St Helens' backers are
showing few signs of caution ahead of the Super League Grand Final at Old
Trafford tomorrow even though their team may not be the certainties to defeat
Leeds that the odds imply. Rewind 12 months and St Helens, having beaten the
Rhinos in the qualifying semi-final, were 1-2 favourites to repeat that victory
in the final. However, Daniel Anderson's team failed to justify that short
price, losing 33-6.
This time around St Helens are even shorter in the
betting - William Hill offers a standout 4-9 they come out on top in 80 minutes
with Leeds quoted at 5-2 (Stan James) - and most layers are hoping for a Rhinos
win, having accumulated significant liabilities on this season's Challenge Cup
winners. "St Helens are by far the worst result in the book, with the biggest
bet taken on the Saints £5,000," said Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams. The
spread betting firm IG Sport's supremacy market is trading at 6-9 in St Helens'
favour, and they have seen mainly buyers, including one of £1,000 per
Notwithstanding last year's result, it is
easy to see why the bookmakers are siding with St Helens. Anderson's team are
unbeaten in 23 matches and have been the dominant club in recent meetings with
their opponents tomorrow. In the qualifying semi-final a fortnight ago, Saints
routed Leeds 38-10 at Knowsley Road (last year they scraped past them 10-8),
while the previous two matches between tomorrow's finalists were also won by
the Lancashire club. Saints' record of four Grand Final wins from five
appearances also bodes well.
As with all forms of rugby betting, the
handicap market is expected to be the most popular among punters on tomorrow's
game. Saints are asked to give up an eight-point start on the handicap with
most firms, although only Bet365 and Totesport are prepared to offer evens
about both teams in the handicap market (with 16-1 available about the tie).
The recent results between the two sides suggest St Helens, who enjoyed a week
off while Leeds had to defeat Wigan last Friday, should be able to cover the
handicap - but the consensus is that this game will be closer than previous
Saints failed to win the handicap market in their Challenge
Cup win over Hull (as predicted in these pages) but rather than side with the
underdogs again, a better bet might be to snap up the 9-4 that Ladbrokes offers
for St Helens to secure victory by a margin of 1-10 points.
are offering betting on the total points in the final - probably due to bad
weather forecast in Manchester this weekend; wind and rain nearly always result
in fewer points. Sporting Index offers a spread of 37-40, which looks worth
selling as, even if the weather is not as bad as forecast, Grand Finals are
historically low-scoring affairs - only two of the 10 finals to date have
generated more than 40 points.
First-tryscorer betting is a notoriously
difficult market to predict - the fact that Ade Gardner and Scott Donald head
the betting at a massive 12-1 (general) should tell punters all they need to
know. Still, wingers are the most likely source of tries in tight games and the
St Helens man, who went over 26 times in the Super League regular season,
should be backed in the "anytime tryscorer" market at 11-10 (Bet365 and Sky
The Saints pair of Sean Long and Leon Pryce are joint favourites
for the Harry Sunderland (man of the match) award at 7-1 (general). Last year's
winner, Rob Burrow, is 12-1 (general) while the recently voted Man of Steel,
James Graham, trades at 16-1 (Blue Square). Paul Wellens is 9-1 (Sky Bet) to be
the first player to win this award and the Lance Todd Trophy in the same
Selections Ade Gardner to score a try at any time at
11-10 (Bet365 and
Sky Bet) .
St Helens to win by 1-10 points at 9-4 (Ladbrokes) Sell total points in the match at 37 (Sporting Index)