If you like Rugby League, as we do, then this time of year is fabulous. It’s the start of the Super 8’s, where we find out the Champions and at the other end, with the first game tonight, we have the even better, in our humble opinion, Qualifiers. This is where the bottom four sides in the Super League take on the top 4 sides in the Championship in a round robin tournament. No points carried forward, just a 7 match tournament with the top 3 automatically qualifying for next seasons Super League and the 4th and 5th sides playing a one game knock out, known as the Million Pound game. It’s a cracker.
As tonight sees the start of the Qualifiers with Widnes Vikings from the Super League taking on the London Broncos from the Championship and what a tough opener this is for both sides but what a revealing one. Its hard to argue that the Broncos aren’t the most in form team in the Championship with 6 wins and a draw on the bounce; without which they simply wouldnt have qualified. They have been playing knockout football for 7 games. Former Leeds forward and Broncos coach, Danny Ward says they have found out a lot about themselves and are finally playing as a unit that is starting to fulfill its potential but he was quick to point out that despite Widnes position in the table the Vikings will still be the best team they have played this year. That statement alone is very interesting as I believe tonight will tell us just how big the gap, if at all, is between both leagues. Widnes couldnt be in worse nick, having lost their last 16 games – thats not a typo! If Widnes come out and hammer the form team from the Championship then all four places will stay with the Super League teams, if they flounder tonight then there is hope for all of the Qualifiers.
My personal view is that there really isnt much diference between the bottom of the Super League and the top of the Championship and for that reason and at these prices, you simply have to back the Bronco’s tonight. They are not an 11/4 shot to win this. For me they should be more like 11/8. However, that’s what betting is all about, putting your opinion where your money is and mine is with the London outfit. If they can hang in there for the first 20 minutes the doubts will come to a Widnes team that is so down on confidence. They simply might not recover and could implode.
Going forward this weekend I am keen to back Salford against Hull KR at the KC Stadium. This is quite a grudge match with former Salford boss, Tim Sheens in charge at the KC stadium and looking for revenge. The difference in these two teams is just in the halfs where I think Salford have the edge and they should’nt be such a big price, even away from home.
Leeds vs Toulouse on Saturday isnt a betting match. I have given up wondering how French teams will fare away from home and in this game I will just watch ths fixture, with the layers having it about right at 2/11 for the Yorkies. Not so on Sunday when the Toronto Wolfpack take on Halifax and their price of 2/5 against a team they have beaten up regulary looks attractive.
The Qualifers – Week 1 betting tips
4 units win Broncos with Betway @ 27/10
4 units win Salford with Betway @ 5/2
9 units win Toronto @ 1/3 with Skybet