We are spoilt this week with live Rugby League on television for four days in a row. We have the bread and butter of Super League for two nights before the glamour of the World Club Series at the weekend. First up in front of the Sky cameras tonight is Salford’s trip to Huddersfield.
Differing fortunes for both these sides in week one as the Giants showed bags of improvement from last year with a win at Widnes, whereas Salford couldn’t come back from conceding 26 first half points against champions Wigan. They did though put up a spirited display in the second half scoring three unanswered tries.
Super League sponsors Betfred give the Red Devils a 6-point start on the handicap and this time last week I’d have expected them to stay well inside that. Last Friday though the Giants showed more of the form of pre-2016 than the awful performances of 12 months ago.
Widnes are hard to beat at home so for Huddersfield to go their and win by 12 points was an impressive showing. Their key men, the likes of Danny Brough and Leroy Cudjoe, seemed to have started the season well and Jermaine McGillvary is in the tries already. in a competition as close as Super League it’s vital to have your key men in form. I think the Giants can cover the one-try handicap.
On the other hand, Salford had a poor start against Wigan and you can partly put their second half fightback down to the Warriors having one eye on Cronulla this week. Add to this that the Red Devils are missing key men like Weller Hauraki and Todd Carney, it all points to a home win by around 11 to 15 points. Robert Lui and Junior Sa’u are included in the squad despite suffering head knocks against the Warriors.
4/9 is very short odds for Huddersfield this early in the season, especially with last year’s lucky escape still in the memory bank, but the 2/1 for an away win doesn’t appeal either. It isn’t long ago that drop goals saved both of these sides from relegation in 2016 and I still think at least one will feature in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
The Giants squad is weak but they have most their key men playing tonight so that shouldn’t be a factor. There was nothing between these two sides last year with the away side winning both regular season games, but I think Huddersfield can reverse that tonight.
Alternative handicaps are available if you fancy the game to be more one-sided; Huddersfield are 5/2 conceding a 14-point start, the 4/9 for a home win can be boosted to 5/6 on the Half Time Full Time.
It’s hard to see past last week’s two try hero Jermaine McGillvary at 6/1 in the first try market. Junior Sa’u scored against Wigan last week and is the pick of the Salford prices at 10/1 for the first try.
There is always good value in the anytime try markets; Mark Flanagan looks overpriced at 13/2. Jermaine Mcgilvary may appeal to odds-on backers at 4/5.
Finally, the Man of the Match betting. Obviously with Stevo gone from the commentary box we have to change our thought process for this. Whilst Theo Fages was an obvious choice last Thursday, Stevo would have surely picked Luke Gale last Friday given his personal points tally on the night. With doubt over who is picking it, and trying to second guess Terry or Barrie Mac being impossible anyway, this is certainly a market to tread very carefully. Again with Stevo, market leader Brough would be very solid as a 9/2 favourite, but I’d prefer in-form Leroy Cudjoe at 12/1. He is back to form and looking to get back in the England side so I expect a good showing from the Giants centre this year. Nothing stand-out in the Red Devils squad but Josh Jones certainly looks overpriced at 33/1, so it’s Jones and Cudjoe for me.
Click here to go to Betfred’s website to see all their Rugby League odds.
I’ve mentioned it before but it’s still very early days and strange results will happen. This is a game brought forward from week 11 as both sides have an extra Challenge Cup game to play.
We’ll be back with a betting review of Leeds trip to Leigh tomorrow. As always, please gamble responsibly.