Huddersfield Giants V Hull Kingston Rovers
KO 3pm, John Smiths stadium
Handicap: Giants -18
Overview: Huddersfield have a very settled side thanks to a quiet off-season in which few players went in or out.They started the season strongly with an away win against Wigan and will be both fresh and motivated due to having a week off. In contrast, the Robins are still adjusting to life without playmaker Michael Dobson and were comfortably beaten at home by Leeds in round one.
The loss of prop forward Michael Weyman could also be crucial in this game and will make it harder for the Rovers to stand up to the fearsome Giants pack. Last week, Hull gave as good as they got in the first half but faded away in the second. I can see a similar pattern emerging today.
Huddersfield won this fixture last year 50-30 and I think coach Paul Anderson will be determined not to concede as many points and will have his side well drilled in defence. Add to that the lack of Dobson’s creativity and it’s hard to see Hull scoring as many points this year. As a result, I feel Huddersfield are excellent value to win this game and to cover the handicap.
Suggested bet: Huddersfield to win and cover the 18pt handicap
Castleford Tigers V Catalan Dragons
KO 3pm, Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Handicap: Castleford -4
This looks to be a really close encounter and I can’t help but think the bookies have got it wrong. Castleford have no doubt started the season in stronger fashion but I do wonder about the credibility of their win at Bradford last weekend.
They played a poor Bulls side that made several handling errors in the second half. Considering the amount of possession the Tigers were gifted in the opposition half, they really should have won that game by more than the 18 points they did. Catalan will not be as generous as the Bulls today.
The Dragons had a tough match at Hull FC last time out and lost only because of poor place kicking. The loss of Luke Dorn through injury is also a blow for the Tigers and they will have to be very physical today up against a huge Catalan pack. The loss of someone as influential as Thomas Bosc would be a cause for concern for most teams but it’s not for the Dragons as equally influential half back Scott Dureau returns.
If the Catalan forwards can get on top in this game I fancy them to pick up the win and therefore I’m very keen to side with them getting a 4 point start.
Suggested bet: Catalan Dragons to win
If I were you…
I’d back both Huddersfield (-18) and Catalan (+4) to win. It pays around 2.5/1
Fancy a long-shot?
Stick a tenner on Catalan to win by 1-12 points and Huddersfield to win with the -18 handicap. It pays about 5.68/1
SkyBet are offering 5/4 for Huddersfield (-12) to win, with Jermaine McGillvary scoring at any point. To me that represents excellent value given he scored a hat-trick against Wigan