Super League sponsors Betfred make St Helens slight 4/6 favourites for their derby clash against Wigan, which is live on Sky’s Thursday night Rugby.
Saints were the team of magic weekend with a very impressive 45-0 win over 2nd placed Hull FC as they look to turn their season around under new Coach Justin Holbrook.
The win in Newcastle was a massive turnaround in form as Saints had lost heavily in the cup to Castleford only 7 days prior.
Wigan had a strange draw with Warrington at St James Park, with both sides considering it as a point dropped.
Whilst Holbrook looks to field the same side that beat Hull, Shaun Wane can add Sam Powell and Thomas Leulaui to his squad as Wigan are gradually getting their players back.
It’s hard to read the form for this one, you’d definitely have Wigan as favourites before the St Helens performance last week but they battered Hull with a completion rate of over 90%, something they’d be hard pushed to do again.
Wigan have been decimated by injuries,having a full squad of 17 players out at one time, but while the injuries are clearing the players returning will surely need time to settle.
In the league game at the DW on Good Friday Wigan won but St Helens had 12 men for most of the match after Kyle Amors red card so you can’t really read much into that.
I’m finding it very hard to split the sides in what could be a very tight affair, but St Helens recent home form just gives them the edge for me.
For all they’ve lost 3 of their last 6 in League and Cup they’ve won both their home games in that period, including a win over League Leaders Castleford, and the Warriors are still fielding too many youngsters for my liking.
Alot is made of Wigan’s record in the Good Friday Derby, they are unbeaten since 2009, but on each occasion Saints have turned the tables in the reverse fixture.
This time last week 5/4 would have looked decent value for the visitors, with the knowledge Leulaui in particular is back, but Saints were very impressive at magic and looked a different side to the one we saw humbled at Castleford and Warrington in recent weeks. Roby was making good yards from dummy half and Walmsley looks back to his form of a couple of years ago. Wigan seem to be making lots of errors and missing tackles, which won’t please Wane, they have more players to come back and look a real threat to Castleford in the play offs but they may just fall short tonight
Nether result would really be a surprise but I just think Saints can sneak home by 6-10 points in a low scoring game.
Wigan get a 2 points start on the handicap and if I was backing them I’d rather this than the 5/4 for a win given how tight this could be.
Both sides could take the option of putting points on the board, so a penalty 1st scoring play could be where the value lies. It’s usually around 9/2 of you split your stake between both sides.
Makinson scored the try of the season so far in Newcastle and he looks the value at 12/1 to score the 1st try, Regan Grace, who burst onto the scene against Wigan on Good Friday, shares favoritism on 10/1 with Marshall, Burgess and Swift. Given his amazing try scoring form I’d look to Marshall out of these 4 .
Scarsbrook got back to try scoring form in the north east and he is great value at 5/1 to score anytime.
Finally the man of the match, a tough one in the derby as the real battle is usually up top. Walmsley was immense last week and has to be in with a shout at good odds and Roby is slowly getting back to his best and loves playing against Wigan, but with his Wigan links you have to look to Matty Smith getting the nod from the Sky team.
Williams had a quiet game at magic but will be high up the betting for this, these games are usually when we see the best of the likes of O’loughlin and I just favour the England captain who could consider himself quite fortunate to be playing tonight. It’s a very tricky market to pick now with some strange picks, Marshall for instance didn’t get man of the match for a hat trick against Wire but Eden, incredibly, got it for 3 walk ins handed to him on a plate by Shenton against Leeds. So this can only be a fun bet to small stakes.
So it’s Smith and Lockers for me, 5 games tomorrow including Leeds v Warrington always please gamble responsibly.