Tough to call
Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes previews this weekend's Super League action and tells us where the smart money will be going
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @JordanFiddes85. Last Updated: February 8, 2013 4:16pm
Joel Monaghan: Tipped to do the damage against Wigan again
We witnessed a wonderful opening round to Super League XVIII last weekend with 60 tries in seven games and some results that nobody could have predicted.
Huddersfield's demolition of St. Helens on Saturday claimed the headlines but the away wins for Catalans and Widnes were the most impressive of the round for me.
Few teams will visit the Craven Park Stadium this year and come away with the spoils and not many people, including the bookies, gave Widnes much hope in the opening weekend without new signings Kevin Brown and Gareth Hock.
For Wigan, Warrington and Leeds however, it was all systems go as each team recorded over 30 points against their respective opponents.
It won't be as one-sided on Friday night at DW Stadium though, as last year's top two go head-to-head.
Warrington start the game as marginal favourites for this one at 8/11, having beaten the Warriors in five of the last six meetings.
Lots of people wrote Wigan off before the season had even started, with their decision to part company with their two half-backs Brett Finch and Thomas Leuluai and forwards Jeff Lima and Gareth Hock deemed a backwards step.
However, they took strides of proving the doubters wrong last week by beating Salford 42-0.
Warrington started in similar fashion against Castleford too, racing into a 28-0 lead after just 23 minutes.
With both sides starting so emphatically, it is nigh on impossible to split them, so I'm looking to a man who did just that last season.
Winger Joel Monaghan scored in both fixtures against the Warriors last term and is 17/2 to score first on Friday night, which looks worth backing each-way.
He scored the third try at the DW last year and the fourth try at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium.
He also scored the first try at Wigan in 2011 so if you bet each-way, you'll still get a quarter of the odds if he scores the second, third or fourth try.
Also on Friday, a resurgent Bradford Bulls side travel to the KC Stadium to face Hull FC, who are without Gareth Ellis.
Although he is a huge loss to their side, the Airlie Birds have now had time to regroup for the foreseeable future at least and have enough quality in the rest of their squad to see off the Bulls.
Bradford will of course be buoyed by their 40-6 victory over the side that beat them into the top eight last year, but to say Wakefield were unimpressive is an understatement.
They also hold a pretty wretched record against the Black and Whites, failing to beat them since 2009.
Hull, who will take some encouragement from the fact that they were level with the champions for 50 minutes last weekend, are always difficult to beat at the KC Stadium.
Not only do I think they will beat the handicap given by Sky Bet (-8) but I think they will show more creativity and win by more than 13 points, which is 11/8 on the alternative handicap market.
My final tip of the weekend is on Saturday's televised game between the aforementioned Wildcats and Hull KR.
Neither of these two teams got off to a good start last week and the bookies can't decide between them as both are 10/11 to win the game.
For this, I'm going for Hull KR on the 'Half-Time Result' market at even money on the basis of some very lop-sided stats.
They may have struggled last weekend but they were the definition of quick starts in 2012, only losing once at half-time in their first nine matches.
Wakefield, on the other-hand, were behind eight times in their opening nine games and they failed to record a single point in the first 40 minutes last weekend.
Hull KR will also be boosted by the loan signing of Dale Ferguson, who has an additional incentive to produce a big performance as he faces his former club.
View from the Sky Bet trading room
"The betting advice this week would be to get on the Black and Whites of Hull FC, who have had an extra couple of days rest over Bradford.
"However, the punters are seeing no such response from the Salford City Reds following their 42-0 loss to Wigan.
"It doesn't get any easier with a trip across the channel to face a Catalans team coming off the back of an impressive opening round win at Hull KR.
"I could see this handicap going off on the mid 30s unless some fresh blood is announced into the Salford squad before the weekend and, with this looking unlikely, you'd have to fancy the French to cover any handicap in the 20s."