Rhinos may be overrated for troublesome Warriors test
Leeds look wrong favourites despite Wigan's injury list
Sky Sports 2, 8pm Friday
Three weeks ago Leeds suffered the worst Super League defeat in their history at Castleford.
After that 66-10 pasting, any suggestion that the Rhinos could be sitting top of the Betfred Super League on April 1 would have borne all the hallmarks of an April Fool’s joke.
But a win over champions Wigan coupled with Castleford failing to beat Huddersfield would put Brian McDermott’s boys in pole position.
A few weeks ago it would have been inconceivable that Leeds could have gone off favourites against the Warriors, but a resurgence by the Rhinos and a lengthy Wigan injury list have combined to see the layers chalk up 4-5 against the hosts.
Leeds have comprehensively disposed of Catalans, Wakefield and Huddersfield in their last three games but whether they should be odds-on against Wigan is debatable.
Wigan have been understrength for several weeks and during that time they’ve hammered Warrington, drawn with Huddersfield and lost by two points to Hull.
The champions are renowned for playing through adversity.
Coach Shaun Wane is still missing big-hitters John Bateman, Michael McIlorum, Sam Tomkins and Joe Burgess but he is able to recall Liam Farrell, Ryan Sutton and Oliver Gildart after injury. Anthony Gelling and Ben Flower have also been passed fit after picking up knocks against Hull.
Leeds boss Brian McDermott has some headaches too – forwards Stevie Ward, Keith Galloway and Brad Singleton are all missing and it’s possible that the layers have overrated the home team’s chances.
Backing the Warriors with the insurance of a two-point start looks the way to go.
Elsewhere, Castleford are expected to make short work of Huddersfield with the table-topping Tigers tasked with giving up a 20-point start by layers at the Jungle.
Cas have won this season’s three home matches by a combined margin of 153-54 and with the Giants missing suspended string-puller Danny Brough, a big home win looks on the cards.
However, instead of playing on the handicap, it may pay to have a small punt on the Tigers easing to a victory by between 21 and 30 points.
2pts Evs bet365, Hills, Sky Bet
Castleford to win by 21 to 30 points
1pt 3-1 bet365