The Rugby League community makes the trip up to Newcastle this weekend for magic weekend.
Kicking us off at St James Park on the Saturday is Widnes against Wakefield.
Rangi Chase could be in line for his Widnes debut after his move from Castleford but the Vikings are having terrible luck with injuries, you can add Partick Ah Van to the list now as he is out for the season after his injury in the cup loss at Warrington last week.
Trinity winger Tom Johnstone is also out for the season but Chris Chesters side seem to be coping alot better having won their last 3 games in League and Cup.
Widnes have only won once in their last 6 games but put up a real fight against Warrington last week, having said that you can’t really argue with the odds of 2/5 for a Wakefield win and given the trouble Widnes are in you have to think that Chris Chester will be the happier Coach on Saturday evening.
Super League sponsors Betfred give Widnes an 8 point start on the handicap and I’m not sure that’ll be enough, in all of Wakefields last 3 wins in Super League, at Leigh and at home to Catalans, they’ve won by more than that margin and all of the Vikings last 5 defeats in League and Cup have been by more than 8 points.
The 2/5 for Wakefield be boosted to around 10/11 on the Half Time Full Time and I think they can get home by around 16-20 points.
Vikings fans can get around 5/2 for their side to get the 2 points.
Jones Bishop and Caton Brown head 1st try lists at around 8/1, I’d just prefer Jones Bishop. Hanbury might also be worth a 2nd glance at 16/1.
Anytime try bets last the full 80 minutes and Danny Kirmond rates great value at 7/2 to score a try.
Finally the man of the match, half backs usually do well here and if the Vikings were to win you’d have to look to Chase getting the vote on his debut and I’d just prefer Jacob Miller over Finn for Trinity. Fifita could be a very big price alternative.
With Hull KR now being stuck in the Championship Hull FC have to find new opponents for magic weekend and this time they take on out of form St Helens.
For all Castleford were superb against the Red V last week they didn’t come up against much resistance and the Saints players look very low on confidence.
Saints have lost 4 of their last 6 in League and Cup and are in real danger of dropping into the middle 8’s.
They get a 10 point start on the handicap for this against a Hull side who have gone about their business quietly and efficiently over the last few weeks.
We can ignore the size of the win against Catalans last week as the French side were decimated with injury but the black and whites have won their last 4 in Super League, as they sit 2nd in the table, and all but one were by more than the 10 point handicap. The odd game out being the win against Castleford when they played over half the game with 12 men.
Hull’s form looks rock solid so it’s no surprise they’re as low as 1/3 to win this, around 5/6 on the Half Time Full Time. Around 5/2 is just too short for a Saints side who are desperate for a win and I think Hull can win this by around 11-15 points.
Talanoa heads the 1st try market at 9/1, Shaul would be my pick at 12/1. Swift is the shortest price Saints 1st tryscorer at 12/1. Scarsbrook looks the anytime try value at 11/2.
It’s hard to look anywhere other than Fages and Albert Kelly for man of the match selections, Sneyd and Smith would come into the equation more if it’s wet but it’s Fages and Kelly for me.
The final game on day one sees Wigan take on Warrington in a repeat of last year’s Grand Final.
Wigan won the league game between these 2 comfortably back in March but this is a different Wire side now.
Both sides have been hit by injuries and Sims is banned for Warrington but the Warriors are slowly getting players back, Williams returns to the side after being ill last week as does Captain O’Loughlin.
This game should be really tight and the bookies can’t split them. Different firms have different favourites with both sides around the even money mark if you shop around.
I expect Warrington to be around 4/5 favourites on most lists by kick off but this really could go either way.
Wire have won 5 of their last 6 in League and Cup but haven’t always been convincing, Wigan have lost their last 2 but having O’loughlin back in particular will give them a real boost.
I can’t split the sides, if pushed would just favour Warrington, but there shouldn’t be more than 1-5 points in it either way. I think it could be a low scoring game, there were less than 20 points in the Grand Final and whilst there should be more points than that it could be under 40, the total points line is likely to be around the mid 40’s.
Wigan’s strong record at the magic weekend has to be respected, they’ve won both games at St James Park and are unbeaten since 2008, so no result would be a shock here.
Five players head 1st try lists at 10/1, with Burgess likely to play at Centre I’d prefer Marshall ( who scored a hat trick in the game at the HJ) and Ryan Atkins who scored the Warrington try in the loss to Wigan.
You can’t looks any further than Williams for man of the match if Wigan win and I’d just take Ratchford over Patton in the Primrose and Blue.
We’ll be back with a look at Sundays 3 games as always please gamble responsibly.