After Hull FC fell to a crushing 46-6 loss away at Widnes Vikings in Round 5 of Super League, they were 28/1 to finish in top spot after 23 rounds.
Now, with just four regular season games left before the Super 8s, they are odds-on at just 1/2 to be the side topping Super League when the split occurs.
Head Coach Lee Radford was under pressure after that televised loss to Widnes, and the players even locked their coach and his staff out of the changing room after the game to address their issues.
Since that night, they have won an astonishing 13 from 14, and their latest victory – a 24-22 win over Castleford at the weekend – moved them two points clear at the top of Super League with just four games remaining.
It’s been an unpredictable Super League season on the whole, and along with the demise of Leeds and Huddersfield, along with Wakefield’s top-six push, Hull’s rise to the top was largely unfancied at the beginning of the year.
But, led by undoubtedly the most effective pack in the competition this season, including Englishmen Liam Watts, Scott Taylor and Danny Houghton, and led around the pitch by half-back Marc Sneyd, they’ve proved themselves as genuine contenders after a few years of disappointment.
Elsewhere in Super League, Wigan remain hot on Hull’s heels following a hard-fought 7-0 win away at Widnes on Thursday night, with the departing Josh Charnley scoring the only try of the game in a low-scoring affair.
Warrington and Catalans met in Friday’s big game, aiming to stake their own claims for top spot. It looked like the Frenchmen were going back to Perpignan with the two points only for a late penalty from Kurt Gidley to spoil their party and secure a 20-18 win for Warrington, moving them to 26 points – four off Hull.
Huddersfield and Leeds staved off the threat of missing out on the top eight for one more week as they recorded away wins at Salford and Wakefield respectively, leaving them both six points adrift of eighth-placed Widnes with four left to play.
Meanwhile, Adam Swift crossed four times for St Helens as they came from behind to beat Hull KR 48-16 and remain in fifth spot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing