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Super League Betting: Salford to edge out Leeds in play-off rehearsal

Salford halfback Robert Lui has been in incredible form this season, leading his side around the park
Salford halfback Robert Lui has been in incredible form this season, leading his side around the park
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There's only two games remaining of the regular season and plenty still to play for, so don't expect anybody to start taking it easy just yet. Ahead of Round 21 of Super League, our rugby league columnist Raj Bains takes us through the runners and riders...

"It’ll be a close run thing, but if you had to pick someone to nick it, it'd be Salford."

Salford Red Devils to beat Leeds Rhinos by 1-12pts @ 9/4

With yet another dramatic late win last night, Castleford are running away with the league leadership, leaving the chasing pack all scrapping for places in the top four. Now a full ten points clear, it's not obvious who or what can stop the Tigers, but they're plenty out there worthy of trying. Wakefield gave it a good go themselves, but there's no excuse for letting a 16-0 half-time lead slip, no matter how good the opposition are.

We've reached Round 21 of 23 now, so the split is just around the corner. Things are still left to be decided, and with points carrying across for the top eight, nobody will want to be found guilty of taking their foot off the accelerator before it's the right time to - especially with the bulk of the league so heavily congested together.


St Helens vs Hull FC
Friday 7th July, 20:00
Live on SkySports

It's a shame for Saints that just as they're starting to improve under new coach Justin Holbrook, they run in to some of the league's most in-form sides. Beaten by Leeds away, Hull FC are a test just as stern, especially in current form. Having been narrowly pipped by Castleford in their top of the table clash with a try controversially chalked out, they'll want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.

Despite their struggles this season, a win away at St Helens is still a statement in Super League, so Hull will need to be at their best to get the two points. Holbrook as Saints playing a far more liquid brand of rugby than they had under Cunningham, so the FC defence will need to be wary of early kicks, sneaky offloads and line breaking runs from deep, all of which Saints have experimented with in recent weeks.

This will be closer than the league table suggests, but there's something about Hull right now that you wouldn't want to back against. With a treble still possible, they've learnt from last mistakes, and are trying to time their run and form in to the business end of the season as best as possible. In order to do that, they'll need to beat Saints away - which they should.

Recommended Bet
Hull FC to beat St Helens by 1-12pts @ 23/10


Catalan Dragons vs Wigan Warriors
Saturday 8th July, 17:00
Live on SkySports

Catalan have struggled in recent weeks adapting to the new ideas Steve McNamara is trying to introduce, having played for one coach for so long previously. While they managed to come back and win against Leigh at home last time out, that was too close for comfort, and they can't allow Wigan to start anywhere near as well if they want to get anything out of this game.

Having been blighted by injury for the majority of the season, Wigan are starting to get bodies back, which is showing in their improved performances and results. While their academy products and players doing a shift out of position have done their best, the Wigan first team - when fully fit - is arguable the standout combination in Super League, so it's no shock to have seen them struggle without them.

It used to be a home banker when Catalan were involved in France, but given that they're going though a mid-season rebuild and transitioning to another coach, that idea has probably gone out of the window. Wigan will likely find this side easy pickings, especially with the like of Joe Burgess and Liam Marshall finding the line as easily as they are. It's an away win, and it shouldn't even be that close.

Recommended Bet
Wigan Warriors to beat Catalan Dragons by +13pts @ 13/10


Salford Red Devils vs Leeds Rhinos
Sunday 9th July, 15:00

Salford and Leeds can both count themselves as surprise packages this season, but for very different reasons. Salford have been known for buying big, failing to settle and battling in the Super8s for survival, but having dialled that down, they're finally looking like contenders. Robert Lui is having an unbelievable season in the halves, and their new approach to the game has certainly worked out.

Leeds, meanwhile, have recovered from their questionable run in 2016 by keeping themselves at pace with the top four this year. Still in with a shout of both major trophies and bringing though a new generation of homegrown as they do, the Rhinos have turned what could've been another transitional season in to a minor success so far. They're starting to find their feet in their new skin too, so they could be mounting one of those famous late runs they became so famous for.

Right now, Salford are the better and more confident of the two sides, and that should show on their own patch. Leeds will put up a fight and won't allow the game to run away from them, but the settled nature of this Red Devils team may just give them the upper hand they need. It'll be a close run thing, but if you had to pick someone to nick it, it'd be Salford.

Recommended Bet
Salford Red Devils to beat Leeds Rhinos by 1-12pts @ 9/4


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