The Sky cameras are at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday Night for one of the biggest games of the season as Wigan make the short trip down the A49 to take on Warrington.
It’s only five months since these two clashed at Old Trafford in the Grand Final but there is already six points between the two sides, it may be only week four but a Wire defeat could leave them well out of the race for the top two.
The Wolves have had a nightmare start to the season losing all three of their games whereas the Warriors have a 100 percent record and also the World Club Challenge trophy after beating Cronulla.
Wire fans though will know their side can raise their game against the top sides as they showed when beating Brisbane in the World Club Series a few weeks ago.
Joe Philbin comes in for Dom Crosby for the Wire whilst Shaun Wane has to do without Joe Burgess, Lewis Tierney and Ryan Sutton who were all injured against Leigh.
Honours were even between these two last year as Warrington won both regular season games before Wigan turned the tables in the Super 8s and at the Theatre of dreams.
When the lists were first released on Monday, Wigan were quoted as 2-point favourites to win this, but as the team news became public the money has all been for the hosts.
Super League sponsors Betfred now give the Warriors a 4-point start on the handicap as they are without both first choice wingers as well as the likes of John Bateman and Sam Tomkins, but they won the Grand Final with an injury list worse than this as they have such strength in depth.
A lot was made of the Wigan injury list at Old Trafford but the key player missing for me was Ben Currie. His tries are crucial to the way Warrington line up and he, alongside talisman Chris Hill, who is missing again tonight.
I can’t split these two tonight and I see no reason why Warrington are so short after such a poor display at Salford five days ago, where a 24-14 scoreline flattered them.
The Wigan players will run through brick walls for coach Shaun Wane and they will be well up for this after a comfortable win over Leigh last week, they also have the benefit of an extra days rest.
The 5/4 available early in the week is long gone and Warrington are now 4/7 for the win and that’s way too short for a side without a win against a side that are unbeaten.
It’s 6/4 for a Wigan win which looks good value to me, but it’s far safer to take the extra insurance on the handicap, albeit to slightly lesser odds.
You have to barter in how Wire can raise it for the big games and it would be no surprise if they turned in a performance against the champions.
I can’t see more than a try separating the two sides, and maybe Wigan can pinch it by 1-5 points in a low scoring encounter. I certainly think the game will be under the total points line.
Don’t forget Betfred will double your first try odds if your selection goes on to score a second try and with the Wigan’s troubles on the wing, you have to look towards Tom Lineham at 6/1.
Morgan Escare has been a revelation in Tomkins absence and he is 10/1 to cross the whitewash first, the same price as Anthony Gelling who opened the scoring against Leigh last week.
Hopefully the Man of the Match picks will be more realistic now as we enter week four of the season. George Williams is the best player on the pitch and can take control of this game, if he plays well Wigan should win so there is good value in him at 9/1.
Kevin Brown still hasn’t completely settled but heads the market at around 13/2, however I prefer Kurt Gidley at 10/1 just ahead of 11/1 for Daryl Clark.
St Helens go to the KCOM Stadium on Sky tomorrow. As always, please gamble responsibly.