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Wigan short priced favourites to condemn Wire to middle 8

Wigan Warriors 24-24 Warrington Wolves

Warrington make the short trip up the A49 for Thursday night rugby in what is a must win game for both sides.
A defeat for Tony Smith’s side will condemn Wire to the Qualifiers while a Wigan win will put them in touching distance of the top four, which sounds crazy as it wasn’t until last week that they guaranteed their place in the top eight.

The Warriors looked in real trouble last month as they went nine league games without a win but now with players back they are looking up the table instead of down and are unbeaten in four which includes knocking the Wolves out of the cup four weeks ago.

Try sensation Liam Marshall comes into the Wigan squad for the injured Liam Farrell while Wire are boosted by the return of Ben Currie. Ben Westwood, though, is banned for three games for dangerous contact on Leigh Centurions’ Danny Tickle.

Both sides had convincing wins last week, Wigan in France and Warrington at home to the struggling Centuions. The Warriors have won two of the three games against the Wolves this season, only just scraping past in the cup last month, the third was a draw at Magic Weekend.  Super League sponsors Betfred make them 1/3 favourites to complete the hat trick at the DW.
The price is fair enough as Wigan have a well rested squad just starting to hit form. Wire have only won two of their last six and haven’t won on the road since April.
All of their last five defeats on the road have been by double figure margins.

There’s no doubt Warrington will get a boost from the return of Currie but he’ll surely need time to get back to match fitness. He is though a potent try scorer and could yet make a late bid for the World Cup squad.
They are just too short for me at 12/5 given their awful recent form on the road and I think Wigan can justify the short odds and make it three wins in a row.
Points difference could be crucial to Wigan’s bid for a top four place and that incentive could see them win this by more than the eight point start they give their hosts on the handicap tonight.
Both Wigan’s last two wins were by more than the eight point cap and they looked comfortable in the cup at the DW last month before some sloppy play let Wire back in the game.
Even the draw Shaun Wane’s side got at Huddersfield 3 weeks ago looks a good result now given the Giants recent form at home.

I think the hosts can win this by around 11-15 points and confirm Wires place in the middle eight, which could include trips to Toulouse, Perpignan and London.
The 1/3 for Wigan can be boosted to around 4/5 on the Half Time Full Time if you’re confident of a home win.

It’s hard to oppose in form winger Joe Burgess at 10/1 for the 1st try, he scored a hat trick in France last week and looks much more at home back on the wing.
Wires fans may look to their hat trick hero Tom Lineham at 14/1.

Finally the man of the match, always a hard market especially with the likes of Burgess, Lineham and Marshall who could score hat tricks to snatch the award.
Williams and Bateman head the market at 7/1 with Tomkins at 10/1 and it’s hard to discount any of them, I’d prefer Bateman out of these as he looks fit and back to his best. It is though Sean O’Loughlin’s 400th game and we know how sentimental Sky can be so it has to be him for me at 16/1. He has been in the tries lately and another one would surely tip it his way.
Plenty of claims in Primrose and Blue too. Currie is too short at 14/1 as we’re unsure how much of the game he’ll play. At the same price is Patton and Gidley and whilst neither can be discounted, local lad Stefan Ratchford usually saves his best performances for Wigan and just gets my vote at 12/1.

Hull travel to Headingley tomorrow, as always please gamble responsibly.

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