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Wigan Warriors v Penrith Panthers: Tips, Predictions and Odds

It is nearly time for one of the biggest games on the rugby league calendar as Super League champions Wigan Warriors take on NRL title holders Penrith Panthers in the World Club Challenge.

Rugby League

Wigan Warriors v Penrith Panthers betting tips and predictions

Penrith Panthers - 8.5 handicap @ 1/1

It has often been said that the World Club Challenge means more to Super League sides than it does NRL clubs, but that may not be the case this week.

All eyes will be on the DW Stadium as the two teams try to make history on Saturday night. Wigan will make a record ninth appearance in a World Club Challenge while, if they win, they will also set a new record for most victories.

The Cherry and Whites have already won four World Club Challenges, but so have the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters and Matty Peet's side will relish the chance to sit alone at the top of the list.

Wigan's motivation is matched equally by Penrith, though, who have lost all three of their previous World Club Challenge finals, including last year's gut-wrenching 13-12 defeat to St Helens.

Ivan Cleary's side have reached the last four NRL Grand Finals and won three on the spin, so there's no doubt they are the best team Down Under.

They have taken this match seriously, preparing themselves by using Manchester City's training facilities, and even though they are without Jarome Luai, they have a squad full of world-class stars.

Wigan deserve their place in the World Club Challenge final, but they should fall short against a team that have proven they can handle the big occasion for the last three campaigns.

Under 30.5 points @ 10/11

While Wigan's Super League campaign is already underway, Penrith have yet to play their first NRL fixture, and it may cause many to expect them to be rusty.

The same thing is said before every World Club Challenge, but the reality is that the NRL clubs are firing on all cylinders as they prepare to start their own domestic campaigns.

With that being said, this match should not be a high-scoring affair.

Three of the last five World Club Challenge matches have contained fewer than 30 points, and there is so much riding on these games that teams rarely take risks as they try to secure the first silverware of the season.

Player of the Match - Nathan Cleary @ 2/1

There are some big-name players in both squads, but Penrith half-back Nathan Cleary is going to take some stopping this weekend.

The 26-year-old is at the peak of his powers and he has already won three Grand Finals and was named Clive Churchill Medal winner in two of them, meaning he was named the player of the match.

In last year's 26-24 Grand Final victory over the Brisbane Broncos, Cleary practically dragged his team over the line himself.

He made a break that set up a try, kicked a 40-20 to put the pressure on, kicked a difficult conversion and then scored a try of his own.

Cleary excels under the spotlight and, if Penrith are to succeed when they travel to the DW Stadium, he will be at the heart of their positive play.

As the son of the club's coach Cleary has always been under pressure, but the Australian thrives off of that extra responsibility and he should be able to cause Wigan's defence problems throughout the night.

While he has the ability to score a try of his own, the safer bet is backing him to win player of the match, especially when he is on kicking duties and will also take some of the workload off youngster Jack Cole.

Wigan Warriors v Penrith Panthers odds

Wigan Warriors - 15/8
Tie -
Penrith -

View the full market and more odds for Wigan Warriors v Penrith Panthers on site

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