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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Warrington may struggle to do the double over Leeds

Home advantage gives Rhinos the edge

Mitch Garbutt is expected to return to boost Leeds Rhinos
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Super League
Sky Sports 1, 8pm Friday
When Leeds and Warrington last met in the Betfred Super League in April, the Wolves were still winless after a shocking start to the season.

Their 25-14 victory over the Rhinos proved to be a catalyst for Tony Smith's team, who have lost only one of their subsequent seven matches in all competitions.

Nevertheless, it's surprising to see Warrington quoted as short as 6-4 to complete the double over Leeds by winning at Headingley.

With ground advantage worth around four points in Super League, the general handicap of an unconverted try to the visitors implies that bookmakers believe the Rhinos and Wolves are of equal ability.

The league table suggests otherwise with Brian McDermott's boys sitting six points and four places above their rivals.

Leeds performed creditably at Magic Weekend before going down 29-18 to Castleford. Two of their five losses this season have been to the table-topping Tigers and the Rhinos have lost only once on their own patch.

Mitch Garbutt is expected to return from a head injury and captain Danny McGuire should be fit despite picking up a knock in Newcastle.

Warrington's road record is poor - they have won only once in seven attempts - and the Wolves will have to try to improve those stats without Ben Westwood, who has a broken hand.

Leeds can continue their bid for a top-four finish with a win and should be backed to cover Hills' two-point handicap.

Elsewhere, it's top versus bottom as Castleford host Widnes and the layers don't appear to have hiked the handicap anywhere near high enough as the Tigers are asked to give up 28 points to the injury-hit Vikings.

Widnes's casualty list includes key men Rhys Hanbury and Joe Mellor while Cas can recall star stand-off Ben Roberts.

Daryl Powell's men average more than 50 points per game at home with an average winning margin of 35 and they are fancied to cut loose again.

Second-placed Salford and third-placed Hull are also heavy favourites at home to Catalans and Leigh respectively.

The Dragons, who receive a dozen-point start, have Jerome Guisset and Michael Monaghan in charge after the sacking of Laurent Frayssinous while the Centurions are given an 18-point buffer at the KCOM Stadium.

In Friday night's other game, Wakefield are six-point jollies at home to Huddersfield.

Leeds -2
4pts 10-11 Hills
Castleford -28
3pts 10-11 general

Daryl Powell's men average more than 50 points per game at home with an average winning margin of 35 and they are fancied to cut loose again
E.W. Terms
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