NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017 Round 20

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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017 Round 20

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


2017: Profit +12.98 units | 32 winners / 56 bets | strike rate 57.1%

2013-17: Profit +110.47 units | 329 winners / 602 bets | strike rate 54.7%

2017 Results File Rd15_RTP_NRL Results_2017


Rd 20 Game Handicaps

MrG’s Ratings

-11.5 Broncos vs Bulldogs

-13.5 Roosters vs Knights

-14.5 Sharks vs Rabbits

-4.5 Panthers vs Titans

+5.5 Raiders vs Storm

-12.5 Cowboys vs Warriors

-2.5 Dragons vs Sea Eagles

+9.5 Tigers vs Eels


NRL Round 20 Recommended Bet List

Bet 3 units Broncos -7.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / $1.88 William Hill

Bet 3 units Sharks tri bet to win over 6.5 $1.78 Sportsbet / $1.75 CrownBet

Bet 2 units Dragons +3.5 $1.92 CrownBet / +2.5 $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

Broncos, Roosters, Sharks, Panthers, Storm, Cowboys, Dragons, Eels


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).

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


Broncos vs Bulldogs

-11.5 Broncos

Stats

The SOO Series is now done and dusted and the run home in the NRL begins in earnest when the Broncos host the Bulldogs from Suncorp Stadium to kick of Round 20. The Bulldogs have won 3 of the last 4 meetings with the Broncos, while Brisbane has won 4 of the previous 5 encounters at Suncorp Stadium. In the last 11 meetings, 9 of them have been decided by a winning margin of 1-12 points, while no side has had fewer 13+ margin results than the Broncos and Bulldogs. Low scoring matches have been common place in recent meetings, with 9 of the last 11, including 4 of the last 5 at Suncorp Stadium all failing to breach 38. The Broncos return home where they have won 7 of their last 8, while they have also won 7 of their last 8 against a bottom 8 opponent. They have moved back into the Top 4, with the 3rd best attack, while they rank 8th in defence. Brisbane are 9-8 ATS and have covered in 4 of their last 5 as a starting favourite, while they have covered in 13 of their last 19 when laying more than 8 points. Home favourites of more than a converted try are 40-29 ATS since 2014 in the closing Rounds after the Origin Series. In total match points they are 10-7 Over while 6 of their last 8 against a bottom 8 opponent have tallied 42 or more. The Broncos have won 6 of 8 with a half time lead, but has been a 50/50 proposition when trailing at the break, producing a 4-4 result. A Broncos try has been the 1 st scoring play in the previous 5 clashes with the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have had the week off, but have lost 3 of their last 4 off a Bye, while they have lost 7 of 9 this season against a Top 8 opponent and 6 of 7 as the away team. It’s only the 3rd time this season that the Dogs will play a game outside of NSW (the other 2 were in New Zealand) and they have lost 5 of their last 6 matches classed as distant away/interstate. Canterbury remains in 13th spot on the ladder, with the 4th best defensive record, but they are the worst attacking team in the NRL, averaging 14.1 PPG. The Bulldogs are 10-7 ATS and have an 8-3 cover record as an underdog, but have covered in only 1 of their last 6 interstate. They are the Number 1 Unders side in the competition, with a 14-3 record, including their last 6 straight, while 4 of the last 5 against Brisbane have tallied 34 or less. They have led at half time on only 3 occasions this season, winning 2 of 3, while they have lost 9 of 14 when trailing at the break. Big home favourites have won 10 of the last 13 under Grant Atkins, with a 9-4 Under record.

Preview

Broncos 11 (wins) and 6 (losses) and competing for a top 4 spot through these last 7 rounds into the finals. The last 6 weeks or so have not been with out their issues for them (losing 3 of their last 6) with both Origin representation and disruption and a number of key injury outs but Bennett would be very pleased given their season to date that they sit 4th and have a decent shot of now securing a top 4 spot for the finals. They get additional players back this week and I expect will be much improved for the run (and away win) last week in Newcastle. While the Bulldogs have got them a few times in Sydney through recent years (two of those in heavy wet conditions) they have an excellent record when back at home winning 11 of their last 13 here and 5 of their last 8 vs Bulldogs at home. As most teams sitting in the top 8 do, they have a good record at winning vs the bottom 8 with a 7 of 8 record season to date.

The Bulldogs shite season continues with a near significant loss last start at Belmore scraping home with a last minute (and very lucky) 2 pt win over the 16th placed side, Knights. They were 10 behind with 6 minutes to go and lucky to escape, and once again struggled with points (only 10 with just 6 mins to go) at home against the weakest defence in the comp, tehir attack still rated the 16th in the comp. They have now lost 6 of their last 8 games, have lost 7 of 9 vs top 8 sides and have a terrible away record, worst still when they play distant away games (which they very rarely do). They remain with key out in captain Graham, miss his leadership and direction, and for what ever reason remain so flat footed and clunky with the ball more often than not consistently playing sideways – through this recent rep period and with Graham missing their attack average has dropped even further to just 11 pts per game.

The Broncos right edge has been their favoured attacking option and success this season, with Hunt, Gillett and Roberts forming a nice combination, Roberts in particular being positioned far more often with some room and early ball. Bennett’s normal focus post Origin is back to the basics, minimise errors, ball control, completions, kick & field position and quality defensive attitude, do teh basics well and it will just build pressure on your opponent and present you with opportunity and this game shapes up very much this way. The Bulldogs are a side that you just wear down, slowly mount points and scoreboard pressure and look to control the game. The Broncs should be suited back at home and let discipline lay the foundation to their game result.

Bet 3 units Broncos -7.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / $1.88 William Hill


Roosters vs Knights

-13.5 Roosters

Stats

The Roosters have won 7 of the last 8 meetings with the Knights and are unbeaten against Newcastle at Allianz Stadium since 2011, winning 5 straight. In 7 of the last 8 meetings, the winning margin has been by 13+, with the Roosters winning all of those, while 4 of the previous 5 clashes have finished Unders in total match points. The Roosters have had the week off and have lost only 2 of their last 10 off a Bye, while they have won 8 of their last 9 at Allianz Stadium. They have won 8 of 10 against a bottom 8 opponent, while they are unbeaten in their last 10 matches when starting as a double digit favourite. The Roosters have moved to 2nd spot on the ladder, with an attack and defence that both rank 6th, while their 53 point differential also ranks 6th. They are 7-10 ATS and have covered in 4 of their last 5 when laying a double digit advantage, while they have also covered in 5 of the previous 7 clashes with the Knights. In total match points they are 9-8 Under, with 6 of their last 8 against a bottom 8 side also finishing that way. The Roosters have led at half time in 7 of the last 8 clashes with the Knights and remain unbeaten this season with a half time lead, winning 10 from 10, while they have won only 2 of 6 when trailing at the break. The Roosters have scored the 1st try of the match in 6 of their last 7 against the Knights, while they have scored the last try in 8 of the last 9 encounters. Blake Ferguson has scored 6 tries in his last 4 matches against Newcastle. The Knights look destined for their 3rd Wooden Spoon in 3 seasons and will play a Top 8 opponent in 5 of their last 7. They remain winless on the road in 2017 and have lost 22 straight without the home ground advantage. Newcastle remains in last position, with the worst defence and differential, while they rank 14th in attack and they have spent 30 of the previous 37 Rounds in 16th spot. In 3 of their last 4 they have conceded 32 points or more, while they have conceded an average of almost 30 PPG in their last 8 matches against the Roosters. They are 8-9 ATS and have a 9-13 cover record since 2014 as a double digit road dog. The Knights are 9-8 Over in total match points, with 7 of their last 9 totaling 45 or more. They have lost 8 of 9 with a half time lead, while they have lost 7 of 8 when trailing at the break. In the last 4 clashes with the Roosters, the Knights have failed to score a 1st half point.

Preview

While the Roosters win they have some key outs which weakens their position considerably and so I’d suggest questions where they might sit against a long line of 16. Friend is a significant out in the middle, massive work rate direction and leadership, Cordner a key forward out and then Gordon at the back, safe, quality finisher and key goal kicker. Knights keep getting close but find it very difficult to close out any finishing position, either when close, leading or within sight, they just don’t have long periods (longer than 20 minutes) of intensity and concentration in them. Their attack continues to improve each week but they still have some problems in their halves, and when they start to leak can leak 2 to 3 tries very quickly and now average 28 pts in D a game!

Roosters should win, they’ve won 7 of their last 8 over the Knights and at home should be too strong, but they are under strength. No interest for me, but if I had to do anything it would be with more interest with the +15.5 than conceding it.


Sharks vs Rabbits

-14.5 Sharks

Stats

The only match of the Round featuring 2 last start losers will see Cronulla host the Rabbitohs from Shark Park. There has been little between the 2 sides since 2011, with both sides recording 5 wins apiece, while the Sharks have won 4 of the last 5 matches played in the Shire. In 6 of the last 7 meetings the total match points have finished Under, while only once in the previous 9 clashes have the match points totaled more than 40. The 1 st points of the match have proved crucial, with the team to score the 1st points going on to win the last 9 encounters. The Sharks are coming off their biggest loss of the season and have now lost 3 of their last 5, while they have conceded 22 points or more in 3 of their last 4 after having conceded more than 18 in just of their 1st 13 matches. They are yet to lose B2B matches in 2017, while they have won 6 of 8 against a bottom 8 opponent. Cronulla has slipped from 2nd to 5th on the ladder and are 1 of 4 teams locked on 26 points fighting for a Top 4 finish. They rank 11th in attack, but along with Melbourne, they share the best defensive record in the NRL, while their 65 point differential ranks 4th. The Sharks are the worst cover team in the competition, producing a 6-11 result and have failed to cover in 9 straight games at home, while they have also covered in just 1 of their last 9 when laying more than a converted try. In total match points they are 12-5 in favour of the Under, with only 2 of their last 8 at home breaching 37. They have gone to half time with a lead on just 6 occasions, winning 5 of those, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 6 of 11. The Rabbitohs are looking at 3 consecutive losses for the 3rd time this season, while it’s the 3rd week in a row they face a Top 8 side and they have now lost 9 in row against those in the top half of the ladder. It’s the 3rd straight week that the Rabbitohs will have to travel and they have lost 6 of their last 7 at venues other than ANZ Stadium. They have dropped to 14th on the ladder, their equal lowest position since Round 1, with an attack and defence that both rank 12th. Souths are 9-8 ATS and have covered in their last 3 when getting more than a converted try advantage. They are 10-7 Under in total match points, with 6 of their last 8 finishing that way, while 6 of their last 7 away games have also finished Unders. Home favourites laying more than a converted try are 1-10 ATS with a 10-1 Under number in matches with Ben Cummins in charge.

Preview

The Sharks have struggled to handle the rep / Origin period all that well this season, as premiers and a winning form team through the last 18 months they’ve seen their rep representation rise significantly – and now take its toll, with them losing 3 of their last 5, 2 of these post an Origin game and conceding 22 pts or more at 4 of their last 5 games. But I’m prepared to cut them some slack and expect that they will balance up ok through this and these next few weeks and look to get their season back on track as a top 4 contender as the finals period approaches. They have also already shown us a number of times this season that they can and do respond well off a poor offering, their last win a perfect example when thumping the Roosters only weeks ago after a post Origin loss to the Eagles. They come into this at full strength and face an opponent that they should measure up well against on the right week ,they also come off two away games to now return home, a key factor for mine.

The Rabbits have an ask here for mine. They are already up against it on form with a 6 and 11 season, have lost 8 of their last 11 and their last 9 straight vs top 8 sides and now face their 3rd away game in a row and a 5 day turn around off a distant travel leg from Cairns (and remembering that their record across recent years when coming off distant way games is very poor). After leading 6-0 last week the Cowboys just wore them down with disciplined footy and field position while the Rabbits (as they so often do) invited them into the game with a) multiple basic handling errors and b) soft try line defence, but having lost 8 of tehir last 11 this has not been uncommon for them most weeks. I’m not sure how the markets had them at -6.5 to start this week, I’d suggest they’ve under valued the Sharks far more than I off their recent form but I found it hard to get the handicap on paper any shorter than where I have it.

The key factor here is how do we expect the Sharks to play and aim up. I expect they’ll re group this week, knuckle down and roll their sleeves up again with a good offering, and also be suited back at home and on a dry track against a side struggling with their own form, discipline and a 3rd tough away leg.

Bet 3 units Sharks tri bet to win over 6.5 $1.78 Sportsbet / $1.75 CrownBet


Panthers vs Titans

-4.5 Panthers

Stats

The Panthers have won 5 of the last 7 clashes with the Titans, but the Gold Coast has won 2 of the last 3 meetings played at Pepper Stadium. In 11 of the last 14 meetings, the winning margin has been by 13+, while the 1st try of the match has been scored by the 7th minute in 6 of the last 7 clashes. The total match points have finished Unders in 4 of the last 6 encounters, with only 2 of them surpassing 40. The Panthers have won 2 in a row and 6 of their last 8 to sit just outside the Top 8. They have won 7 of 9 against their bottom 8 counterparts but have an average record at Pepper Stadium this season, winning 3 of 6. Penrith have spent the last month in 9th spot and have spent a total of just 4 Rounds in the Top 8, with a season high of 5th. They rank 7th in attack and 10th in defence, with a 21 point differential that ranks 9th. They are 7-10 ATS and have covered in their last 3 home games, while they have a 7-9 cover record since 2014 as a small home favourite. Small home favourites are 13-21 ATS in the final 7 Rounds since 2014. In total match points they are 9-8 Under, but 6 of their last 7 against a bottom 8 opponent have finished Overs. The Panthers have won 6 of 7 with a half time lead, but have lost 7 of 9 when trailing at the break. A Panthers try has been the 1st scoring play in the previous 6 clashes with the Titans. The Titans are on a bit of a roll, winning 3 in a row and will be looking to make it 4 straight for the 1st time since 2014. They have won 5 of their last 6 matches played in Sydney, while they are the only side in 2017 to have beaten both of last year’s Grand Finalists. They are currently 12th and it’s unlikely they will play Finals football, needing to win at least 6 of their last 8. The Titans have been strong in attack, scoring 20 or more in their last 4, to rank 4th, but it’s their defence where they have struggled, with a ranking of 14th, conceding an average of more than 24 PPG. They are 9-8 ATS and have a great cover record in Sydney, with 13 covers from their last 15 matches, while they have a 25-11 cover record since 2014 when playing interstate. In total match points the Titans are the Number 1 Overs side in the NRL, producing a 12-5 result and 4 of their last 5 have tallied 40 or more. Gold Coast has won 3 of 8 matches, both when leading and trailing at half time. In their last 7 matches the Titans have conceded the last try of the match.

Preview

Looked one of the more even and difficult games few the weekend. The Panthers have won 6 of their last 8 but have only the 1 win over a top 8 side this season, come off an away win over the Warriors in Auckland last week and should be favoured back at home. They have a key out in Merrin but do get Wallace and Moylan back. Their attack continues to be bloody frustrating to watch with clearly little plan of what they are setting up to do, or how to do it, but a shinning light has been young Nathan Cleary’s form through recent weeks in particular in carving up the Warriors last week. The kid knows when and how to run, and can play direct, for the Panthers sake they need him in this form and Moylan not far behind.

The Titans come off 3 straight wins but I find it hard to get a real handle on the quality of what they have been doing, they thumped a very poor Tigers, beat an equally flat and poor Dragons and they can up with a good win last week over the Sharks but in teaming heavy rain and wet conditions against an opponent clearly off. The positives certainly are that they are winning, and they have on offer here probably as strong a team line up as they have put out this season off the back of getting players back over recent weeks. On a dry track at a tough venue this will be a very good test.

The Panthers sit in 9th spot with a sniff of a chance to make the finals, while the Titans have a slim chance on numbers, so an important game for both, but I’d suggest more expectation on the Panthers with a strong team list and at home. The one knock I have had for the Titans this season has been how loose their defence has generally been, most unlike a Henry coached team or their offerings of recent seasons, but in getting key players back through recent weeks this has improved markedly, but this will be a better guide and tougher test.

Panthers were again good at home 2 weeks ago (but then ably assisted by the ref), their longer term record here is an advantage, I thought that gave them a small advantage.


Raiders vs Storm

+5.5 Raiders

Stats

The Storm has won 27 of 38 all-time against the Raiders and has a dominate record at GIO Stadium, winning 12 of 19, with all 12 of those wins coming from the last 15 meetings at the ground since 2003. The home team has won only 4 of the previous 11 meetings, while the last 4 clashes have all finished Unders in match points with an average of 30.5. The Raiders ended a 4 game losing slump last start, with a home win against the Dragons and will be looking for B2B home wins for the 1st time since Round 7. It’s been a season of “what if’s” for Canberra, with 4 Golden Point matches resulting in 3 losses, while they have had a further 3 losses by 6 points or less. They have won only 4 of 11 against the Top 8, while they have just 1 win from 8 matches against the Top 6. The Raiders are currently 10th with a 7-10 record giving them 18 points, which leaves them 2 wins outside the Top 8. They rank 5th in attack and 11th in defence, a significant drop when compared to the same time last year when they ranked 2nd and 7th to sit 5th. Canberra is 9-8 ATS and has covered in 5 of their last 6 as a home underdog, while they have also covered in 4 of their last 5 against the Storm. They are 9-8 Under in total match points, with a 7-4 Under record against the Top 8. The Raiders have lost 5 of 7 when trailing at half time, while they have won 4 of 7 when leading at the break. Only 2 of the Raiders last 11 matches have been decided by a margin of 13+, while the 1st try of the match has been scored by the 7th minute in 11 of their last 13. Melbourne will be fresh off the break and will welcome back all of their Origin stars. They have won their last 4 off a Bye, with 3 of them being by 18 points or more. They have won 8 of 9 on the road this season, their only defeat coming in a Golden Point loss to the Roosters when they were without 6 regulars. Only once this season have they been beaten by a side currently sitting outside of the Top 8, while they have won 13 of their last 14 as a road favourite. The Storm have spent the last 12 weeks on top of the table and currently boast the best defensive record in the NRL, while they rank 2nd in attack, giving them a 120 point differential which is also the best in the League. They are 9-8 ATS and have covered in 9 of their last 13 as a road favourite, while they have also covered in 13 of their last 17 on the road when laying 6 points or less. Melbourne is 10-7 Under in total match points, while they have had Unders results in 14 of their last 21 as a road favourite. They have won 10 of 13 with a half time lead, while they have won 2 from 3 when trailing at the break. Cooper Cronk has been Melbourne’s 1st try scorer in his last 2 matches against the Raiders.

Preview


Cowboys vs Warriors

-12.5 Cowboys

Stats

The final Saturday match for the Round has the Cowboys hosting the Warriors in Townsville. Both sides have recorded 18 wins apiece from the 36 matches played all-time, while wins have also been split evenly from the previous 10 encounters. The Warriors have lost their last 3 straight against the Cowboys, while wins in Townsville have proved even harder to come by, with the Warriors winning only 1 of their last 11 matches at 1300SMILES Stadium dating back to 2003. In 5 of the Cowboys last 6 wins over the Warriors at 1300SMILES Stadium the winning margin has been by 20 points or more, while 6 of the last 7 meetings in Townsville have totaled 40 points or more at an average of more than 50. A Warriors try has been the 1st scoring play in 3 of the last 4 clashes, while the Cowboys have scored the last try of the match in the previous 5 match ups. The Cowboys have won 3 straight and 5 of their last 6 which has them well in the hunt for a Top 4 finish. They have won 9 of 10 this season against a bottom 8 opponent, while they have won 19 of their last 22 at home as a favourite. They are currently 6th and are 1 of 4 teams locked together on 26 points so their differential could prove to be all important and they get a chance here to rack up a number. The Cowboys rank 8 th in attack and are 3rd in defence, with no side conceding fewer points than the Cowboys since Round 13. They are currently the best cover team in the NRL, producing a 13-4 result and have covered in 10 of their last 11, including their last 8 straight, while they have covered in 12 of their last 15 when laying a start of more than 8 points. In total match points they are 11-6 Under, with a perfect 8-0 Under record at home at an average of 33 PPG. North Queensland has won 6 of 8 with a half time lead, while they have a 4-4 record when trailing at the break. Cowboy’s winger Kyle Feldt has scored 6 tries in his 3 matches against the Warriors. The Warriors had won 3 of 4 during the Origin Series before suffering B2B losses. They will embark on yet another long road trip after playing their last away game in Perth. They have lost 7 of 8 on the road this season, while they have lost 19 of their last 24 away long term and have won just 2 of their last 19 as a road outsider. They are currently 11th with an attack that ranks 10th, while they rank 11th in defence and have conceded 20 points or more in 7 of their 8 away games at an average of 24.5 PPG. The Warriors are 7-10 ATS and have covered in only 9 of their last 29 matches played away from home. They are 9-8 Under in total match points, but their last 4 on the road have totaled 46 or more. They have won 6 of 8 with a half time lead, but have lost 7 of 8 when trailing. The Warriors have lost 10 of 12 without Shaun Johnson, including their last 7 straight.

Preview


Dragons vs Sea Eagles

-2.5 Dragons

Stats

The Sea Eagles have won 4 of the last 6 clashes with the Dragons, while the joint venture has won the previous 4 clashes played in Wollongong, with Manly’s last win at the ground coming way back in 2003. The last 2 meetings have had a margin result of 13+ with both sides recording 1 win each, but the previous 5 encounters had all been decided by a margin of 1-12. In 6 of the last 9 meetings the match points have finished Unders with all of them totaling 33 or less, while in 4 of the last 6 meetings a Penalty Goal has been the 1st scoring play. The Dragons have lost 4 of their last 5 and 7 of their last 10 which has their season in freefall. They return to WIN Stadium for the 1st time since Round 9 where they have lost 3 of their last 4. The Dragons have a 3-5 record against their Top 8 counterparts and haven’t beaten a Top 8 side since downing the Cowboys in Round 7, losing their last 4 straight. It’s been a continual slide down the ladder for the Dragons, who have gone from 2nd to 8th since the Origin period began. They rank 5th in defence but are 9th in attack and have scored more than 14 in only 1 of their last 5. The Dragons are 8-9 ATS and have failed to cover in their last 6 straight, while they are yet to cover at WIN Stadium in 2017, producing a 0-3 result. In total match points they are 10-7 Under, including 5 of their last 6, while 10 of their last 14 at WIN Stadium have also finished Unders, as have 12 of their last 18 as a home underdog. The Dragons have won 8 of 12 with a half time lead, but have lost 4 of 5 when trailing. The Sea Eagles have won 6 of their last 7 and 8 of their last 10 to be well in the mix for a Top 2 finish, with 5 of their last 7 matches against sides in the bottom half of the ladder. They are currently 3rd with the best attacking record in the NRL, while they rank 7th in defence, giving them an 87 point differential that ranks 2nd . They have won 6 of 7 on the road this season, while they have won 4 of their last 6 as a road favourite. Manly are 9-8 ATS, but has covered in only 1 of their last 5, while since 2014 they have a 7-13 cover record as a road favourite. They are 11- 6 Under in total match points, with 5 of their 7 away games finishing that way. The Sea Eagles have won 7 of 8 with a half time lead, but have won only 3 of 8 when trailing at the break. Manly has scored the last try of the match in all of their 7 away games this season. The Dragons have a couple of key ins with Frizell and Aitken returning, while Manly have a big out with Apisai Koroisau missing with an injured calf.

Preview

I give the Dragons a significant chance here and on my numbers have them rated -2.5 favs, as I think they have some key factors back in tehir favour for them here, while it might also be the right week to get the Eagles and at a ground they have struggled with.

The Dragons form has been in free fall for some period now, hampered with some key outs, rep outs and some ordinary form (winning just 3 of their last 10 games). But through the last few weeks they have had key players returning, Vaughn will be much better for the run last week, they now get Frizell and Aitken back and for the first time in months field their strongest team list. They have a good recent record against the Dragons including a healthy win 35-10 earlier this season and are well advantaged with this game in Wollongong where they train, their longer term record has been very good and the Eagles have lost tehir last 4 straight here. I was against them last week in Canberra but thought they should well have won outright (golden point loss) and showed some far more positive signs in their overall game that they look on the improve.

I have no major knock on the Eagles, I have been saying for weeks they have been the form team across the last 6 to 8 weeks winning 6 of their last 7 but are they the side who may well have benefited with the right run through the Origin period  (as some sides do each year, ie Warriors in previous seasons) and I want to see how they measure up under some wear and tear and expectation through the next 6 weeks – I think they will be ok but it’s a “watch” question I have right now. What I do think is somewhat a risk this week is that they now have 4 injury outs from tehir best team of 4 weeks ago in Koroisau, Sironen, Brown and Wright (goal kicker), with Koroisau a significant out as his form in particular in defence has been outstanding. Their away record has been outstanding winning 6 of their last 7, but this is their 4th road game in the last 5 weeks (with no bye) so while good winning away record still some disadvantage.

I thought this looked a good even match up. Dragons get key players back, are at home, sit 8th, under some pressure (and by game day will know if the Panthers have won the day prior) but showed some signs last week of much improved form. The Eagles sit 3rd, have won 6 of their last 7 are in good winning form but might fact a tough task here with key injury outs possibly catching up with them, a tough road game and lacking a quality goal kicker. I have the Dragons marked with a small advantage and happy to be with them.

Bet 2 units Dragons +3.5 $1.92 CrownBet / +2.5 $1.91 William Hill


Tigers vs Eels

+9.5 Tigers

Stats

The Tigers and Eels will clash at ANZ Stadium in what will be Mitch Moses 1st meeting with his former club after a mid-season departure. The Eels have won 3 of the last 4 meetings with the Tigers and will be looking to do the double for the 1st time since 2008 after a 26-22 win in Round 7. In 4 of the previous 6 meetings the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while 4 of the last 6 have tallied less than 40. The Tigers have lost 8 of their last 9, with their only win coming against last placed Newcastle. They have lost 4 of 5 at ANZ Stadium this season, while they have lost 9 of 10 against a Top 8 opponent. They remain in 15th position on the ladder proper, with their attack, defence and differential all ranking that same number. In 7 of their last 9 they have conceded 22 points or more, while they have scored more than 18 in only 2 of their last 10. The Tigers are 7-10 ATS and have won and covered in only 1 of their last 10 as the home team. They are 11-6 Under in total match points and have had the same result in 9 of their last 10 day games at ANZ Stadium. They are yet to overcome a half time deficit, losing 8 from 8, while they have won only 4 of 9 when leading at the break. The Eels have had the week off and had won 5 of 6 prior to the break, while they will be looking to make it 4 straight wins in a season for the 1st time since 2010. They have won 5 of their last 6 against a bottom 8 team, while their 9 previous games against a bottom 8 opponent have all been decided by 12 points or less. Parramatta has moved to 7th on the ladder, their highest position since Round 3, with a defence that ranks 9th, while they are a lowly 13th in attack. They are 9-8 ATS and have won and covered in 7 of their last 9 as a road favourite, while they have covered in 11 of their last 16 at ANZ Stadium. In total match points they are 11-6 Under, including 6 of their last 7, while they are 16-5 Under at ANZ Stadium since 2014. The Eels have been great front runners and remain unbeaten this season with a half time lead, winning 9 from 9, while they have lost 5 from 6 when trailing at the break. Parramatta speedster Bevan French has scored in his last 3 outings for the Eels, while Semi Radradra has scored a try in 5 of his last 7 games at ANZ Stadium.

Preview

While the Eels have been winning and now sit in the top 8 their recent form has all been through beating teams either missing key rep players, in poor form and or in the bottom half of the table and they get that here again vs the 15th positioned side in the Tigers. Where they have improved through these last 4 to 5 weeks has been in getting key players back from injury and offering their best team line up for a few weeks in a row, and their two byes have come just at the right time to help them with this.

The Tigers have been much better through their last two efforts, they too able to field stronger team lists and compete (and win over the Knights). They should be better again here with Woods and Tedesco back to a normal team training week and prep, but the facts remain they have lost 8 of their last 9, sit 15th on teh table and are leaking near 30 points most weeks.

It’s a game the Eels should dominate through the middle with their muscle advantage and set themselves up for some key back 5 outside backs to do the finishing. With the Eels, I marked it 10 point advantage, but I find the recent form hard to trust or judge for the moment and happy to stay out.


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