Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes expects no upsets in this weekend's Super League action
By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @SkyJordanFiddes. Last Updated: 07/06/13 2:06pm
It was another tough encounter for the Saints on Monday night as they came through a tough trip to form side Huddersfield Giants, but it should be a bit more comfortable this weekend.
On Sunday, the Merseyside club welcome Bradford Bulls to Langtree Park, a team they beat 36-10 earlier this year.
The Saints are slowly welcoming their star players back - James Roby made a return on Monday - and they are rightly favourites to take the spoils this week at 1/6.
One man who is beginning to find his form in a Saints jersey is second rower Willie Manu - signed from Hull FC in the off-season.
The big Samoan forward was the highest scoring second rower in the whole of Super League in 2012, yet he has only crossed once this term for his new employers.
On Sunday, he is 2/1 to score anytime and, with players returning inside him, expect Manu to see plenty of action. Last year, the forward managed a try in just over every other game - in 2011 his record wasn't much different either.
The Bulls, on the other hand, have conceded nearly a third of their 74 tries to forwards in 2013 (24 in total, more than any other side in the top eight), highlighting their weaknesses down the middle. More importantly, in the 36-10 defeat to St.Helens in February one of the men crossing the line was Manu.
With James Roby back in at hooker, Saints' chances of scoring increase immensely - he made 20 try assists last season and four in just seven appearances this year.
Josh Charnley: Expected to move to full-back to replace the injured Sam Tomkins
Youngsters to thrive
On Friday night Wigan head to the Stobart Stadium with a mounting injury list.
Among those missing for the Warriors will be skipper Sean O'Loughlin, top try-scorer Sam Tomkins and in-form forward Liam Farrell.
It may be bold considering the amount of youngsters in the squad but I am still expecting the league leaders to overcome the handicap on Friday; the Vikings have only beaten Wigan twice in their last 10 meetings and just three times in Super League history.
Of the eight victories Wigan have recorded since 2004, they have beaten Widnes by more than six in seven of them.
Although the side may seem a bit light in the backs - though they do still have Josh Charnley on the wing with 21 tries this term - they have a pretty formidable pack to pick from.
Greg Burke is likely to replace O'Loughlin at loose forward and the youngster has made over 200 tackles in just 12 appearances.
Charnley is likely to cover for Tomkins at full-back and the winger has made 53 tackle busts this year and enjoyed a try-scoring appearance in the same role last year, too.
So long as Wigan maintain their fantastic league form - they have the best attack and defence in the competition - they should cover the handicap of -6 on Friday night.
View from the Sky Bet trading room...
"Injuries look like they will play a huge part in the Leeds v Cas and Widnes v Wigan games on Friday.
"Similarly, Wigan have come in too.
"We've seen plenty of action for both teams with punters divided over whether Widnes can cause an upset.
"Hull FC have proved popular on the handicap as they travel to France.
"Catalans will be without Scott Dureau again and they struggled against the Vikings last week."