Classy Castleford can tame Leeds Rhinos
Catalans and Salford may also triumph at St James' Park
Magic Weekend: Day two
The curtain comes down on the 2017 Magic Weekend in Newcastle on Sunday with three of the top four teams in the Betfred Super League in action at St James’ Park.
Castleford and Leeds top the bill and the weather forecast suggests the two Yorkshire clubs will have ideal conditions in which to strut their stuff.
Catalans v Huddersfield
Sky Sports Mix, 1pm Sunday
A tricky poser for punters to start the day with as two struggling sides do battle for a crucial win.
Catalans, who have lost their last four games, are 4-5 favourites to defeat Huddersfield who have won just once in their last 11 attempts.
Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous rested most of his stars for last weekend’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup thrashing at Hull and that could pay dividends as key men Greg Bird, Tony Gigot and Paul Aiton return.
By contrast, the Giants are without suspended playmaker Danny Brough. The only other match he missed this season ended in a 52-16 pasting at Castleford.
These sides shared 44 points at Newcastle in 2015 but a repeat of Catalans’ 29-22 victory over Huddersfield at Easter looks the most likely outcome.
2pts 4-5 Sky Bet
Leigh v Salford
Sky Sports Mix, 3.15pm Sunday
Leigh made a decent start to life back in Super League, winning three of their first six games, but they’ve lost their last eight in all competitions and now languish in the bottom four.
Neil Jukes’s side are 5-2 to win on their Magic Weekend debut with third-placed Salford 2-5 to inflict further misery on the Centurions.
The Red Devils have won nine of their last ten games but despite their lofty position on the league ladder, many of those victories have been close affairs.
Last weekend’s 24-14 cup comeback against Hull KR was Salford’s seventh success by two-converted tries or less this season.
That sequence of results includes the 12-6 win over Leigh last month and a similar outcome is attractively priced at 11-5.
Salford to win by one to 12 points
2pts 11-5 bet365
Castleford v Leeds
Sky Sports 2, 5.30pm Sunday
Castleford’s amazing 66-10 annihilation of Leeds in March has so far been the standout result of Super League XXII but it has almost gone unnoticed that the Rhinos have won more games than the Tigers since that night to forget at the Jungle.
Leeds are 11-4 underdogs to win at the Magic Weekend for the first time since 2012 with Cas 2-5 to record a sixth straight victory over their neighbours.
With the league’s top two tryscoring teams in action, points look guaranteed although Castleford have found posting scores more difficult on their travels than they have at home.
Daryl Powell’s men average over 50 points per game in front of their own fans and 25 away from the Jungle where they have been beaten three times.
With the Rhinos missing forwards Keith Galloway and Mitch Garbutt it would take a leap of faith to back them to win, so backing a narrow Tigers triumph may pay dividends.
Castleford to win by one to 12 points
2pts 21-10 bet365