Welcome to a brand new weekly article on loverugbyleague.com were I will be selecting a handicap treble from the fixtures being played in Super League, Championship and Championship 1.
Time to put away the darts, hang up the snooker cue and forget about those over paid football stars the greatest game on earth is back!
Super League starts with a Millenium Magic extravaganza this weekend just one week after we had a fantastic start to the Northern Rail Cup. Unfortunately, there are no odds currently available at the time of writing this article for the weekend Northern Rail Cup games so I have had to concentrate on the opening set of Super League fixtures.
Castleford Tigers (-8)
Wigan Warriors (-4)
Salford City Reds (-4)
Treble = 7/1
My three selections are Cas, Wigan and Salford. The other four matches could go either way whilst I expect Castleford to open up in style against Wakefield. The Tigers have lost Joe Westerman and Michael Shenton in the off-season but have recruited well in the shape of Martin Aspinwall, Jake Emmitt, Nick Fozzard, Willie Isa, Richie Mathers, Danny Orr and Nick Youngquest. There is a real mixture of experience and youth in those signings and whilst Cas will look to push for a play-off spot Wakefield’s immediate aim is to survive on and off the pitch. John Kear will need all his full box of tricks to mastermind victories this season for the Wildcats. Cas started last year with a win at Headingley expect another victory this time out and to cover the -8 handicap.
My next selection comes from the repeat of last years Grand Final. Always a mouth watering prospect a Wigan v Saints fixture and one in which Royce Simmons will be looking to impress Saints fans with a win over their arch enemy. Whilst Wigan will miss new signing Brett Finch in the opening weeks they have more than enough ability to cover his absence and in the mercurial Sam Tomkins will have the star of 2011 again. Saints will again be without Leon Pryce who they missed badly at the business end of last season. This game will be the closest of the three I have selected but I think Wigan have enough to edge Saints by -4 points.
My last selection comes in the shape of the new look Salford City Reds. Salford have under gone an extensive recruitment process in the off-season and the only question I have is, will the new players all have settled in by kick off time? The biggest signing the Reds have made is Luke Patten who has joined from NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs. Along with Patten, the Reds have recruited well in the forwards with the likes of Nero, Godwin, Anderson and Phil Bailey making the journey to the Willows. Couple this with the exciting talents of Ashley Gibson and Jodie Broughton I think the Reds will have an exciting season. The Crusaders will rely heavily on Jarrod Sammut during the 2011 season and if Salford can control Sammut they will win well and cover the -4 handicap.
Enjoy your rugby league this weekend, fingers crossed for the handicap treble!