NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting Finals Wk 3
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 3 2016 Game Handicaps
Even Sharks vs Cowboys
-10.0 Storm vs Raiders
NRL Finals Wk 3 Recommended Bet List
Bet 1 unit Sharks-Cowboys over 36.5 $1.90 Sportsbet
Bet 3 units Storm -6.5 $1.90 William Hill / CrownBet BB
Bet 1 unit live in play half time Cowboys to win (vs Sharks) $7.00 Sportsbet
Bet 3 units Storm to win premiership $2.40 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
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 @
12 of the last 16 Premiers have won the comp off the back of a week off and then winning their Prelim final win
8 of last 9 Premiers were one of the Top 2 defensive sides that season. This yr that’s Storm & Cowboys
6 of the last 7 grand finalists who had played 4 wks straight, have lost. Cowboys broke this factor for the first time last year
The above key factors do tell an important story, and of all of this right now the Storm sit in the absolute box seat with a -6.5 to -10.5 position into this weeks games. Should they win as expected, and not pick up any critical injury then I would suggest we are then likely looking at $1.60 favs into the GF, and should they be up against the Sharks right now I would suggest they likely near rolled gold good things as by then the Sharks will be carrying not only a monkey on tehir back having never won a comp by Sunday week it will be the size of a huge silver back gorilla!! If you are looking longer term into the GF then the Storm are the obvious, I’m happy to wait and see, they could be crippled by a key injury and or there is just that something about the Cowboys that on a dry track in an up tempo game they can find some attack and belief to worry them.
Sharks vs Cowboys
HISTORY – Played 40, Sharks 24, Cowboys 16 AT ALLIANZ STADIUM – Played 1, Sharks 1, Cowboys 0
FINALS HISTORY – Played 2, Sharks 1, Cowboys 1
TOP 8 RECORD – Cronulla has won 9 from 13 but have failed to win 3 of their last 4 Cowboys have won 6 from 12, with 4 of the 6 wins coming from 5 games at home
For the 3rd time in 4 seasons, the Sharks and Cowboys go head to head in a Final Series match after never meeting in a Finals Series prior to 2013. The Cowboys embarrassed Cronulla in Week 2 of the Finals last year with a 39 point shut out, while the Sharks knocked out the Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2013 Series in the infamous 7th tackle try incident. The Sharks hold a 24-16 all-time advantage over North Queensland, while they have won 13 of the 18 matches contested in Sydney, including 3 of the last 4. The Sharks have had the week off after a come from behind win against Canberra to make their 1st Preliminary Final since 1997, while the Cowboys are looking to repeat their efforts of 2015 in taking the long road to make it to their 3rd Grand Final with a win over Cronulla. In 4 of the 5 most recent meetings the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while 4 of the last 6 meetings have failed to top 40 points. After 26 Rounds the Sharks finished 3rd, their best finish since 2008, with a 17-6-1 record. They ranked 3rd in both attack and defence, while their differential rated 4th, but since Round 20 they slipped to 12th in attack and 7th in defence. The Sharks are 14-11 ATS and have covered in their last 4 matches played at Allianz Stadium. In TMP’s they are 14-11 Under and have had Unders results in 5 of their last 6 against a Top 8 opponent. The Sharks have won 12 of 15 with a half time lead, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 5 of 9. Only once in the previous 7 clashes with the Cowboys have they led at half time and they haven’t scored more than 14 1st half points against the Cowboys since 2008, with an average of 7. After 26 Rounds the Cowboys have a 15-9 win loss record, they had the 2nd 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 3rd in attack and 2nd in defence. They have a poor record on the road in 2016, winning only 4 of 13 matches and have failed to lead at half time in all 9 of those road losses. They have also been poor at Allianz Stadium, losing their last 5 straight at the ground, as well as losing their last 5 Finals matches contested at the venue. The Cowboys are 13-13 ATS and have failed to cover in 7 of their last 9 away games, while they are 4-4 when covering as a road favourite. In TMP’s they are 15-11 in favour of the Under, including 8 of their last 9 away games, while 7 of the last 10 against a Top 8 opponent have also gone Under. The Cowboys have been great front runners, winning 14 of 14 with a half time lead, while they have lost 10 of 12 when they haven’t been in front after 40 minutes. Justin O’Neill bagged his 3rd double of the season last week to move to equal 1st with Antonio Winterstein as the Cowboys leading try scorer with 13 and he has scored 4 tries from his last 6 matches against Cronulla. A penalty goal has been the 1st scoring play in 4 of the Cowboys last 6 Finals matches. The home team has won 11 of the last 13 Final Series matches, while the away side starting as a favourite has won 4 of the last 5 Finals. The home underdog has won only 2 of 10 matches in 2016 with Ben Cummins in charge, while 8 of the last 9 matches with Cummins at the helm have gone Under.
Looks a very tricky game and I don’t want to play.
The Sharks should have been thumped by the Raiders two weeks ago, but weren’t, they then crawled their way back into the game against all odds and dug deep to last and win. What they did do was again find some belief, I think they take quite a bit out of that, then have the valuable week off, freshen up, get key guys back from injury and will be at near full strength. They’ll play in Sydney, have an army of support, that week off has to be gold (and history suggests it is) and can win.
The plus for the Cowboys is that they come through two very strong form games, high quality, an outstanding game and effort last Friday night and they have some distinct class in key places like Thurston. But. They have been whacked physically the last two weeks, are losing key outs with injury and then have key players playing very busted (Scott, Tamou, etc). Their bench now is no near the advantage it was 12 months ago due to all this wear and tear, and after such a good long run with the same team list they now have had to bloody key youngsters off the next generation ( like Hess, Bowen and Ponga). No knock at all on these guys, enormous talent, but the point I am making is this Cowboys side is not what they were 6 weeks ago, nor 12 months ago.
The Cowboys can still win, they are as resilient as one will ever see, as title holders they have significant belief and they have key people who can make special things happen (what about the extra time try set up play from JT, staggering). The Sharks should have fresh legs, should be advantaged at full strength. They do have a massive monkey on their back of supporter expectation having never won a comp and I’m not convinced the coach is as sharp as required for the real pointy end of the comp. But they can win.
I can’t handicap this any different, no advantage either way, a game I can’t split.
Dry track, all my numbers lead strongly to overs. I think this will open up with two sides who can play some footy, plus some fatigue.
Bet 1 unit Sharks-Cowboys over 36.5 $1.90 Sportsbet
Storm vs Raiders
HISTORY – Played 37, Storm 26, Raiders 11
AT AAMI PARK – Played 5, Storm 2, Raiders 3
FINALS HISTORY – Played 2, Storm 2, Raiders 0
TOP 8 RECORD – Melbourne has won 8 from 12 and won 5 of those from 7 games at home Canberra has won 8 from 13, including 6 of the last 8
The Top 2 sides of 2016 will battle it out in the 2nd Preliminary Final at AAMI Park for the remaining spot in the big dance. Melbourne holds a 26-11 all-time advantage over Canberra, including the 2 previous meetings in Finals, while the Raiders have won 3 of the last 4 clashes at AAMI Park. The teams have met just twice across the last 2 seasons, with both sides recording 1 victory each, while Melbourne won the last meeting at AAMI Park in 2014. Strangely, the home side has won only 3 of the last 10 encounters. Melbourne have had the benefit of the week off which has served them well previously, as they have won 5 of their last 7 Preliminary Finals after registering a win in Week 1, while the Raiders are contesting their 1st Prelim Final since 1997 after disposing of the Panthers last week. Melbourne are the Minor Premiers and have been the bench mark in 2016, spending 18 weeks in the Top 2 and were never positioned out of the Top 8. They come into this match with 2 losses from their last 5, but had won 6 straight prior. Their defensive efforts had them ranking at the top of the charts, conceding 302 points at an average of 12.5, while their 261 point differential was also the best in the NRL. Their 563 points in attack ranked 4th . In the final 7 Rounds of the regular season though, they dropped to 7 th in attack rankings and 3rd in defence. The Storm is 14-11 ATS, with a 7-6 cover record at home, while they have covered in only 2 of their last 7 at home when conceding a start of more than 6 points. In TMP’s they are the Number 1 Unders side in the NRL, with an 18-7 result and have finished that way in 7 of their last 9. They have played 6 matches against their Top 4 counterparts and all 6 of those also finished Under, while 7 of their last 9 have finished Under when they have been favoured by more than 6 points. Melbourne has won 17 of 18 in 2016 with a half time lead, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 3 of 7. The Storm has scored the 1st try of the match on 15 occasions and they have gone on to win 14 of those. Suliasa Vunivalu is the NRL’s Number 1 try scorer with 23 tries in 19 matches since making his debut in Round 7. It’s a milestone match for Cooper Cronk as he plays his 300th match for the Storm and for years now Coach Bellamy has placed plenty of importance on these milestone matches and as always, he will have his side well prepared. 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 17-9 ATS and have covered in 12 of their last 16, while they have covered in their last 7 straight on the road. They have also covered in 3 of the last 4 clashes with the Storm. In TMP’s they have had more Overs results than any other side in the competition, producing an 18-8 result, with 11 of their last 15 finishing that way. Canberra has won 13 of their last 14 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 7 of their last 8, while they have scored the last try of the match in 8 of their last 10. The Raiders have scored 26 points or more in 12 of their last 16 and have conceded more than 18 in just 1 of their last 8. Jordan Rapana is the Raiders leading try scorer with 22, equaling the record for the most tries in a season by a Raider. It’s the team with the best defence hosting the team with the best attack, the Raiders right edge has been lethal in attack and only 1 side has scored more tries than Canberra down that edge, while no side has conceded fewer tries down their left edge in defence than the Melbourne Storm. The home side has won 74% of matches this season with Matt Cecchin in charge, including 7 of the last 8.
Which every way one lines up the form liens and key information I can’t have the Storm anything shorter that -10. They have numerous key form and factors in their favour here, 4 weeks of stable prep with no travel at home, no key injuries, full strength, through tough quality last start form game, reek experience and ready to play. Also, no club, and I mean no club does milestone games like the Storm, it is a cultural thing that Bellamy has build into the place across the last 10 years and guess what, this week is a massive milestone game in Cronks 300th.
The Raiders for mine have limped through the last few weeks and have gone off the boil. I did say weeks ago they they looked like (on the then form) that they could get to deep into September, but their efforts through tehir last two games have been very poor by form line comparison. As noted they should have touched up the Sharks and blew it, I thought they were patchy last weekend against an opponent who lost their way in the pressure of what finals are. The Raiders had near 60% of the ball, the Panthers made 11 errors with the ball and missed 50 tackles, they should have been flogged yet with 8 minutes to go were coming to get them before Fisher-Harris made two stupid errors. The quality of execution, intensity and form out of these last two games just doesn’t measure up.
Now with little expectation and the underdog the Raiders might well improve, they’ve nothing to lose. But since their best offerings 6 weeks ago they have had some soft games (Eels, Eagles, Tigers, Sharks, Panthers) where as the Storm come through their last 3 games at the top of the table (Cowboys, Sharks, Broncos) and have played like a title favourite.
Everything looks to line up here for the Storm, look well placed plus a major milestone game, I expect the handicap gets well toward at least 8 or more by the weekend.
Bet 3 units Storm -6.5 $1.90 William Hill / CrownBet BB
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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2016 Finals Wk 3
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.
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