Thursday, 17 February 2011


Something I have noted over the past three seasons of trading Rugby League is a tendency to overreact. Be it from a try, a penalty, a refereeing decision or a run of form, a blind opposer of the market would be in a pretty healthy position I suspect.

For me, that is what makes Rugby League so tradable and there are few greater examples than the second week of a season where prices more than ever are set by the performance of the team on opening weekend. The fact is however, performance in the last match is often a factor which I negatively rate. No side can perform at 100% every week and with alarming regularity, a team can mentally ease off after a great performance or find an extra 5% after a poor performance. Of course, that is not always the case – every event is dependant upon thousands of random stand alone events.

After last weekend, I immediately noted that I would look for Salford as a potential proponent of the above theory but the odds haven’t quite gone as expected. The City Reds were highly rated going into the season and considering Saints’ dire performance for 65 minutes at Millennium Magic, the Reds are available at around 4. A price which I consider fair and not offering too much value either way.

However, there is most definitely a candidate if you look hard enough. Going into the season, many people believed Huddersfield could take the next step and they delivered in Round 1, defeating a highly rated Warrington side.

However, I am very surprised to see them below 1.5 when they travel to Castleford Tigers at the weekend. Home advantage is usually a concept I look to oppose but in this case, it feels like the market has forgotten who the home team is.

Now, I have Castleford rated much higher than most and have them solidly as the 7th best squad in the competition and whilst the first performance is never conclusive, it can help to affirm or reject some initial thoughts about how a team could perform and I believe Castleford’s performance strongly affirmed my key thought on them. That being the addition of Danny Orr will sufficiently free up Rangi Chase to enable the halfback to return to his form from 2009 when he was one of the best players in the competition.

Obviously, in Super League anything can happen and with this game being televised, it is quite likely that the best value will be found in play. Huddersfield do remain the better side on paper as well so a Giants victory would not be a shock, but at 1.5, this is a price which I find utterly incomprehensible.

As for the remaining games this weekend, Hull v Leeds is the Friday night televised game and as per usual, I won’t look to take a position until the game kicks off. Hull have one of the greatest ranges in performance ability and it would be unwise to take a view until you see how they approach the game.

Alongside the Saturday night televised game is Catalans v Wakefield and this has the potential to cause an upset. Wakefield’s administration saga, which included rumours of the entire squad being made redundant, appears to be over and they are facing a side who against Harlequins, looked likely to never score. Of course, Wakefield’s squad however is severely depleted and they are understandable heavy outsiders. However, unless Scott Dureau can produce a considerably better performance, the Wildcats could be celebrating a most unlikely victory and if the price does drop to around 1.1, then that would be a position well worth taking.

Sunday sees three games with Harlequins v Crusaders looking to be a potentially even game. Having only one performance to consider is insufficient to form an opinion on either side and so this is one to avoid – although the Crusaders did look the better team last week.

Bradford v Wigan has the potential for an upset if the Warriors were to divert their eyes towards next week’s World Club Challenge. However, their capitulation against Saints last week should result in a more determined focus for this week’s game whilst it is difficult to see Bradford repeating their mammoth effort from last week although the sour taste that will exist from their late defeat could serve as sufficiently strong motivation; especially if the crowd can get behind them.

The final game of the weekend is Warrington v Hull KR where overreaction seems to be setting in slightly following Warrington’s injuries and generally lacklustre performance from Millennium Magic. However, even at 1.5, I don’t see sufficient upside to back the home team, although it does rule out Hull KR as having potential value.

Therefore, it appears another weekend where the best course of action is to follow the games and look for further trends in teams’ performances. There is no Leeds v Castleford or Warrington v Catalans this time. At least, not one that is obvious yet…

1 comment:

  1. Good shout on the Castleford game, Craig. Just checked the result.