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Jon Riley 18th Aug 2011 - 21:35

No reason to be Bullish about Bradford

The Super League leaders Wigan play their final match before thoughts turn to their Challenge Cup final appointment with Leeds at Wembley.

The visitors to the DW Stadium ahead of this Wembley send-off are the Bradford Bulls.

Regardless of the fact that Wigan will be resting players for next week, there is no doubt they will win - hence the huge price of 1/25. However, unless you have pockets as deep as Russian oil magnate, the value is simply not there in order to make a decent profit. Therefore I can only nudge you in the direction of the handicap markets.

The main handicap for the night is -24 and this might be slightly too much for Wigan (10/11) to overcome and Bradford (10/11) look to have this market in their pocket. There are plenty of alternative handicaps and winning margins to sink your teeth into if you don't fancy this one.

Anything less than a victory for the Bulls will almost certainly mean that the three-times Super League champions will miss out on the play-offs for a third season running. Even by their own inconsistent performances this season, their showing against Hull KR last weekend was nothing short of awful. Exasperated Bradford Head Coach Mick Potter conceded "In the second half we just completely lost control of the football, our chase was poor, our last plays were poor and we need to correct that." After that aforementioned 34-8 drubbing at the hands of the Rovers last week it is no surprised that Bradford are priced at 9/1.

On the injury front, Irish international Eamon O'Carroll returns to the Wigan fold after almost a year on the sidelines. The 24 year old prop suffered a career threatening sternum injury but has recovered and proved his fitness playing for Wigan's under 20s team. On what should be an emotional night, the price on O'Carroll bagging the first try is 33/1.

Wigan have Paul Deacon back to face his old club but the rest of the team could be much changed from the usual ranks of cherry and white.

For the Bulls back row forward John Bateman is in the squad for this week's game. Also in contention is Paul Sykes who didn't play against Hull KR. They replace the suspended Elliott Whitehead and James Donaldson who has a shoulder injury.

These two teams have previous this season after meeting in a keenly contested clash at Odsal in the Challenge Cup. The home side were reduced to 12 men in the first half with Gareth Raynor sent off. He'll want to make up for that mistake by scoring the first try this time at 12/1 but his dismissal in that game can't be understated. The narrow 26-22 scoreline in Wigan's favour showed the courage and capabilities that the Bulls possess but also the professionalism in which the Warriors coped with them. The Bulls must produce a performance of that ilk if they are to stay in the game.

After Super League expert Chris Mousdell continued his 100% tipping record with another successful recommendation in the Saints game last week I am inclined to edge with his views once again. Bradford +24 (10/11) on the handicap should just be enough, players resting and the prospect of the Challenge Cup final in the very near future may take the focus of this game for many Warriors players.


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