How the Bookies See it
- Widnes v Leigh: Widnes 4/6, Leigh 13/10, Draw 20/1 - William Hill
- Leeds v Castleford: Castleford 4/7, Leeds 7/5, Draw 25/1 - Boylesports
Widnes Vikings looked to have turned a corner, beating Leeds and Catalans in consecutive rounds, but they were well beaten by St Helens in Round 18. Vikings have lost 13 of their 18 games so far, winning just four, and they stand seven points behind eighth-placed Wigan. Leigh Centurions are a place and a point ahead of Thursday’s rivals, thanks to a fine 50-34 victory over Wigan last time out. They have won two in four since finally breaking a hapless run of eight defeats in Round 15.
Leeds Rhinos enter Round 19 on the back of wins against Leigh and Wakefield. A shock 28-20 reverse to Widnes in Round 16 shows that, although much improved from last year, Rhinos are still far from the finished article. Castleford Tigers are riding high, six points clear at the top of Super League and on their longest ever unbeaten Super League run. A 36-16 success over Warrington in Round 18 was their seventh victory on the bounce, which included a 29-18 win over Rhinos at the Magic Weekend.
Widnes will fancy their chances against a stretched Leigh side at the Select Security Stadium on Thursday night, having finally seen their own injury worries begin to ease. However, the visitors will be able to call on loanee Nick Rawsthorne, who arrived this week on a one-month deal from Hull. The winger has scored two tries in three appearances for his parent club this term and is 12/1 with Ladbrokes to cross the line first against Vikings. The same bookie will give you 5/4 on him scoring a try at any time during the match.
Widnes should shade it, given their mini-revival in recent weeks, the St Helens score aside, but 4/6 at William Hill is the best you will find on a home win. Betfred has 10/11 on them to succeed with a handicap of four, whilst Leigh are 13/8 with the league’s sponsor to return home with a shock victory.
If anyone is going to halt Cas in their tracks, it is the often-unpredictable Leeds Rhinos. A team that can humiliate Warrington 40-0 one week and then roll over for struggling Widnes the next is every bookie’s worst nightmare, and many will be tempted to stake on them upsetting the odds again on Friday. A victory for the Headingley side is a decent 7/5 at Boylesports, with Paddy Power pricing a Rhinos win with a handicap of 8.5 at 11/4. Castleford should win, but Leeds don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word ‘should’, which delights and frustrates their fans in equal measures.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Leeds to beat Castleford at 7/5 with Boylesports