The ring rust should well and truly be wearing off for teams now as they hit their stride in the meat of the season. With top of the table clashes and must-win matches for struggling sides happening across the weekend, it's a round that looks to have some great betting value available - especially with some sides still being rated much more highly and kindly than their current form would lead you to believe they actually deserve.
Warrington Wolves vs St Helens
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Eerily reminiscent of the 2004 Leeds team that Tony Smith lead to the title, Wire have started the season unbelievably well, looking almost unbeatable both home and away. With their flair in attack backed up by a well drilled defence, the mess of last season is almost forgotten already, with all eyes focussed on the silverware to be won in the coming months.
Saints have had a long tradition of beating Warrington, and the game has developed in to a fully fledged derby over the past few seasons as the sides have grown closer in talent. With the boys in red and white blowing hot and cold with little to no warning as to which way they're going to go, it's hard to anticipate which Saints side exactly are going to turn up - especially away against top level opposition.
Given that Saints have already lost away to Wigan, Salford and Leeds this season, it's safe to say that their best performances seem to be coming at home, which will play in to Warrington's hands. Top of the league and playing the most consistent rugby, they're already heavy favourites, so backing them to win big is great value - and far from out of the realms of possibility.
Warrington Wolves to beat St Helens by 21-30pts @ 9/2
Hull FC vs Huddersfield Giants
When the Giants started slowly last season, their opening game was a 19-points to nil loss at home to Hull, but their recovery came much swifter in the weeks following. This year, however, rooted to the foot of the table, Huddersfield look in serious trouble, and have had to dip in to their pockets to make the most of the transfer market while their injury list remains an issue.
Hull though, are having a much better time of things. Starting in a positive fashion, they've set themselves up for a real run at not only the top eight, but top four, and a possible return to the Grandfinal after a decade away. With a spine of both young exciting players and seasoned veterans, this isn't the type of Hull side to fold in the inevitable way we've become used to, and that's the last thing the Giants will want to hear.
Much like the Wire game, the simplest result seems like the most likely result, too. Huddersfield haven't got going at all this season, and the KC Stadium isn't the venue you'd chose to find your feet, with the locals expecting their side to put what is currently the weakest outfit in the competition to bed. Hull could get a roll on if they get to the line early, and Huddersfield haven't got the defence capable of stopping them.
Hull FC to beat Huddersfield Giants by +13pts @ 7/5
Salford Red Devils vs Leeds Rhinos
While it's true that Salford haven't kicked on properly since their promising site, that's true even more so of Leeds, who're coming in to this one on the back to two straight losses at home to sides they'd usually bank on beating. Usually, this Red Devils side are good for a sudden jump in performance when a big side comes to town, and St Helens learnt about that one the hard way.
For the first time in a while, the Rhinos look shot of any confidence whatsoever, and playing away from home doesn't seem like the ideal way to climb back on the saddle. Salford will love nothing more than to add yet another scalp to their collection, and have the players at their disposal to do the fragile champions damage both up the middle of the field, and out wide through their decisive backs.
It's somewhat odd, given how bad Leeds have been, that they're still favourites for this one, but that just goes to show how much talent they still have at their disposal. Salford however - especially when playing at home against a wounded side low on confidence - are more than capable of putting the hurt on the Rhinos, putting even more pressure on the reigning treble champions. Given the price they're being offered at, not backing the Red Devils would be a missed oppertunity, and this is clearly the smartest bet of the week.
Salford Red Devils to beat Leeds Rhinos @ 23/20