Catalans and Huddersfield kick off day 2 of magic weekend and it could have a real bearing on which sides drop into the middle 8 after 23 games.
The Dragons bring back 4 players that missed the cup defeat at Hull, including Greg Bird whilst Mcgilvary, Cudjoe and Gaskell return for the Giants.
The bookies rexkon this will be close and make Catalans marginal 4/6 favourites to win.
The French side are on a poor run of form now, losing their last 4 in League and Cup, and could struggle again here against a Huddersfield side who have just started to improve.
The Giants gave Castleford a real scare last time out, prior to that they won at Headingley and I think odds of around 6/4 are fair enough for a Huddersfield win.
It could be safer to take the 2 point start on the handicap as you can’t rule out the draw but a much improved Huddersfield could win this by around 6-10 points.
Yaha and Mcgilvary head 1st try betting at around 10/1, I’d prefer Mcgilvary, Tony Gigot would be my pick for the Dragons at around 12/1.
With Brough out I’d look to the in form Mamo for man of the match, if Bird makes the difference for Catalans he could get the award.
In game 2 Leigh get a 10 point start on the handicap against in form Salford.
The Centurions have lost all their last 6 games and look destined for the bottom spot of the table going into the middle 8’s, whereas Salford are riding high in the top 4 after 3 wins from their last 4 in Super League.
Leigh gave Salford a real test on Good Friday but are leaking tries for fun so you have to think the Red Devils can win this by at least 2 scores. It’s 5/2 for Leigh to win and you’d want more than that given their predicament, the Red Devils are around 2/5 for the win that will cement their place in the top 4 and I think they can win this by around 16-20 points.
The 2/5 can be boosted to around 8/11 on the Half Time Full Time.
Johnson and Evalds head 1st try lists at 10/1, I prefer Sa’u at 12’s.
Centurions fans might look to Adam Higson at 16/1.
Sam Hopkins is far too big at 8/1 to score a try anytime.
Drinkwater is the best player in Leigh colours and he would be my man of the match pick with Gareth O’brien of the Red Devils.
The big game of the day sees team of the moment Castleford take on Leeds.
The Tigers put 60 on the Rhinos back in March but Leeds have improved since then. Cas go from strength to strength though and have put 50 points on the likes of Wigan and St Helens in recent weeks.
Hardaker has a late fitness test for Castleford and Roberts is out whilst Watkins returns for the Rhinos.
The bookies give Leeds a 10 point start on the handicap for this one and you have to say that is about right.
Leeds had been on a decent run of form before a poor loss to Huddersfield last month. They have since won in France but were a tad fortunate on the day, Daryl Powell’s side have been sweeping all before them but most of their good form has been at home, they’ve lost at Hull and St Helens in recent weeks and were fortunate to win at Huddersfield last time out
This is a big game to see how the Tigers cope with a big showpiece occasions with the pressure on, given their form away from home odds of 1/3 look very short but it’s hard to back against them at the 9/4 available for the Rhinos.
I think this could be close so maybe Leeds getting the start on the handicap is the way to go. Castleford may just sneak home but maybe by only 6-10 points, you certainly can’t discount Leeds though in what should be an entertaining high scoring game.
Hall is slowly getting his old form back and looks good value at 11/1 for the 1st try, it’s take your pick between Minikin and 15/2 and 7/1 favourite Eden in Cas colours.
Matt Parcell has been influential in Leeds return to form and he would be my pick for man of the match alongside Luke Gale, most of the Tigers attacks go through the England half. Hardaker would have to be a danger if fit.
Wigan go to Saints on Thursday, as always please gamble responsibly.