Warrington Wolves and Brisbane Broncos kick-off the two-game World Club Series at the Halliwell Jones on Saturday night. It is followed by the big one as Wigan Warriors and Cronulla Sharks battle for the right to be World Club Champions on Sunday.
Super League sponsors Betfred give the Wire a 14-point start on the handicap, and on Super League’s showing last year they’ll need a lot more than that!
It’s hard to find a real form line for this, for all the Super League clubs are yet to win a World Club Series game, two of the three games in 2015 were well inside this 14-point handicap, whereas last year the combined winning margin by the NRL sides in the three games was 90 points. The Broncos themselves put over 40 points on Wigan last year but only beat the same opponents in golden point extra time the year before.
Brisbane have brought a strong squad over in what is still their pre-season and Tony Smith has added Ben Westwood and Kevin Brown to the side that lost badly in France last weekend.
The timing of these games should give the Super League sides, who have had competitive action already, a head-start but it certainly didn’t work out that way last year.
Whilst 14 points is a lot to cover on the handicap for a Brisbane side who could be forgiven for treating this is a friendly, I do think they can just sneak over the handicap, maybe with a win by 16-20 points.
The handicap was only 8 earlier in the week but that is long gone, the Wolves started poorly in Perpignan last week and this is another level from that. England boss Wayne Bennett surely won’t want to lose to former ex-England coach Tony Smith, so it all points to the side from the NRL.
There is a massive gulf in class between Super League and the NRL and I think it will show tonight. Yes there’s not much at stake, but the same could have been said last year.
It’s many moons ago since Wire fans could get 9/2 on their heroes winning at home but that is what is on offer today, it’s not for me but good luck if you’re backing the hosts. The Broncos are unbackable, except in accas, at around 2/11 for a win – this can be boosted to 4/9 on the Half Time Full Time.
The Cronulla and Brisbane Half time Full Time double pays just over 11/8 with Betfred if you fancy both Aussie sides strongly.
Darius Boyd looks the pick in first try lists at around 10/1. First try-scorer against Wigan last year Corey Oates heads the market at 6/1. Tom Lineham is 9/1 for the opening try and is probably the most likely scorer in Primrose and Blue. If the first try-scorer scores a second try, Betfred will double odds, please check T & C’s.
Anthony Milford heads the Man of the Match betting at a very short 4/1, especially given the talent all over the park for the Broncos. Whilst it is hard to ignore the claims of Milford and 11/2 shot Darius Boyd, there may be better value in Ben Hunt at 7/1. This Is Hunt”s last year in Brisbane before he goes to St George for 2018, he was in the Kangaroos squad for the Four Nations and is better value at nearly twice the price of a Milford.
We’ll be back with a betting review of Sunday’s Would Club Challenge between Wigan and Cronulla tomorrow.
Click here to go through to the Betfred website. As always please gamble responsibly.