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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Castleford can prove they are number one

Understrength Wigan have it tough

Castleford centre Jake Webster
1 of 1

Betfred Super League
Sky Sports 2, 8pm Thursday

Castleford have never been crowned champions in their 91-year history but the Tigers will assume outright market leadership for Grand Final glory if they defeat their main market rivals Wigan.

The clubs are 2-1 joint-favourites as they prepare for showdown at the DW Stadium - the most eagerly awaited match of the Betfred Super League season so far.

And the bookmakers are struggling to split the sides with Cas 21-20 chances to pick up the points and the Warriors quoted at 6-5.

Not only is this a clash of potential champions, it's a clash of sporting styles and rugby league philosophies as Daryl Powell's free-flowing Tigers face Shaun Wane's pragmatic Cherry & Whites.

The two coaches have been playing down the rivalry this week but there's no doubt both would regard a victory as having more significance than a mere two points.

Watching Cas has been thrill a minute this season. They've been borderline unplayable at times.

The competition's entertainers are averaging 40 points per match. The only game in which the Tigers have failed to score at least 30 was when a monsoon derailed them in a 13-12 loss at Salford.

The weather is forecast to be dry and Castleford are fancied to outgun an understrength Wigan.

The Warriors have been short on troops for a month but have battled bravely, winning at Warrington, drawing with Huddersfield and losing narrowly to Hull and Leeds but this looks a bridge too far.

Wane reckons there's an outside chance that Anthony Gelling and Liam Farrell will be fit to return but the Warriors will still be missing a galaxy of stars including Sean O'Loughlin, John Bateman, Michael McIlorum and Joe Burgess.

The Tigers will probably be without rampaging second-rower Junior Moors but they still look good business at 21-20.

Punters playing the tryscorer markets are spoilt for choice with Cas players. They have the top three scorers in the competition in Greg Eden, Greg Minikin and Luke Gale.

Gale's eight-try tally is more than he managed in the whole of 2016. He has touched down in five of the seven matches which makes the 5-2 chalked up by Ladbrokes against him getting on the scoresheet look a huge price.

4pts 21-20 188Bet
L Gale to score a try
1pt 5-2 Ladbrokes

Watching Cas has been thrill a minute this season. They've been borderline unplayable at times
E.W. Terms
Sky bet