RUGBY LEAGUE fanatic Andrew Day (@AndyDay81) highlights the value for Friday night's televised Super League clash from Castleford.
Castleford Tigers v Hull FC | Friday 20:00 | Sky Sports
It is Round 20 in Super League and one of the standout fixtures of the weekend pits table-topping Castleford Tigers against second-placed Hull FC.
Both teams are coming off the back of solid wins in Round 19 and their mutual good form makes this a mouthwatering encounter.
Each week, Castleford seem to go from strength-to-strength and last weekend’s comfortable 23-12 win over 2015 treble winners Leeds Rhinos further silenced any doubters of this season’s standout side.
The win over the Rhinos was the Tigers’ eighth Super League win on the spin and was remarkably only the fifth time (out of 19 games) they have failed to score 25+ points in a game this term.
This ability to score points has mainly been down to the league’s top try scorer Greg Eden. The winger has an astounding 31 tries in 19 games as well as leading the charts in clean breaks with an impressive 35; that is 11 more tries and 10 more breaks than his nearest rival Liam Marshall at Wigan.
A winger however, is only as good as the team around him and the man that makes the Tigers tick is Luke Gale. The England International half back has personally contributed 214 points, including a chart-topping 85 goals and further assisted 17 tries (another leading number) making him the leading contender for the end of season Man of Steel award.
Hull have overcome back-to-back defeats over the May Day weekend to win three on the bounce and cement their place behind Castleford in the table. In those three games, Hull have racked up an impressive 113 points and seemed to have hit form at just the right time.
Full back Jamie Shaul has been the stand out player for Hull in the last three games, scoring four tries to add to his impressive tally of 14 so far this season. He has gained over 2,100 meters this season – the ninth highest in the league – which is an impressive effort for any full back in today’s game, As well as chipping in with 102 tackles.
Marc Sneyd – last season’s Man of Steel runner up – is Luke Gale’s opposite number and like Gale for Castleford, is the one who makes the Black and Whites tick. He has been directly involved in 19 tries this season and backed that up with 70 successful goal kicks.
Last weekend against Wakefield, Shaul and Sneyd scored 24 of the 40 points and showed just how important to this Hull side they are.
The betting angle
The stats above support the league table which suggests there is very little between these two sides. Both teams are in great form and whilst Castleford are firm favourites to win in front of their own fans, SkyBet’s offer of a +8 handicap start for Hull seems generous at 10/11.
It’s hard to ignore the form of both Eden and Shall and both have a high chance of touching down at some point in the game. Eden’s odds of 1/2 to score at any time make little appeal but the offer of 6/5 (SkyBet) for Shaul to do the same is where my money is going.