Thursday, 31 March 2011

Round 8

Last week I all but said that I expected my fortunes to take a downturn and it takes an excellent judge to be able to predict when they are wrong so I can at least take solace from that.

This week appears even harder to review and so I expect this to be the shortest preview yet.

The Friday night game on SKY is Wigan at Leeds and currently sees the visitors trading in the low 1.7s a price which appears fair. Leeds have been nothing short of poor this season and were incredibly unconvincing last week against Wakefield. However, they do remain a side which on paper, is capable of excellent results. One day, it will all click and they will produce the dominant performance they can do. Will it be against a Wigan side who will be desperate to avoid successive defeats. Well, it could be although it would be surprising. As with any SKY game, the value will come in play.

The other Friday night games see Castleford travel to Hull FC and Hull KR travel to St Helens. Hull FC showed their true schizophrenic powers at the weekend when they held a four point lead over Harlequins, conceded three straight tries in seven minutes before scoring four tries in the last fifteen minutes to win. It will surprise no-one then that I have no interest in a game where the market is fairly close.

The other game, Saints v Hull KR, screams out to be a game that I should be interested in. The home side on a good run of form against an away side who have been woeful recently. An over enthusiastic market then drives the price of the home side down too low. However, my stomach isn’t interested in this although my head is. Maybe a small back of the away side might be in order but it isn’t a game that I am overly confident on.

Saturday night sees more of the same when Salford host Crusaders. An in form home side against an away side out of sorts although again, I have reservations. This one is easier to explain in that Crusaders demolished Salford in Round 1. That is therefore more likely to act as a barrier against complacency for the home side and as a roadblock to the market driving the price down irrationally; even moreso when considering that these are two sides who aren’t regularly featured on SKY. Still, the pre match value does lie with Crusaders but I expect the biggest value to emerge in play.

Sunday sees two expected walkovers and a stroll in the park. Will it be that simple?

Warrington v Catalans reminds me of one of my earliest oppositions to home favourites when in 2009 the home side traded as low as 1.06 against Catalans before losing. The fact that 1.06 is likely to be the starting point for this game best illustrates the direction the two teams have gone in since. Certainly, that 1.06 was more valuable than this 1.06, but at 1.06, there can only be one side that can be backed.

Huddersfield v Wakefield is likely to be another 1.0 starting price and whilst the away side is unquestionably where the best value lies, the prices do reflect the talent available to both sides. Wakefield have performed admirably against Warrington, Hull and Leeds in recent weeks but I do wonder whether they may just fail to reach that level of performance this time around. However, there is still only one option available.

The other game on Sunday is where my strongest feeling lies but even that, for my standards, is ten parts water to one part juice. Harlequins are coming off a thrashing by Warrington and a capitulation against Hull whilst Bradford are also haven’t been in the best form recently. However, the Yorkshire side are in the 1.3s which is definitely a price driven by home advantage rather than anything else.

Despite Harlequins recent poor performances, they have shown enough that they are a side at or around the level of Bradford and whilst the Bulls won’t be easing off just yet, they are significantly shorter than the price they should be. I therefore do expect Bradford to win, but I would not expect them to win with the regularity that the market does.

However, that is the issue. All these games are played one time and one time only and anything can, and usually does, happen.


  1. Excellent analysis as usual Craig. Pity I have little opportunity to watch it not having SKY.

    I did watch the markets during the Six Nations and was very interested. I wonder if rugby league markets are equally 'swingy'.

    I've made no secret of my lack of progress in the pre-race horse markets and have for some time been looking for alternative, longer term markets to move into. Are there any particular websites you can recommend for stats etc and are there any specific things I should look out?



  2. Thanks Alistair.

    RL markets are probably even more swingy than RU. I don't follow RU markets other than the draw in liquid markets but there are several more tries score in RL so whilst the swings may not be as plentiful in nature they do tend to be more plentiful in number which can be extremely helpful.

    What type of stats would you be looking for? As a sport which doesn't garnish much publicity, the stats don't tend to be great but depending on what you want, I might be able to provide a couple of helping points.



  3. TBH Craig, I'm not sure what I'm looking for :)

    Because I don't have SKY, I very rarely get to see a RL match. So I guees I'm looking for some sort of angle that can be applied without the need for pictures. Hence the reason for the stats sites enquiry.

    Reading past posts on here, you seem to favour laying low priced favs and/or backing the draw with a view to trading out. I'd be quite happy employing such a tactic looking for a few ticks at a time.

    We don't do RL north of the border, so I'm not overly familiar with the teams, but the swingy nature of the sport is certainly attractive and I'll be paying a lot more attention to your writings than I have in the past.

    Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down on the blog. If you ever have the time, especially during a match, feel free to pop along to my chat room at