 to score anytime.


Super League Super 8s: Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC betting preview

Leeds and Hull kick off this week’s Super 8s action on Thursday night. The Rhinos will be hoping to use their heartache from the Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to this week’s opponents to their advantage having had a week off – while Hull recorded back-to-back cup triumphs at Wembley.

The Rhinos are currently in second and three points ahead of Lee Radford’s men – who could do with the win as a defeat would see them looking nervously over their shoulders, and allow sides who play on Friday with an opportunity to either close the gap or climb above them.

The bookies currently favour the home side, best priced 1/2. Ashton Golding replaces Jordan Lilley in their 19-man squad from the one that narrowly beat St. Helens a couple of weeks ago.

Hull have named much of the same 19-man squad that was successful at Wembley against Wigan, but they have made three changes with Brad Fash, Jack Downs and Jansin Turgut coming in for Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello and Josh Griffin.

They have been given an eight-point start on the handicap at Evens and are 5/2 to win the match outright. It’s a hard one to call as we don’t quite now the effect the Challenge Cup win will have on the visitors.

If some of the season’s trends are anything to go by, Hull are likely to make it close and backing them on the handicap would have some logic to it.

Leeds have won some of their big matches narrowly this season and it could be worth backing them to win by 1-5 points at 6/1. The bookies are anticipating a Leeds victory, but can’t quite decide how big the margin is – as they are offering 13/2 on a 16-20 points victory. We’d take Hull on the handicap and 1-5 points, but it’s a tricky game to bet on.


Super League Super 8s Round 4 early preview

The Super 8s are back this week and there are prices up for all four matches in Round 4 as the race for Old Trafford hots up.

Leeds v Hull FC

Leeds have recorded two wins over Hull this season but lost out in the Challenge Cup semi-final last month. Hull will be on a high after their second successive Wembley triumph but this week will be interesting in terms of how they respond following such a high – and just how much a week off might have benefited Leeds.

The home side are the favourites at 2/5 with Hull around 13/5 with some bookmakers. They have been given an eight-point start on the handicap with some bookmakers at Evens, with Leeds at the same price to cover it.

Huddersfield Giants v Castleford Tigers

Castleford achieved their first big goal prior to the break for the cup final by securing the League Leaders Shield. Now it will be an interesting balancing act for the Tigers as they try and keep players fresh for their assault on the Grand Final, as well as maintaining enough momentum.

Huddersfield will be a tricky test as they have improved as the season has progressed. They recorded a win over Hull last time out and made it a tight game with their previous meeting at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The Tigers are the slight favourites at 1/2 with the Giants at 2/1. The home side have been given a six-point start on the handicap at 10/11 – with the league leaders the same price to cover it.

Salford Red Devils v Wakefield Trinity

Salford’s dip in form has been pretty alarming this season and if they are to reach Old Trafford their revival needs to start against fourth-placed Wakefield. Despite sitting in seventh, the Devils are only two points behind Trinity.

Wakefield have chalked up wins against a lot of the sides around them this season and even when they lose they tend to make their opponents work. The Devils are the slight favourites here, however at 10/11. 6/5 on Wakefield at this stage looks good value. A two-point start on the handicap for Trinity is available at 10/11 with some outlets.

St. Helens v Wigan Warriors

The biggest game of the week and you feel the winner of this could be in the box seat for a place in the play-offs. Saints have had a week off while Wigan have had to contend with the disappointment of losing the Challenge Cup final.

Saints narrowly won the last meeting between the two sides and have lost just the one home game under Justin Holbrook. Wigan were showing signs of good form prior to their cup final disappointment, and it will be all about their character from their point of view as they look improbably defend their crown.

The home side are the favourites at 8/13 while you can get Wigan at 17/10. Some bookies are offering a four-point start on the handicap for the Warriors – available at Evens – with Saints 10/11 to cover it. One or two might offer a six-point handicap closer to kick-off.


Challenge Cup Final: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors, Lance Todd Trophy betting

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For a bit of value on the Challenge Cup final, many have a look at who will pick up the Lance Todd Trophy – the award for the Man of the Match.

At the head of the bookies markets you usually find either the big names and/or halves. It’s the halves at the top of the market this time but there are a couple of other factors to think of too.

Gareth Ellis recently announced he is to retire at the end of the season and there could be an emotional element that might reward him with the MOTM award should Hull retain the trophy. Ellis looks like decent value at 14/1.

It might be a case at looking at players away from the usual creative elements of the team but might prove crucial. Liam Farrell is such an example for Wigan having been the man of the match in the Super League Grand Final last season – his price of 25/1 seems to be a bit long. The other man likely to start at second row for Wigan in John Bateman is best priced 12/1 by comparison.

The favourites to win the award are George Williams and Marc Sneyd at 7/1, with Albert Kelly and Sam Tomkins at 8’s – and you can get Danny Houghton at 9/1.

One bet that might look like good value is Wigan’s Michael McIlorum at 16/1. A lot of pundits and journalists speak of the importance of the hooker’s contribution to the Wigan side, and that price looks a little long – it would be in better company with those closer to the top of the market.

It might be worth looking at Hull’s Mark Minichiello at 25/1 too. Another of those players that is spoken highly of, and his odds don’t seem to match the adulation he gets in general.

We’re going to pick two from each side in terms of value. For Hull we’ll say Gareth Ellis at 14s and Minichiello at 25s; and for Wigan we’d have a go at Liam Farrell at 25/1 and Michael McIlorum at 16/1.

Lance Todd Trophy betting:

George Williams 7/1

Marc Sneyd 7/1

Albert Kelly 8/1

Sam Tomkins 8/1

Danny Houghton 9/1

Sean O’Loughlin 10/1

You can get 12/1 and longer on any other players involved.


Challenge Cup final: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors betting preview

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You can almost guarantee that the tag line of ‘not doing it the easy way’ will be attached to whoever lifts the Challenge Cup on Saturday afternoon as a tight contest is expected at Wembley between Hull FC and Wigan Warriors.

Some of the bookmakers are finding it hard to call, though some are putting Wigan as the slight favourites.

Nevertheless, they are available at 10/11 with some bookmakers to record their 20th Challenge Cup win.

They have named a 19-man squad for Wembley that gives coach Shaun Wane the kind of selection headache he will have wanted all season as both Tom Davies and Joel Tomkins come back into contention.

The Warriors have been in decent form since the return of many of their first team players – having lost just twice since their quarter-final outing against Warrington two months ago.

Hull are 5/4 to retain the trophy after breaking their Wembley duck against Warrington last year, and win the competition for only the fifth time.

They are a streaky side, they tend to go on runs of wins and defeats. They will be hoping last week’s setback against Huddersfield isn’t the start of a losing streak at the wrong time in their season.

Lee Radford’s men have been able to win big games this season. They’ve managed to get the better of Super League’s top two in Castleford and Leeds to make it to the final.

He’s named a squad that looks close to full strength, including captain Andy Lynch (who may or may not feature in another of our pieces prior to kick-off).

Hull have got the better of Wigan on their two league meetings this season, but the Warriors will point to their list of injuries on both occasions to suggest this could be a very different game.

The winning margin bets could be difficult to predict as a result, though both sides have a habit of winning games by more than 10. You can get Wigan by 11-15 points at 10/1, Hull are slightly longer at 11/1 by a similar margin.

It might slightly contradict the opening line, but those kinds of scorelines can have their nervy moments within the match!

It’s a hard one to call, but if pushed, we’d back Wigan given their recent form. If you do back Wigan, there are a couple of handicap bets on offer. Wigan -2 is 11/10 which we’d take. Some bookies are flirting with offering Hull a two-point start or scratch.


Challenge Cup Final: Hull FC v Wigan Warriors – early betting thoughts

challenge cup final 2For most sides it’s a week off, but not for Hull FC and Wigan Warriors who have the small matter of the Challenge Cup to contest at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.

Both sides have had eventful runs to the final. Hull have beaten Catalans, Castleford and Leeds as they attempt to successfully defend the competition they won last season while Wigan have defeated Swinton, Warrington and Salford en route to the capital.

Hull can be an infuriating side. They clearly know how to win big games but there are times when they just seem to go missing. Their streaky habit will be a cause for concern going into this clash as they were on the end of a home defeat by Huddersfield last weekend – which followed a four-match winning run in all competitions. But when they lose, they tend to lose in a sequence of two or three – which isn’t a good omen ahead of a cup final.

Wigan’s season has been a weird one, though injuries have frequently been mentioned as to why they are so far off top spot in the Super League – yet bizarrely they still have a chance of repeating the feat of 2013 when they won both the Challenge Cup and Super League Grand Final.

The Warriors run of form has been ok of late, having lost twice since their quarter-final win in the competition against Warrington in June, there are signs they might be finding their form at the right time this season.

We’ll have a more detailed preview of things later on in the week – including winning margin bets and a separate piece on the Lance Todd trophy when the squads are announced.

For now, it’s Wigan who are the slight favourites. They are best priced 10/11 to win the cup, and the same price inside 80 minutes. You can get Hull at 11/10 to successfully defend the trophy, and 5/4 to do it inside 80 minutes.

Both sides this season have shown their inconsistencies. If both sides are close to full strength and play like it too, then it could be a classic. If the habits from both sides across the season are anything to go by, compared to the players both sides are likely to have available, Wigan might make it their first win from three meetings on the biggest of occasions.


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.



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!


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.



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.


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.



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!


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.


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.


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.




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.


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

r league punts revised crest

“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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

r league punts revised crest

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



Super League Round 21 – early betting prices

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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.


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

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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.

Super League Grand Final betting – after Round 5 of Super 8s

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With just two rounds to go in the Super 8s, two of the play-off spots are very much up for grabs – and there will be little surprise as to how the betting market has shaped up following this week’s results.

Castleford and Leeds are still leading the market as they both have home ties in the semi-finals secured. Those two sides met on Friday night with the Tigers coming out on top for the fourth time in as many meetings this season – extending their lead at the top to 12 points.

The league leaders are best priced 5/4 and one can’t help but feel that’s a really good price given they have been relentless. Leeds are at 4/1 having finished best of the rest.

Wigan’s win over Hull FC on Friday moved them up to third. Following four consecutive league wins they have come in from 50/1 to 5/1.

It’s worth nothing they weren’t exactly convincing in their win over 12-man opposition. One or two bookmakers are pricing the Warriors a little shorter than Leeds which doesn’t make too much sense given they are not guaranteed a play-off spot, plus they would have to go to a ground in the semi-final where they haven’t had the best of records of late – if they finish third or fourth.

Saints managed to keep their hopes alive thanks to a late try at Wakefield and are 9/1. They have Salford and Huddersfield in their remaining games and both are those are sides they will be favourites to beat. Given that Wakefield have to face both Hull and Wigan – while both Wigan and Hull still have Castleford to face – it might seem a value bet at this stage.

Hull’s pedigree in big games this season sees them at 5/1 with many bookmakers while Wakefield’s chances took a blow with that late defeat to Saints – meaning Trinity are now 100/1.

It’s a huge round of fixtures this week with two points separating third to fifth:

Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity (Thursday)

Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils (Friday)

St Helens v Huddersfield Giants (Friday)

Wigan Warriors v Castleford Tigers (Sunday)