NRL Tips & Game Previews | 2019 Round 2 | Reading The Play

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NRL Tips & Game Previews | 2019 Round 2

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NRL Round Game Handicaps

MrG’s Ratings

+3.0 Dragons v Rabbits

+2.5 Raiders v Storm

-6.5 Broncos v Cowboys

-6.5 Sharks v Titans

-0.5 Knights v Panthers

-8.5 Eagles v Roosters

-0.5 Bulldogs v Eels

-2.0 Tigers v Warriors


Recommended Bet List

Bet 1 units Rabbits H2H $1.60 all up Roosters H2H $1.31 / $2.09 Topsport

Dragons back at Kogarah a plus but with de Belin, Frizell, K Sims all out and injury doubt over Latimore Rabbits should have enough to win; Roosters off first up loss against bottom 4 opponent with 3 key outs

Bet 2 units Raiders-Storm under 40.5 $1.90 Topsport BB

Storm are 10-2 under in their last 12 as a road fav, and are 64% under on the road across last 55 road games; Raiders are 8 of last 12 under when back at home off a win of 13+ or more, Bellamy likes a defensive focus when Away, Raiders D looked much tighter last week, expect another tight arm wrestle here

BB – Indicates Best Bet


Individual Game Tips

Rabbits, Storm, Broncos, Sharks, Panthers, Roosters, Eels, Tigers


+3.0 Dragons v Rabbits

Home underdogs of +4-plus in the first four weeks of a new season are 75.8% ATS since 2008

Dragons are also 15-7 (68%) covering the line at Kogarah over the last five years, and importantly have covered 6 of 8 when like this game an underdog

Dragons have also won and covered 8 of last 11 when returning back to Kogarah off a loss

Rabbits are some risk here as they have covered just 3 of 9 when away from Homebush, and covered just 5 of last 15 as an away fav

Dragons back at Kogarah a big plus and will improve but with de Belin, Frizell, K Sims all out and injury doubt over Latimore the Dragons forward line up just looks too big a task and risk against the Rabbits middle strength. They also have a short turn around on distant return leg from Townsville. Liked what we saw from Rabbits first up, in particular their preparedness to play with the ball, Bennett looks to be wanting to just massage their strengths with a high focus on attack. I think this is closer than the markets suggest but expect Rabbits middle and then attack has the upper hand.

Bet 1 units Rabbits H2H $1.60 all up Roosters H2H $1.31 / $2.09 Topsport


+2.5 Raiders v Storm

Home underdogs of +4 and plus above in the first four weeks of a new season are 75.8% ATS since 2008

Home underdogs of 4 or more off a win cover at 61%, while the Raiders in this same position (home dog off a win) have covered line at 9 of last 11

Storm have a longer term dominant record over Raiders winning 25 of last 31

Storm have covered just 3 of last 12 as a road fav and just 2 of last 9 as a road / away side off a double digit win

Storm are 10-2 under in their last 12 as a road fav, and are 64% under on the road across last 55 road games

Raiders are 8 of last 12 under when back at home off a win of 13+ or more

I suggested last week that the Raiders would likely look better in defence, its a smaller more agile forward list but has much more work rate and attitude (as opposed to carrying huge big slow front rowers). The focus and mix of player also looks far less error and risk adverse, but its still early days and their opponent last week were poor and invited soft field position way too often. Bellamy is a marvel and had his team up and running from the opening moment, so well prepared, some of what they did in that opening 20 minutes was better than anything they offered in the Grand Final last year.. I expect defence will be the big focus from both sides here, Bellamy likes D to be their big winner when on the road while the Raiders look fit and well drilled, have a good H2H record at home v Storm and will turn up here. Raiders as a 4.5 home underdog is very tempting, but I like the under play here, 40 looks a high mark for a twilight game on what is likely a lightly damp field in a real tight arm wrestle.

Bet 2 units Raiders-Storm under 40.5 $1.90 Topsport BB


-6.5 Broncos v Cowboys

Cowboys have won 6 of last 10 H2H

Cowboys have lost 7 of their last 8 at Suncorp

Only 1 of the last 10 games between these two has resulted in a win margin above 10 pts

Broncos have won 7 of their last 10 at home, but have covered the line in just 2 of their last 9 as a home favourite of 4 or more

Good match up and test for both off Rd 1. Cowboys as expected played a very forward focused game, playing to the strengths of their big men with Taumalolo an obvious stand out. I thought their attack looked scratchy and basic, but having belted the Dragons up through the first 40 mins it told into the second half and more opportunities opened up for Morgan and co to open the margin up. Such a game plan won’t be as straight forward here where I expect the Broncos to want to play quick and also look to move their big men around to then later open things up in and behind them. Broncos could well have been behind by a much bigger margin last week but a few consolation points I thought, firstly once again the Storm are a fair measuring stick and I expect that game to be a decent form reference. While well out pointed the Broncos did look fit and didn’t roll over and in fact hung in and with a bit more momentum in the second half made much more of a game of it. The 9, 7 and 6 combinations worry me, I’m sure change is not too far away, they will be without Lodge and have doubt over Roberts. Expect Broncos will be much better and can win. Contest through the middle will be a good match up.


-6.5 Sharks v Titans

Titans have been good road dogs for last 3 to 4 seasons and at Shark Park it is no different where they have won 3 of last 4 straight up and have covered 8 of last 9

Sharks are very poor favs, covering just 35% as home fav at Shark Park and just 10 of last 30 when favoured by more than a converted try

Sharks look a work in progress and a watch for me, in the arm wrestle for long time last week but look short of punch and points. Dugan murders more than he offers on the right and they now have Johnson playing left and seeing half the amount of ball he has been used to in the past, big question for me given his known strike in attack. Titans were about what we expected last week, had disruption in their halves but still poor kicking game and way too many basic errors just gifted too much quality field position to their opponent. Wary they should improve with a settled halves comb this week, +7.5 is tempting but happy to leave alone.


-0.5 Knights v Panthers

Knights have covered 4 of last 5 when favoured by 3.5 or less at home

Panthers have won 6 of last 7 H2H, and 7 of last 10 in Newcastle

Panthers have covered just 9 of 27 on the road after conceding 20+ points the week prior

The Panthers have to improve here. They had a couple of shit weeks of their own doing leading into last weekend and were clearly unsettled coughing up 15 basic errors and some soft edge defence, they are far better than that and hopefully such a poor effort helps them slowly turn the corner, but it may well be a long way back. Knights did the job, but look to have dumbed things down a lot but importantly improved their defence significantly. Knights get the advantage of back to back home games, but Panthers have a good record against them and in Newcastle, looks a scratchy game, small lean to Panthers.


-8.5 Eagles v Roosters

Eagles have won 5 of the last 8 H2H

Eagles have only won 1 of their last 8 games at home at Brookvale

Roosters have covered just 3 of the last 12 when favoured by 8 pts or more

Roosters have won just 3 of their last 10 at Brookvale

While over recent time Eagles record against Roosters stacks up well not sure this is the right week. Eagles have 3 key outs and a thin bench, looked completely listless last week and all but treading water up and down in the same spot for much of the game and now face a Roosters off a disappointing loss but carrying many levels more in quality and smarts. Market now out to 10.0 between them, might not be flash but expect Roosters certainly just get the job done.

Roosters have two key late changes with both Cronk and Friend out, which closes the line back to 6.0. They still should have enough quality to get the job done.

Bet 1 units Rabbits H2H $1.60 all up Roosters H2H $1.31 / $2.09 Topsport


-0.5 Bulldogs v Eels

Eels have won 5 of last 6 H2H

The last 7 H2H between these two have failed to top 32 pts

A game between the two favs for the wooden spoon is hardly exciting. Eels have two outs from last week with Brown (probably their best forward) now out long term and jennings sidelined. The Bulldogs come off their horrible first up offering conceding 40 pts back to Homebush but with out change. Teams off a 35 pt or more last start away loss returning back home have a very high record of bounce back, and being just Rd 2 off such a dismal offering such improvement would not surprise (and against hardly too difficult an opponent), but the worry with the Bulldogs this season is going to be where their attack and points come from. Foran is stealing his money, not a patch on what he was 3 to 4 seasons ago, and they have no ball play or speed or skill around him. While the Eels come off a positive win I’m just not sure that that form is very deep, Panthers were very ordinary and riddled with error yet mid 2nd half could have stolen the final result. Lean to the Eels being prepared to do more with the ball but looks an ugly game.


-2.0 Tigers v Warriors

Tigers have covered just 9 of last 28 when favs

Tigers have covered only 4 of last 15 at Campbelltown

Interested to see what turns up here from both. Tigers likely to get Mybe back which would be a significant plus, in particular strengthen their likely attack. Tigers got the job done last week but some what flattered by their opponent in suitable conditions, but Maguire will want a low risk approach to most of what they do for now to keep them in the back end of games and importantly win ones against the likely bottom half of the table sides like last week and potentially this opponent. Campbelltown should help but their record as a home fav and at this ground is very poor. Warriors did some positive things last week, their back 5 very good, but it was meek opposition who rolled over with ease, lets see how they fare into these next few weeks with travel and tougher opponents. They get their chance here if their is any depth to what they did last week, another game that looks line ball, small lean to the home side.


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, FAQ – Why do you talk and bet in units? > answers here).


2019 Longer Term Recommended Bets

Premiership (Feb 9th)

Bet 1.5 units Broncos to win Premiership $9.00

Bet 1.5 units Panthers to win Premiership $11.00


Game Previews

Note: FYI, with the introduction of Thursday night games 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 weekend. 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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