Expect a close contest when Castleford host Warrington
Wolves can keep it tight despite Wembley distraction
Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Friday
It’s the time of year when rugby league punters try to assess how the two Ladbrokes Challenge Cup finalists will perform in their final Betfred Super League match before the big day.
On Saturday, Catalans host Wigan and on Friday night Wembley rivals Warrington travel to Castleford.
There are few clues in the history books - the last ten cup finalists have won five and lost five of their pre-showpiece fixtures.
This is Warrington coach Steve Price’s first season in Super League so we have no form to go on there but the Australian has employed a strategy of rotating a few members of his squad since winning the semi-final against Leeds a fortnight ago.
This week, veteran forward Ben Westwood and outside backs Josh Charnley and Harvey Livett are given the night off while Stefan Ratchford, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Mike Cooper return having missed the rout of Catalans seven days ago.
One certainty is that conditions will be better than they were on the Wolves' last visit to the Jungle on Easter Monday, when much of the pitch resembled a lake.
Warrington won 18-6, one of six wins in their last eight away games. The two losses came at top two St Helens and Wigan by two points and one point.
It’s possible to back the visitors with a 6.5-point start at a shade of odds on and that looks a decent bet given only points difference separates third-placed Warrington from fourth-placed Cas in the table.
The only top-five team the Tigers have beaten at home are Wigan and that was by a late drop goal.
The betting for Friday's other game underlines the changing fortunes of Huddersfield and Hull.
When the teams last clashed at the John Smith’s Stadium, the Giants went off 11-8 underdogs before winning 29-18.
Simon Woolford’s side have won their four games since while the Black & Whites have lost all four of their subsequent matches.
Consequently, Huddersfield are 4-11 to triumph tonight with the visitors handed a ten-point start on the handicap.
All good and bad runs come to an end though and this looks a match for punters to avoid.
3pts 10-11 bet365
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