How the Bookies See it
- Widnes v Wakefield: Wakefield 4/9, Widnes 15/8, Draw 20/1 - Bet365
- Wigan v Warrington: Wigan 4/6, Warrington 6/5, Draw 20/1 - Betfred
- Castleford v Leeds: Castleford 1/3, Leeds 9/4, Draw 25/1 - William Hill
Widnes Vikings have lost five of their last six in Super League, leaving them bottom of the table, a point behind Leigh. Their luck didn’t change in the Challenge Cup last week, when an injury-ravaged Vikings outfit went down 34-20 to Warrington, who were helped on their way by a hat trick from former Widnes stand-off Kev Brown. Wakefield Trinity enjoyed a 54-6 demolition of Dewsbury Rams to progress to Round 7 of the cup, following two convincing league wins on the bounce, over Catalans and Leigh. They also triumphed 30-4 over Widnes in Round 8.
Wigan Warriors took down Swinton Lions 42-12 in the Challenge Cup last week, providing a welcome distraction from their inconsistent league form. Defeats against Castleford and Salford in their last two Super League matches have seen 2016’s Grand Final winners slip to fifth in the table. Warrington Wolves continued their recent resurgence by defeating Widnes last Sunday in the Challenge Cup. They have now lost only one of their last eight games and are knocking on the door of Super League’s top eight. The clubs most recently met in Round 4, when Wigan came away 38-16 winners.
Castleford Tigers remain top of Super League, having won ten of their thirteen games this term. St Helens may be one of only three teams to stop them in the league this year, but Cas destroyed Saints in the Challenge Cup last week, running out 53-10 winners. Leeds Rhinos are two points and three places behind Tigers and have lost just twice in their last ten games in all competitions, smashing Barrow Raiders 72-10 in the cup last week. Cas and Leeds last met in Round 3, when the Tigers mauled the Rhinos 66-10.
Widnes are understandably the underdogs against a buoyant Wakefield side this weekend, following a run of rotten form and with the absence of 12 senior players through injury, but Vikings have brought in former Man of Steel Rangi Chase from Cas and Warrington youngsters Sam Wilde and Jack Johnson on loan this week, which could give them the boost they need to grab the two points. Bet365’s 15/8 on a Widnes win is tempting, with 10/3 from William Hill on them to be leading at both half and full time an option for optimistic fans.
Following defeat to Wigan earlier in the season and still smarting from last year’s Grand Final reverse against the same team, Warrington are on the lookout for revenge in Newcastle and will feel that the momentum is with them. Wolves have hit their stride after a shocking start to the year, whilst Wigan have faltered of late and, although the odds are intriguingly tight, BetVictor’s 11/10 on the Cheshire side to win is worthy of consideration.
Revenge will also be on the mind of Leeds Rhinos fans still smarting from their Round 3 humbling at the hands of their West Yorkshire neighbours. Cas have been superb virtually all season, but Leeds certainly have what it takes to take the two points, and 11/5 from BetVictor on a Rhinos win is too good to ignore.
All three underdogs are in with a shout on neutral ground of the Magic Weekend, and keeping your fingers crossed for a risky treble coming in could bring an extra frisson to this joyous annual spectacle.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Treble on Widnes, Warrington and Leeds to win at 17.48/1 with BetVictor