Super League Betting Preview | 24th February 2017

KAINE Greenwood picks out his two best bets from Friday’s Super League fixtures.

 

Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers | Friday 20:00

The Warrington Wolves surprised many with their display in defeating the Brisbane Broncos as a pre-cursor to the World Club Challenge but I do hope you were on the suggested handicap here last week. Warrington secured a point-a-minute first quarter and in turn never looked in any danger of losing.

This tie back in Super League represents a real back-up test to Tony Smith’s side on the heels of the the World Club Series though and a rested Castleford Tigers are probably one of the last sides the Cheshire club would want to face after such a great result as they look to earn their first two league points.

Castleford’s display casting aside Leigh 44-16 put the league on notice that ‘Classy Cas’ had started at a level that few other sides can reach in an attacking sense.

Luke Gale and Greg Minikin both took two tries away from the win while Greg Eden stepped into the left-wing role with an effort of his own.

That result could be seen as more impressive considering Leigh then made a real fist of their first home fixture of the season against Leeds Rhinos – a game they perhaps should’ve won late.

I am prepared to say that the Tigers just caught the Centurions in an unprepared state for a game that they had over-hyped for, mind, and that was probably a contributory factor in why they were blown a way in a short spell midway through the first 40.

Warrington’s display against the Broncos as NRL opposition I also think was a bigger indicator of what they will offer throughout the season rather than the defeat first-up in France.

The Primrose and Blue won two of the three meetings in 2016 and with the confidence of such a win last week illustrated by Tony Smith’s decision to go unchanged in his named squad they have to be favoured for their maiden win of the season.

While favouring the home side to win this there is a slight concern that the Tigers are capable scorers and the Wolves have conceded 38 points in their first two games.

This is I believe is combated by an interesting statistic that 21 of 22 victories over the Tigers since 2002 (33 games) have exceeded the -5.5 line available at 1.83 so, in believing they will come out the winners, we take confidence in that and it is what we head for in terms of a selection.

 

Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity | Friday 20:00

These two sides had vastly different campaigns in 2016. Although both ditched their original coach from the start of the season Huddersfield continued to struggle throughout and ended round 23 with the Wooden Spoon after claiming just six league victories while Chris Chester’s arrival in the hot seat at Wakey saw them make the top eight – largely thanks to a run of seven victories in eight that was started against their opponents here.

Nothing the Giants appeared to do in 2016 could solve their defensive issues as they averaged 24.9 points-against in 23 games before the split and the start to this season indicates that is still an issue.

Rick Stone has not been able to nail down a solution with Salford posting 30 points in victory and a struggling Widnes side managing three tries even though the Giants won with reasonable ease.

The Trin opened in week one with a strong display despite defeat as visitors Hull FC only got the better of the arm-wrestle in the final ten minutes of the contest, battling what were testing conditions to just pip their hosts.

Chester’s men have had an extended break since to further work on the attacking structures that just weren’t quite potent enough on that day however and conditions are likely to be better so in Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, David Fifita and playmaker Sam Williams they hold enough attacking threat to not be walked over.

Wakefield posted 36, 10 and 28 points in their three victories over the Claret and Gold last year meaning that at +11.5 start available with 188BET would appeal.

I see no reason to suggest the Giants can score frequently enough as well as toughen up on the other side of the ball in order not see this as a clear pick.

A 1.51 selection isn’t always the most attractive but for this tie I think it is an opportunity to latch on to a treat offered by the price-makers.

With Chris Chester’s men on the hunt for a fourth win in a row it’s perhaps a little surprising that the Giants are favoured so heavily at 1.45.

While I can’t oppose them taking the two points on offer there is certainly no way I see the Trin being outdone by a Rick Stone side still piecing together their defensive structure (particularly on the right side) by at least the two converted scores it would take for us not to be collecting money-and-a-half when the final hooter sounds.

 

Kaine Greenwood’s Best Bets

Warrington Wolves -5.5 (Handicap) @ 1.85

Wakefield Trinity +11.5 (Handicap) @ 1.51