Super League XXIX – Season Outright Tips and Betting Preview

Another season of Super League gets underway on Thursday evening when 12 teams once again battle it out over a bunch of matches with each of them having their eyes set on Old Trafford and the chance to win the Grand Final.

The Wigan Warriors did exactly that last season when they took care of the Catalans Dragons to win the title and they are back for more this term too. Squads have been rebuilt ready to challenge them for the crown.

Recent Winners

2023 – Wigan Warriors

2022 – St Helens

2021 – St Helens

2020 – St Helens

2019 – St Helens

2018 – Wigan Warriors

2017 – Leeds Rhinos

2016 – Wigan Warriors

2015 – Leeds Rhinos

2014 – St Helens

The Format

We continue with a normal 27 round season this year, one of which comes at the Magic Weekend. 12 teams are in the competition and we are largely back to the same rules which the competition had prior to the pandemic. The playoff format remains the same as last season with six teams progressing to the postseason. Third hosts sixth and fourth host fifth in straight knockout in the first week of the play-offs with the winners progressing to the semi-finals to travel to one of the top two. The leaders play the lowest remaining side. The two semi-final winners meet in the Grand Final at Old Trafford on October 12. The team that finishes bottom of the table is usually relegated to the Championship but that isn’t the case this season with the licencing idea in operation from next term.

The Favourites

Wigan Warriors are not only the defending champions this season but they are the 2/1 favourites to retain their crown at the Grand Final. Sometimes teams who win the competition the previous season rest on their laurels and go again with the same squad and then find out that the other teams have strengthened and improved past them. That won’t be the case with the Warriors. They have added to their title winning squad and with the likes of Adam Keighran and Kruise Leeming in particular coming in they will feel they have the depth to challenge on all fronts this term.

St Helens are a point bigger to get their title back having failed in the playoffs last season. They took far too long to get up and running last term, probably not helped by having to travel to Australia for the World Club Challenge and then the inevitable comedown from winning that competition. They still managed to finish level on points with Wigan in the regular season but were no match for the Catalans Dragons in the semi-final. Their success or otherwise might be determined by how Daryl Clark fits in as a replacement for James Roby.

The Warrington Wolves begin another era as 8/1 third favourites to win the crown. Sam Burgess has been installed as the man to bring success to the Halliwell Jones Stadium and he will do so with a couple of NRL imports in his ranks and a couple of hookers who have been signed as well. Warrington on the face of it don’t look as good this season heading into the competition but with some big name egos having left and an elite relatively recent player in the coaching booth they will hope that is a combination that serves them well. I’m not convinced.

The Leeds Rhinos are the 10/1 fourth favourites to win the title this season and if they are going to do that then they are going to need to overcome a bit of a year to forget. They definitely flattered to deceive last term and as such there has been a large overhaul of the squad at Headingley with the likes of Sam Walters one they would have wanted to keep. Their half-back pairing of Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin have both left but Brodie Croft is an exceptional replacement and with a trio of high profile NRL recruits made too I would expect Leeds to be much better than last season.

The Contenders

The Catalans Dragons are a point bigger than the Leeds Rhinos at 11/1 to win the Grand Final this season. They were beaten in the final last year so they certainly won’t be short of motivation but they are going to need to go through something of a squad transition with near enough their entire spine having left them since that Grand Final. The retirement of Sam Tomkins will allow the likes of Arthur Mourgue to be able to flourish but they need signings such as Theo Fages, Jordan Abdull and Tariq Sims to hit the ground running.

Hull KR were beaten in the semi-final last year after making it all the way to the Challenge Cup final so it was an excellent campaign for the Robins without any silverware to show for it. They are 14/1 to win the Grand Final for the first time this term but they will have to do it without their captain from last season in Shaun Kenny-Dowall who has retired. Some big players have arrived at Craven Park though including Joe Burgess, Oliver Gildart, Peta Hiku and Niall Evalds and if they gel quickly a decent run from Hull KR should be expected.

The Leigh Leopards were the surprise package last term. They were expected to be in a relegation battle but ended up winning the Challenge Cup and making it all the way to the play-offs. They were probably something of an unknown quantity last season but that certainly won’t be the case for them this time around. They have largely kept their squad together and the addition of Matt Moylan looks like a positive one from the Cronulla Sharks so if they can avoid being the hunted they can have a decent season again.

Huddersfield Giants were another of the disappointing teams of last season. Ian Watson looked like he had recruited a decent squad at the John Smith’s Stadium but they couldn’t find any consistency whatsoever and faded into oblivion quite early in the campaign. So much more will be expected of them this time around but with Will Pryce and Theo Fages out they will need to find a new half-back combination pretty quickly. Some big forwards have retired for the Giants as well so while I can’t believe they’ll be as bad as last season again I’m not expecting too much in terms of play-off runs.

The Outsiders

Hull FC were another team who disappointed last season. There was optimism around them heading into the season with Tony Smith recruited to lead them back to the top six but injuries came regularly, as they often seem to do at the MKM Stadium, and in the end they faded quite tamely. Smith has gone to the NRL for reinforcements and to restructure a squad which lost a lot of players in the close season but those incomings will probably need some time to gel so I wouldn’t be as optimistic about them this term as I was previously.

Castleford Tigers and Salford Red Devils can be backed at 66/1 to win the title this season. The Tigers will need an emphatic improvement to go from second from bottom to challenging for the title. They have a new coach but have undergone a massive exodus of players. I would be surprised if they were battling at the bottom but I don’t think they will be much higher. In the last couple of campaigns quotes on Salford at 66/1 would look huge but the fact they have lost Brodie Croft doesn’t inspire confidence in them. Joe Burgess, Ken Sio and Andy Ackers have gone too and while Cade Cust and Nene Macdonald look acceptable replacements I don’t see this being the season of the Red Devils.

The London Broncos are the new boys to the party and they are emphatic favourites to finish bottom of the pile but the Leigh Leopards were in that boat last term and they ended up in the top six. I don’t see the Broncos emulating that this season but they pretty much know that this will be their only season in the competition so they can attack it with some freedom and see where it gets them. Injuries are already starting to bite though before a ball has been hit so it is hard to be too optimistic around the Broncos.

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Grand Final Betting

I think Wigan Warriors are very much the team to beat this season but 2/1 isn’t offering up much in the way of value on them, especially if they win the World Club Challenge and then suffer a bit of a comedown like St Helens did which leads to them finishing outside the top two and not getting the break at the end of the campaign. That will be the hope for the rest of the competition but in terms of where there could be value I’ll chance my arm at the Leeds Rhinos.

It was a season to forget for the Leeds Rhinos last year but the campaign before that they made the Grand Final so they don’t need to do too much different to be a force again. Injuries weren’t much of a help for the Rhinos last season and their half-back combination was a real issue but the signing of Brodie Croft is going to sort that out. In an ideal world they would have kept Sam Walters but there is enough talent in the Rhinos pool to get the job done in his absence. I think Leeds can get back to where they were a couple of years ago.

Top Tryscorer

One of the more popular markets for a Super League season is the top tryscorer one. The market is dominated by Wigan Warriors players and that probably isn’t a surprise but you wonder a) whether they will take tries off each other and b) whether that comedown from the World Club Challenge has an impact on them like it did St Helens. Tom Johnstone was second last season but I don’t see the Catalans Dragons being as potent this time around so I’ll go for Josh Charnley who I think will go well.

We saw all of last season that Leigh Leopards look to set up down their left and now that they have two quality half-backs to lead them around the field I expect them to set more plays up for Charnley to convert. With Ricky Leutele down that wing as well Charnley has a decent centre to feed him passes and there are no signs that Leigh are going to fade this season. I think the 12/1 on Charnley to score the most tries is worth taking.

Man of Steel

There is a lot of optimism around the Leigh Leopards’ new signing Matt Moylan and at 25/1 he could be the value horse in the Man of Steel market, especially if Leigh have the sort of season that they had last term. You felt that it was all Lachlan Lam in terms of creating things for the Leopards last season so for him to have a high class operator alongside him will certainly help and if Moylan can carry the ball to the line and unlock defences he could emulate Brodie Croft of a couple of years ago and go from the NRL to the Man of Steel title.

The other man I like to have a chance of lifting the Man of Steel award is Arthur Mourgue. He has struggled for game time in the last season or so but the retirement of Sam Tomkins is not only likely to get him into the team regularly but he is expected to have the full-back role where he impressed early on in his career. Mourgue is an exciting talent who should have no end of improvement in him and at 33/1 I think he is worth a nibble as well.


Back Leeds Rhinos to win Grand Final (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 with Spreadex (1/3 1-2)

Back J.Charnley Top Try Scorer (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 with William Hill (1/4 1-4)

Back M.Moylan Man of Steel for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with William Hill

Back them here:

Back A.Mourgue Man of Steel for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Sky Bet