Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Brief, muddled and conditional thoughts before I disappear for the week

Just a very quick post regarding initial thoughts on this weekend’s rugby before I head off to Cardiff to sit in a pub judging by the recent weather forecasts. If anyone knows of any good ones or ones which show the RL, let me know!

Now, I would not usually ever post thoughts this early. The markets have not been set up and I am useless at predicting these and there is still a lot of team news to emerge. That said, let’s roll the dice.

Wakefield v Leeds is the Friday SKY game, and I would advise a wait and see approach. The past four games have seen the favourites go two scores up inside 20 minutes and then they can be laid in the 1.0s or 1.1s! Laying at that price should get you very far! That said, there has also been more liquidity recently which has pushed the draw price out, so I would keep an eye out for that pre match. Anything over 40 would represent good value for trading later.

Wigan v Catalans is another Friday game and one which will see little liquidity in play, but that doesn’t mean little value as I’ve found out recently. This is a funny game because I have grown to strongly oppose Wigan prices recently but they have kept on winning. Still, the Market has a lot of love for Wigan and that is definitely a valuable opportunity for value seekers. However, how will the market react to Wigan being without three back rowers, their reserve hooker, their first choice (but second rate) halfback and Martin Gleeson. Catalans don’t travel well, but at anything below 1.3, they would represent very good value. 1.3 to the 1.4 would be decent value and 1.4 to 1.5 would probably be fair value given that Wigan appear to have developed a good team spirit, Catalans’ poor travelling form and the fact that none of Wigan’s injuries are really that crucial.

If there is one game I love to trade it is St Helens v Warrington. That was one of the first games I ever traded in 2008, and I seem to remember doing reasonably well in their Cup match before I tipped Warrington coming back from 1.05, sending to Saints to double figures before eventually losing which was one of the two games that convinced me that maybe I could make a good profit. This year, I also called Warrington from 4 into odds on before losing!

So I am gutted to miss this game, although I would say that this is a game where the money will likely be made in play. However, Warrington have displayed more consistency under Tony Smith and Saints have a few injuries, although I would expect last week’s loss to send them out more motivated than ever. The pre-match odds will be very interesting, but if you are looking for a pre kick off prediction here, don’t ask me! Just sit back and watch what has to be the most volatile match up ever. (However, I like Saints’ in the Challenge Cup market where they have drifted from 1.6 to 1.7 on the basis of Friday night, a ridiculous overreaction in my opinion.)

Saturday’s other games include Harlequins v Huddersfield which is another game I would not like to comment on until I see the match odds. Harlequins have played poorly recently whilst Huddersfield are coming off a good win over Wakefield. Usually, that would make me favour Harlequins, although how much will home advantage (over) effect the market? As a general rule, I would probably go for the outsider for value purposes, but again, are any of Quins’ players back from injury?

The other game on Saturday is Celtic v Salford, and with me staying very close to Celtic’s ground, if the cricket is rained off, I will likely venture down. Another tough match to call without reference to the odds. Salford should be clear favourites, but might they ease off after last weekend’s win and is Matty Smith back for Celtic yet? Celtic’s recent financial issues may also draw them closer together. If you can get in the 1.2s to lay Salford, that would be good value, although I would be surprised if Salford were that low.

On Sunday, two out of form sides meet in Hull KR v Bradford. Again, I would want to see the match odds before commenting. I thought Hull KR were under-rated last week and Bradford over-rated although whether this was home advantage or the market’s views, I don’t know. Certainly, if Bradford resemble Castleford’s odds from last week, I would look to get on them. If Bradford resemble Hull KR’s odds from last week, I would probably steer clear.

The other game, Castleford v Hull, would, on the face of it, look to represent my strongest position of the week. Castleford won last week so might be over-rated. Hull lost so might be under-rated but displayed some very good team spirit and attacking prowess which were my two biggest question marks over Hull. Castleford are at home so despite some poor performances at home this week, might be over-rated here. If Hull have a couple of players back from injury, then Castleford could be vastly under-priced. Alternatively, the market may read the game correctly or Castleford’s need to win may drive them home. However, based upon recent market starting prices, I would think Castleford could be as low as 1.3 and that price should be laid and I think that’s the most unconditional I have been so far!

And don’t forget the Northern Rail Cup final on Sunday at 5:15 on SKY. Although Barrow were poor last week, Widnes look ridiculously low at 1.5, and that might be worth watching in play, although as with any semi professional match, these are much harder to call, in my opinion.

But above all, I would advise that if you have a spare afternoon on Sunday, that you watch the cricket with the RL markets up and look for value or even throw out some speculative lays. There are some people out there who seem to like to make bets with no reference to value, and without me there to compete with you for these prices, you might strike lucky. In play trading, and the draw, is where the biggest value lies, in my opinion.

As always, I do not hold any liability if any of the above is completely wrong! They are just my thoughts and based upon general principles which may not apply in every game. No-one can call a RL game with certainty before the match starts, but sometimes there are clues which can lead you down a particular road!

Anyway, time to go and get some lunch and then head off to Wales for the start of the Ashes summer. Come on England!

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