Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors Predictions: Champions set for big opening win

 | February 16 | 

3 mins read

George Riley Rugby League

Betfred Super League champions Wigan Warriors are well fancied to defend their title at Old Trafford in October and take the first step on their 2024 journey with a Saturday trip to a Castleford Tigers side tipped to struggle (kick-off 17:30 GMT).

A look through Wigan’s squad list at the start of the 2024 season is pretty frightening, with the champions even stronger than last season. Morgan Smithies may have gone to the NRL, but the Warriors have made some terrific signings in Kruise Leeming – a livewire hooker with a point to prove, England prop Luke Thompson from Canterbury Bulldogs and Catalans Dragons pair Tiaki Chan and Adam Keighran.

Castleford, though, have had to bolster their squad on much more of a shoe-string, and new head coach Craig Lingard knows he has a very tough year ahead, starting  - unfortunately for the Tigers -  in round one.

Castleford Tigers v Wigan Warriors Tips

  • Wigan to win by 26-30 points @ 6/1
  • Tyler Dupree anytime tryscorer @ 9/2

Team news

Castleford have been dealt a major blow on the eve of the new season with their talisman hooker Paul McShane ruled out for around six weeks with a hamstring injury.

Another experienced head, Alex Mellor, is also missing for the Tigers, with Rowan Milnes sidelined too and Sylvester Namo recovering from his ACL injury.

Wigan are without their winter signing from Leeds, Sam Walters, with the young prop breaking his collarbone in pre-season and expected to be out for three months. Junior Nsemba is out for a similar timescale and another young forward, Sam Eseh, is also sidelined with a hamstring injury.

That, though, is where the good news ends for Castleford, as all of Wigan’s heavy artillery are fit and raring to go. Jai Field, Abbas Miski and Bevan French will expect to be among the leading tryscorers this season, and this looks like the perfect fixture to get off to a flyer.

Wigan Warriors by 26-30 points @ 6/1

I would love to offer some hope to Castleford fans in this one but in truth I can’t find any.

In the two fixtures between these two sides last season Wigan scored 84 points and Castleford just six. And this Warriors squad looks stronger, deeper and has had another year under the guidance of Matt Peet who – not withstanding his Grand Final success – is still learning as a head coach.

If the Tigers are to keep this close they need a huge 80 minutes from captain Joe Westerman, but the wise money looks to be on a comfortable away win, so take your pick at how many points you fancy Wigan to score.

Wigan by 26-30 v Castleford @ 6/1

Tyler Dupree anytime tryscorer @ 9/2

Bit of a left-field selection this one, but with the likes of French, Field, Miski, Wardle and Keighran attracting most of Castleford’s attention defensively, look out for Wigan’s pack to punch a few holes of their own.

Veteran Liam Farrell is always a good shout for a try, and he is trading at 7/4. But I like the value of Tyler Dupree, a real rising star of a prop forward who enjoyed a fabulous season with Salford which prompted both his move to the Warriors and an England call.

With Wigan’s speedy ball-players set to tire out the Tigers defence, Dupree looks a decent option to get in on the scoring as he has done already in pre-season.

Tyler Dupree to score v Castleford @ 9/2

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