Injury-hit Wakefield to struggle against powerful Warrington

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Unlike last year, Warrington will justify their tag as hot favourites in today’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against Wakefield Wildcats.

The Wolves fell in surprising fashion to Hull KR at the semi-final stage last year, despite being well odds-on that day. And they’ll be hoping to make amends for that surprise by making sure they book a place in the Ladbrokes Challenge Final at Wembley.

Standing in their way are the undisputed surprise package of 2016, Wakefield Wildcats. When previous head coach Brian Smith left Belle Vue back in March they had won just one of their first five matches and looked destined for another scrap to hang on to their Super League status.

In came Chris Chester though – coincidentally the man who led Hull KR past the Wolves and to the Challenge Cup final in 2015 – and he has led the West Yorkshire side on a remarkable run which has seen them comfortably make the Super 8s and find themselves one game away from Wembley.

For the second year running Tony Smith’s Wolves are odds-on to secure their place on the grandest stage – it is 2/9 they win today’s game in 80 minutes, while Wakefield are 4/1 to win.

The handicap market suggests Warrington will be far too strong for the Wildcats, with Evens available for the Wolves to cover -14. There is definitely value in backing Warrington to comfortably see off an injury-ravaged Wakefield side, with 15/8 the price for Smith’s side to win by 20 or more.

Two of Warrington’s stars this year have been Ryan Atkins and Chris Sandow, who between them have crossed the line 26 times in Super League this season. They feature in our Anytime Tryscorer Double, boosted to 11/2 that they both score today, a great price considering their potency near the line.

Sandow, in particular, has been inspirational for Warrington this year, and his moment of 2016 so far is his dramatic last-gasp drop goal at Salford to win the game on the hooter. If things are tight at the Leigh Sports Village a drop goal could well be needed, and you can get 11/4 that either side kick a one-pointer.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Joe Whiteley

Joe is a Yorkshireman with a love for most sports, but especially rugby league, football and cricket. After realising he didn't have the strength, skill or hand-eye coordination to play any of those professionally, he completed a degree in Sports Journalism. He has since worked for sports publishers, newspapers and a professional rugby league club before joining Ladbrokes.