It’s Round 5 of the BetFred Super League and the table has an unfamiliar look with big name duo St Helens and Warrington Wolves both at the wrong end of the standings. Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors lead the way with 100 per cent records.
Leigh v Warrington -20:00 16th March
The action gets underway on Thursday and last year’s Grand Finalists Warrington remain without a win four games in while Leigh secured their second victory against Huddersfield Giants last week. Warrington came up against in-form Wigan last time out and this week’s contest will be no easier for Tony Smith’s men. Leigh have their tails up after blanking the Giants 30-0 in a thumping success. Warrington are boosted by the return of influential captain Chris Hill from injury. Former Leigh man Hill has been sidelined since undergoing hernia and shoulder operations after England’s Four Nations campaign ended in November. Glenn Stewart is back for the Centurions for the first time since their opening week loss to Castleford. A win for Leigh would see them surpass the number of top-flight wins they secured during the whole of the 2005 season.
Match odds: Leigh 2/1 Draw 25/1 Warrington 2/5
TGT says: Leigh by 8
Betfred says: After a disaster for us last weekend we are hoping to get back on terms this weekend. Handicap is -8 here and we have Warrington to come out on top here but this is the closest match we think of this round.
Hull FC v Widnes – 20:00 17th March
Hull FC sit third in the table after seeing off St Helens late on last week while Widnes, like Warrington, remain without a victory to start the new season. The Black and Whites were made to fight all the way before a last-gasp Albert Kelly score eventually saw off the visiting Saints last week. Widnes were up against it on Sunday, suffering a 34-0 loss to high-flying Castleford on home soil. Hull FC will be without Jansin Turgut after he picked up a two-game ban for striking Alex Walmsley. Winger Fetuli Talanoa will also miss out due to concussion although Lee Redford has veteran Gareth Ellis back following a two-match absence. Winger Patrick Ah Van misses out after pulling up in the warm-up against the Tigers while Gil Dudson has shrugged off a knock to make the matchday squad.
Match odds: Hull 1/16 Draw 40/1 Widnes 7/1
TGT says: Hull by 14
Betfred says: This is one of the games we think is certain – we have an -20 handicap and we are seeing lots of money for them, everyone is backing them here. This a dumping ground for a lot of punters.
Leeds v Wakefield – 20:00 17th March
Wakefield come to Headingley on the back of a last-gasp success over Salford while Leeds looked more like themselves of old in brushing aside Catalans Dragons last week. Sam Williams’ late conversion handed Wakefield a thrilling success over Salford, although Ben Murdoch-Masila nearly won it for the visitors at the death. Trinity won at Headingley last season and Chris Chester has his troops playing with confidence after ending their winless drought at St Helens. Leeds will be without forward Brad Singleton after he was handed a six-game back for a late hit on Greg Bird in their 46-10 triumph. Brett Ferres is available after a groin injury as well at Mitch Garbutt. Wakefield will be without centre Reece Lyne after he sustained a knee injury in scoring Sunday’s match-winning try, although Danny Kirmond, Ben Jones-Bishop and Joe Arundel all return.
Match odds: Leeds 3/10 Draw 25/1 Wakefield 11/4
TGT says: Leeds by 8
Betfred says: We had big double delight with Cuthbertson last week. We have Wakfield at plus 10 – we are seeing a money for Leeds here but it is a tempting one for the visiting team for sure but everyone is certainly fancying Leeds and we think they will be too good at home.
Catalans v St Helens – 17:00 18th March
Things do not get any easier for St Helens with a clash against Catalans Dragons in the south of France on Saturday. Saints find themselves in the unusual position near the bottom of the table having lost three of their opening four fixtures. Kieron Curringham’s men showed excellent resolve against Hull FC only to suffer a late defeat while the Dragons are smarting after being brushed aside at Headingley last Friday. Sam Moa, Fouad Yaha, Krisnan Inu and Thibaud Margalet are all back for Catalans while playmaker Luke Walsh lines up against his former club. Cunningham has named an unchanged squad – they remain without injured full-back Jonny Lomax.
Match odds: Catalans 4/9 Draw 25/1 St Helens 15/8
TGT says: Catalans by 8
Betfred says: Catalans continue to surprise us, they seem to be almost better on the road but at home this will not be a walk-over but we don’t think this is the sort of game where St Helens will be finding their feet, and we are not seeing much interest in Saints for this one.
Wigan v Huddersfield – 15:00 19th March
Champions Wigan will be firm favourites against struggling Huddersfield at the DW Stadium. The Warriors have won all four league outings, meaning they are joint league leaders with in-form Castleford. The Giants failed to register a point in last week’s loss at Leigh and Rick Stone knows his team will need to be at their very best to challenge Wigan. The Warriors were without a host of stars against Warrington, but their youngsters filled the void impeccably with Liam Marshall bagging four tries in last Thursday’s success. Wigan remain without the likes of Joe Burgess, Lewis Tierney and Dom Manfredi for Sunday’s clash. Huddersfield’s Sebastine Ikahihifo is free to play after accepting an Early Guilty Plea for the grade A offence of punching against Leigh.
Match odds: Wigan 1/10 Draw 33/1 Huddersfield 6/1
TGT says: Wigan by 20
Betfred says: Wigan are one of the only teams doing what we believed they would be. We cannot see anything other than a Wigan win – they have so much talent at the moment, be so difficult to see a Huddersfield win here.
Salford v Castleford – 15:00 19th March
Castleford are the team to beat so far in 2017, brushing aside all before them in Super. Daryl Powell’s men made light work of lowly Widnes last time out and will be the favourites to maintain their form for the trip to Greater Manchester. Salford come into the contest on the back of a loss following their heartache at Wakefield. The Red Devils have looked impressive in patches so far, but will need to be on song if they are to halt the Tigers’ charge. Free-scoring Greg Minikin and Greg Eden will provide the firepower out wide for Castleford with Ben Roberts and Luke Gale pulling the strings in the middle of the park. Playmakers Gareth O’Brien and Michael Dobson will need to be at their best if Salford are to prevail.
Match odds: Salford 11/4 Draw 25/1 Castleford 3/10
TGT says: Castleford by 12
Betfred says: Castleford are the top points scorers in the league and they are playing some of the best rugby we have ever seen in the Super League. They are firm favourites here and you can’t look past them here that is for sure.