We’re set for a thrilling finish to the Betfred Super League regular season as there is a three-way battle at the top to see who claims the League Leaders’ Shield.
Wigan Warriors, Catalans Dragons and St Helens are all locked on 36 points, separated only by points difference, and the race to finish top looks set to go down to the wire, and Wigan should have little trouble keeping up their challenge with a home match against Castleford Tigers.
The Tigers could mathematically still go down but it would take a miracle recovery from Wakefield Trinity, so Cas can approach this fixture in a more relaxed manner, with their place in the top flight virtually assured.
Wigan boss Matt Peet has made one change this week, as Liam Byrne is replaced by Iain Thornley in the squad after picking up an injury in last week’s game against Leeds Rhinos.
Gareth Widdop, Kenny Edwards, Alex Foster, Jacob Hookem, and Billy Tsikrikas all miss out at the DW Stadium.
Liam Horne and Jacob Miller return to the squad after serving suspensions, and Sam Hall and George Lawler are also back after recovering from knocks.
Wigan -24 (Handicap 3-Way) @ 20/21
The Warriors have been rampant in recent weeks, and they have won their last seven meetings with Cas, including a 36-0 drubbing in round three.
Matt Peet’s men have posted scores of 50, 26, 34, 64 and 44 in recent weeks and their quest to finish top should see them go on the attack from the first whistle on Friday.
Wigan currently have the best attack in the competition and have scored at least 32 points in their last three meetings with the Tigers, so they can win this one comfortably and even a chunky 24-point handicap can be covered at 10/11.
The Warriors can score from all over the park, with Abbas Miski, Bevan French, Liam Marshall and Jake Wardle all in fantastic try scoring form.
Cas got the better of Hull FC last week, but prior to that they were hammered by St Helens and Warrington, and this could be another long evening for the West Yorkshire side.
Wigan -11.5 (First-Half Handicap) @ 10/11
Wigan have led by more than 16 points at the break in four of their last five matches and it is easy to see them stealing a march on Castleford this Friday, given the ruthless nature of their recent performances.
The Warriors are averaging 26.5 points per game in the Betfred Super League this season and they are unlikely to ease up with the finish line in sight and the League Leaders’ Shield at their fingertips.
Castleford are conceding points at a rate of 27.2 per game and they could find the Warriors too hot to handle from their opening whistle of the match, and they could find themselves well behind at the break.
Wigan beat Leeds 50-0 last week and were 22-0 up at the break in the one-sided Headingley contest.