Well after a long hard season the 2018 Super League Champions will be crowned at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday . Warrington , after a shock win at league leaders St Helens , and Wigan are only 80 minutes from glory and the bookies think there’ll be cherry and white ribbons on the trophy .
Super League sponsors Betfred make Wigan 4/7 to win the game in 80 minutes with Wire 7/4 . In what should be a tight game you certainly can’t rule out an 80 minute tie either at 25/1 , sometimes it can be wise to take slightly lesser odds on teams lifting the trophy .
Some have said this is the Wolves best chance of becoming the 5th side to win the Grand Final but surely that was 2 years ago when Wigan had almost half.a side out , the Warriors are nearly at full strength here and looked very impressive in beating Castleford in the semi final .
Warrington were equally impressive in winning at St. Helens but the red V don’t look the same side that finished top at a canter .
These sides know everything about each other, this will be the 6th meeting this season . The 3 league meetings were close run affairs won by the home side but it’s the meeting at magic that is the most significant as it was at a neutral venue .
Wigan won comfortably that day and whilst this will be much closer I think they can win here too .
Their defence looked unbreakable against Castleford and I’m not sure the Wolves have anything that the Tigers didn’t . Daryl Clark is in great form at dummy half but no better than McShane , the Wire forwards will trouble Wigan more than last week but I think man for man the Warriors side looks stronger .
Obviously Warrington are a real danger , no one really gave them much hope against St Helens but they were clearly the better side in a score line that flattered the hosts . They nilled Wigan in the cup and will want to put a dreadful display at Wembley in the cup final behind them . As good though as Wire were at Saints , Wigan won at the Totally Wicked Stadium with probably the display of the season ( if you discount Catalans destruction of Saints in the Cup ) in the Super 8 last month .
Both sides have managed their squad well this year so fatigue will be no excuse , but Wigan finished 9 points ahead of Warrington and can confirm this by winning by around 6-10 points in a very tight game .
Wigan concede a 4 point start on the handicap , this is exactly how I priced it , and that is about right .
It’s 11/10 for Wigan on the Half Time Full Time, but the worry here is a tight 1st Half could go either way (or even a tie), Wire are around 3/1 Half Time Full Time .
I can’t see many points in this , last weeks semi finals had 31 and 14 points in them , the 2016 final only had 18 points in it .
For all I think Wigan will win this these games can go either way . I didn’t think Wigan had much chance 2 years ago and last year Leeds , who had a poor record against Castleford , overturned the form book . Wire weren’t given much chance at saints last week either .
The last 5 finals average around 30 points , so you could imagine teams will take the chance to put points on the board early . A penalty 1st scoring play is around 6/4 if you back both sides 1st scoring play a penalty to half your stake . Mind you a lot of value has gone here , it was 4/1 a few years ago .
Manfredi heads the 1st try market at 9/1 and he’d by my choice alongside Charnley , who scored for Wigan in both finals against Warrington , at 12/1 . Lineham at 12’s, last weeks match winning hero , and Greenwood at 16’s could be alternatives .
The man of the match here , the Harry Sunderland Trophy , is chosen by the press so we get a break from Sky’s awful fan pick . 5 of the last 8 have been half backs so the likes of Roberts at 14/1 and Williams at 9/1 have to be considered , last weeks man of the match Leuluia is 16/1 . Tomkins is favourite at 7/1 but Bateman at 9/1 would be my choice in Cherry and White . The second row was unlucky to miss out on man of Steel and will settle for heading off to Australia with Man of the match award in the Grand Final .
There’s plenty of contenders in Primrose and Blue too , but it’s Ratchford that can make Wire tick so he would be my pick at 14/1 .
It should be a great occasion as we close the season on Saturday but the internationals start next week and we’ll have a look at the betting for them too , as always please gamble responsibly.