Super League Betting Guide

by Punter's Hero on January 25, 2013

in Rugby

It may not be quite as good as the National Rugby League competition in Australia and New Zealand but Super League has definitely closed the quality gap in recent seasons, with Europe’s top club rugby league tournament pulling superb crowds, both live at its games and on television.

Only four teams have tasted Super League title glory – Leeds (six times), St Helens (five times), Bradford (four times) and Wigan (two times) – but bookmakers think that half a dozen sides have a decent chance of winning Super League XVIII, with Catalans, Hull and Warrington near the top of championship betting. The Bulls, however, have fallen on hard times and are unlikely to challenge for honours. Remember when betting on rugby league or any other sport that looking for the best odds is extremely important.

Wolves worthy favourites

Bookmakers have installed Warrington as the general Super League XVIII favourite and that makes a great deal of sense given what happened last year and during the winter months.

The Wolves won the Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium and went close to Super League XVII honours, finishing the regular season in second position just one point behind Wigan and going down 18-26 to Leeds in the Grand Final having been listed as warm favourites versus the fifth-seeded Rhinos.

Tony Smith, who knows what it takes to win a Super League Grand Final having coached Leeds to championships in 2004 and 2007, has made almost no changes to Warrington’s squad ahead of the Super League XVIII season and that is a sign that the naturalised British citizen thinks that he has sufficient quality upon which to call to get the job done.

Whereas the Wolves should be every bit as good in Super League XVIII as they were in Super League XVII, question marks hang over most of their rivals. For example, the Warriors have lost no fewer than half a dozen top-class players – George Carmont, Stuart Fielden, Brett Finch, Gareth Hock, Thomas Leuluai and Jeff Lima – and not been active in the recruitment market, while St Helens have a new coach in Nathan Brown so the Saints could be slow starters.

There is not a great deal of difference between the odds available about Warrington topping the Super League XVIII ladder and winning the Super League XVIII Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday 5 October 2013. Anything can happen in the play-offs so err on the side of caution and back the Wolves at around 2-1 to qualify for them as the top seeds.

Ellis is a steal at 12-1

Super League’s continuing rise in popularity, especially in areas away from its northern England heartland, means that bookmakers are framing more and more futures markets. And one that features an interesting bet is the Man of Steel.

Awarded for the first time in 1977, the Man of the Steel prize goes to the year’s outstanding player in the British game. Super League players are the electorate and the Man of the Steel is club and country blind, which means that it is not a certainty to go to one of the season’s trophy winners. For example, Rangi Chase of Castleford won the Man of Steel in 2011 even though the Tigers missed the Super League XVI play-offs, finishing ninth of the 14 participating sides.

Gareth Ellis is the Super League XVIII star whose Man of Steel odds leap off the page. The Hull new boy is 12-1 in one place and no shorter than 8-1 anywhere. If Ellis, who has returned home after spending four years playing in the National Rugby League, continues in Hull where he left off in Sydney, he is going to attract a large number of votes.

Ellis is a player’s player. Despite being in the same Wests Tigers team as two of the National Rugby League’s biggest names in Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall, Ellis received the Sydney-based side’s player of the year award in each of his first three seasons there. And Ellis would have had a decent shout at winning it for a fourth year in a row had he not spent large chunks of 2012 watching from the sidelines.

Still only 31, Ellis has what it takes to dominate Super League XVIII matches and, particularly if Hull mounts a challenge, the former Leeds, Wakefield and Wests Tigers forward is going to write a few headlines. It speaks volumes for the quality of Ellis that former Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens rates him as the Sydney team’s best signing ever.

New rule favours high-scoring games

Other long-term Super League XVIII betting markets that are interesting include those on the number of tries and points scored during the regular season. Bookmakers are offering odds as big as 9-4 about a player scoring 30 or more tries and 5-2 about a team scoring 1,000 or more points.

Wigan’s Josh Charnley scored 31 tries in Super League XVII and, with the interchange rule having been rewritten to reduce the number of substitutions from 12 to 10, Super League XVIII could see an explosion in tries and points.

The Warriors were only six points shy of 1,000 so, with the rule change likely to produce more scoring opportunities as defenders tire in the latter stages of both halves, there are grounds for backing both the tries and points options.

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