KAINE GREENWOOD (@RetroPress) knows his Rugby League inside out. So we asked him for his best bet when Widnes host Hull in Thursday night’s live encounter.
Widnes Vikings v. Hull FC | Thursday 20.00 | Sky Sports 2
It's all wonderful in Widnes. It's pretty much standard at Hull FC.
Looking at the respective records so far this campaign, that is a summary you could reach ahead of their clash at the Select Security Stadium but that doesn't mean there's a straightforward call to be made, especially in the match betting market.
The only four league ties between these sides, at this venue, in the past decade have been split – all rather comfortably one way or the other.
Widnes have made a number of, what look like, impressive signings in the off-season and their W4-L1 record heading into this clash is a nod towards the improvements Dennis Betts will be required to bring if he is to remain the second-longest serving coach in Super League.
A repeat of ending the season in ‘The Qualifiers' is not where the former World Club Challenge winners have targeted this term.
Chris Houston and Setimata Sa (out of this game against his former side) have added an edge to the Chemics' play in the forwards, while established halves Kevin Brown and Joe Mellor are a somewhat underrated base in mid-field.
Mellor the architect of the Vikings last victory, over Hull Kingston Rovers, with two tries and a number of assists, chiefly for new wingman Corey Thompson who also grabbed a brace.
Former Canterbury flyer Thompson has been yet another standout, finishing off the majority that has come his way (eight tries) and is sure to be a danger.
That said, defeat against Salford – who joined them in a bottom-four finish in 2015 – is a reminder that we are unlikely to see the early season form repeated for an extended period.
Hull FC go into this game without playmaker Leon Pryce after he was ruled out with a knee injury and he is set to see a specialist to determine how to treat the long-running niggle, making things that bit tougher.
Nothing, despite their club colours, is ever that black and white when it comes to the Airlie Birds however and while it is often said that owner Adam Pearson has overspent and fans have been unrewarded you always get a sense they are capable.
The biggest ‘niggle' in this camp will be how to build a way towards major honours – a defeat in the 2013 Challenge Cup final the last time FC got close in any real fashion. Their cross-city rivals Hull KR managed the same just last year!
Consistency is always said to be the key to the successes of others so can Hull FC finally find a model to move them forward?
Well… Lee Radford's chargers have put up at least 24 points in each game so far this season, including an impressive display when brushing aside Catalans 38-10 in the South of France. So, they are consistently putting themselves in games despite a current 50/50 record.
Longer-term it seems this proficiency holds firm, specifically on-the-road. When looking at the 25 regular season games the current coach has overseen, you see FC have racked up 559 points – an average of 22.36 for every outing.
Because of this, I'm prepared to take safety in these numbers and head to the team points market. We don't have to pick a winner this way – we are certainly after more than two points anyway.
Widnes Vikings v Hull FC – Hull FC to score Over 22.5 Points (4/5 Paddy Power)
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