Rugby League betting: Who to back this week

Chris Hill takes the ball in. ©RLPhotosWigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves
Thursday September 11, KO 8pm
This is a tough one to call; two in-form teams with a spot in the top four to play for. For me, with a home crowd behind them, Wigan will just about have the edge. The bookies tend to agree, but with odds of 8/15, there’s not much in it for the punter.
There are two bets that do offer a large reward for a comparatively small risk, though. The first is for the teams to draw with Warrington’s six point start in the handicap – Betfair are offering a whopping 20/1.
Although impossible to predict, it’s surely going to be a close match and Wigan by six is certainly not out of the question. For me, that’s crying out for a speculative fiver.
If you think it’s going to be closer, though, there’s another eye catching option that might take your fancy. Sportingbet are offering a tasty 9/4 if a field-goal is kicked at any point during the 80 minutes. Those are extremely generous odds, especially when both Matty Smith (6) and Stefan Ratchford (2) are in Super League’s top four for drop-goals kicked this season. A £10 bet would return £32.50, not bad at all.
Finally, a browse of Rugby League betting at William Hill showed great odds for Michael Monaghan, arguably Warrington’s most influential player this season, to win man of the match. Scroll down to see those.

Suggested bets
Draw (with Warrington +6 handicap): 20/1 at BetFair
Field goal to be kicked: 9/4 at Sportingbet

Five other bets worth considering
Joel Monaghan to score first try of game: 9/1 at Spread Ex
Matty Smith man of the match: 8/1 at SkyBet
Michael Monaghan man of the match: 12/1 at William Hill
Josh Charnley to score at any time: 8/13 at Ladbrokes
Joel Monaghan to score at any time: 8/11 at Ladbrokes

Giants-Saints-CrabtreeHuddersfield Giants v St Helens
Friday September 12, KO 8pm
Another extremely close match that could decide who will win the League Leader’s Shield. Indeed, if St Helens salvage even a point from the encounter they will be crowned minor premiers. If they lose, however, Castleford have a chance on Saturday to usurp them with a win away at Catalan Dragons.
That alone should give the away side some added impetus, but, with stand-in full-back Shannon McDonnell out with a broken jaw, Nathan Brown looks like he’s going to have to play a winger at the back and send Paul Wellens into the halves, which is far from ideal in such an important fixture.
With all this in mind I fancied the Giants to romp to victory, but yesterday’s news that talismanic Danny Brough has been left out throws the game wide open.
It’s going to be close but I am now tipping St Helens to triumph by a whisker. The bookies agree and most have set a handicap of just two points. As you’d expect, there isn’t great value in the win market here as a result, but yet again the lure of the handicap draw is strong. You can get 18/1 with Ladbrokes for a Saints win by two points – regardless of the score (it could be 0-2 or 58-60). That’s extremely tempting, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, how about Tommy Makinson to score at any time? Bet Victor are offering 8/11 for the 22-year-old, who has notched 24 four-pointers in 25 games this season, to cross at any point. A tenner on that will net you a £7 profit.

Suggested bets
Draw (with Huddersfield +2 handicap): 18/1 with Ladbrokes
Tommy Makinson to score at any point: 8/11 with Bet Victor

Five other bets worth considering
Adam Swift to score opening try: 10/1 with SkyBet
Luke Robinson to win man of the match: 12/1 with SkyBet
Joe Wardle to score at any time: 5/4 with BetFred
Lance Hohaia to win man of the match: 10/1 with SkyBet
James Roby to score opening try: 25/1 with Stan James

Ryan-Hall-sliderHull FC v Leeds Rhinos
Friday September 12, KO 8pm
Go back a few years and a late-season clash between these two stalwarts of the game would have been something to look forward to. However, with the black and whites stuck in 12th position and Leeds coming off the back of four consecutive losses with no way of finishing better than sixth, there’s absolutely nothing to play for.
However, if the Rhinos want to get to Old Trafford they’ll need to start hitting form soon, and I fancy them to do so on Friday night, scoring heavily in the process.
The only way you can get any value out of a Leeds win is to take it on the handicaps, where most are giving Hull FC have an eight point start. The best odds I could find for that were just 10/11, so I’ve done a bit of research and you can get Leeds -20 for 3/1 with Ladbrokes. It’s a risky move but if it comes off there’s money to be made.
For something a bit different, how about Ryan Hall to score two or more tries in the match? You can get 9/4 with Ladbrokes. A £10 stake will pocket over £20 in profit so it’s worth a punt.

Suggested bets
Leeds to win (with -20 handicap): 3/1 with Ladbrokes
Ryan Hall to score a minimum of two tries: 9/4 with Ladbrokes

Five other bets worth considering
Leeds to win (with -8 handicap): 10/11 at bwin
Draw (with Leeds -8 handicap): 16/1 at Titanbet
Kallum Watkins to score game’s opening try: 10/1 with Bet Victor
Zak Hardaker to score a try at any time: 6/5 with Ladbrokes
Fetuli Talanoa to score a try at any time: 11/8 with Ladbrokes

Widnes-V-SalfordSalford Red Devils v Widnes Vikings
Friday September 12, KO 8pm
The form guide shows the away side have a slight advantage here with three wins in their last five starts, compared to Salford’s two.
However, the star quality at the Red Devils’ disposal is nothing short of breathtaking and it’s tough to see the Vikings exerting themselves fully, especially when the only thing a win could bring them would be an away tie against Leeds in the first round of the play-offs.
The win markets, yet again, offer little value so I delved a bit deeper and came up with a tantalising offer from Bet365. If Salford win the first half then draw the second, they will pay out 66/1, which is a huge price for something that is not, by any means, out of the question.
If that doesn’t take your fancy, in-form Josh Griffin, who has seven tries in seven Salford appearances this season, is surely worth backing to score the first try of the game at 9/1 with SkyBet. Widnes’ Paddy Flynn, who has three tries in his last two matches, is also attractively price to score at any point in the game at 11/8 with Ladbrokes.

Suggested bets
Salford to win first half and draw second: 66/1 with Bet365
Josh Griffin to score first try of game: 9/1 with SkyBet
Paddy Flynn to score at any time: 11/8 with SkyBet

Four other bets worth considering
Draw (with Salford -8 handicap): 16/1 with Stan James
Kevin Locke to score first try of game: 9/1 with SkyBet
Salford to win race to 10 points: 4/7 with William Hill
Greg Johnson to score first try: 10/1 with SkyBet

All odds correct at time of publishing – check official websites for latest figures