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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Warrington look primed to expose Hull's injury crisis

Wigan can stretch away from hosts Hull KR after the break

Warrington's Ben Murdoch-Masila (left) goes on the charge against St Helens
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Warrington v Hull
Sky Sports Arena, 7.45pm Friday

A swift glance at the squad numbers of the players in Hull’s 19-man party for the trip to Warrington reveals just how severe the Airlie Birds' injury crisis has become and explains why all the money has been for the Wolves this week.

Just four players wearing a number between one and 13 are involved with Josh Griffin and Scott Taylor the latest to join the casualty list following their Magic Weekend derby success over Hull KR.

They join Marc Sneyd, Albert Kelly, Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa, Josh Bowden and the suspended Bureta Faraimo on the sidelines.

Even with a full-strength side this would be a tough assignment for Hull against a Warrington team who had won ten on the trot prior to being derailed by Wigan at Newcastle. 

All ten of those victories came by double-digit margins and backing the hosts to win by more than a dozen points seems a decent bet. 

Admittedly, coach Steve Price is without injured Bryson Goodwin and Mike Cooper and the suspended Sitaleki Akauola but those problems pale into insignificance compared to counterpart Lee Radford's issues. 

Hull won 21-12 when the sides met at the KCom Stadium in March. Liam Watts and Declan Patton were sent off that night and arbiter Gareth Hewer is 12-1 to brandish the expulsion tool in the reverse fixture. 

Given the paramount importance of a top-eight finish, Friday night’s biggest game pits eighth-placed Salford against ninth-placed Huddersfield with bookmakers struggling to split the sides.

The Red Devils have lost four on the trot but have a decent home record while the Giants have won their last three but have been dismal away from home so this looks a match that punters should pass on.

The same can be said for Widnes versus Wakefield. A run of eight defeats in ten Betfred Super League matches has dragged the Wildcats into the battle to avoid the bottom four but Chris Chester’s team are still asked to concede a four-point handicap to the Vikings.

Denis Betts’s boys have lost their last seven league outings so betting on either out-of-sorts side looks risky. 

Things should be straightforward for Wigan who are 1-8 to repeat their 28-10 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup win at Hull KR.

The Warriors outscored their opponents after half-time, just as they have done in all 15 of their fixtures this season.

On 12 occasions, they’ve done so by a double-digit margin and they can be backed to do so again at 4-5 with Sky Bet. 

Wigan are playing their first match since coach Shaun Wane announced that he will be leaving at the end of the season.

Reports in Australia have linked England and Brisbane boss Wayne Bennett with the job but Shaun Edwards remains favourite. 

Warrington to win by 13 or more points 
4pts 10-11 Betfair, Paddy Power
Wigan -9 on second-half handicap
2pts 4-5 Sky Bet

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Even with a full-strength side this would be a tough assignment against a Warrington team who had won ten on the trot prior to being derailed by Wigan
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