Hull FC could edge a potential thriller at Widnes
Vikings should be competitive at Halton Stadium
Betfred Super League
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Thursday
Neither Widnes nor Hull have enjoyed the start to the Betfred Super League season they were hoping for and this clash at the Halton Stadium is of huge significance for both clubs.
The Vikings appear to be in a five-sided fight with Hull KR, Salford, Huddersfield and Catalans over one top-eight spot.
Denis Betts's boys are currently eighth but a run of five losses in six games has put them in peril and another defeat will see them end the weekend in the bottom four.
Hull were expected to be challenging for Grand Final glory but have plenty of ground to make up after picking up just ten points from their opening ten games.
The Airlie Birds have already lost three more matches than Castleford, Leeds and Wigan and four more than pacesetters St Helens.
Last Friday’s 26-12 loss at Saints was Hull’s fifth away defeat in six attempts in 2017 and nobody should be in a hurry to take the 1-3 about an away win on this occasion.
Black & Whites boss Lee Radford can welcome back winger Bureta Faraimo after suspension but the visitors have a host of players sidelined through injury with Dean Hadley, Brad Fash, Mark Minichiello, Sika Manu and Jordan Abdull all absent.
Widnes are no better off. Keanan Brand suffered an awful double leg break at Hull KR last weekend. Stefan Marsh, Gil Dudson, Patrick Ah Van, Krisnan Inu, Hep Cahill and Lloyd White are also all missing.
The bookmakers have handed the Vikings a ten-point handicap start and with both teams relying on a number of back-up players, picking a punt isn't easy.
Hull have managed to win by a double-figure margin only once in their last 13 away outings and that was 48-16 at Castleford last September when the Tigers fielded a massively under-strength side.
Widnes have been competitive in the main at home this year, boasting victories over Catalans, Leeds and Salford.
There's a 12-point loss to Huddersfield and a 28-6 defeat by St Helens on the record too and in both of those matches the Vikings were competitive for most of the game.
Hull should be capable of inflicting a third home loss of the season on the Vikings but the Airlie Birds have been far too inconsistent for punters to be confident.
With that in mind, a small bet on the visitors heading home with the two points after a victory by 12 points or fewer looks the way to go.
Hull to win by one to 12 points
1pt 21-10 bet365
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