NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 17 Round 10
NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 17 Round 10
MrG provides NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers.
NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 17 Round 10
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NRL Tips Rd 10 Game Handicaps
-4.5 Bulldogs vs Cowboys
+4.5 Dragons vs Sharks
Even Tigers vs Rabbits
-4.5 Panthers vs Warriors
-5.5 Storm vs Titans
+9.5 Sea Eagles vs Broncos
+15.5 Knights vs Raiders
-7.5 Roosters vs Eels
NRL Round 10 Recommended Bet List
Bet 2 units Dragons +8.5 $1.80 Ubet / +8.0 $1.90 Sportsbet
Bet 2 units Titans +8.5 $1.97 Ladbrokes / $1.83 Unibet / +8.0 $1.19 Crownbet
Bet 2 units Broncos -2.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / -3.5 $1.91 William Hill
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, FAQ – Why do you talk and bet in units? > answers here).
Longer Term Recommended Bets
Premiership (22nd February)
Bet 2 units Storm to win Premiership $8.00 Tabsportsbet
Most Losses / Wooden Spoon (9th March)
Bet 2 units Rabbits most losses $11.00 Ubet / William Hill
Individual Game Tips
Bulldogs, Dragons, Tigers, Panthers, Storm, Broncos, Raiders, Roosters
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).
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 @
Bulldogs vs Cowboys
The Cowboys have won 5 of their last 6 against the Bulldogs, including the last 4 straight but they have lost 3 of their last 4 and will again be without Thurston after he suffered a shoulder injury in the Test match on Friday night. The Cowboys record without JT is dreadful, with just 3 wins from their last 14. Recent meetings between the Bulldogs and Cowboys have been closely fought contests, with 9 of the last 11 decided by a margin of 1-12, while only 1 of the previous 6 meetings have tallied more than 40 points. The team to score the 1st points of the match has gone on to win 7 of the last 8 clashes. For the 1st time this season, the Cowboys find themselves positioned out of the Top 8 in 9th spot, with an attack that also ranks 9th, while they rate 12th in defence and have conceded 20 points or more in 6 of their last 8. They have lost 6 of their last 9 away games and 4 of their last 5 played in Sydney. They have won their last 4 at ANZ Stadium, but had lost 9 straight prior to then. North Queensland is 5-4 ATS with a 3-0 cover record on the road and they have also covered in 3 of their last 4 against the Dogs. In total match points they are 6-3 Under and have also had the same result in 9 of their last 13 as a road dog. Ethan Lowe crossed for 3 tries in 2 games against Canterbury in 2016, but is yet to open his account in 2017. The Dogs have won 4 of their last 5 and in all of them they had to overcome a half time deficit. In fact, the Dogs have led at half time in only 1 of their 9 matches but only twice have they been outscored in the 2 nd half. Canterbury have moved back into the Top 8 for only the 2nd time this season, they rank 4th in defence but are the 2nd worst attacking team in the NRL, averaging less than 16 PPG and only twice in their last 6 have scored more than 16. They have conceded the 1st points of the match in 7 of 9, but have scored the last points in 7 of 9. The Dogs have won 8 of their last 10 matches played at ANZ Stadium and 9 of their last 12 at the ground as a starting favourite. They are 6-3 ATS and have covered in 3 of their last 4 at ANZ Stadium, but have covered in only 1 of their last 6 at the ground as a favourite. They are 8-1 Under in total match points, with their last 7 failing to top 36 points, while 6 of their last 7 at ANZ Stadium have also gone Under.
Cowboys limp into Sydney having lost 6 of their last 9 away games and again with out key play maker in Thurston, their recent record when with out him just 3 wins from 14 games. They do get Granville and Coote back, certainly key ins from where they have been through the last month. The Bulldogs are without Reynolds, and have been tradesman like winning 4 of their last 5, also advantaged at Homebush where they have won 8 of their last 10.
Despite all of the indecision and alike about their playing list and who might be staying, coming or going the Bulldogs where much better than expected last game offering up their best win season to date at home over Raiders. Tactically Coach Hasler was sharp scoring 3 tries down the same left edge, while Hopoate first game back from injury was super and played his best game for 18 mths. With the emergence of Frawley in their halves they can cover the loss of Reynolds, and look to get the Cowboys at the right time. Defensively they have improved week by week across the last two months conceding just 11 pts a game through their last 5 outings, but we are also yet to see any real polish on their attack with 16 pts being the ceiling in 14 of their last 16 games.
With all of their injury issues across the last 2 months the Cowboys have now won just 2 of their last 5, and have been leaking 20 points or more in 6 of their last 8 which will help you get beat most weeks. They are hard to get any sort of read on as this dislocation of key positional combinations has disrupted them so much, but they should improve somewhat now getting their 9 and 1 back
I expect the Bulldogs at home can win, but I can’t play the 6 point line. They should be advantaged against a side who have been leaking 20 or more points, but the Bulldogs attack has also struggled week in week out with them only scoring a maximum of 16 points at 14 of tehir last 16 games. We either expect they can put their foot down, or just clear the line in a tight game, or it be very line ball, I think the later and will just be watching what unfolds.
Dragons vs Sharks
The Dragons have an imposing recent record against the Sharks, winning 12 of the last 17 clashes, including the previous 4 meetings played at Kogorah and 7 of the last 8 as the home team, but the Dragons are another without some key personnel and will be without the services of both Widdop and Dugan for this encounter. Generally these clashes have been low scoring affairs and only on 3 occasions in the last 20 meetings since 2007 have the match points totaled more than 40 at an average of 32. In 5 of the last 6 meetings the winning margin has been by 13+, while in 3 of the last 5 clashes a Dragons Penalty Goal has been the 1st scoring play. In the last 11 meetings 1 side has been held to 6 points or less in the 2nd half and on 6 occasions they have failed to score a 2nd half point. After 5 consecutive wins the Dragons have now suffered B2B losses, but they remain in 2nd spot on the ladder, with a defence ranking of 6th, and an attack and differential that rank as the best in the NRL. The Dragons have won 3 of 5 at home and opened the scoring in all of the 3 wins, but have lost both matches when conceding 1st. They are 6-3 ATS and have covered in 7 of their last 9 at Kogorah Oval, while they have covered in their last 6 straight at their suburban grounds as an underdog. They are 5-4 Over in total match points and have had Overs results in 6 of their last 8 at Kogorah. The Dragons have scored the opening points in 9 of their last 10 home games against the Sharks, while Euan Aitken has been the Dragons 1st try scorer in the previous 2 clashes with Cronulla. St George Illawarra has lost 10 of their last 11 Friday night matches. The Sharks come into this match after winning 5 of their last 6 and remain unbeaten on the road, winning 5 from 5. They have been positioned in the Top 4 since Round 6 off the back of their defence, which is currently the best in the League, while they rank 7th in attack, giving them a 64 point differential that rates 3rd. Cronulla is 5-4 ATS and have a perfect 5-0 cover record on the road. In total match points they are 7-2 Under, with their last 7 straight finishing that way, while 7 of their last 8 on the road have also gone Under. Valentine Holmes has scored 4 tries in his last 5 matches against the Dragons. Big home favourites have won 9 of 10 under Gerard Sutton with an 8-2 cover record since 2016.
Dragons at Kogarah have a commanding advantage but they are without Widdop and Dugan. They are 6 from 9 but have now lost their last 2 and had 14 players play rep last weekend. Sharks have won 4 of their last 5 but have lost their last 4 head to head vs their local derby rival, they had 11 rep players last weekend.
I think the markets have marked this far harder than I. Widdop is the key out, Dugan is helpful but for mine not a massive out, and I saw some positive signs from the Dragons last start vs the Storm that showed some coaching intent around playing some positive attack, up tempo, some width and not just rolling over into a grind. Both sides can defend very well, so I think we are in for a tight game, the key is the Dragons being prepared to do something and I’m more optimistic than I was 3 weeks ago. They have some other key factors then to their advantage, have won the last 4 straight, won 7 of their last 8 as the home team and are very good here at Kogarah including covering the line at 10 of their last 14 games here. They earnt the right to be near top of table through the first 9 weeks playing some credible footy, I don’t have the wheels falling off just yet, and off the motivation of two recent losses in a row against top of the table sides (Storm, Roosters) in against a rival they despise I expect they’ll be keen to aim up here.
The Sharks best is very good but as we know they can be some what inconsistent this season, again recently off two impressive and important wins vs Storm and then Panthers (both away) they then lost at home to Titans and just scraped home over Tigers. Their defence has been very good, ranked 1st in the comp at present and conceding just 13 pts a game so we should be in for another tight contest, and I have no knock on them here, they certainly can win and the markets expect that they do opening the week as 8 pt favs.
This looks a nice test for the Dragons and where they might measure up at present, and playing an arch rival with a key home ground advantage I think they are in this right up to their ears and can surprise. I certainly think the 8 point line looks a significant advantage. As suggested with two strong defensive sides this also looks a very tight low scoring game but with the markets set at 36 I do think they have that about right.
Bet 2 units Dragons +8.5 $1.80 Ubet / +8.0 $1.90 Sportsbet
Tigers vs Rabbits
The Tigers are building a dominant record over the Rabbitohs, having recorded 4 consecutive wins, 3 of them with winning margins of 16 points or more, while they have posted scores of 30 plus in all 4 wins. In 8 of the last 9 clashes and 12 of the 14 meetings at ANZ Stadium, the match points have topped 40, while a winning margin of 13+ has been the result in 8 of the last 10 encounters. The Tigers have won only 3 of 9, but 2 of those have come from 4 games under Cleary, while both losses were by 6 points or less. They have won 6 of their last 9 at ANZ Stadium and have covered a line in 7 of those. The Tigers are currently sitting in 14th spot on both the ladder proper and in attack rankings, while their defence and differential both rate 15th . They have the worst attacking record in the 2nd half and only once in their last 8 have they scored more than 6 points after the break. The Tigers are 3-6 ATS and have covered in only 1 of their last 6 as a home underdog. In total match points they are 6-3 Under and have had the same result in their last 5 straight at home as an outsider. James Tedesco has scored 7 tries in his last 8 games against Souths but he hasn’t scored at ANZ Stadium since the Tigers last played the Rabbitohs in Round 1. Souths have lost 5 of their last 6, with their last outing their biggest defeat since Round 21 last year, while they have also lost 8 of their last 10 at ANZ Stadium and 16 of their previous 19 Friday night matches. No side has conceded more 1st half points than the Rabbits (140) and only twice this season have they gone to half time with a lead. They are languishing in 13th spot, with an attack that ranks 12th , while they rank 13th in defence and have conceded 20 points or more in their last 6. They are 4-5 ATS and have covered in only 2 of their last 6 when laying 4 points or less, while they have covered in only 3 of their last 10 at Homebush. Souths are 5-4 Over in total match points, with 3 of their last 4 totalling 41 or more. The Rabbitohs have conceded the last try of the match in their last 7 straight. Bryson Goodwin has scored 6 tries in his last 4 matches against the Tigers.
Tricky game for mine, and I have nothing rated between them with a slight lean to the Tigers.
Both sides have some key list changes, but if anything there is more confidence around what the Tigers might be doing at present under new Coach Cleary. They have near halved the number of points they have been conceding each week and clearly been more positive and committed in attitude and effort. They also have a very good recent record vs the Rabbits winning the last 4 and rattling up big scores / margins in each, with their style of play and ball shift running the Rabbits around, exposing their top heavy forward approach and opening their D up at will.
The Rabbits have now lost 5 of their last 6, but off a break might well have freshened up their attitude (and desperation) into this game, but they are hard to like or trust and they can crumble quickly (as we saw in their last non effort vs Eagles).
I’m with the Tigers, think there’s a lot more positive stuff happening there right now, but not a game I want to play with.
Panthers vs Warriors
The Panthers have won 6 of the last 8 meetings with the Warriors, including 4 straight wins at home, scoring 22 points or more in all of the 4 home wins. Meetings between these 2 sides are usually high scoring affairs and since 2007, 15 of the 18 clashes have resulted in match points of 36 or more at an average of nearly 48. The home team has won 6 of the previous 7 meetings, while the half time leader has won only 5 of the last 9 clashes. The Panthers have now lost 5 in a row and conceded 18 points or more in all of those losses. They are in 15th spot on the ladder, with their only win in the last 7 weeks coming against the only side to sit lower than they on the table. Penrith are ranked 11th in both attack and defence, giving them a -29 point differential that rates 12th . In their last 3 matches, they have failed to score a 1st half try, while they have failed to score a 2nd half try in 3 of their last 7. The Panthers are the worst cover team in the NRL, producing a 2-7 result and have failed to cover in their last 5 straight, but they have covered in their last 4 against the Warriors. Penrith is 6-3 Under in total match points and have a 10-4 Under record in day games at home since 2014. Tyrone Peachey has scored 5 tries in his last 3 games against the Warriors. The Warriors are yet to win on the road in 2017, losing 4 from 4, but have produced much better performances in recent weeks, despite dropping 2 of their last 3. They will need to overcome a very poor long term record away from home, having won only 2 of their last 12, while they have won just 2 of their last 22 as a road outsider. They come into this match in 11th spot, with an attack ranking of 13th , while they rank 10th in defence. The Warriors are 3-6 ATS and since 2014 they have covered in only 8 of 25 matches away from home. They are in heavy favour of the Unders in total match points, producing a 7-2 result, with only 1 of their last 8 totaling more than 38, while their last 6 when starting as an underdog have also finished Under. The Warriors last 5 matches have all been decided by a margin of 1-12 points and only once in their 9 matches have they scored more than 6 2nd half points. Home teams have covered only 1 of the last 9 matches under Ben Cummins.
Another two teams who profile as hard to trust into this. Both teams had heavy rep commitments last weekend, Panthers 15 players, Warriors 14. Panthers are at home but off 5 straight losses and clearly in the media spot light, their attack is spluttering at best and they just keep leaking points in particular through the middle, plus 20 points at 4 of their last 5 losses including scores of 32, 28, 21 and 28. The key to the Warriors is how they aim up on the road into Sydney (their worst away venue), they have lost all away games season to date and 10 of their last 12.
The plus for the Warriors might be with so many of them in the Kiwi national side that crumbled so poorly last week Coach Kearney can put it to them to re focus, they are better than that and aim up again. Their 3 offering before last weekend were their best for probably 3 years, close to Raiders (away), stretched Storm (away) and then won a close tight game at home vs Roosters. In each of these efforts their defence has been very good, as has the influence of Foran. I am expecting them to be something like this again, but lack any significant conviction given such a poor road record.
Surely its nearly D Day for the Panthers, personally I don’t think they can make the 8 from here. I can argue two positives for them out of the last 2 weeks, once the game was dead and gone against the Broncos they threw off the rigid attack structure that has buried them to date and reverted to playing to the attacking skill and strengths of last year – was this a light bulb moment for the coach and do we now see more of this? My mail is Coach Griffin gave them an almighty spray post game, so it would seem he is locked into what he wants. The other likely positive is having a high number of players play rep footy last week, get away from the current club issues and hopefully freshen up. Time will tell, but as you know I am not a rap on the coach.
The home team has won 6 of the last 7 times these two have met, the Panthers desperately need a win, I’m with them, but both very much on trust.
Storm vs Titans
Played in Brisbane
A change of venue for the Melbourne Storm, moving a home game to Suncorp Stadium where they have won their last 7 straight. The Storm also has an imposing record over the Titans, winning 9 of the last 11 encounters, while they have posted scores of 34 plus in the last 3 meetings. There have been plenty of points on offer in recent encounters, with 5 of the last 6 clashes having topped 44 points. The Storm are the ladder leaders with the 2nd best defense and the 6th ranked attack. They have won 8 of their 9 matches, including 5 wins from 5 matches played away from AAMI Park, while they have won 23 of their last 26 as a home favourite. In 6 of their last 7, the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while they have scored 20 points or more in 5 of their last 6. Melbourne is 5-4 ATS and has covered in only 4 of their last 11 when conceding more than a converted try, but they have won all of those 11. They are 7-2 Under in total match points and 8-3 Under from their last 11 as a big favourite. Melbourne has scored 22 tries from the last 3 meetings against the Titans and only 4 of them were scored via their left edge. Cooper Cronk and Suliasa Vunivalu both scored doubles when they last met the Titans. The Titans are looking for 3 consecutive wins for the 1st time in 12 months after recording solid wins against the Sharks and Knights, but will need to overcome a poor record at Suncorp Stadium, where they haven’t won for 5 years and have lost 14 of their last 16 at the ground. They are currently 12th on the ladder, with the 4th best attack, but are a lowly 14th in defence and have conceded 24 points or more in 6 of 9. Like Melbourne, Gold Coast is also 5-4 ATS and has covered in 10 of their last 13 when getting a start of more than 6 points. In total match points the Titans the No 1 Overs side, producing an 8-1 result with an average of 48 PPG.
Storm play this game in Brisbane, and have an excellent long term record at the ground including winning their last 7 straight here. But they have 3 very key forward outs in J Bromwich, Welch and Asofa-Solomona – all 3 of them middle 3rd forwards, they also had 15 players play rep footy last weekend. Titans have a very poor record at this ground winning just 2 of their last 16 here, but they only had 6 players on rep duties last weekend and on the back of getting key players back have now won their last two.
Although the Titans lose Proctor on the back of getting key players back each of the last three weeks they have named just about their strongest line up season to date, with at last some choice in who they play. But for a lucky late play against them they should have beat the Broncos here 3 games ago, with key ins and some further desperation they then beat the Sharks on the road and accounted for the Knights last start in the end with some ease, notably with the right people back on the park their defence has tightened up. But they are still 3 from 9 and so under pressure to keep building some wins, and winning form, and with the advantage of this last week off and only 6 players playing in the rep games I’m sure Coach Henry has focused on setting them up for a major effort here. And while their record in Brisbane is not flash it is certainly a step down from the difficulties of trying to beat the Storm in Melbourne.
Clearly the Storm are the current benchmark, but this and potentially these next few weeks will be a real test for them in the middle, as losing Jessie Bowmwich is significant (arguably the best front rower in the game at present) but this on top of also losing two other key middle forwards and depth makes things even more difficult. Their work in holding their middle, in getting forward, and in particular their kicking game and trying to play as much footy at the right end will be key, but they also have an outstanding defensive system and structure, and Bellemy has a knack of getting any of his players heads right to just keep turning up play after play, under duress.
Handicapping this game was interesting. J Bromwich, Welch and Asofa-Solomona have all been key top list players playing each week, Bromwich clearly a key, Asofa-Solomona certainly on the up. The collective out for me was at least 4 pts, and while the Storm have a very good record here this ground doesn’t carry the normal 5 or so point advantage that they playing at home in Melbourne does. The Titans with the majority of their key players back, just the one key out (Proctor); not travelling interstate away, off two wins and improving D I have rated near their best, and so likely 4 to 6 point gap between them, a likely tight game.
I can’t tip against the Storm still being good enough to get the job done, they are just so disciplined and workman like in what they do, and defensively when up against it they make a habit of turning up. But this is not straight forward, they are some risk with these key outs and the Titans do look on the improve. Coach Henry’s tactics here will be interesting, working them over through the middle looks obvious, and certainly a must, but the Storm have also been caught out on occasions when teams have been prepared to play some ball shift and up tempo attack and try and run them around, in particular a) go forward, b) go wide, then c) come back through the middle with some speed and agility, which they also have.
Looks a good contest, but I suspect and have it marked as the plus start an advantage.
Bet 2 units Titans +8.5 $1.97 Ladbrokes / $1.83 Unibet / +8.0 $1.19 Crownbet
Sea Eagles vs Broncos
+9.5 Sea Eagles
The 2nd match of the Suncorp double header will see the Sea Eagles hosting the Broncos at the venue for the 2 nd year in a row. The Sea Eagles suffered a big defeat against Brisbane in the corresponding match last year, with the Broncos running out 24 point winners. There has been little separating the Sea Eagles and Broncos over the years, with Manly holding a 21-20 all time advantage, while there has been 1 draw. The Broncos have been comprehensive winners in the previous 3 clashes at Suncorp Stadium, with all 3 wins being by 24 points or more. In 6 of the last 9 meetings at Suncorp Stadium the total match points have tallied 42 or more, while Brisbane have opened the scoring in 9 of the last 10 match ups at the ground (6 tries & 3 penalty goals). The Sea Eagles have won their last 2 and are yet to be beaten away from Brookvale Oval, winning 4 from 4 and in all 4 of those, the 1st scoring play has been via a penalty goal. Manly are in 6th spot on the table, with the 2nd best attack in the League, but are ranked 9th in defence. They have scored 18 points or more in 7 of their last 8, but have conceded 18 or more in 3 of their last 4. Manly is 6-3 ATS, covering in 6 of their last 7, as well as covering in their 8 of their last 10 away from Brookvale. In total match points they are 5-4 in favour of the Under, while they are 12-3 Under away from Brookvale since Round 8 last year. Brisbane come into this match off the back of 4 consecutive wins, while they have also won their last 4 at Suncorp, making it 26 wins from their last 32 at the ground long term. For the 1st time this season, the Broncos are in the Top 4, with an attack and defence that both rank 5th. Despite missing Ben Hunt for the last 3 matches, no side has scored more points than the Broncos in the last month, who have averaged 28 PPG during that time. Brisbane is 4-5 ATS, but has a 23-14 cover record at Suncorp since 2014 when laying a start. They are 6-3 Over in total match points, with their last 4 all totaling 40 or more, while they have a 27-17 Over record in night games at Suncorp since 2014.
Note this is the second of the Saturday double header played at Suncorp, so although the Eagles ate the host they play the Broncos on their favoured home turf. Possibly an over reaction by the markets to the Eagles being 5 from 9 and having won their last two but I’m just not sure how they have ended up at such a low handicap position here.
The Eagles have now won 4 from 4 on the road including a good away win in Canberra, but some of that winning form still carries some question marks over it with the Raiders now looking in a bit of a slump and then a win over the hapless Rabbits who themselves have now lost 5 of their last 6 games. But the Eagles have been positive, off a couple of dips across these last 10 weeks they have responded well and this will be another nice test. They have some grunt in the middle which matches up to advantage vs the Broncos, Taupau and Jake Trbojevic have been very good while Cherry-Evans, Walker and Tom Trbojevic have then had some room to play and led their attack.
The Broncos have won their last 4 straight but are with out Hunt and possibly Roberts (but 3 of those 4 wins have come when without Hunt). They were very good through the first 30 mins last game vs the Panthers running their attack to advantage, and its been clear in parts or all of their last 4 games that they have a focus on playing to their attacking strengths, scoring 32, 25, 24 and 32 in attack in each of these games. They also have a significant advantage at this ground with a longer term win record of 81%, winning 26 of tehir last 32 here and more recently 8 of their last 9. This ground is normally at least a 5 point advantage to them, yet the markets mark this a 3.5 gap between teams? They are either trying to suggest that the Eagles are now rated very close to the Broncos, and then the Broncos outs are significant handicaps, or they have been to generous either side of the ledger. I certainly have it different, while 6 from 9 is just one win more than the Eagles season to date the Broncos have come through the strongest form line in the comp at present including the Sharks (away), Cowboys when at full strength, Raiders, Storm and Roosters. I have the Broncos currently rated a potentially top 4 side, the Eagles possibly a top 8 side, then we have the game being played in Brisbane. The Broncos won this game under the same scenario (Eagles hosting it in Brisbane) 30-6 last season.
Another game that looks a good contest, and a good test for the Eagles, but I like the depth around the Broncos form and the obvious advantage they have when at home.
Bet 2 units Broncos -2.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / -3.5 $1.91 William Hill
Knights vs Raiders
The Knights have won only 1 of the last 7 clashes with the Raiders, while they have won only 1 of the previous 5 meetings in Newcastle. Both meetings last season ended in a draw after 80 minutes, the Raiders winning the Round 17 clash with a Golden Try, while the scores were still locked after extra time in the Round 3 encounter. Prior to 2016 though, 13 of the 15 match ups had been decided by a margin of 13+. There have been plenty of points on offer in recent times, with the last 4 all topping 48, while 12 of the last 14 have totaled 40 or more. A Raiders try has been the 1st scoring play in 5 of the last 6 meetings, while the 1st try of the match has been scored by the 8th minute in 9 of the last 11. The Knights have lost 7 on the trot and have just 2 wins to their credit since the start of the 2016 season. They have conceded 22 points or more in 8 of their 9 matches, while they haven’t scored more than 18 points since Round 2. Newcastle sits in last place on the ladder and has done so for the last month with the worst attack and defensive records in the NRL. They are 3-6 ATS and have failed to cover in 6 of their last 7, while they have also failed to cover in their last 4 at home with a double digit advantage. In total match points they are 6-3 Under, but have had Overs results in 6 of the last 7 clashes with Canberra. After 3 consecutive wins, the Raiders have now suffered B2B losses, which has seen them drop out of the Top 8 to sit in 10th spot. They are ranked 3rd in attack and 7th in defence, giving them a 51 point differential that rates 4 th. Canberra is 6-3 ATS and has covered in 11 of their last 12 on the road, while they have covered in their last 5 straight away from home in day time matches. They are 5-4 Under in total match points, but have had Over results in 14 of their last 16 day games, including their last 9 straight, while their long term record in day games is 34-10 Over dating back to 2014. Raiders Captain Jarrod Croker has scored 7 tries in his last 6 matches against the Knights, crossing for at least 1 try in 5 of the last 6 matches.
On paper, on numbers and form the Raiders should be winning this by 3 tries, and I’m in line with the market at a 14 to 16 pt gap. The Raiders come off two back to back losses and only had 5 players play rep footy last week and so should well have a freshen up into this and also have a good recent away record at the line covering 11 of their last 12. They do lose Papalili. Knights off two away games play at home where they offer their best, they to should also benefit from a week off, but still have key player outs in Buhrer, Barnett and Stone – all three of them quality forwards which they need while Hodkinson also remains on the outer leaving two your freshman halves in charge.
The Raiders were poor last start vs the Bulldogs, more importantly their looked some attitude and complacent issues which I’m sure Stuart has been all over across the last 10 days. Anywhere near their best they should be too strong but with some very inconsistent results this weekend off the back of a rep weekend off I don’t want to play with a 16 point line.
Roosters vs Eels
The Roosters have won 7 of the last 10 clashes with the Eels, including the last 4 clashes at Allianz Stadium, where they have had an average winning margin of nearly 32 points. The home team has won 6 of the previous 7 encounters, while 7 of the last 9 meetings have totaled 40 points or more, with an average of 47. After opening their account with 4 straight wins, the Roosters have now won only 2 of their last 5. They are currently holding down 5th spot on the ladder (their lowest position after 9 Rounds), with the 3rd best defensive record, but it’s their attack that needs to improve as they are currently ranked 10th and only once in their last 5 matches have they posted a score of more than 13 points. The Tri-Colours have a 4-5 record ATS and have covered in only 1 of their last 8 when laying a small start, while they have also failed to cover in their last 3 against the Eels. They are 6-3 Under in total match points, with only 1 of their last 7 surpassing 30, while they are 21-13 Under as a home favourite since 2014. After 4 consecutive losses, Parramatta has now won 3 in a row, which has them in the Top 8 for the 1st time since Round 3. Both their attack and defence rank 8th, giving them a 6 point differential that also ranks 8th . The Eels are 5-4 ATS and have covered in 8 of their last 10 day time matches. Parramatta is 5-4 Under in total match points and has had Unders result in 6 of their last 7 as a road dog. Home teams have covered in only 1 of the last 12 matches with Grant Atkins in charge.
I found this game very hard to handicap, with much difficulty settled on 7.5 but could well have had it closer to 5.5. Both sides only low rep honors last weekend, Roosters 9 Eels 7 and so should benefit from a freshen up first week, Roosters are without SKD and Lui and see the return of Mitchell, the Eels without Takairangi and F Pritchard. The home team has won 6 of the last 7 between these two.
This looks a very physical game, both sides have some big boys in the middle and like to work over their opponent. Will Smith has done a good job recently for the Eels at 6 offering some basic yet positive link play at 6 which they have desperately needed, playing straighter when required and getting good ball to the right people. French back at #1 is also a major plus and can add some speed and polish to some of their attack options. I’m always very wary of Arthur coached teams off a freshen up and time to target and focus on a game as he is very astute and a good motivator.
The Roosters come through a couple of tight games that have some depth, close loss / low scoring game to Warriors (away), close win / low scoring game vs Dragons, and this looks very much the same. Liu is a loss in the middle, Mitchell has a point to prove, and they have a number of players wanting to impress for potential Origin spots.
This already looks a tight affair, the weather forecast then suggests possible light rain during the afternoon which if it arrives should only bring them closer. I lean to the Roosters at home, off two good offerings, but am very wary that the Eels have also won their last 3 straight and have a game style to suit this contest. Not a game to bet into for me.
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