Kick-off: 1500, 17/07/2021
TV: BBC One
The 120th edition of the Challenge Cup final takes place on Saturday as Castleford Tigers take on St Helens under the arch of Wembley.
The Tigers have not lifted the trophy since 1986 while 12-time winners St Helens are targeting their first cup success since 2008, in only their second final appearance in 13 years.
Saints are in much better form than their opponents and our opening Challenge Cup final prediction is Kristian Woolf’s side to be winning at both half-time and full-time, which is available at 8/15.
A Look At Castleford Tigers’ Betting Odds
Castleford head coach Daryl Powell is in his eighth and final year in charge at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle after agreeing to take over at Super League rivals Warrington Wolves in 2022.
Powell guided the Tigers to their first ever league leaders shield in 2017, when they also made their only Super League Grand Final appearance to date – losing 24-6 to Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford.
He also led Castleford to their first Challenge Cup final since 1986 in 2014, losing to the Rhinos once again, but will be desperate to bow out with silverware.
Their form coming into the contest does not make good reading though, winning only one of their last five league matches including a heavy 70-18 defeat to Salford Red Devils on Sunday.
However, that result is misleading after a young Tigers team had five academy graduates making their debuts in preparation for Saturday’s final, when they will be at near full strength.
The Challenge Cup final is about game management and making sure the scoreboard is ticking over during an intense 80 minutes and a drop goal could be an important factor in the match.
It proved to be the difference in last year’s final as Leeds edged out Salford in a 17-16 victory and one has been kicked six times in the last 20 years, including in 2014.
If it is a tight contest on Saturday, a one-pointer could be crucial and it is 7/4 for one to be landed in the Challenge Cup final odds.
A Look At St Helens’ Betting Odds
Saints will be looking to end their 13-year cup drought with victory at Wembley and come into the contest on the back of some outstanding form.
Woolf’s side have lost only two of their 15 matches in all competitions, one to Super League leaders Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves.
They started the season slowly but have got their attacking players to gel as they look as dangerous as ever with ball in hand.
St Helens enjoyed a 24-0 away win against Castleford less than three weeks ago, although the Tigers will have more of their first-team players available after another injury-hit campaign.
However, in their last six victories, Saints have won by at least 15 points in each of them and Cas will be wary.
Cup finals are usually tight affairs and with their supreme recent form, St Helens should come out on top but maybe not in such dominant fashion.
It is 13/8 for Saints to win by 1-12 points at Wembley and lift their 13th Challenge Cup trophy, which is our last Challenge Cup final prediction.
CASTLEFORD 35-20 Warrington
Hull FC 18-33 ST HELENS
Head-to-head: Castleford 0-24 St Helens, St Helens 10-0 Castleford, Castleford 28-14 St Helens, St Helens 4-0 Castleford, St Helens 36-16 Castleford
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