With no Hull derby this year, the Sky cameras are taking in the West Yorkshire derby between Castleford and Wakefield as their second game on Good Friday.
Both sides are in decent form with Castleford beating Champions Wigan last week to consolidate their place at the top of Super League and Trinity winning 5 of their last 6 to take themselves into the top 8.
Michael Shenton drops out of the Tigers squad after getting injured in the warm-up at Wigan whilst Mason Caton-Brown comes into the Wakefield squad.
Super League sponsors Betfred give Trinity a massive 22-point start on the handicap for their short trip up the road to the Mend a Hose Jungle, and given their decent run of form you have to fancy them to stay inside that.
There’s no doubt Castleford look the real deal this year, but they nearly let a patched-up Wigan side back into a game they should have been out of sight in last week and only sealed the win with an interception try from Eden.
Yes, they were by far the better side but even Coach Daryl Powell admitted they could play a lot better.
The Tigers have been effective at home this season with 3 of their 4 wins being by more than today’s handicap margin, but 2 of those were against 2 of the 3 worst teams in the league in Leigh and Huddersfield.
In round 6 Castleford beat a Catalans team, who I would put behind this Wakefield side, by 19 points so you have to think the visitors can stay within 3 scores, particularly if it’s wet.
Cas are very short at 1/12 to win this given the good run Wakefield are on but should get home, mind you I’m sure Trinity fans will be having some of the 7/1 available for an away win, something that surely pays no respect to them having won at St Helens and Catalans in the last 6 weeks.
The only worry is the heavy beating they took at Leeds last month, a real horror show in front of the Sky cameras. There’s always a worry that Castleford will turn on the style and destroy any side but conversely with the Tigers there’s always a worry over their consistency.
I think the home side should get home by around 11-15 points, but the best value for me is the 9/4 for Trinity getting a lesser 14-point start on the handicap.
The points total in games between these two are usually quite high so I’d be looking to go over the total points line if it stays dry, but rain is forecast.
Eden and Minikin are very short at 4/1 to score the first try, Jake Webster could offer better value at 10/1. Tom Johnstone is hard to overlook for the visitors.
Finally the man of the match, Gale unsurprisingly heads the market at 9/2 and with Cas such a short price to win the game that probably ranks as decent value, so I’d just prefer him over 13/2 Zak Hardaker.
If Trinity are to pull off a shock the Sky team may look towards former Tiger Liam Finn at 14/1 so for me it’s Finn and Gale.
Betfred struggle to split Hull and Leeds with the Black and Whites marginal 8/11 to win their game given home advantage.
Whilst most of the headlines were around the tackle Westwood made that put Sutcliffe out the game last week, it’s worth remembering that Leeds were well beaten at Warrington. Having said that FC were given a Rugby lesson by Salford 7 days ago and badly missed the likes of Ellis, Kelly and key man Houghton.
This is a game that really could go either way, but I just feel the absence of Houghton could be what tips the balance the Rhinos way, they are 6/5 to win the game but you can back them at slightly reduced odds getting a 2-point start on the handicap. It’s hard to have a firm view either way though, in what could be a tight tense low scoring affair.
Today’s other game sees high-flying Salford host new boys Leigh. The Centurions are starting to find out just how brutal Super League can be with tough games week in week out, they are yet to win away from home this season and come off the back of poor home defeats by Widnes and Catalans.
The Red Devils are going from strength to strength, the only team to beat Castleford and they had a great home win over Saints a couple of weeks ago, before scoring nearly 100 points in two away victories at Widnes and Hull.
Strange results happen quite often in our great game and 9/2 for Leigh will surely be taken by some of their supporters, but the Red Devils are bankers with me and the bookies who make them very short at 1/5 to win. With heavy rain forecast though it could be a day to take the sides getting the start on the handicap, so Leigh may just be able to stay inside the 16-point start they get today, especially as both sides may also have an eye on their Easter Monday games in 72 hours.
We’ll have a betting review of all the Easter Monday games. As always, please gamble responsibly.