NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 18 | 2021

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MrG’s Game Handicaps for this round

+1.5 Titans v Eels – Robina
-9.5 Eagles v Dragons – Robina
+10.5 Cowboys v Roosters – Townsville
+3.5 Raiders v Sharks – Robina
-14.5 Storm v Knights – Robina
+6.5 Warriors v Panthers – Brisbane
-0.5 Broncos v Tigers – Brisbane
-19.5 Rabbits v Bulldogs – Robina

Recommended Bet List

Bet 2.5 units Titans +4.5 $1.90
Titans off positive last start win, have settled week at home into this, some suggestions Eels may rest or have late outs and have had short turn around on back of interstate relocation

Bet 1 unit Eagles-Dragons under 48.5 $1.90
Turbo looks to be rested, Dragons multiple outs, hard to see how we get to 50 points

Bet 1 unit Warriors-Panthers under 48.5 $1.90
Panthers missing key halves combination, have looked very pedestrian without them, Warriors playing some very scrappy, ugly low scoring play at present

Bet 1.5 unit Anytime Try Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos) $2.15

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

Titans, Eagles, Roosters, Sharks, Storm, Panthers, Broncos, Rabbits

Game Preview Notes

+1.5 Titans v Eels – Robina

Ground: Robina
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Titans at home and while they have a few key back ups of short turn around from Origin they would have had a settled week or so in prep here, and come off a positive big margin last start away win. Eels have had the dislocation of moving interstate to relocate, also settle down the family and alike who have come with them, likely had very little time to train properly and focus on the game and then there are suggestions that they may have a couple of late outs and changes.

This whole round with all of these changes let alone also having Origin mid week make this a tricky week, and a matter of trying to pick the eyes out of it all. The Titans can be hard to trust at the best of times, and defensively have their moments of leaking easy and back to back tries, but given all of the likely scenario here they have to have a few things to their advantage and I’m happy to take the risk as well as a plus start position. No know Eels, but if Moses doesn’t play and or Junior Paulo then they become key outs, and short questionable quality of prep? Titans best team list for some time, think they get their chance.

-9.5 Eagles v Dragons – Robina

Ground: Robina
48.5 Total Points (market position)

With Tom to be rested Eagles come back somewhat to this game, I don’t want to bet the line but they couldn’t get the Dragons at a better time surely. Dragons off the BBQ affair have 4 outs, and already had a couple of injury outs including Lomax, with no Dufty and no Lomax I just can’t see where their attack and points come from, and this is a team that has already looked very clunky through the last number of weeks including escaping with lat 1 point and 2 point victories at their last two outings.

Eagles dropped their guard last week and put in a very poor offering, and at home. They had their two rep outs, but they had a whole list of guys who didn’t aim up or put in, against an ordinary opponent who played the conditions well and a very simple plan. But that is also a low quality game, a further poor reflection of the Eagles offering. They get DCE in, Schuster in, and coming off that poor defeat I’m sure a keenness to want to aim up here.

Expect Eagles can get the job done, but with Turbo missing and a Dragons team missing key strike players I can’t get the game score here anywhere near the 50 point mark.

+10.5 Cowboys v Roosters – Townsville

Ground: Townsville
51.5 Total Points (market position)

Now 3pn Saturday. The Cowboys recent free fall and atrocious defence continues, another away loss last week and again leaking 46. They get the benefit of returning home where they have won 5 of 8 and played any semblance of their best footy this season, but they are very hard to like now given how quickly and meekly they now fold in defensive commitment. They will also be with out Holmes here (and for a number of week now).

Roosters are no good thing at present but should have enough quality and professionalism in them to get the job done by a likely 2 try margin. Likely get their two rep players back, both strengthen them considerably and will add attack strike and combination to their play, and beef up their defence. Given the fragility of much of the Cowboys defence especially down either edge Walker could have a picnic picking out holes to put players through.

Expect Roosters win and cover the line – but I would want to wait and see the final team list and that both rep players are playing before considering an interest.

+3.5 Raiders v Sharks – Robina

Ground: Robina
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Now 5.30pm. As suggested above I have a low view on the Eagles Raiders game and form of last week, and so the Raiders poor recent form and overall lack of winning games remains my starting point for them. They have lost 9 of their last 12 games and now concede an average of 26 points a week, while their away record is also horrible. They will get the benefit of two key rep players likely backing up.

I’m very surprised at the major market move here. While I don’t have the Sharks as good things, I certainly think they should be at least a 4 pt fav, the market opened 5.5 and has moved significantly this week down to 1.5. If I was a Raiders supporter off the back of their very poor run into an away game I’d be wanting at least 4.5 or higher to be interested. The Raiders overall head to head record v Sharks is good, but that recent record has also not been at away venues like the Gold Coast.

Sharks have won 5 of their last 6 and that loss for mine was out of a strong form game v Broncos. They are still without Moylan and Graham but have in general been playing positive footy, and have an ounce or two of strike and class in a few things that they can do with the ball. Their interstate or distance away record has been good, and for the last 6 or so weeks they have looked to have a positive team approach to their play. They took care of the Warriors well enough last week 20-12 in a low game, they also remain in contention for a finals spot so still have plenty to play for. I’m with Sharks, it profiles to have points in it but was happy to stay out of the game.

-14.5 Storm v Knights – Robina

Ground: Robina
49.5 Total Points (market position)

Note this game has been rescheduled a number of times, and is now at Robina.

This is a very good test for the new look Knights, with Brailey and Pearce back over recent weeks, recent acquisition Clifford settling in in the halves at #6 and if he backs up Ponga at #1, certainly the strongest team the Knights have offered for 12 months. They also now have named both Daniel Saifiti and Frizell as ins. The Storm are still without Papenhuyzen and Grant, and then have 5 players named who played last Wednesday night.

The final team lists and ins and or outs for both line ups by Saturday afternoon are critical to any bet consideration here. Does Ponga back up, do Frizell and Saifiti actually play, and or who is backing up or rested for the Storm. The Storm have an overall dominant long term advantage over the Knights winning the last 9 straight, and they have won their last 13 straight now with 12 of those wins being by margins of 16 points or more. As we know they are also a very professional travelling and preparation team, so while they have had some dislocation through Thursday having to now move interstate again at short notice they are very well versed at just getting on with the job at hand.

The Knights come off games v Cowboys and Warriors, so hardly a real test or strong form reference, so this game becomes a far more real barometer to at what level they now might be. They have a longer term poor record when travelling including losing their last 6 straight when interstate.

I like Storm, pending final team line ups they may well be a bet to cover the line but I want to see what the final make up of both sides is.

+6.5 Warriors v Panthers – Brisbane

Ground: Brisbane
48.5 Total Points (market position)

Impossible game. With Cleary and Luai missing the Panthers drop many levels in the quality of their attack execution and any kicking game. Next issue is do they rest any players here, some suggestions around that maybe Yeo and or Toó might have a game off.

Warriors look stronger on paper (again, as they did last game), likely get their chance here but are just not winners. Lost 7 of their last 8, have not won in Qld for 3 years and overall poor interstate / distant travel record. They have also only covered the line 4 of 16 outings this season, very hard to like.

Good game to stay away from, if Yeo plays then Panthers would still be very hard to beat, could never touch the Warriors.

0.5 Broncos v Tigers – Brisbane

Ground: Brisbane
51.5 Total Points (market position)

Some suggestions that Staggs maybe in doubt. If he plays then the Broncos look in a good position here against a questionable opponent, on their home ground. Suggested prior to their last outing (and then win) v Sharks at home that with some of the background changes at the club (new CEO, Ben Ikin’s arrival and influence), break before that game, return of Staggs and a heightened focus on just getting on and improving their footy we could argue an improved showing. They were far more positive, less error and made/took their chances for a deserved win. I also thought it was a strong competitive game of good quality. They will then have had the benefit of this further week off (bye) and I’d expect further positive internal work and training focused on taking small positive steps forward. They also then get Flegler and Coates as likely ins, and if Staggs plays it looks potentially their best team of in form players this season. Their best has also been at home (3 of their 4 wins).

The Tigers are not hard to oppose, and who knows what they bring here, more often than not of late its been rubbish. Their record when interstate is shocking, most recent when then travelled to Sunshine Coast to play Storm plenty suggest they had far more of a good time than focus on the job at hand and got whacked 66-16, then 10 days ago soundly beaten at home 38-22. They have had a week off, made multiple list changes, but very hard to catch and it doesn’t take much pressure for them to leak points.

Like to see final team lists in particular for the Broncos, but if Staggs plays they look to get a strong winning position.

-19.5 Rabbits v Bulldogs – Robina

Ground: Robina
52.5 Total Points (market position)

The Bulldogs are hard to trust but a 26 point line is could well be a big position here. Both teams are interstate, Rabbits have a potential 4 rep backups and I have heard that Marshall will be excluded due to recent baby birth, so much unknown on the team make up. As I have said previously they can be very in and out on when picking to dig in and have a go, and have not been at their best when having key players out, or backing up, or a mix of both. Should their 4 rep players play then they should win comfortably enough.

Bulldogs latest was strong, at 16 all they were a late chance of a major upset. They also get a few ins but still have up to 3 of their best players sidelined with injury, and their travel and distant travel record has been very poor including loosing their last 8 in Qld many of them by big margins.

A 26 pt line is too big for mine, but if all rep players play happy to just leave well alone. It’s that sort of week with so much unknown on final team make ups.

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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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting

MrG’s game previews and analysis for this weeks round of NRL are listed above. Each NRL Preview and Sports Betting Tips message thread will normally open on a Wednesday and list any early game ratings and thoughts. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round (Thursdays). All subscribers can also receive all key information and updates by direct sms message.

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