NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 14 | 2021

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No game handicaps this week as its impossible to accurately do each game with out knowing likely final teams off the back ups or outs off Origin only 24 hours ago.

Recommended Bet List

Bet 2.5 units Eagles-Cowboys points under 50.5 $1.85 BB
Bet 1 unit Cowboys +6.5 $1.90
I expect Eagles will be without Turbo and have no Schuster, diminishes strike and attack, Cows away attack strike is poor, likely dam ground. Also think with these changes and conditions that the Cowboys with the plus start should be well advantaged.

Bet 1 unit Sharks +6.5 $1.90
Panthers again look to be without multiple key outs off the back of Origin which could be up to 5 and importantly include Cleary and or Luai, they were poor v Tigers, Sharks can be hard to trust but come off best offering this season, then a bye and have strong list named

Bet 2 units Roosters -11.5 $1.90
Am expecting number of key outs for Titans which would likely leave them very venerable in defence, Roosters get Walker, Crichton and Tedesco back and look to have the strike down their back 5 to hit the Titans suspect D down both outside edges

Bet 1.5 units Rabbits-Knights anytime try scorer Latrell Mitchell (Rabbits) $1.95

BB – Indicates Best Bet

Any longer term plays that have been recommended in prior weeks will be listed at the base of this message

Individual Game Tips

Eagles, Sharks, Roosters, Rabbits, Raiders, Storm, Eels, Dragons   

Game Preview Notes

Eagles v Cowboys

Ground: Brookvale
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Interesting game this. Both now sis side by side on the table with 6 and 6 records, both have crept up the table over the last 5 or so weeks, I certainly think the Eagles are far stronger offering and form quality at full strength (or near to) but they come here with no Turbo and no Schuster and their other key rep players on a stupid short back up. We know how instrumental Turbo is to their attack and strike/points, then also having Schuster out at the same time has to really shorten them up up in attack. They will be smarting off the last game loss (Knights) where they were stitched up, but tehy are really going to have to roll their sleeves up as a group here to get the job done.

Cowboys have won 3 of their last 5 but through low table form lines and have only won the 1 away game season to date. Interestingly they do have a good record at Brookvale, and off the break will have had an extended 10 day or so period for Payten to work on their play and structures and combinations, and have a new half here now in Dearden. This looks a tighter game and well suited to them, likely dam track, opponent short on key players and some combinations, looks very much now like a bit of an arm wrestle.

Thought the plus start at anything better than 6.0 put the Cowboys into a healthy enough position here to compete, but the likely set up did look to suit a game with well less than 51 points. The Eagles scoring drops considerable when without Tom, and then they have no Schuster while the Cowboys when away from home drop to a game average of 16 pts in attack.

Sharks v Panthers

Ground: Kogarah
48.5 Total Points (market position)

Panthers key outs looks the key to this, and the Sharks likely get their chance for a win/upset. As initially expected into Thursday the Panthers have now confirmed 5 players will not back up in Cleary, Luai, Yeo, Capewell and To’o, key to this the middle play making and ball play quality combination of Cleary, Luai and Yeo. We saw last week the Panthers really struggle when these guys didn’t play and May looked all at sea and well out of his depth at #7 (all be it in a tough role with out that sort of quality around him). The combined effect saw the Panthers go from a normal 30 points a game in attack against the Tigers tp just 6 (hardly top to the table formline) and concede 26 as opposed to the normal 8 to 10 per game. Its an unfair and bloody tough ask for any top of table team through this period, and the Panthers will be up against it here.

The Sharks have been hard to trust and gone through this period of sacking their coach and turning in circles trying to sort out what they are now playing this season for, and in the process of this losing 6 straight and leaking points at will including their last effort to the Panthers at Penrith which saw a 48-0 flogging. The announcement of their new coach for next yr, some key signings or re signings and then getting all but their best available team on the park over the last few weeks might well have got them back on track if the resounding away upset win over the Titans has any depth to it. They then look to get an ideal set up here for an ambush win, they come off a bye and so likely extended 7 to 8 day prep, no major Origin dislocation and likely their best team list for recent months. They once again looked happy and in sync in their latest win, and a preparedness to play some attack, they get a home gig at Kogarah and what should now be every chance to knock up an upset win. Hope we see a solid attitude and approach from them, if so then I think the Sharks can win.

Titans v Roosters

Ground: Robina
50.5 Total Points (market position)

The final Titans line up and then Line handicap will be interesting here. The market at present is 11.5 which looks too short to me, even with the Titans being at home and coming off a near upset win over the Storm last week. They have been very inconsistent, did improve their defensive effort but looked to get their opponent on the right week where the effects of numerous outs took its toll. Fotuaika is already out, significant doubts on Brimson (now confirmed out), Fa’asuamaleaui, Fifita and possibly Rein (potentially 3 to 4 of their starting forward line up), all of that would punch a big hole into this line up against a strong opponent and if so I think then leave the line position too short. The other concern that adds to this is not only that collectively they leak points, they have spot targets like Kelly, Herbert, Sami, Taylor and Fogarty down each edge that plays into the hands of the Roosters attacking strengths and how I am sure they’ll approach this game.

Roosters get some key ins here and look strong. Sam Walker and Crichton return as does Tedesco from Origin who has been cleared to play. The bench still thins a little, but they have the strike and smarts in attack across their back 5 to really throw some ball play at the Titans and turn it into points and make their opponent chase the game and scoreboard and or compound, and we have seen much more of the later across the last 4 to 6 weeks, even when the Titans at home with a 3 and 3 record and still conceding 28 points here.

Am expecting number of key outs for Titans when finally decided which would likely then leave them very venerable in defence and depth. The Roosters get Walker, Crichton and Tedesco back and look to have the strike down their back 5 to hit the Titans suspect D down both outside edges, think all of this then leaves the 11.5 too short and want to be with the Roosters to cover.

Rabbits v Knights

Ground: Homebush
51.5 Total Points (market position)

Rabbits have excluded Murray, Arrow, Gagai and now Cook but if as expected Latrell Mitchell plays then they look way too strong here and the 17.5 line looks about right. I am working on the Rabbits being something like the much improved last game offering against the Eels, and off a bye week and freshen up hopefully bringing that sort of attitude and offering. If so we then know with Reynolds, Walker and Mitchell they have some tremendous strike, especially against a poor struggling defence and team on the road.

Knights generally have been woeful, how they won two starts back at home against the Eagles is still staggering (and ably assisted). Yes they still have key outs, but the overall body language and attitude just looks and exhibits a horrible offering, very basic handling errors an some consistent shite defence. They have lost 3 of last 4, now lost 8 in total and sit 14th on the table. Their away record is equally horrible, and if like last week against the Eels they are compounding early they then normally also fold quickly (leaking near 30 points by half time last week).

The trick here is the read on the Rabbits and how serious they are, and the fact that they then have 3 key outs factored into the game line and position (and 18 point line). I expect they cover it, but I’m happy to leave alone.

Raiders v Broncos

Ground: Canberra
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Just an ugly match up. Raiders have lost 7 of last 8 and last 4 at home and have had numerous internal team harmony issues. Broncos have lost 16 of last 17 away games, come off leaking 56 away last week into back to back away games. Horrible match up, and 7.30pm prime time Saturday night, yuk.

Raiders are off the bye weekend, and apparently had a BBQ and some get togethers over the last week to try and patch things up internally. Happy to tip them, but couldn’t touch the game.

Warriors v Storm

Ground: Gosford
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Warriors have now lost their last 10 straight to the Storm, an imposing record, and now face the visitors who are on a 10 game winning streak.

The Warriors do have a strong line up, especially in their forward list but will be without Walsh a key attacking out. They have lost 3 of their last 4 and have struggled to compete with these top of table teams. Key for Storm will be the in or out of Munster, if he plays then that will balance their spine offering and combinations and I’m sure provide the smarts to win here. They looked a bit off last week but got away with the win, I’m sure that likely smartens up their attitude into this.

A 16 point line makes the handicap very interesting. Most weeks against the teams mid table or lower the Storm have covered each time (but missed last week). But they’ll need Munster, and maybe the obligations of Origin and these key outs are catching up with them a little? Storm to win but happy to stay out.

Eels v Tigers

Ground: Parramatta
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Pending final teams and how we are travelling into the weekend the now market position of 12.5 interests me in the Tigers (+12.5). Both teams played last weekend, Tigers off two back to back wins (questionable form strength, but building some confidence). Eels off good yet soft win over Knights, but now have Mahoney out at #9 which I think is significant as he has been one of their best week in week out, does an enormous amount of work in the middle and has been very good with his attack play and service.

Back in Rd 4 the Tigers went very close to winning this match up and I think they’ll like their chances again here, and like as we keep discussing not being favoured or expected to win and or 12 point underdogs (and the right time to try and catch them). Their edge defence on both sides has improved a lot over the last few weeks on the back of the key positional changes made, Brooks has been much better (positive running game) as has Liddle and they have now won 3 of their last 4.

Eels look suited back at home, but as I said off a soft win (Knights) but two prior losses to Rabbits and Eagles, so a few question marks on the overall form. The dropping of Ferguson has helped in some way their defensive issues, but retaining Waqa Blake and then swapping him across to the their edge doesn’t work, and he has to be a major spot target. This game is another good test to where their credentials are as a top 4 contender, or not.

The Tigers will need to be up early here and take the game to the Eels, who have a habit of sometimes taking these lower table opponents lightly. Eels likely win, but a 14 point line makes it very interesting (and appealing). I will update on this into the weekend.

Bulldogs v Dragons

Ground: Homebush
48.5 Total Points (market position)

Bulldogs overall long term record has been very good against the Dragons, but through recent seasons it has crumbled to now losing 5 of their last 7 head to head. They come off a bye, likely freshen up and have a couple of positive team ins, but remain very very hard to like when conceding 34 most weeks (even when they look like they are trying).

Dragons get some key players back last week plus a few positive positional changes and dropped back a few grades to the lowly Broncos on the road and duly dusted them up easily with a 52-24 result. They again look to have the smarts at #7 and #1 to carve this up and create the necessary attacking plays to provide line breaks and attacking penetration and then mount points. The Dragons also remain within reach of the top 8 at present, so a credible win here remains important.

Pending final likely team changes and weather, if we see a dry track and sunny day then the Dragons 13+ looks the play.

Longer Term Recommended Bet List

Bet 3 units Eagles to make Top 4 $5.00
Think the price is way too high, Eagles have a very soft run home with only 2 games vs Top 4 contenders then a further 10 vs bottom 8 sides/contenders. Clearly they are very reliant on the fitness of Tom Trbojevic which is factored into the odds and my bet, but if he plays most of these games they give this a huge shake

Bet 3 units Raiders to miss Top 8 $2.00 Topsport $1.95 Tab
Lost 5 straight and should have been beat by 16th placed Bulldogs last week, not a happy crew from everything I hear, think bottom of the 8 gets very competitive in second half of the yr and have to take them on

Bet 4 units Panthers Minor Premiers $3.30 Topsport
Market is also available at Tab and Sportsbet $3.00
Undefeated after 3 rounds, quality longer home record and have depth in key positions, my numbers right now suggest they now appear as $2.00 chance

Bet 5 units Titans top QLD team $1.77 Topsport
Market is also available at Ladbrokes $1.75 and Sportsbet $1.67
We have a small interest speculator on Titans Top 4, think this is a positive way to cover our stake longer term. Three way contest, what we are betting is the final table position between Titans and Cowboys and I’m confident on the Titans progression late last yr (won last 5 games), key signings, positive off season + quality coach that this is the right play. Should Cam Smith turn up mid season as I expect then icing on the cake!

Bet 6 units Storm Top 4 $1.85
Looks an excellent longer term anchor bet, Bellamy’s record of top 4 finishes each season is unparalleled, as is his ability to replace players and bring his team back to the top. They will win near 90% of home games (Melb or Sunshine Coast), have near the best D once again and likely finish top two.

Bet 3 units Broncos most losses $5.00
Expected / rate them closer to $2.00, this price looks very very generous. The squad is weaker than last yr (and they finished with the spoon), start the season with key injury outs, question mark on whether Coach is up to this task and have a hard draw.

Bet 2 units Titans to make Top 4 $4.50
Think the Coach is quality, started to put his imprimatur in them late into the season with some very positive and exciting play/results. They have purchased astutely, top 4 might be a reach (you can save top 8 at $1.85 if you wish) but I just see a) lot of up side and b) a comp with potential long tail. They look the team with the flashing red light for me this season. There is some $5.00 available in some places.

Market Odds Comparison – a quick link to assist with the available odds across many possible providers – nrl-odds-comparisons

Staking: The recommended units bet is indicated next to each bet in the above bet list. The base bet is 1 to 5 units (and is also a reflection of confidence. Everyone chooses to bet in different bet sizes, from differing betting banks (the personal funds they put aside for betting). Some will bet $20 per bet, some $200 per bet. So as to keep things simple and clear for everyone to follow we then talk in bet units. Our advice is to decide what size betting unit is likely to work for you and call this your betting unit, remembering that you may have approx. 5 to 10 units of recommended outlay per week per sport and that you also run the risk of losing.

Game Notes Preparation: FYI, with the introduction of Thursday night games in recent years it is now near impossible with the work and list of things that I chose to do to have all game previews written and finished until late in each week or early Saturday am. With the final team lists not announced until Tuesday afternoon, which I then re rate against (current performance, key ins and outs / final team lists and then look to handicap each up coming game then consider a range of form and match up factors towards final potential bets and written game previews. In short with team lists announced late Tuesday that then leaves two days to work through these tasks. I will focus the first preview notes at any game that has a recommended bet so that any key factors and reasoning is then known in advance, and then be working through each game there after in order of day and time (from Thursday onward).

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