NRL Tips & Game Previews | Round 24 | 2021

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MrG’s Game Handicaps for this round

+0.5 Knights v Titans – Sunshine Coast
+1.5 Warriors v Raiders – Mackay
+14.5 Roosters v Rabbits – Brisbane
-4.5 Dragons v Cowboys – Rockhampton
-6.5 Sharks v Broncos – Brisbane
-24.5 Storm v Eels – Brisbane
-32.5 Eagles v Bulldogs – Redcliffe
-28.5 Panthers v Tigers – Redcliffe

Recommended Bet List

We now hit the final two rounds of the season with the top 3 in no doubt and and order that can’t change and so we have some guess work this week (and likely next week) as to what final team list will be, if players are being rested (more next week I suspect) and who is intent of going full steam into and all the way through these games this week. If the Rabbits play the team named and don’t rest Cook, Cody Walker or anyone else then I expect that they win pretty comfortably and cover 12.5. Storm look to have named a very strong line up and it appears Bellamy’s intention to have a very serious hit out this week and then likely rest players next week, that being the case then I expect they are way too strong for a very poor Eels defence. The final two games are intriguing. If The Eagles do have a serious crack and Hasler plays his key players all the way through 80 mins then they will win by a very wide margin against what looks the weakest NRL side (Bulldogs) we have seen for some years, but should the Rabbits win well against the Roosters then a win for the Eagles should then secure 4th spot and so a flogging of the Bulldogs and or risking their best players for a full 80 minutes is not necessary, so then some risk that a 20 to 30 pt win is likely not a 30 to 40+ win margin. A similar scenario for the Panthers, they need some game time and match fitness into a few of their bigger guys in the middle, but also don’t need to run too much risk with Cleary, Luai, Burton, Yeo and co, and so can start to rest them through the second half. Again, if this game was a few weeks ago and had more to play for then I’d have the Panthers as a bet and winning comfortably against a Tigers side that offers very little attitude and is missing key play makers and attack strike. So all in all a tricky week, had it been a few weeks ago with similar lines ups and lines I would have backed the truck up to bet on all 4 wide line games but we have a different set up now so close to the finals.

Bet 1.5 units Rabbits -14.5 $1.90
Roosters JWH now a further out (3 from last week) and still without Crichton, looks a very thin middle and bench line up

Bet 1 unit Storm -22.5 $1.90
Eels defence has been very poor against these top of table opponents, have 3 key outs, Storm have named very strong line up

Bet 2 units Panthers-Tigers under 50.5 $1.90 BB
With no Doueihi or Laurie hard to see where Tigers points come from or what they contribute here looks to leave

Bet 0.5 unit anytime try Alex Johnson (Souths) x Olam (Storm) x Garrick (Eagles) $4.71

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, Raiders, Rabbits, Dragons, Sharks, Storm, Eagles, Panthers

Game Preview Notes

+0.5 Knights v Titans – Sunshine Coast

Ground: Sunshine Coast
47.5 Total Points (market position)

Looked a potentially very even contest and hard to split. Knights off 4 wins but for mine very thin form line and quality, including last week struggling to put the hapless Bulldogs away with only a 6 pt win. I have said for weeks their attack looks very scrappy and disjointed, even with their best list back on the pack, I’m just not sure where or why it doesn’t look right. They also have a very poor record at covering the line, just 4 of their last 23 and now sit as the second worst attack in the competition. The return of Frizel helps, but they are still also short of a couple of bigger guys up front.

Titans had won 3 (but low table form) before bumping into Rabbits and then Storm at their latest two outings, they drop back a grade here and have been much better at this level including covering the line at 7 of their last 11 games. Some of their better footy means a preparedness to play some attack and if they can do that here I think that can also worry the Knights and mount some scoreboard pressure. They also sit on the edge of the top 8 and so have a lot to play for here, where as the Knights are all but assured of a finals position.

Small lean to Titans and them playing some footy and creating some points, but didn’t like the game.

+1.5 Warriors v Raiders – Mackay

Ground: Mackay
47.5 Total Points (market position)

Another very tricky one, which I marked Raiders with only a small advantage. I believe both teams will now miss the top 8 and so there season is all but over and so run the risk of mentally relaxing, and so anything could happen. Warriors scored 5 tries to 4 last week (and likely missed a couple of others) yet couldn’t come up with a win. Raiders gave Eagles a scare but lost and have further outs here most notably Sam Williams who I think has been very instrumental to their direction and play making through the last few months. Late arvo game in Mackay likely means humid conditions and some sloppy play and so teh points under looks the likely option, but with nothing to now play for this could also turn into a game of touch footy, best left alone.

+14.5 Roosters v Rabbits – Brisbane

Ground: Brisbane
48.5 Total Points (market position)

Final Rabbits team news will be key here. Roosters just keep picking up injury with them losing another two who played last week, importantly they are 0 from 6 at their last 6 when up against the teams at the top of the table. Tedesco was outstanding last week and single handedly carried them to victory, but well aided by some disgraceful periods of defence by the Dragons, expect things are much tougher here. With all of their noted outs it is very hard to see any of this changing for the Roosters but I’m sure there is some lift given the nature of teh derby and rivalry that these two have.

There have been some suggestions this week as to the fitness and or resting of Cook, Cody Walker and or others, I suspect that if they are right to go they play here and Bennett then looks to rest them next week but we won’t know until much closer to the game and clearly a number of these guys are instrumental to their overall performance (and the line). If the play as named then I do think that the Rabbits will be all in and very strong here and I would have them 14 to 16 pt favs and expect that they play well and cover. They are dropping back a level from Panthers last week and have plenty of excuse out of that game, I though they were much closer than it looked and certainly did the second half tough playing all but all of the 40 minutes out of their own half. They should have the speed and quick ball shift here to cause trouble in the middle and then down both edges and cause the makeshift edge defence of the Roosters all sorts of trouble.

If as named keen the Rabbits win and can win well, but would want to hold back and see what final named team lists are prior to game time.

-4.5 Dragons v Cowboys – Rockhampton

Ground: Rockhampton
53.5 Total Points (market position)

Ugly match up and I am surprised that he Cows are as close in the markets to the Dragons, but then again they both sit close to each other in the bottom few of the table. The Dragons just don’t deliver, even when with an improved side there are some key obvious issues with them, mentally soft or just off, poorly coached attack (once again had a stack of field position and ball in the red zone last week yet zero idea what to try and set up and or do) and then so many issues in defence. Two periods last week where they just leak soft tries, the later throwing the game away. Once again they have a whole heap of team list changes, ins and outs and rotations which can only again disrupt what they actually deliver. They have now lost 10 of their last 13, and failed to cover at 10 of their last 13 and can leak 26 or more points a week, a horrible mix.

But the Cowboys are equally a mess, have lost their last 10 straight and only covered 6 of 23 season to date, oh and leak 32 a week. All with no signs of improvement. Hate the game, can have Dragons 4 to 6 pt favs, but zero interest.

-6.5 Sharks v Broncos – Brisbane

Ground: Brisbane
50.5 Total Points (market position)

Broncos beat the Sharks fair and square with a very good offering (second best for the season) at this ground back in round 16. They played up tempo very positive footy, grew with some confidence as the game unfolded and went of with it. They have mostly tried to be something similar through the games since, but the key change has been over the last 5 or so weeks they have been able to improve significantly their defence and pull back their opponents to 20 a week and not 32 and so then put themselves in a game with a show (as opposed to knowing it was all over or quickly slipping away and roll over). They have won 2 of their last 4 on the back of this and some stability and or the right options in the halves and while gamble is out we again saw some quality footy from Kelly last week and finally a decent offering from Milford. They again can compete here.

Sharks got a decent win last week against the horrible Tigers 50-20, but the Tigers were defensively crook so hard to read too much into all of that. What was noticeable was Moylan’s return and his direction and experience in the halves which they have so much missed. They to also still have a show of making the finals so they have bit to play for here.

Looked a game that could swing either way. Sharks with something to play for and with Moylan back if near the best they have offered over recent months then look too strong, but they have been very inconsistent. broncos have nothing to play for and no expectation nd so with a more relaxed approach have troubled their opponents through recent weeks. Lean to the Sharks.

-24.5 Storm v Eels – Brisbane

Ground: Brisbane
49.5 Total Points (market position)

We have 3 very very warm favs to finish with this round. I suspect that Bellamy wants to be as near to full tilt here this week and then rest up some players next week so I am expecting them to have a real crack. He has named 4 ins including in key roles and their best 17 look panels beyond what ever the Eels have here. The Storms best attack and ball shift should really cause the Eels some issues, either down each edge or back through the middle while I’m sure Bellamy will be all over his mob this week on what he wants in defence toward shutting the Eels limp attack right down.

Eels got a weak opponent last week to knock through a win after being in free fall for weeks, but that was a weak game to what will be on offer here. They have already shown us under pressure in the 3 weeks prior to last that against good quality defence their key play makers really struggle, so what points and or attacking pressure will they put on the Storm? They are also with out at least 3 key players and have for mine a very weak bench. Defensively they look a mess, mentally questionable, 56 from Eagles then 32 from Rabbits (and could have been more).

Given being a week out from finals and not yet knowing the final Storm line up I have just played the 1 unit here. If they play as named or close to with all key players playing then I expect they win by a big margin and give the Eels a work over.

-32.5 Eagles v Bulldogs – Redcliffe

Ground: Redcliffe
54.5 Total Points (market position)

If the Eagles are half serious and they play their key players right through the majority of the game then they likely run up a very big score here. The question then remains what the final team announcement is, and what their intent is through the second half.

This Bulldogs named side would have to be the weakest we have seen at NRL level for many years. 5 forwards who played for them last week are now out, 4 of them big bodies, 3 of them middles, so already sitting at the base of the table and in a covid bubble in Brisbane how do they then have any depth or replacements? Their 9, 7, 6 and 1 couldn’t buy points if the were free, they have no brains or strike about what they do and so create next to zero, and if being trampled by one of the better sides then naturally being near seasons end they are mentally going to crumble. The last time these two met the Eagles put 66 through them, if as I have said they are serious then they could well match the clock and run up 80.

The Line here is now 31.5 and probably starts longer by game time. If this game was 3 or so weeks ago and with the same two line ups as named then you could not have got enough money on the Eagles to cover 32, and it would probably be close to that by half time. The problem tho is now we are guessing as to how Hasler wants to approach this. I expect they cover it one way or another but days prior to the game there is just too much guess work to want to risk money on it.

-28.5 Panthers v Tigers – Redcliffe

Ground: Redcliffe
49.5 Total Points (market position)

A similar scenario to the Eagles game here. My expectation is that Coach Ivan will want to go full tilt here and have a strong team hit out this week, build confidence, combinations, get some further match fitness into key forwards and then likely rest key players next week. I suspect the markets agree and this line has blown from 20.5 last Monday out now to 29.5 and likely keeps moving by Sunday arvo.

The problem here for the Tigers is a) they’ve offered some very meek defence at the best of times let along through the last period of weeks, including 50 last week, and their season is now well and truly over so I would suggest they mentally will have rolled over here with nothing to play for; then b) they will be without key players in Doueihi, Laurie and Tamou who would either offer some points of attack, kicking game and or leadership, so they really do look in a mess and prime for laying down and having the obvious big score run up against them.

With Nathan back to near his best in the second half last week and building his confidence and all the rest of the gang on board here very hard to not see them run up a big number. Whether we then see players rested and them take their foot off the throat in the second half will be interesting, but they may well already be at 30 something by that stage.

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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