Super League Tips | 18th-19th March 2017

Kaine Greenwood picks out his best bets from this weekend’s Super League matches.

 

Catalan Dragons v St. Helens | Saturday 17:00

The Dragons are doing the thing they do in every single campaign and treating us to the rugby we know they can play at their very best and then throwing in a few dud efforts.

The trip to Headingley and a 36-point defeat against a Rhinos side that was yet to strike in 2017 was a fine example of the latter and comes straight on the back of a disappointing Round 3 draw against the Widnes Vikings.

They should, however, be pleased that the visitors to the Stade Gilbert Brutus this time around are St. Helens who are on a three-game losing run.

After starting the season with a tight win over Leeds Rhinos the marching has ground to halt for the Lancastrians as they have yet to taste another victory; losing to newcomers Leigh, Wakefield and Hull FC.

Also, the French outfit have won the previous four home meetings against the Red Vee with relative ease and with pressure mounting on both Kieron Cunningham and his squad there are no signs that this game won’t go the same way as a 134-58 aggregate over that period suggests and extend Saints’ winless run on the continent even further.

Injuries to Greg Bird and Jodie Broughton do slightly weaken the Dragons attacking threat but with Krisnan Inu and Fouad Yaha back in the fold I’m happy to support the 1.50 on a Catalans win with a -0.5 handicap as Saints continue to miss Matty Smith in the halves.

A makeshift role for Jon Wilkin was described as “Plan Z” by the coaches early season but it is the option they have chosen for now and on recent showings it isn’t cutting the mustard. It seems like the Dragons will be weekend’s pot-builder to me.

 

Salford Red Devils v Castleford Tigers | Sunday 15:00

Salford go into this game with a 2-3 losing record for the start of the Super League season but I sense there is more to come from Ian Watson’s group when they finally put a full 80-minute performance in the books.

A tight defeat at Wakefield in the previous round really shouldn’t have been after The Red Devils built up a 10-point buffer in the second-half only to let it slip.

They have won two of the last three fixtures at the AJ Bell against Daryl Powell’s Castleford who visit this weekend though and were only pipped by the Tigers thanks to a Luke Gale conversion in the 20-22 2015 defeat.

I’m sure Ian Watson’s men will be boosted even further by the news that Todd Carney is also included in their squad list for the first time since his signing was announced and should he be of the fitness his coach has been looking for before throwing him in then he will certainly add to the already dangerous halves mix-up that has contributed three 20-plus scoring efforts in the opening weeks.

To combat this, the most impressive thing about Castleford’s unbeaten run through their first four games is undoubtedly the defensive efforts we have seen – the nilling of Widnes last weekend the perfect example that and shows vast improvement from 2016 when they were the second-worst top-eight side in this respect.

As such, the 19-man squad for Castleford features just one change with Will Maher replacing Luke Million as they look to continue a fine, unblemished start.

It is difficult to oppose a side in such great form that has also put on at least 30 points in every game to date so the short odds on an away victory are no surprise but Powell’s men have yet to be tested in any form and after two relatively easy weeks any complacency could see them struggle against a tough Salford middle.

At home I have faith that the Red Devils will provide the league leaders with a tougher test than many expect; having scored victories over their opponents in two of 2016’s meetings and staying within +10.5 of the Tigers on home turf in every fixture since 2002 we have reason to side with the 1.83 available by favouring a Salford handicap bet here.

 

 

Kaine Greenwood’s Best Bets

Salford City Reds +10.5 (Handicap) @ 1.83

Catalan Dragons -0.5 (Handicap) @ 1.50