RUGBY LEAGUE expert Kaine Greenwood (@RetroPress) shares his betting verdict on Easter Monday’s Super League clash between Wigan and Hull KR.
Wigan Warriors v Hull KR | Easter Monday 20.00
The curtain will be brought down on the Easter period by two sides that cruised through 60 minutes of their opening festive hit-out; the difference being, Wigan held on (quite comfortably) to take victory over St. Helens while KR collapsed, allowing Hull FC to post four tries and two more points.
The third-placed Warriors improved to W6-L1 while Rovers slipped to W1-D1-L6.
It is almost as if somebody has looked at these results along with the corresponding fixture last season – a 60-0 Wigan victory – and immediately thought that a repeat is on the cards with handicaps roughly around a seven or eight score margin in the Warriors favour.
I'm not so sure that any result will be that emphatic when you factor in the exertions of getting a squad back on the field so quickly and with Shaun Wane's side still lacking the presence of George Williams.
Even considering the inclusion of four academy graduates in the squad for the Robins, I most certainly don't see the east Hull-outfit as a 28/1 outsider like our friends at SkyBet do.
Wakefield produced an impressive display in beating Huddersfield (who remain bottom) but still – or at least at the moment – rate as the worst team in Super League for me, and yet they are 9/1 to travel to Headingley and beat the current champions Leeds who, while on the same points total as the Wildcats, have a far superior squad that has to date underwhelmed.
Hull KR may be 11th in the league ladder but they themselves produced a good victory against Salford Red Devils recently and, as stated, controlled large parts of the Hull Derby.
The matches KR have lost in 2016 were by margins of 30-2-9-14-32 and 2 points.
Should that trend of losing but losing without disgrace continue then the head-start offered to the away side here is even more baffling – and welcome!
Rovers have to be favoured hugely to stay within the 35-point defeat margin that would see us collect from Ladbrokes.
Of the 253 games (excl. Cup or Qualifiers) the Robins have played since returning to Super League, this bet has lost just 4.74% of the time, with 10 defeats of 36-plus points and two occasions where the margin was matched.
There is scope to support James Webster's side for the win too when you consider they have won two of the last four head-to-heads, including a victory in last year's Challenge Cup.
That becomes more appealing when you consider the Wigan attack has stuttered in certain games and is statistically the third-worst in the competition (four points worse than their opponents' although over a game less) – if Webster's men can keep things tight, they may well frustrate, and with players like Maurice Blair, Ken Sio, Ben Cockayne and/or possible returnee Kieran Dixon there is the strike-power to take advantage.
In supporting KR for the win at such a big price we concede to not assuming victory as likely but entirely plausible, with the W2-D1-L1 recent record in their favour some proof; the handicap however seems a different matter, we can't do anything other than think it as a ‘good thing' and at a 5/6 quote it has to lapped up.
Wigan Warriors v Hull KR – Hull KR to win (28/1 SkyBet)
Wigan Warriors v Hull KR – Hull KR +36 handicap (5/6 Ladbrokes)
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