It promises to be another superb day of Rugby League. Here’s how I think it’s going to pan out, and how you can make a bit of money…
Catalan Dragons v Hull Kingston Rovers
Handicap: Catalan -12
Today’s live Sky match looks to be a very interesting game between two teams that on paper are relatively closely matched.
Catalan started the season in terrible fashion but since then their form has improved dramatically and they have key players returning every week. This week they have Leon Pryce, Greg Mounis and Daryll Millard available again. They won on Thursday night at London and had the advantage of being able to slacken off in the last 20 minutes, possibly with one eye already on this game. There were no such luxuries for Hull KR as they won a bruising encounter against their local rivals Hull FC. It was a real forwards battle and is sure to have taken a lot out of the KR side. They played really well and winning a derby match in such dramatic style will definitely have given them a real confidence boost heading into this game. However, after beating Hull FC last year they backed it up by conceding 80 points at home.
I can’t see a repeat of that this year, but I do worry how much Thursday’s game took out of Hull KR and I think we may see Catalan pull away in the final quarter of this game against a tiring Rovers side. For that reason, take Catalan to win and cover.
Verdict: Catalan to win and cover the handicap
Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils
Handicap: Leeds -24
This is a game I really like the look of from a betting angle. Leeds have been very consistent so far this season, while Salford have been the exact opposite. Leeds have one of the most dangerous back lines in world rugby at the moment. They move the ball with accuracy and speed and in the first 15 minutes against Bradford on Thursday they were far too good. Their ball control was fantastic and in 15 minutes of play they allowed the Bulls just two sets of six. They also had the luxury of being able to rest Ben Jones-Bishop and Jamie Peacock against Bradford, meaning they can freshen their squad up today with such a short turnaround.
As for Salford, they won a big game against Bradford but then last time out they were soundly beaten by Huddersfield. They have conceded 242 points so far this season and I do think their defence looks fragile. They could struggle to contain a very strong Leeds team. I think this will be a high scoring game but Leeds can score the necessary points to win and cover.
Verdict: Leeds to win and cover the handicap
Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls
Handicap: Wigan -38
The bookmakers have given Wigan a massive handicap to overturn here but I’m not sure it’s enough. The Bulls have really struggled in Super League this season and they would sit second bottom in the table even if they hadn’t had any points deducted. They look short on players and they haven’t been helped by the loss of James Donaldson, Matty Blythe and Adam Sidlow, who were all injured against Leeds. That means they have called four youngsters into the squad for today and to go to Wigan with such an inexperienced team is a big ask. As for Wigan, they will be full of confidence after halting St Helens’ unbeaten start on Friday when they were comfortable victors at Langtree Park. Back at home, I’m sure Wigan will be looking to put in another big performance for their fans and use that St Helens victory as a way to kick start their season. Wigan may well rest a few players today but I just can’t see anything other than a big Wigan victory. Take Wigan to win and cover.
Verdict: Wigan to win and cover the handicap
The four other games are tougher to call, but here are my verdicts:
Widnes Vikings (+2) v St Helens
I fancy a Widnes win. Both teams are on the back of disappointing defeats last time out, but at home, I think Widnes can take this local derby.
Huddersfield Giants (-32) v Wakefield Wildcats
I can see the Giants winning and covering the handicap. They can be inconsistent but Wakefield’s defence has been so poor recently the Giants can rack up a big score.
Hull FC (-34) v London Broncos
I am backing London with the handicap. Thirty-four is a very big start and while Hull should win, I think London can stay within the handicap.
Castleford Tigers (+6) v Warrington Wolves
I’m going for a Castleford win. At home, the Tigers can turn in another big performance and once again upset the odds.
If I were you…
I would have a double on Leeds -24 and Wigan -38 which pays 2.64/1
If you’re looking for the bigger odds…
Have a treble on Catalan -12, Leeds -24 and Wigan -38, which pays 6/1