The Sky cameras are at the KCOM Stadium tonight as Hull FC take on Catalans Dragons. After a week off for both these sides, the stop-start season finally starts gets into full spin.
New Hull FC signing Jake Connor deputises for suspended half-back Albert Kelly, meanwhile Iain Thornley comes in for injured Dragons winger Fouad Yaha.
Again, it’s hard to form a firm opinion on these early season games, especially with the awful weather predicted for tonight. The bad forecast could tip you towards going under on the points market but that will be built into the points line.
As we get into the summer, the French outfit really struggle on the road as they must cope with playing in the South of France one week and then the North of England the next, but it doesn’t seem to be so much of a problem earlier in the season. Last year they won five of their first six games on the road.
Obviously, there shouldn’t be a problem on that score this week with both sides sitting out last weekend, and they may feel they can stay inside the 10-point handicap put up by Super League sponsors Betfred.
The Dragons record at the KCOM is terrible with no regular season wins there this decade, but there have been some close encounters, particularly early in the season, so you may expect them to just stay inside that 10-point handicap.
Given their awful away record, you can’t really fancy them at 3/1 for an away win, but then again 2/7 is very short for the hosts whose only win this season was a scrappy one at Wakefield. Lee Radford’s side are also with star signing Kelly after his high tackle on Matty Ashurst in week one.
Catalans beat Warrington in their opener, this was also a poor game with the Wolves looking to have one eye on the Brisbane game the following week. I think the home side could get home in a scrappy encounter by maybe 6-10 pts, available at around 9/2 with the value being in a 1-12-point home win at around 7/4.
I’m not convinced by this Dragons squad and they’ll be in the bottom half of the table in my opinion, as for the hosts they look strong again and should remain in the top four. These early games can be a minefield though but if you’re confident of a comfortable home win the 2/7 can be boosted to 4/5 on the Half Time Full Time.
There are plenty of alternative handicaps on offer at Betfred with Hull to win by more than 18 points a 9/4 shot and it’s 11/8 for the French side to stay inside 6 points.
Fetuli Talanoa and Mahe Fonua head the first try lists at 9/1 but I’d prefer full back Jamie Shaul at 10/1. As for Catalans, it’s hard to oppose Jodie Broughton at 9/1. However, Iain Thornley has a great record against the Black and Whites and the former Robin looks good value at 16/1. Don’t forget Betfred double your odds if your first try scorer scores a second try so it’s always worth taking maybe a couple of points less.
Finally, the Man of the Match. This has always been just a fun bet but even more so now. There’s been some very strange picks recently and it’s hard to read with Stevo gone. George Williams played well in the World Club Challenge but Man of the Match? Not for me.
Marc Sneyd looks a solid 9/2 favourite for Man of the Match in this one, especially as his kicking could be crucial in tough conditions. I just favour him to Danny Houghton at 7/1. As for the visitors Luke Walsh looks very overpriced at 25/1 so it’s Sneyd and Walsh for me.
There are five games tomorrow, including the live game between Wigan and Widnes, so we will be back with a preview of all those games.
Click here to go to the Betfred website. As always, please gamble responsibly.