The Sky Cameras are at the DW Stadium for Friday night Rugby as Leeds make the trip over the Pennines.
Well done to anyone that got -4 for Wigan on the handicap before the squads were announced on Wednesday, the Warriors now concede an 18 point start on the cap as Leeds have 13 players missing through injury.
The 4/6 for a home win is now around 1/8 as Leeds are forced to dig deep into their squad just to be able to put 13 men on the field.
This game should really carry a health warning now as form is irrelevant, Wigan should win comfortably as the odds suggest and they were on a decent run of form before last week’s loss to Warrington.
Shaun Wane will now doubt see this game as a chance to improve his teams minus points difference and there’s no doubt a comfortable win puts them back in the race for a top 4 spot.
Leeds are guaranteed 2nd spot going into the Super 8 and it does seem a coincidence that these injuries have occurred a week before a cup semi final but they’ve earned the right to be able to do this, it is worth noting though that Wigan themselves may have one eye on a cup semi next week too.
You can’t see a side packed with youngsters landing odds of around 13/2 to win the game but the Warriors record against weakened sides isn’t great and maybe this Rhinos side can stay inside the 18 point handicap.
The Warriors themselves were severely depleted for their trip to Headingley back in March but managed to stay within 8 points of the Rhinos who went joint top of the table.
It certainly is a game to leave alone for me though as we have no real form to go on with the likes of Mcguire, Hall, Watkins and Cuthbertson among the missing. You also have to barter in Wigan’s attitude to the game with the cup game 9 days away.
For what it’s worth I think the Warriors, who were masters of just getting the job done last year, can win this by around 11-15 points so the visitors can just stay inside a 3 score cap.
If you want an interest probably best to stick to fun bets on tryscorers etc and Joe Burgess rates great value at 6/1 to score the 1st try ahead of 8/1 Liam Marshall. Young starlet Jack Walker is 20/1 to cross first.
If you fancy the Warriors to run riot Burgess, who is back in his favoured position on the wing now, is 6/1 to score a hat trick with his wing partner Marshall 8/1.
Finally the man of the match, George Williams has been out of sorts lately and this could be the game he finds his early season form, add to this his goalkicking and his points tally could be hard to ignore so he is my pick at a very short 9/2. The main worry would be a hat trick from the likes of Burgess, Marshall or Tomkins beating him to the award. Tomkins would be my alternative at 7/1 as he gets back to match fitness.
As with Widnes last night it’s better to back the Rhinos to win at 13/2 than trying to pick a man of the match, Jordan Lilley at 20/1 would just be my pick over 18/1 Parcell if pushed but neither are good odds given the match price.
2 other games tonight, Leigh concede a 6 point start on the handicap against a Salford side who may have one eye on next week’s semi final.
Leigh can finish the season off the bottom with a win so have something to play for and may just stay inside the handicap in what could be a close high scoring game.
Salford have struggled in recent weeks so don’t really rate value at 4/9 to win this and with the dire form Leigh are in you’d want more than the 15/8 quoted for them to beat anybody.
I actually think the Centurions can pinch this but taking the start has to be better value.
Huddersfield are one of the most improved sides in the league and they get an 8 point start for their trip to Hull.
FC haven’t rested the number of players Leeds have ahead of the Cup semi but again surely they’ll have one eye on it.
The Giants have had some good results lately and surely can stay inside the handicap, they’ve beaten the likes the of St Helens and Warrington in recent weeks and held Wigan to a draw.
I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they landed odds of around 9/4 to win the game and push their claims for a top 4 spot, Hull are far too inconsistent of late to justify match win odds of 4/11 and for me this is a game that could go either way so the value has to be Huddersfield, who also get next week off, getting an 8 point start.
Cas travel to Perpignan tomorrow, as always please gamble responsibly.