The Sky cameras are at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night as under fire Keiron Cunningham takes his Saints side over the Pennines to take on Hull FC.
St Helens will be looking to bounce back after poor defeats to sides who are tipped for the middle 8’s this year, whilst FC got their season on track with a comfortable win at Huddersfield.
Lee Radford looks set to rely on the same side that put over 40 points on Huddersfield last week whilst Luke Douglas and Greg Richards return for the Saints who could have Jon Wilkin back in the halves.
FC turned back the clock to 2016 last week with an impressive win at the John Smith’s Stadium and the bookies certainly expect them to make it consecutive wins giving St Helens an 8-point start on the handicap.
Hull won both regular season games against today’s opponents last year but neither were by more than the 8-point handicap tonight.
Saints are in dire early season form, they were fortunate to beat Leeds in week one and have had two poor defeats at Leigh and at home to Wakefield seven days ago.
FC also started slowly, but it is worth noting that the scrappy win at Wakefield and the home loss to Catalans were both in terrible conditions.
The criticism in certain quarters of Marc Sneyd seemed to fire up the Airlie Birds and he in particular was outstanding as they steamrollered the Giants.
It’s really hard to make a case for the visitors given their form so far and you have to think that the hosts can cover the 8-point handicap provided it stays dry.
Super League sponsors Betfred make Saints 5/2 shots to win here. The last six regular season games between the two at the KCOM Stadium have produced two wins each and two draws.
It’s just not big enough odds for me, it’s hard to see where they will improve with Matty Smith still out and whilst Hull definitely miss Liam Watts and Gareth Ellis, they they have plenty forward strength in depth.
Whilst it’s a very short price for a side in only their second home game, the 1/3 for a home win is justified and I think the hosts can win this by 11-15 points in a low scoring affair.
Both sides will take the option of putting points on the board so a penalty first scoring play can be good value, it works out at 4/1 if you back both teams to half your stake.
Don’t forget Betfred double your first try odds if your man goes on to score a second try and I like the look of market leader Mahe Fonua at 6/1. As for the Saints Jack Owens at 9/1 offers the best value.
Anytime try bets can offer good value and last the whole 80 minutes – Jon Wilkin could be back in the halves and will give you a good run for your money at 9/2.
Finally the Man of the Match – Danny Houghton is bound to catch they eye of the Sky team as he plays his 250th game in Black and White and he has to be in the frame at 10/1.
As for Saints, Theo Fages was their best player when they beat Leeds last month and he is the lowest price in the Red V at around 10/1.
However, it’s surely time for the real James Roby to stand up, he’ll have to outplay Houghton if Saints are to win and at 12/1 he could just rate the best value.
Wilkin has to be a live contender at 25/1 if he plays in the halves but it’s Sneyd and Roby for me.
This game could be very tense and very close and the 22/1 draw has to be a live contender, but Leeds will be smarting after the real hammering they took at Cas last week and they may just get home.
Catalans had a tough game in a mud bath against Widnes last week and the usual travel sickness could just affect them here.
If you’re backing the Dragons you’re better to take the 2-point start on the handicap at slightly lesser odds than the 11/10 match win odds in case you get done by the draw.
The final game sees Leigh concede a 4-point start on the handicap at home to the Giants.
Huddersfield were well beaten at home to Hull last week and could struggle at the Leigh Sports Village, the Centurions have beaten Saints at home and were unlucky to lose to Leeds .
There was a points fest when these two met in the Middle 8s so I expect this to be over the points line. With good wingers on each side, Jermaine McGillvary and Matty Dawson maybe worth a look for the first try-scorer.
We’ll be back with more betting reviews next week. As always, please gamble responsibly.