Super League winner odds: How the race to reach the Grand Final looks
Leigh have stolen the show in Super League this year by surging towards an improbable play-off place in their first season back in the top flight.
With the Leopards looking strong alongside Catalans Dragons, Wigan and St Helens, a furious battle is developing for the final two post-season slots – not to mention a potential twist at the bottom of the table.
With 10 weeks of the regular season remaining, we run the rule over the 12 teams and the latest Super League winner odds ahead of a potentially pivotal weekend of action.
Catalans Dragons (Pld 17/Pts 26)
Steve McNamara’s men head into Saturday’s home clash with Huddersfield on a high after seven straight wins.
Boosted by the exuberant form of winger Tom Johnstone and underpinned by the ever-evolving Arthur Mourgue, consistent Catalans look strong bets to land their second League Leaders’ Shield and are 3/1 second favourites in the Super League winner odds.
Spectacularly bucking the trend of previous promoted teams, Adrian Lam’s side are riding high in second place as they prepare to head to struggling Castleford.
With yards from John Asiata, points from Josh Charnley and precision from Lachlan Lam, there is little sign of the Leopards losing their spots and they are 12/1 to be crowned champions.
Matt Peet’s men go to resurgent Wakefield on Friday on a high having rebounded well from last month’s mauling by St Helens with two straight wins.
With Jai Field back in his favoured full-back role and Bevan French busier in the halves, the Warriors look in good shape for another post-season assault and are 4/1 in the Super League outright betting.
Four league defeats from five and the embarrassing exit of Josh McGuire have rendered Warrington’s eight-game unbeaten start to the campaign a distant memory, with their Super League winner odds drifting to 13/2.
Another loss to St Helens on Friday would pile more pressure on boss Daryl Powell, with his side facing the real possibility of sliding all the way out of the top six.
St Helens (16/20)
Some recent displays suggest Saints are once again coming good at the right time but last month’s surprise blip at Hull indicates Paul Wellens still has some work to do.
A win at Warrington would ease those fears and confirm Saints’ status as favourites to reel off a fifth consecutive Grand Final triumph. They currently head the betting at 13/8.
Paul Rowley’s men face Leeds on Sunday in a match that could have a major say on which team goes on to seal a play-off slot.
Despite once again defying the odds for much of the campaign, back-to-back heavy losses – most recently at rock-bottom Wakefield – have raised questions over the Red Devils’ ability to stay the course.
Hull KR (17/18)
Injury-ravaged Rovers have shown signs of buckling in recent weeks and head into Sunday’s derby with scant hope of repeating their 40-0 humiliation of Hull at the MKM Stadium in April.
Jordan Abdull is their latest big loss, but despite a major battle to retain their top six slot, Rovers’ fighting spirit cannot be questioned.
Unfathomable for much of the season, Rohan Smith’s men finally appear to have found their groove, thanks in no small part to the superb form of Blake Austin and the muscle of mysteriously departing prop Sam Walters.
Heading to Salford on Sunday, the Rhinos’ traditional late-season surge is under way and they could be the value bet at 14/1 in the Super League winner odds.
Even last week’s gutsy defeat by Catalans could not disguise the significant improvements made by Tony Smith’s side since a torrid start to the campaign.
With halves Jake Clifford and Jake Trueman outstanding, and homegrown Brad Fash typifying their fresh impetus up front, FC could end up running the top six close.
Huddersfield’s only solace in a season to forget is that there are two teams below them who have been much worse.
But with Wakefield stirring, under-pressure Giants boss Ian Watson needs to summon something from his tired side, unrecognisable from that basking in a Wembley Challenge Cup final just over 12 months ago.
Cas are capable of summoning good days – see their Magic Weekend win over Leeds and the recent success against Warrington – but remain ravaged by inconsistency and, despite the encouraging loan signing of Riley Dean, have every reason to be looking over their shoulders with increasing alarm.
The top flight’s great escape act are at it again, if last week’s thumping win over Salford is anything to go by.
Fully behind boss Mark Applegarth and galvanised by the recent arrival of Luke Gale, Wakefield would issue another major statement if they manage to get something from Wigan on Friday night.
All odds and markets correct at the time of publication