NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 15 | 2021

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MrG’s Game Handicaps for this round

+18.5 Broncos v Rabbits
+1.5 Cowboys v Sharks
-10.5 Panthers v Roosters
-3.5 Knights v Warriors
+3.5 Dragons v Raiders
-22.5 Storm v Tigers
-18.5 Eels v Bulldogs
+11.5 Titans v Eagles


Recommended Bet List

Bet 1 unit Broncos-Rabbits over 50.5 $1.90
We have a forecast 18 point line and a Broncos conceding min 30 points a week, Rabbits back to full strength and a ground that strongly favours high scoring games and points over totals

Bet 2 units Cowboys-Sharks over 51.5 $1.85 BB
12 of the last 17 games (71%) with the Cowboys at home at this venue have gone over the most recent a 57 point game, Cowboys again last week leaked 50 points and their defence now looks worse than it has been, Sharks are scoring and av. now of 32 in attack and conceding 24 in defence when away

Bet 1 unit Sharks +2.5 $1.90
I have my position opposite to the market here, in particular off the Cowboys horrible defensive showing through last and prior weeks

Bet 1 unit Bulldogs +20.5 $1.90
Bet 1.5 units under 49.5 $1.90

Rain through recent days and again this morning plus wind should make this track damp and slippery

Bet 2.5 units Eagles -7.5 $1.85 BB
The Eagles at their best sparkling attack and with Tommy T back have a stack of strike and points in them as we know, notably putting 50 at home through the Cowboys last week, they look full of confidence, strong team list and against an opponent who can leak points quickly and at will and were down 30-4 last week and were very lucky to escaped that position, think this looks at least a 10 to 14 point handicap

Bet 1 unit $2.72
All up option, both to score an anytime try – $2.72
Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs) $1.48 (Thurs night)
x Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles) $1.84 (Sunday)

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

Rabbits, Sharks, Panthers, Knights, Raiders, Storm, Eels, Eagles


Game Preview Notes

+18.5 Broncos v Rabbits

Ground: Suncorp
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Bennett returns to Brisbane, clearly he’ll love this and has commanding recent record in these match ups. Rabbits back to full strength with 4 player ins, Broncos once again have key changes in halves and a new fullback, something like the 9th time they have had made or forced changes in these roles and clearly a significant factor in how poorly they have been all season long. With Hunt and Gamble in the halves I struggle to see where and how they create strike and set points up, it looks slow and pedestrian.

Rabbits with numerous outs last week got the job done well enough and keep ticking over, with these key ins of rep Origin players they look very hard to hold back against what can be a crumbling weak Broncos defence. They have won 5 of their last 6 when away, and with a forecast 18 point line (which I think looks right) this should be a comfortable enough win and a game that presents a set up for plenty of points. The Rabbits can be a little hot and cold in wanting to really put their foot down, but with Murray, Cook and Gagai back and Mitchell gaining further fitness it does look the right week or them to be up.

Broncos pretty much more of the same last week, another away loss and conceded plenty in playing the Raiders back into some form. Off two away losses they should be better back at home (2/6) but a dry fast track against an opponent that likes ball shift and attacking phases is not their ideal set up, and fast ball play and movement can very quickly open them up.

Think the line is right, I expect the Rabbits win and win comfortable, some slight hesitation being mid Origin period to play at the long line, it is a game that sets up for plenty of points especially if the Broncos can contribute something, and so I think the points over looks the best angle and small play. Rabbits 3 of last 4 outings have produced 54 or more points, Broncos 6 of their last 7 outings have produced 50 to 76 points, and the Broncos at this venue longer term has always been conducive to high scoring games.

+1.5 Cowboys v Sharks

Ground: Townsville
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Cowboys were absolutely horrible last week and I am concerned that there may have been some early signs of them starting to fall away into the second half of this season. They have been hot and cold for months and all but each week in high scoring games, and their recent wins have been against teams low on the table and or in bad spots (Warriors, Knights, Broncos) and their winning margins small including two golden point 1 pt victories. But I didn’t see them compounding as badly and as quickly as they did last week, leading 12-0 to then let 44 points through at will was just atrocious. The right edge was all but non existent, the lack of effort from some of their senior players also hopeless if not fragile. yes back at home I’m sure they likely improve a little, and 4 of their 5 wins this season have been here but they have a hell of a lot to do to tighten things up and not be conceding 30 points again.

Sharks have a great recent record both against this opponent and in Townsville winning 10 of the last 12. I found them last week to upset a depleted Panthers, that late hold on win after dominating the game for the first 60 minutes should do them more good, they have now won 3 and much of this coinciding with them finally having the majority of their key players back on the park together at the same time and building on their combinations. They to can rattle up some points, especially if and when they get an open attack free flowing style of games as looks to present itself here, they put 38 through the Titans on the Sunshine Coast two weeks ago (away game) and have been in plenty of high scoring contests over recent months (and or leaked plenty of points themselves on occasions).

I though the Sharks should have been small favs, I am opposite to the market and happy to have a small play on this. It does read though as an open high scoring game, we get a dry fast track, two teams happy to throw the ball around, and two teams who can be poor defending, especially in what looks the obvious open game style we expect here. 12 of the last 17 games (71%) with/when the Cowboys at home at this venue have gone over the most recent a 57 point game only a few weeks ago, and the Cowboys again last week leaked 50 points and their defence now looks worse than it has been. Sharks when away are scoring and av. now of 32 in attack and conceding 24 in defence, the game profiles as a high scoring, high 50’s to 60 point contest and I thought that looked the right play.

-10.5 Panthers v Roosters

Ground: Penrith
46.5 Total Points (market position)

Looks on paper a good match up, but a test for the Roosters stepping back to a level of playing a top of table opponent. Panthers get all of their rep platers back and are at full strength, they also come off two away games to then play back at home where they have such a long term strangle hold on opponents and play their best footy, winning their last 15 straight here and covering the line at 11 of those last 17.

Roosters have lost their last 9 games straight over the last 18 months when playing the top 4 on the ladder. The majority of those loses by 10 pts or more so the handicap position here is interesting. They do have a good record as an underdog, but it is these top of table clashes over the last 18 months in particular now with all of the long list of quality outs that they have for one reason or another that has made it so tough for them to compete with the pointy end. They get some key ins (including Tedesco is he plays, some speculation on doubt), probably have to rush Verrills back to #9, and Walker is now dealing with injury to both shoulders (and I’m sure see’s plenty of traffic).

Think the Panthers will be very keen to atone here and we see a very motivated offering. The 9, 7, 6 and Yeo back together will make a huge difference to how they play as an overall team, and I’m sure the outcome. I’m at a similar position to the market, expect Panthers aim up, 12 or more margin at home likely, but thought there looked some better betting options across the round.

-3.5 Knights v Warriors

Ground: Newcastle
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Looks a trick game and we take on trust the influence of Pearce in his return game to lead the Knights forward. With he, Klemmer and Hunt keys ins, the possibility of Ponga (but for mine highly doubtful) the Knights are clearly stronger, and Pearce had the overall game, leadership, experience, direction and kicking skill to make a significant difference. knights best has been at home (3/7) and they lobbed with an upset win v Eagles a few weeks ago but that game and there overall form has been hard to read and or very ordinary, especially their defensive offering (and notably down both outside edges).

Warriors have not been much of late either, lost 5 of last 7 and 4of last 6 at the ground and now lose #7 and #9 with injury. They have only covered 3 of 13 games this season so well over rated by the market expectation. It is the sort of game opponent that they can bob up in, but in conceding 26 each week now they are consistently under pressure to chase points and most often fail, and with two more key outs its hard to see where or how that improves.

I didn’t like the game, thought Knights at home with the key ins could improve.

+3.5 Dragons v Raiders

Ground: Wollongong
48.5 Total Points (market position)

Another interesting match up. Dragons off poor offering and loss to bottom placed Bulldogs (and soundly beaten) into short turn around (Monday to Saturday). Lomax named on extended bench, if he was to play he’d be a very helpful in.

Raiders off win over Broncos, their most recent two wins have been Broncos and Bulldogs and only 2 wins from last 9 games, and only covered the line handicap 3 of 13 season to date, so also very ugly performance week in week out and formlines. They have got a few key ins over last week and this and teh bye and a win may well have helped them a little. Also have a good record at this ground and overall v Dragons over the longer term.

Nightmare game. Which version of Dragons turns up, and or Raiders. Small lean to Raiders but impossible game to read.

-22.5 Storm v Tigers

Ground: Sunshine Coast
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Storm look to be in an imposing position here. Won all 7 at the ground, won last 11 straight and covered the line at 10 of those 11. Won 5 of last 7 vs Tigers and won this game at this ground last year 50-22. They still have a few outs but still offer an imposing side especially with Grant, Hughes and Munster combining.

Tigers went up the table v Eels last week and soundly beaten, Storm and away should be a far more difficult task. They have a key out in Adam Doueihi, a centre pairing now who are poor defenders and have lost 6 of the last 7 when they have been travelling interstate.

Storm look clear cut winners, just a matter of where we put the foot down on the handicap. At 22 to 24 its a big position, but both the Storm’s record and that of other teams at the top of the table winning and covering this position is very strong, as they again did last week (Warriors). Pending weather and final teams I could entertain it, but happy to just wait and see how the weekend and weather is unfolding

-18.5 Eels v Bulldogs

Ground: Parramatta
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Eels come off two good wins against teams in the bottom half of the table, and now again meet the Bulldogs in a suitable position (16th) and at home. The two have a long history as rivals, but through recent years the Eels have dominated winning 9 of the last 11. They are also at home (Bankwest) where they have been well advantaged over the last 18 months.

Which Bulldogs turn up? They were very good last Monday, I would argue the best they have offered across the last 3 years, the bye weekend off and getting some of their best players back over the last 3 weeks lifted the quality nd performance of what they offered, far more aggression and overall commitment in defence coupled with better use of the ball and a poor opponent that helped overall. They should take some confidence out of that, but this is a much harder test.

18 to 20 looks about right. If I had to side with an option I’d likely take the plus position on the expectation that the Bulldogs compete. But way too much risk either side of that line here for me, happy to stay well away.

+11.5 Titans v Eagles

Ground: Robina
51.5 Total Points (market position)

The market position at 7.5 has looked generous to my numbers all week and happy to be with the Eagles. Tommy T back is clearly significant, he could well rip this apart himself and rattle up a winning margin, he then has so much influence all over the Eagles attack and either creates, inspires or finishes so much of what they do. Cowboys ended up a very easy get last week but they should take some confidence out of winning so well and some of their younger players improving so quickly by the week.

Titans D has been very poor for some time now, leaking 34 to 36 a week across their last 9 games, smacked 36-0 when these two last met, down 30-4 last week, they put a strong one in against the Storm (who also looked a bit off), but there ahs been this overall pattern of fragile and crumbling defence and a want to leak a number of tries quickly. I suspect back in against a smart well organised attack with plenty of strike this game can be opened up.

Want to be with the Eagles to cover the line and their attack to do the talking.


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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