SUPER LEAGUE: Live On Sky Sports 1: Fri 20.00 Blue Square’s Neil Lucas previews Friday night’s televised Super League encounter between Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors
It’s ‘evens stevens’, ‘levels you devils’, ‘one for one’, or any other way you like to describe ‘even money the pair’ on Friday night’s live Super League match. Rather than the typical 10/11 on offer for either team to win the match with the help or hindrance of a handicap, Blue Square are offering even money, halving our bookmaker’s margin in the process. Bradford (+6) or Wigan (-6) is the choice therefore, a simple case of pick the right one and double your money.
Which one to choose? Well, Wigan come to Odsal with a 100% record in this year’s Super League, sitting pretty at the top of the table after four rounds, and already four points better off than Bradford who are played two, won two.
Having brushed aside Catalans Dragons 58-0 last time, Warriors coach Michael Maguire unsurprisingly keeps faith with the same squad of players for the trip across the M62, and having racked up 150 points so far this season, I’d expect we’ll see plenty more of the attacking intent shown on Friday night too. At odds of 1/2 to win the match outright, its likely we’ll see that lead at the top increased, but on their own patch the Bulls will be tough to beat, and are priced 13/8.
Bradford are unchanged too having also shut out their opposition last weekend. A 7-0 win against Salford might not be quite as emphatic mind you, but there won’t be many clean sheets in Super League XV and such a win can only serve their defensive line well.
Don’t expect the home fans to welcome former favourite Paul Deacon back with open arms, a player who spent 12 seasons at Odsal and left for pastures new during the winter – he’s 25/1 to hit his old pals where it hurts and cross for the first try of the match. Wigan’s duo of Aussie wingers Pat Richards and Amos Roberts head that market as 9/1 joint-favourites (the former picking up a ‘handful’ of tries against the Dragons), but look out for George Carmont too, who is 14/1 after grabbing a ‘brace’ last time out.
By contrast to Wigan, Bradford have conceded 18 points more than they’ve scored so far this season (66 to 84), and although they have recovered since a 38-6 thumping by St Helens, their campaign has got off to a stuttering start.
On paper therefore Wigan are surely the pick given their flying start to the season, but although they are favourites to win the match, can they cover a six point handicap and win by seven or more? That’s the conundrum for those looking to have a bet in this one, but at even money at least there’s a chance of doubling your cash if you get it right.
Deacon’s return could get the Bradford players and crowd up for this one and with a point to prove I’d be tempted by the Bulls keeping it close with a six point head-start. That said, Wigan are on fire right now, and you’d be a brave man to bet against them no matter how many points they are giving up. Just ask the Dragons.