The last of the rounds of the Super League prior to the weekend off for the Challenge Cup begins on Thursday evening when the Wigan Warriors play host to the Castleford Tigers in the only match over the course of the night.
These two sides have had very different beginnings to their campaign with Wigan finally losing their perfect record last week while Castleford have only won one of their opening five matches and are starting to come under a little bit of pressure as a result.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on both the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena channels. The build-up to the contest begins at 7.30pm with the match itself kicking off at 8pm.
I would imagine if you had offered the Wigan Warriors four wins from their opening five matches they would have snapped your hands off, especially when the defeat was away to the Catalans Dragons which is always a tough place to go. It is questionable whether they have improved that much though. There are more points on the board for them this season but a lot of that has been mistakes by the opposition rather than their own flair and creativity.
The Wigan defence isn’t exactly watertight either it has to be said. That was the one thing which kept them competitive last season but they have leaked double figures in each of their matches this term and in the last two weeks both the French sides have put 28 points up on them. They are probably a work in progress while Jai Field adapts to the full-back position but even then he might move when Bevan French finally becomes available again.
This has been a wretched start to the season for the Castleford Tigers. They have one win from their opening five matches and even that victory was gifted to them by Hull FC who made some absolutely crazy plays to give up at least three tries and who fizzled out because of injuries. To be fair to the Tigers there are times when they are looking good in matches but whenever a team gets to their try line they are all too often getting over it and that needs to change.
One positive for Castleford is they aren’t having trouble putting points on the board even with a few injuries and suspensions in the attacking areas seemingly hampering them. They get Jake Mamo back for this one which will be important but they need to stop leaking points. Castleford have conceded 26 points or more in every match so far this season and until that changes they won’t be going anywhere regardless of their ability to put points on the board.
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Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet has had to recall Ethan Havard and Sam Halsall to his 21-man squad for this match after he saw Brad Singleton and Kaide Ellis pick up suspensions, the latter for punching so he’ll be missing for a while.
Castleford Tigers have Bureta Faraimo back from suspension for this match which will give Lee Radford another option, as will the returns of George Griffin and Jordan Turner. The return of Turner could see Paul McShane revert back to hooker.
I considered backing Wigan Warriors to cover the dozen here but that was a pretty bruising bash up they took last week which concerns me enough to look elsewhere for a bet here. I don’t see the Castleford Tigers defence improving anytime soon and until it does I expect them to be in some high scoring contests. There is enough in this Wigan back line and in the front row to get at Castleford here, and the evidence so far this season is that the Tigers’ try line gets opened up without too much pressure being applied to it.
The bet I like with that in mind is for there to be more than 41.5 points in this match. Wigan are tougher than Castleford at defending their try line but the fact that Toulouse Olympique put 28 points up on them still highlights the work that is to be done. Even without Wigan conceding too many, there has to be a good chance that the Warriors will contribute significantly to the scoring here so this points line looks a little on the low side in this one.
Back Over 41.5pts for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
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