Bradford V Huddersfield
Handicap: Bradford +14
An interesting showdown between two teams with aspirations at either end of the table. After a 6 point deduction for entering administration, the Bulls’ main aim for the season has to be survival. Meanwhile, Huddersfield will be looking upwards and trying to repeat last season’s 1st place finish. However, they have made a rather faltering start to the season with just 1 win from their first four games. That said, Huddersfield haven’t been far away , drawing twice while their only defeat came by the slender margin of two points at Widnes.
A major problem for Bradford today will come in the forwards. At the start of the season they looked to be light on props, and that problem was compounded by the loss of Gareth Carvell to Hull just the week before the season and then Nick Scruton to Wakefield after the season had started. They have since signed youngsters Anthony Mullaley and Greg Burke from Huddersfield and Wigan respectively. However, Mullaley is prevented from playing against his parent club while Burke suffered a shoulder injury on his Bradford debut last week, leaving Francis Cummings with just two available props. He will have to deploy Chev Walker as an emergency forward while young prop Alex Mellor looks in line to make just his third super league appearance.
Huddersfield have one of the largest forward packs in Super League with international quality and experience. With high winds forecast in West Yorkshire on Sunday, the game could turn a little scrappy. This is the last thing Bradford want as the kicking game of Danny Brough, combined with a physical advantage in the forwards could see Bradford under huge amounts of pressure at times.
While 14 points is quite a large start for a Bradford side who will be undoubtly fired up with Dr.Marwan Koukash reportedly in attendance at this afternoon’s game (his wife is fronting a bid to buy the club), I just think they could be bullied in the middle of the park. They will struggle to make the necessary yardage and I think Huddersfield can score enough points to win and cover.
Suggested Bet – Huddersfield to win and Cover
Castleford V Hull FC
Handicap: Castleford -2
Castleford’s fantastic start to the season shows no signs of slowing. They maintained their 100% record last weekend with a stunning victory over last season’s champions Wigan. They have played exceptionally well as a team and a huge amount of credit has to be given to new coach Daryll Powell. His recruitment in the off season was questioned by many, including myself, but Liam Finn in particular has more than proved his doubters wrong. They have a fantastic offence and so far this season they average more than 40 points a game.
As for Hull, they are without doubt a quality side, but they seem to be having real trouble finding the consistency to trouble the top teams. Even last week against Bradford, leading 32-10 at half time they couldn’t follow up in the second half and the lack of consistency will no doubt worry coach Lee Radford. If Hull are to end Castleford’s perfect start to the season, they must play well for the full 80 minutes.
This is a real tough game to call and it could go either way. If pushed, I’d just edge towards Castleford as they are playing at home. They have huge confidence and that could prove the difference today. However, for the second week in a row the market I’m interested in here is the total match points. The bookmakers haven’t learnt their lesson from last week and have again set the bar at 52.5 points. I’m again very keen to get on the plus side of this margin.
Verdict – Castleford win and over 52.5 points in the game
If I were you … I’d have a double on over 52.5 points in Castleford V Hull and Huddersfield -14 which pays around 2.8/1
If you’re after bigger odds Justin Carney to score first for Castleford has a good chance @ 8/1
by John Anderson, Rugby League Betting Tips