Rhinos can edge tight tussle
Leeds Rhinos vs. Wigan Warriors
Friday June 14, 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Friday's televised game is one of Super League's marquee fixtures as Wigan Warriors travel to Leeds Rhinos. The teams have won eleven of the last twelve Grand Finals between them but have endured seasons to forget so far and it's a scratch handicap between the underachievers who sit eighth and tenth in the table.
The Warriors ended a three-game losing run against struggling Hull KR on Sunday but needed another late field goal to prevail. They've struggled on their travels this year and Rovers were only the second different team they've picked up points against away from the DW Stadium after two victories at Salford. Full-back Zak Hardaker and Ben Flower are both missing for Adrian Lam's side who dispatched Leeds 34-16 at home in Round 2.
Leeds showed plenty of mettle as they gained back-to-back league wins for the first time in 2019 with a 10-0 victory at a sodden Wakefield last week. They produced their best defensive display for some time in the mud and it could be similar conditions at Headingley with the rain forecast to continue in Yorkshire.
This could be their night again and they should be backed to end a three-match losing run against their old rivals, a bet on them to win by 1 to 12 points the most appealing.
Having put up Leeds halfback Jack Walker to mark his new long-term contract with a try last week he missed the Wakefield game through a hamstring injury. He should return tonight and has scored in three of the four games he's started in that Leeds have won, so we'll go again.
Stunned Saints to bounce back
St Helens vs. Huddersfield Giants
Friday June 14, 19:45 BST
The mighty St Helens suffered only their second defeat of the year with a golden-point reversal at London on Sunday but can recover with a comfortable home win over Huddersfield.
The shellshocked Saints had pulled the score level in the final minute in Ealing before Morgan Smith's memorable drop goal. Justin Holbrook rested a number of his stars for that game but they are back this evening, among them full-back Lachlan Coote and the irrepressible Jonny Lomax. Captain James Roby will miss a month having undergone groin surgery.
The Giants were golden-point losers themselves last week, going down 27-26 at Castleford. They are one of three clubs sitting on a dangerous fourteen points, not far off London at the bottom of the table, and have been brushed aside by the top two in league games this year, Saints having put 40 past them at the John Smith's Stadium in March, while they were on the receiving end of a 50-19 mauling at Warrington.
They were better in their 22-16 Challenge Cup-home defeat by the boys in the Red Vee last month but travel to Merseyside without top-scorer Jermaine McGillvary and could be in for a long night.
Back the hosts to pull six points clear at the top of the table with a comfortable victory on the handicap.
It could also be worth having a punt on Roby's stand-in Aaron Smith to cross the whitewash. The hooker has scored twice in six league appearances for Saints this season and has also been on the mark for Leigh Centurions.