Challenge Cup final betting tips: Saints look strong
Preview and odds for St Helens v Castleford
St Helens face Castleford in one of the highlights of the rugby league season and we have studied the odds to pick out some Challenge Cup final betting tips.
Wembley Stadium is set to host 45,000 fans for the final as Castleford Tigers bid to lift the famous trophy for the first time in 35 years.
Saturday’s match is live on BBC Two and kicks off at 3pm.
Challenge Cup final odds
The two sides have had contrasting fortunes on their way to Wembley. While St Helens have cruised through in every round, Castleford have endured some epic battles and Saints head to Wembley as the 2/7 favourites to lift the trophy or 3/10 to win in normal time.
They have a proven pedigree – not just in this competition, but in Super League where they are currently pushing Catalan Dragons at the top of the table after 10 wins from their 12 games.
Saints have had an easier route to the final and are on course for a possible double, as they try to win a knockout competition that has proved beyond them in recent years.
Though they have won the trophy 12 times, St Helens are bidding to lift the Challenge Cup for the first time since 2008 and, for Challenge Cup final betting tips, they are 4/5 on the handicap conceding 9.5 points.
They will lean on their quality players who have big-game experience after two successive Grand Final wins.
It has been plain sailing for Kristian Woolf’s side in this competition. They eased past Leeds Rhinos 26-18 in the third round, dispatched Huddersfield Giants 23-18 in the quarter-finals and then crushed Hull FC 33-18 with little fuss in the semi-final.
They will have to face Castleford without forward Sione Mata’utia though after he was handed two separate one-match bans for high tackles.
Mata’utia, who is in his first season in Super League, was charged by the Rugby Football League’s match review panel with two Grade B offences during Saints’ 30-14 win over Wakefield Trinity last Friday and handed a one-match penalty notice for each one.
Mata’utia was set to face his older brother Peter, the Castleford Tigers centre, at Wembley.
Castleford will hope to lift the trophy for the first time since 1986 and for only the fifth time in the club’s 95-year history.
Coach Daryl Powell will hope he receives a rousing send-off as, after eight seasons, he will leave to join Warrington Wolves next term – and may take a few players with him.
Castleford made it to the final in 2014, but were brushed aside 23-10 by Leeds. They also froze at Old Trafford in the 2017 Grand Final, losing 24-6 to the Rhinos.
Unlike Saints, Powell’s side have been battle-tested in the run to Wembley, defeating Hull KR 33-32 in the third round before needing Gareth O’Brien’s golden-point drop goal to see off Salford 19-18 in the quarter-finals.
Their form dipped afterwards, and they are currently in mid-table, having won six and lost eight of their opening 14 Super League matches.
Yet they managed to stun Warrington in the semi-final. Having lost their three previous Super League games – which included a 60-6 home defeat by Leeds eight days earlier – they went into the clash as underdogs, yet came away 35-20 winners.
Four of the last five finals have been competitive, with just six points or fewer separating the teams, and St Helens are 9/1 to win by a margin of between 6-10 points.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication