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Bookmakers decide favourites for Challenge Cup Final

Sponsors Betfred make Matty Peet’s Wigan 4/9 favourites to complete their own ‘Tiger Slam’ by lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley on Saturday. A game that is live on BBC1. A win for the current champions would see them hold all trophies available for them to win.

The Warriors were pushed all the way in their Super League fixture by a makeshift Warrington side only a few days ago. But, I’m not sure I’d read too much into that game, the young Wire side was full of fringe players desperate to stake a claim for a place in the squad for the walk up Wembley Way.

On the other hand, you did get the feeling the Wigan players who played did have an eye on staying fit for the season’s first domestic showpiece final. Also, you don’t need to look too far back to earlier this when Hull KR comfortably beat Wigan at home in the league only to see roles reserved spectacularly in the cup semi-final in Doncaster.

Mind you, things didn’t quite go to plan for Wigan on Saturday as ill-discipline throughout the game led to bans for Keighran and Dupree, ruling them out this weekend.

Challenge Cup Quiz: Name the runners-up from every year since 1996

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Leigh Leopards celebrate at Wembley


Wigan favourites for Challenge Cup final in 80 minutes

Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors players

Credit: Imago Images

80-minute betting sees Wigan at 1/2 with Warrington 15/8, and 22/1 for the game to go to extra time. The value for me though is Warrington getting a 6.5 start on the handicap at 5/6. Whilst I just favour Wigan here the game should be very tight, a few will be tempted in the 22/1 for extra time.

Although Harry Smith’s kicking has improved significantly, he’s not in the same league as Keighran from the tee and this could impact any winning margin.

I do though expect Wire to come out of the blocks flying and Warrington to be leading at half time with Wigan leading at full time looks a decent value bet at 7/1.

I just see Wigan being too strong, even given the absentees. Dupree, will be missed but Wigan have plenty of squad depth in the forwards, with the likes of Luke Thompson, who I expect to have a big game under the Wembley Arch.

Sam Burgess has hardly put a foot wrong in his first season as coach, making Warrington the third favourites now to win the Grand Final. That is a hell of a job given the mess he inherited, though it is still early days. He certainly looks to have the respect of the dressing room and the players look like they’d jump through brick walls for him.

They have only lost once by a bigger margin than the 6.5 point handicap , to Catalans in March, and whilst I think Wigans forwards will eventually gain control of the game, I can’t see there being too much in it.

A three-way way, six point handicap sees Wire at even money, slightly higher than the 5/6, but if Wigan win by six then the result would be the tie and you’d have lost your money.

Liam Marshall good value for first try scorer

Challenge Cup

Credit: Imago Images

As for tryscorers, with a battle going on up front, both sides will be looking to get the ball out to the wings.So 7/1 for Super League Leading Try Scorer, Liam Marshall, would be my pick at 7/1. Matty Ashton at 8/1 would be my pick of the Wire players. I also like the look of the powerful Junior Nsemba to score a try anytime in the game at 3/1, having scored at the Halliwell Jones Stadium last weekend.

There is no betting available yet for the Lance Todd Trophy, but despite being short odds, you can’t look away from the likes of Bevan French and George Williams. Both have been in great form for their clubs and should relish playing on the big Wembley pitch.

So in what should be a classic final , in front of hopefully a big crowd, I just take Wigan to sneak this one by less than a try.

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