A favourable run of fixtures has enabled the Leeds Rhinos to cement their place in the play-offs over the last month, and whilst their recent record against fellow top-eight opposition hasn't been encouraging of late, that series of confidence-boosting wins should have done them the world of good and they look set to extend their winning run to four against Hull on Friday evening.
Wins against Wakefield, Castleford and London have eased the pressure on Brian McDermott somewhat, and it isn't any coincidence that their return to form has coincided with Danny McGuire's come back from injury, and he helped himself to a hat-trick of tries at London last week. The Rhinos are represented in the Exiles game on Wednesday with Carl Ablett, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Rob Burrow, but barring injury, I'd expect them to back up on Friday.
I would normally much prefer Hull's park over Leeds', but the absence of Mark O' Meley, and perhaps more importantly Danny Houghton, tilts the balance in the Rhinos' favour. Houghton's work rate has been outstanding this season, currently the third top tackler in Super League, and I doubt they have the men to fill the void left by those two key men.
Leeds are asked to give up 14.5 points on the main Betfair line and they may well do so, but points are going to be very hard to come by in very wet conditions and backing under 48.5 points looks a safer wager.
Warrrington and the Catalan Dragons clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as part of Sky's continuing live Monday night action, and the Wolves will be keen to make amends for what was a pretty humiliating defeat at Salford little over a week ago.
Tony Smith appeared to be guilty of underestimating the City Reds in that latest round, resting several of his star turns, including the pivotal Lee Briers. You can guarantee that Smith will be showing the Dragons a good deal more respect on Monday, and I'm not expecting anything but a full-strength Warrington side.
Neither side have been easy to predict this season as far as the outright markets goes, but they have been consistently involved in high-scoring affairs throughout the season, and if the current forecast is correct, then conditions should be fair.
Five of Warrington's last six games have gone over the 50.5 point mark, whilst four of Catalans' last six have also been overs. And bearing in mind that one of those Dragons' games was played in a deluge at Craven Park, there isn't much evidence to suggest we should be expecting any great defensive competence from either side.
Back under 48.5 points in the Leeds vs Hull game at 1.748/11
Back over 48.5 points in the Warrington vs Catalans game at 1.834/5