NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting Finals Wk 2

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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting Finals Wk 2


MrG provides NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers.

2016 – Profit +32.9 units | 73 winners / 125 bets | Strike Rate 58.4%

NRL 2016 Results File > RTP_NRL_Results_POT_2016

NRL Finals Wk 2 2016 Game Handicaps

MrG’s Ratings

-8.0 Cowboys vs Broncos

-1.5 Raiders vs Panthers


NRL Finals Wk 2 Recommended Bet List


Bet 3 units Cowboys -4.5 $1.90 Ubet BB

Bet 2 units Cowboys-Broncos Over 36.5 $1.90 William Hill

Bet 2 units Panthers +1.5 $1.92 William Hill / Sportsbet > now +4.0

Bet 4 units Raiders-Panthers Over 38.5 $1.90 William Hill / 39.5 $1.90 Sportsbet BB


Premiership (21st July)

Bet 2 units Cowboys to win Premiership $5.00 Tabsportsbet


BB – Indicates Best Bet

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).

Individual Game Tips

Cowboys, Panthers

Game Previews

Note: FYI, with the introduction of Thursday night games (we will have 18 this season) 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, as we also have a Monday night game and final team lists not announced until a Tuesday afternoon. So that you are aware I re rate all teams after each round based on current performance, then re rate based on team lists, then look to handicap each coming game then consider a range of form and match up factors towards any potential bets before writing each individual game preview last. I will then be attempting to write previews for any game that a recommended bet has been made for first so that any key factors and reasoning is then known in advance.

Key Contest Stats

Kind thanks to Mark Hull a good friend and keen NRL follower who complies a weekly list of key stats and insights for each game. You can also follow Mark on Twitter here @FootyAssist


Cowboys vs Broncos

-8.0 Cowboys



A replay of the 2015 Grand Final kicks off Week 2 of the 2016 Finals Series with the Cowboys hosting the Broncos from 1300SMILES Stadium in what will be the 7th meeting between the 2 sides in 2 seasons. There has been nothing between the 2 in recent times, with the last 3 clashes decided by a single point, while 7 of the previous 11 clashes have been decided by 4 points or less. The home side has won 11 of the last 12 clashes (not including last years’ GF), while the team to score the 1st try of the match has gone on to win 13 of the last 15 encounters. The Cowboys have won 6 of the last 7 meetings in Townsville, including the last 4 straight, while they have also won all 3 previous Finals matches against the Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium. North Queensland does have to contend with a shorter preparation after losing a day in travel when returning home from Melbourne after last weeks’ loss. After 26 Rounds the Cowboys have a 15-9 win loss record, they had the 2 nd best attack, scoring 584 points at an average of 24.3, while they were ranked 3rd in defence, conceding 355 points at an average of 14.8. Their 229 point differential also rated 3rd, while since Round 20 they rank 3 rd in attack and 2nd in defence. They have won 11 of 12 at home this season (and 20 of last 23) and have scored the 1 st points of the match in all 12 of those, with 11 tries and 1 penalty goal. The Cowboys are 13-12 ATS and have covered in 8 of their last 11 at home, while they have covered in 13 of their last 19 at home when laying a start. The home side has also covered in 9 of the last 11 NRL Finals matches played. In TMP’s they are 15-10 in favour of the Under, including 6 of their last 8, while 5 of the last 8 clashes with the Broncos have gone Over. The Cowboys have been great front runners, winning 14 of 14 with a half time lead, while they have lost 10 of 11 when they haven’t been in front after 40 minutes. The half time leader has also won 15 of the last 18 match ups between the Cowboys and Broncos. Only once this season have North Queensland been outscored in the 2nd half at home, while they have also won the 2nd half in the last 6 clashes with Brisbane. Antonio Winterstein continues to be the Cowboys leading try scorer with 13 and he has scored 7 tries from his last 6 games at home. The Broncos have won 6 in a row but they come into this match at their equal longest price of the season, despite winning 5 of their last 8 as a road outsider, while they are 6 and 6 away from home this season. They finished the regular season in 5 th spot, with a defence and differential that also rated 5th, while they were ranked 6 th in attack. Since Round 20 they have held firm in defence while they moved to 5th in attack. They have lost 5 of their last 6 Finals matches played away from Suncorp Stadium. Brisbane is 12-13 ATS, with a 5-7 cover record on the road, while they covered in 17 of their last 22 as an underdog with a start of 6 points or less, including 9 of their last 10. They are 14-11 Over in TMP’s and have had Overs results in 6 of their last 8, while 5 of their last 6 Finals away from Suncorp have also finished Over. Brisbane is 14-2 with a half time lead, while they have overcome a half time deficit in their last 2 matches. The Broncos have also led at the break in 5 of the last 6 clashes with the Cowboys. The Broncos have scored the 1st points of the match in 17 of their 25 matches (12 tries and 5 penalty goals) and no side has opened the scoring with a penalty goal more often than Brisbane. Brisbane has also scored the 1st try of the match in 5 of the last 6 meetings with the Cowboys. Corey Oates is the Broncos leading try scorer with 17 but he has failed to score in his last 3 away games. The home team has won 6 of the last 7 matches under Matt Cecchin, while they have covered a line in 5 of the last 6. Home teams laying a small start have also won and covered in 8 of 11 under Cecchin in 2016.


I expect to have this handicapped something like 6.5 to 8.0 and the Cowboys well placed. They come off a strong form game, close tight affair in unsuitable wet conditions to go down narrowly, now to be advantaged back at home on dry conditions with a score to settle (winning) in a knock out semi.

I thought the Broncos were very poor last Friday night, and lucky to have got away with a win let alone a margin. They were clearly advantaged by 3 poor decisions, each game turners leading to 6 points (18 in total). What concerned me more was how soft their defence was under any attack, some of the Titans tries were terribly soft. Once again they have some problems on their edges with key outs or injury concerns and there have been rumblings for a few weeks now of some disquiet in the ranks (between a few key players). There is also a major background issue re Bennett to be announced over the weekend which may also have caused some unsettling. It short, while likely to improve against a key rival on what we have had put in front of us over the last few weeks I just don’t rate the quality of that form.

The Cowboys also now have some key injury outs with Lowe, Linnett and Winterstein out. Their strength through recent seasons has been quality depth, I’m comfortable with the likely team makeup and keep an eye out on Kalyn Ponga – the kid is a superstar in the making who I have been watching for the last 5 yrs (originally in the Broncos development system).

For mine the Cowboys have a decided edge at #9, #7 and #6, their smarts to read, construct and execute play and the kicking game of Thurston and Morgan. They come through a strong form line and the top half of the draw, have belief as the defending premiers, at home, anything on form then they should have an approx. 10 point advantage here.

The more I do the numbers on this game the warmer I am on there being points in this game and it being over. Before they compounded with key in game injuries the Roosters rattled up 14 points with ease against the Broncos two weeks ago, and then as mentioned above the Broncos soft D last week was very obvious and leaked 28 points with little effort. Both sides also then have key injury outs on their edges which can also lead to further indecision and openings. With Cowboys advantage at home, dry track and my questions as to where the Broncos D attitude really is I think 38 looks low and am expecting a late game points blow out.

Bet 3 units Cowboys -4.5 $1.90 Ubet BB

Bet 2 units Cowboys-Broncos Over 36.5 $1.90 William Hill

Raiders vs Panthers

-1.5 Raiders



The Panthers have been running riot over their opponents in recent weeks and will look to continue that trend when they travel to Canberra to take on the Raiders in the 2nd sudden death semifinal. The Raiders had also been on a winning roll but suffered their 1st defeat in 3 months against the Sharks last start and in the process lost arguable their most influential player in Josh Hodgson, whose season appears to be over. There has been little between these sides since Canberra entered the competition in 1982 with both sides winning 34 of the 69 clashes to go with a single draw, while the Raiders hold an 18-8 all-time advantage at GIO Stadium. They met in consecutive Grand Finals in 1991 and 1992, winning 1 each. Wins have also been shared equally from the last 12 meetings, while the Raiders have won 3 of the last 4. Recent meetings between these sides have been closely fought contests with 8 of the last 10 clashes decided by a margin of 1-12 points, while the home side has scored the 1st try of the match in the previous 9 encounters. High scoring contests have been the norm in recent times, with 4 of the last 5 going Over at an average of 49, while 4 of the last 6 meetings in Canberra have totaled 46 or more. The Raiders have opened as the favourite and have won 9 of their last 11 at home from that said position, while the home favourite has won 8 of the last 9 Finals Series matches, the only side to lose from that position was the Raiders last week. Canberra has a key in with Blake Austin returning from a broken hand, but the likely loss of Hodgson cannot be overstated. Their loss last week was their 1st at home since Round 8, having won 8 in row prior, while their 14 point total was their lowest score since Round 10 and their 3rd lowest of the season, with the Raiders having scored 26 points or more in 12 of their 14 prior to the Qualifying Final. Canberra stormed home to finish 2nd after 26 Rounds and only once all season have they been positioned out of the Top 8. They had the best attacking record in the NRL, scoring 688 points at an average of 28.67 PPG, while they were 7th in defence, conceding 456 points at an average of 19. In the closing Rounds they continued to rank 1 st in attack while their defensive efforts improved to have them ranked 4th .They are 16-9 ATS and have covered in 11 of their last 15, while they have covered in 5 of their last 8 when laying a small start at home. They have also covered in the last 4 clashes with the Panthers. In TMP’s they have had more Overs results than any other side in the competition, producing an 18-7 result, with 11 of their last 14 finishing that way. Canberra has won 12 of their last 13 matches with a half time lead, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 4 of 9. Canberra has scored the 1st try of the match in 6 of their last 7, while they have scored the last try of the match in 8 of their last 9. Jordan Rapana is the Raiders leading try scorer with 21 and he has scored 5 tries in his last 4 games against the Panthers. Penrith have enormous momentum off the back of 8 wins from their last 9 matches, including 6 on the trot, scoring 28 or more in 5 of those wins. They finished the regular season in 6th spot and were ranked 5th in attack averaging 23.45 points a game, while they were 8th in defence, conceding an average of 19.29, but since Round 20 the Panthers rank 2 nd in attack (31.14 PPG) and 1st in defence (12.28 PPG). The Panthers are 15-10 ATS and have covered in their last 6 straight, while they have a 7-8 cover record since 2014 with a small start on the road. In TMP’s the Panthers are 13-12 in favour of the Unders, while they are 6-2 Under as a road dog in 2016. Penrith have won their last 8 matches with a half time lead, while they are 5 & 7 when trailing at the break. They have scored the 1st points of the match in 6 of their last 8 and only once from those 8 matches have they conceded more than 1 1st half try. Josh Mansour is the Panthers leading try scorer with 16 and he has scored 3 tries in his last 5 appearances against the Raiders. The home favourite has failed to cover a line in 8 of the previous 9 matches with Ben Cummins in charge, while night games are 12-5 Under with Cummins at the helm.


The Raiders could well win here but off such a poor offering last Saturday I have to be against them. Let me put into perspective how ordinary a loss that was, the Raiders were at home in front of a massive home advantage against a side in struggling form without Gallen and Tagatese and started with a handicapped advantage of -8.5 (10 points). Then in the early minutes they lose Wade Graham (and a bench replacement), so lets now call this -12 at best. They then lead comfortably 12-0 and go on to murder two arguably three tries onto half time and lead 12-6 (which should have been 24-6). Then straight after half time they murder another try. Yes they lost Hodgson (major), but by end of game the Sharks had had to do an addition 10 sets (60) tackles in defence yet could still lift and crawl their way home to win. This was a very poor Raiders loss, and also highlighted their lack of experienced game management in a tough semi final (unlike the Sharks who were very capably led under pressure by Ennis, Lewis and Maloney – experienced rep players).

The Raiders now have to pick themselves up, they get Austin back but almost certainly will be without Hodgson (massive out – 17 try assists this season to date) into an opponent who have a game style they just don’t want right now. The Raiders are endowed with big boppers and love the bash and muscle game, but that comes with the cost of agility and mobility in defence. Into the second 40 they looked slow, they looked off the pace and struggled to go with the Sharks as they lifted. They now face an opponent who if they can slowly open the game up with their ball play have an exciting mix of Cleary, Moylan and Cartwright capable of opening holes, play, ball shift and then bringing into play the likes of Peachy, Mansour and Wallace let alone any other support play. As we get past the 30 minute mark, and more critically into the second 40 if they are able to continue with their up tempo play and skills they will by now be running these big Raiders forwards around in circles and be opening them right up (as they did to the Bulldogs yesterday). But they are also vulnerable if caught in a physical middle third game of being worked over and dominated and not getting to their strengths.

Very much a game of tactics, game style, tempo and execution here. The Panthers season turning point without doubt was Nathan Cleary’s elevation into the top grade and he then just grabbing it with both hands. The kid in the next Thurston, he’s a star, he has added balance, smarts and direction to them, lessened the load and responsibilities off Cartwright and Moylan and clearly taken their team game to a new level. Rolled gold good things they are not, they are young, in experienced and have their own weakness if taken on through the middle but they do look to get the right opponent without their most influential player on the right week.

As for the total points, I can’t believe it has been set at the mark that it has at 38. These two teams like to play footy, move the ball and open the game and each other up. If the Raiders get Austin back then that should only open their attack up further and their is no other side with an overs record like their’s, 18-6 season to date and 11 of their last 14, while their last 4 games have provided 40 points or more. The Panthers have now gone over at 5 of their last 6 while they have also seen 4 of their last 5 most recent games all at 40 points or more. Add to this the fact that so many of their most recent H2H clashes have all also gone over 46 or more points. Although some cloud the forecast is clear and without rain from mid week onward, again in favour of points and open play. My methods rate this an 81% chance of over 38 points, I want to be with this.

Panthers now out to +4.0 staggering, huge leg up in a semi, great bet for mine, I think they win straight up

Bet 2 units Panthers +1.5 $1.92 William Hill / Sportsbet

Bet 4 units Raiders-Panthers Over 38.5 $1.90 William Hill / 39.5 $1.90 Sportsbet BB




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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2016 Finals Wk 2

Mr.G provides our NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting

Having coached at a senior level for 16 years including 3 years on the coaching staff of an NRL club Mr G is an avid student of the game. He’s coached sides to win titles at a senior level, run the football arm of a successful district club, managed professional players and worked in various development roles, so it’s fair to say the game of Rugby League is certainly in his blood and supports an experienced and unique offering.

Mr G’s NRL previews and betting tips combine this knowledge and ‘read’ of the current weekly form with a statistical and betting analysis to provide his followers with a unique and successful approach. He spends hours each week watching and reviewing each and every game assessing the strengths and weakness of the form to then weigh against that of the betting markets. His previews and betting tips have been published on the internet via two sports forums for 7 years prior to his public offering through Reading The Play.

MrG’s recommended weekly game by game previews and any recommended betting plays for this individual round are listed here. Each NRL Preview and Sports Betting Tips message thread will normally open on a Thursday and list any early game ratings and betting plays. 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 (Fridays). All subscribers can also receive all recommended bets via sms message.

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