NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 16 | 2021

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MrG’s Game Handicaps for this round

+12.5 Roosters v Storm – Newcastle
-1.5 Warriors v Dragons
-6.5 Panthers v Eels
+26.5 Bulldogs v Eagles – Bankwest
-3.5 Raiders v Titans
-4.5 Knights v Cowboys
+7.5 Broncos v Sharks
-20.5 Tigers v Rabbits – Leichhardt


Recommended Bet List

Bet 2.5 units Storm -11.5 $1.90 BB
Panthers put 38 through Roosters last start, can’t see that 12 is enough for this match up, questions of Tedesco backing up, Walker crook shoulder

Bet 1.5 units Panthers-Eels anytime try scorer Brian To’o (Panthers) $1.91 Topsport
Bet 1 unit Panthers-Eels anytime try scorer Matt Burton (Panthers) $3.45 Topsport

Bet 1.5 units Eagles -23.5 $1.90
Bulldogs have 7 outs / changes – how is that going to work? Even factoring Turbo Tom out this looks a training run

Bet 1.5 units Titans +7.5 $1.90
Raiders 2 wins have been against 15th and 16th, and have lost 9 of last 10 second halves, price looks way too generous

Bet 2 units Broncos-Sharks points under 52.5 $1.90
3 days of heavy rain forecast for Brisbane prior to this game, damp track looks to make 54 pts a stretch

Bet 2 units $2.32
All up option, both to score an anytime try – $2.32
Addo-Carr (Storm) $1.59 (Thurs night)
x Alex Johnson (Rabbits) $1.45 (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

Storm, Warriors, Panthers, Eagles, Titans, Knights, Sharks, Rabbits


Game Preview Notes

+12.5 Roosters v Storm

Ground: Newcastle
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Game moved to Newcastle. Roosters have now lost their last 10 straight when up against the top 4 teams on the table, and in the majority of those have also lost by 10 or more point margins (and at their last 6 games have failed to cover 4). I think the Panthers game two weeks back is a decent rule of thumb over this match up, while some excuses can be made the Panthers ended up coming away strongly in the second half with a 38-12 win. The short story is that the Roosters have had the quality of their overall line up for this season decimated with key long term injury outs and so they are not playing with the cards they originally expected. The 9, 7 and 6 have all changed, they have some your and in experience, and then in addition some further outs (Radley) and players playing busted. They are in a tough spot, even harder when against these pointy end teams.

Storm have won their last 12, covered the line 11 of 12 and covered the line at 18 of their last 25 when away, sit on top of the table and are a commanding power at present. Thy have a mix of some key players back and a couple missing, but the overall strength of what they are doing with the list that they put out is nothing but impressive. The Tigers were cannon fodder a few weeks back, Munster has a point to prove, Newcastle won’t concern them, they have won 4 of last 5 head to head, I expect their overall strength of team list, combinations and strike to be too strong.

-1.5 Warriors v Dragons

Ground: Gosford
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Found it hard to like the game and or get much between them. Warriors have some key new ins and a few player returns but have been treading water, have lost 4 of last 5 and it could well have been 5 straight but for lucky late win over Tigers (which also reads poorly). Overall they have been good at Gosford, have covered 10 of last 15 here but not winning many of them, but on paper have a very good record for some reason over the Dragons winning the last 5 straight (and covering the line in all 5).

Dragons off some unlikeable form but do get 3 key ins here which should help. They also get their Origin players back and of those Hunt has been very important to their overall form. Away record is poor, but with these player ins this becomes a very winnable game for them.

Both teams have been very inconsistent and put in some poor offerings through recent weeks, Dragons touched up by Bulldogs and then lucky late win over Raiders. Warriors some soft poor form in general. Slight lean to Warriors at home, horrible game and match up.

-6.5 Panthers v Eels

Ground: Penrith
45.5 Total Points (market position)

Line has had some major movements through recent days, 10.5 to now 5.5 on the back of Cleary and then Edwards outs. But Panthers remain at home (unfortunately without a crowd) and their record grows a leg here winning last 16 straight (and 20 of last 21). They have also won 4 of last 6 v Eels, and when at Penrith 5 of last 7, so an overall strong position. Cleary is no doubt a very major out, it will be a good watch to see how they cope with out him and I suspect ok, Burton is very capable as we know as is Luai – growing in confidence by the week and off the growth and experience of Origin. They will still be very tough here.

The markets put the Eels up 10.5 or 12 point underdogs, a clear indication of how they see them up against a top of table benchmark side. I think the real interest here is what they bring, offer and how they defend. It would be fair to suggest they have been flat track bullies to date, and the recent form reads wins over Bulldogs, Tigers, Knights – prior two losses against top of table teams in Rabbits and Eagles. their best has an offload game that can create some play and opportunity, and a dam nice test for their 7 and 6 to aim up and lead the way.

I’m with the market suggestion and lead, expect Eels still need to aim up in these big games, I’m still with the Panthers to show their depth, class and confidence, especially at home.

+26.5 Bulldogs v Eagles

Ground: Bankwest (Parramatta)
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Bulldogs have 7 outs and changes, and have to bring in 3 new debutants to make up the numbers. All of the benefit and gains made over the last 3 to 4 games now put under pressure and risk due to 5 idiots breaching Covid protocol. They have a tendency when the going is against them and or gets tough to fold and put their heads down as they did last against the Eels, they could well be in some trouble here if the Eagles want to have a real crack.

Interesting to see if Tom T plays or is rested (I suspect the later and that’s what I have worked on), but even so the Eagles have some strike in the 7, 6, Walker if he plays and or where he plays and some of the other options around them, if they work hard from the outset and get the smell of bloody in the water here the score and margin could be anything. If Tom plays, well… They get the Bulldogs with 3 key forward outs (who they can ill afford to be missing given their smarts and experience against this forward line up), then a further 4 back outs, and all of this then diminishes depth on their bench. Think the line starts 28 to 30, and I expect if the Eagles are half serious they put a number up here.

-3.5 Raiders v Titans

Ground: Canberra
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Was surprised at the gap in the market here, two bad teams in shit form, even with home advantage the Raiders are not for mine a 8 to 10 point fav, and I struggled to have it 3.5

Basically we have a tail of two poor form lines and offerings. Raiders have lost 8 of last 10 games, the 2 wins Bulldogs and Broncos. In their last 10 games they have lost the 2nd half 9 times, as we know know having a horrible habit of folding (and looks to becoming a significant mental issue). Prior to beating the Broncos a few weeks ago they had lost their prior 4 at home. Its all an ugly mess, they sure aint warm favs.

Titans have lost their last 4 straight and have been equally as disappointing, but there might be a semblance of strength of formline there, near beat Storm, put 20 something points on in second half vs Roosters and lead Eagles by 16 at half time last game. Like the Raiders they are very hard to find or catch, do have a similar habit of laying down in games, and have a poor record in Canberra and against the Raiders, but they might have a few positives here in a) getting all Origin players back an the b) getting other key ins in Brimson, Thompson and Proctor for what looks their strongest line up for some time. Having lost these last 4 straight they also have significant pressure and focus on them to be winning.

Tricky game with strong confidence but I think the market line looks too big and can mount an argument in the Titans being well enough placed here with the team line up that they have. Hopefully they are leading or in touch with the Raiders at half time and some pressure is built into the second stanza for them to be finishing strongly 9and or with the help of the line).

-4.5 Knights v Cowboys

Ground: Newcastle
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Knights have a few positives here. Off a win at home last start (Warriors)in very tricky and difficult weather conditions, albeit thin form line but also with the benefit of Pearce having had his first return game and match fitness. The new combination of Pearce and Clifford in the halves also looks positive and strong and the potential to only get better, they now importantly get Ponga back. This looks their strongest line up for some time, and now with strength of 9, 7, 6 and 1 they get a chance to put together some decent form. Importantly their best form is here at home, they have won 9 of their last 13 games here and 4 of their last 5 head to head here against the Cowboys. Also, when as home favs they have covered 10 of their last 14. The biggest issue of recent moths surrounding the Knights has been getting key experienced players back (now happening) and their overall attitude, this game will tell us more but there can be no excuse.

Cowboys are easy to dislike with their recent defensive offerings and when on the road, they have now lost 13 of their last 15 when away and have had 50 and 30 put thorough them at their last two away games, and as previously noted their right edge D a disaster while their opposite edge not much better. I’m not sure where the leadership in the middle and their forward line up is, Taumalolo has been poor and missing and Mclean and or Hess hardly led the way.

Knights get their chance to put wins back to back, expect their spine lead the way.

+7.5 Broncos v Sharks

Ground: Brisbane
53.5 Total Points (market position)

Bit of a watch on the Broncos this week here. Have lost 9 of their last 11 at home but for a side sitting bottom of table for near 2 seasons that’s then 2 wins at home, and they have covered the line here 6 of the last 9. They come off a bye, plenty of media focus and heat, then the internal influence of new CEO and ben Ikin’s arrival. I would suggest that Kevin Walters noises of recent days are those of someone who has been told to shut up, stop the list cuts and swaps and in and out team changes and just get on with coaching and improving the team performance. They also get Staggs back for the first time this season – so all of this has the potential to add up to some improvement – maybe. I can’t be anywhere near them, but have some respect that it might be one of those weeks where they improve and or show something more. Any improvement wouldn’t be hard..

Sharks have now won 4 straight and offered some positive play amongst that, and two of these wins have been Sunshine Coast and Townsville so a trip into Brisbane is no issue. Aside from Wayde Graham and Dugan they are in good shape, Johnson, Moylan and Kennedy have led the way. Off the back of those 4 wins the Sharks now sit 8th, this is a must win 9as the majority of the table will be beating the Broncos) and then gives them further advantage and a positive roll into the weeks ahead. I expect they win, have the line about the same, happy to leave alone.

The play of interest is the total. Brisbane is to have 3 days of very heavy rain Thurs to Saturday (and started Wednesday), so I expect a damp track, possibly quite damp for Sunday arvo. I think 54 points could well be a stretch anyway, especially if the Broncos offer an improved offering, any damp track should make that harder. A small play on 52 points or less.

-20.5 Tigers v Rabbits

Ground: Leichhardt
53.5 Total Points (market position)

On paper the Rabbits should win and win comfortably enough and a line of 20 looks right. The Tigers are not hard to oppose at present, flogged 66-16 last start and 40-12 the week prior, but off such a horrible offering last start and then the break and bye one would have to suspect that they at least improve here. It’s all attitude and effort for them, my mail is that they had a camp for days prior to the Storm game on the Sunshine Coast but for many it turned into a piss up and led to a really complacent offering (reflected on the scoreboard). Amongst this playing group clearly there are plenty of passengers who lack care and the right attitude, and somewhere in all of this is the coach and his management and or leadership. Obviously a mess – and so then tricky to forecast what the hell they bring here. I suspect the answer is what the Rabbits start with, if its strong and consistent early on then likely breaks their back pretty quickly.

My only major question on the Rabbits is how their Origin players come up and then apply themselves. Even at 70% to 80% of their best with this list then a 20 point margin should be comfortable. They have won 11 of 14 and have a heap of strike play in them and can quickly rattle up points, especially with their backline strengths and ball shift notably to their right.

Rabbits to win, think they do it comfortably, happy to stay out at this stage with the Tigers back at Leichhardt.


Longer Term Recommended Bet List

Bet 6 units Storm to win Premiership $2.60
Clearly now the benchmark and the one to beat, Panthers likely to have longer term injury questions over Cleary (shoulder) and Luai (knee), Storm have key depth, confidence and quality combinations

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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