NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017 Round 22
NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017 Round 22
MrG provides NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers.
2017: Profit +13.63 units | 43 winners / 77 bets | strike rate 55.8%
2013-17: Profit +111.12 units | 341 winners / 623 bets | strike rate 54.7%
2017 Results File Rd20_RTP_NRL Results_2017
Rd 22 Game Handicaps
+4.5 Bulldogs vs Eels
-6.5 Dragons vs Rabbits
Even Cowboys vs Storm
+1.5 Knights vs Warriors
+4.5 Titans vs Broncos
-3.5 Sharks vs Raiders
+3.5 Sea Eagles vs Roosters
-8.5 Panthers vs Tigers
NRL Round 22 Recommended Bet List
Bet 3 units Dragons-Rabbits under 39.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / William Hill
Bet 3 units Cowboys +5.5 $1.91 Unibet / CrownBet
Bet 2 units Knights-Warriors over 42.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / Bet365 / 43.5 $1.90 CrownBet
Bet 2 units Raiders +6.5 $1.90 Ladbrokes / +5.5 $1.90 Pinnacle / CrownBet
Bet 3 units Roosters -1.5 $1.90 Sportsbet
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
Eels, Dragons, Cowboys, Knights, Broncos, Raiders, Roosters, Panthers
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 Eels
Round 22 gets underway just as it did in Round 17 with the Bulldogs and Eels clashing at ANZ Stadium. The Eels got home in a low scoring Golden Point thriller when the 2 sides last met, making it 3 consecutive victories over the Dogs and they will be looking to make it 4 straight for the 1st time since 2010. Low scoring affairs have been common place, with 6 of the last 7 encounters having tallied 34 points or less and only twice in the previous 12 clashes have both teams scored more than 12. The Dogs have lost 4 of their last 5 and 8 of their last 10, posting scores of more than 16 in only 2 of those 10 matches. They have lost 4 of their last 5 at ANZ Stadium and 8 of 10 when playing a Top 8 opponent. They continue to have the worst attacking record in the competition, while they rank 7th in defence, combining to give them the 3rd worst differential. The Dogs are 11-8 ATS and have covered in 3 of their last 4 at ANZ Stadium, while they have covered in 7 of their last 8 at the ground as a home underdog. They are the Number 1 Unders side in the competition, with a 15-4 record, including 7 of their last 8, while since 2014 the Dogs are 13-4 Under at ANZ Stadium as an outsider and have had Unders results in 6 of their last 7 against Parramatta. They have led at half time on only 3 occasions this season, winning 2 of 3, while they have lost 10 of 15 when trailing. The Bulldogs have failed to score more than 4 tries in their last 14 games. The Eels have won 5 in a row for the 1st time since 2009 when they went on to make the GF and will be looking to do something similar in 2017, with a soft run home, playing 4 of the bottom 5 sides, while they play Brisbane again in Round 25. They have a 6-4 record against the bottom 8, winning 6 of the last 7 and all of those matches have been decided by 12 points or less and in all but 2 of those they have scored the opening points of the match. They have won 8 of 10 at ANZ Stadium this season, including their last 6 straight, while they have won 9 of their last 10 at the ground as a starting favourite. It’s been a steady climb up the ladder for the Eels who have now moved to 6th, which is their highest ladder position since Round 3. They rank 12th in attack and 9th in defence and are the only side in the Top 8 with a negative differential. Parramatta is 10-9 ATS and has covered in only 1 of 9 since 2014 when laying more than a converted try advantage, including their last 3 at ANZ Stadium from that position. In total match points they are 12-7 Under, including 5 of their last 6, while they have a 17-6 Under record at ANZ Stadium since 2014, including 7 of 10 in 2017. The Eels remain unbeaten this season with a half time lead, winning 10 from 10, while they have lost 5 from 7 when trailing at the break. Parramatta flyer Bevan French has now scored a try in his last 5 games for Eels.
Wet conditions look to even this up more than first draft, but the Bulldogs are still hard to like. Eels come off their impressive towel up of the Broncos last week, remain at home without travel and a nice home prep into this game. There was a lot to like about their win last week, certainly their best rated effort of the season for mine, tough physical they took it to the Broncos and worked them over but were also prepared to play some footy with the ball and had a preparedness to really attack, the total package paid handsomely. As I have noted previously Coach Arthur has shown he can get them up for the right games, their risk here now is any let down and or complacency and then being pulled back by the tail in wet conditions, and falling into the grind of an arm wrestle that the Bulldogs love so much.
The Dogs, well we know the score here, lost 8 of their last 10, coach is on his last rights, season is gone, but they do for what ever reason always seem to match up well against their old traditional rivals and only a few weeks ago when down for the count early managed to get back and nearly steal the result late (13-12 loss). They don’t have many points in them and so the set conditions and +6.5 start looks to suit them, if I had to play an interest hat is what I’d do but I have no like or confidence in supporting them.
The other obvious is the under play, but that has been very well found this week and shortened considerably.
Bulldogs don’t often produce attractive games, they’ve been as ugly as hell for weeks and expect they drag the Eels into the same here. With the Eels to win, the play would be small with the Dogs at the plus.
Dragons vs Rabbits
Friday Night Football gets underway from the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground, between 2 old foes when the St George Illawarra Dragons host the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Rabbitohs have won 8 of the last 10 clashes with the Dragons, including 5 of the last 6, while they have also won 5 of the previous 6 encounters played at the SCG. Low scoring contests have been the norm between the 2 sides, with 5 of the last 6 tallying 39 or less, while only 1 of the last 8 meetings played at the SCG have topped 32. In 6 of last 7 match ups the 1st try of the match hasn’t been scored until after the 7th minute, while a Penalty Goal has been the 1st scoring play in 3 of the last 6. The Dragons season looks to be in freefall, with 5 losses from their last 7 matches, including last week’s loss to cellar dwellers Newcastle, while 4 of the 5 losses have been against sides in the bottom half of the ladder. They have conceded 18 points or more in their last 6, while only twice from their last 7 have they posted scores of more than 14. Since Round 13 the Dragons have dropped from 2nd to 8th on the ladder and now have the Panthers hot on their heels, the only thing separating them is a 38 point differential. Despite their poor recent form the Dragons still rank 4th in attack and 5th in defence. They are 9-10 ATS and have now failed to cover in 7 of their last 8, while they are yet to cover in 2017 when laying more than 6 points (0-5) and have covered in only 2 of their last 6 against the Rabbitohs. In total match points the Dragons are 11-8 Under, including 6 of their last 8, while they are 6-2 Under as a home favourite this season. The Dragons have won 9 of 13 with a half time lead, but have lost 5 of 6 when trailing at the break. The Rabbitohs have lost 4 in a row, with the last 3 of those all being by a margin of 13+. They have lost 4 of their last 5 on the road, while they have recorded 10 consecutive losses against the Top 8, with their only win coming against Manly in Round 2. Only the Bulldogs have scored fewer 1st half points than Souths, who haven’t scored more than 6 1st half points in 7 of their last 9. The Rabbitohs remain in 14th spot on the ladder and rank 13th and 12th in attack and defence, with a differential of -70. They are 10-9 ATS and have failed to cover in their last 4, while they have covered in only 4 of their last 9 when getting a start of more than 6 on the road and have gone on to lose 8 of those. In total match points they are 11-8 in favour of the Under, while they have had the same result in 7 of their last 9 as a big road outsider. They have trailed at half time in 8 of their last 9 and have conceded the opening points in all but 1 of those 9.
Played at SCG
Dragons hosting a Retro Round game at the SCG so little advantage to anyone. Rabbits very hard to have at present and such is their desperation to try and compete each week they continue to play players carry obvious injury in S Burgess, Crichton and Reynolds. Their form is poor losing 7 of their last 9 and in losing their last 4 they are again conceding mid to high 20 points a week. Further to this their last 3 losses have seen clear cut margins of 14, 14 and 13 pts.
Dragons should be aiming up here, certainly enough to be winning and with far more to play for off last weeks loss and a finals top 8 spot on the line. While generally disappointing last week I still thought they should have won well enough, 8 line breaks and 2 disallowed tries, but they to have picked up a few with injury niggles which seems to be hampering their play some what.
The ground factor is certainly key to the contest as while only used a few times a year the SCG and the big open spaces surrounding the actual NRL playing field seem to create some disorientation and we very rarely see big scoring games here, with 8 of the last 11 all going under. With forecast rain (potentially heavy rain) for Thursday evening we are then likely to see some dampness in the ground, in particular across the center pitch area which should also slow things up some, plus we have two teams both struggling with their combinations and finesse in attack, then 5 of the last 6 between the two of them have failed to break 39 while at this ground 7 of the last 8 have failed to top 32 pts. I have numerous key factors and stats and then the location all suggesting this looks a tight low scoring affair and play the under total.
Bet 3 units Dragons-Rabbits under 39.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / William Hill
Cowboys vs Storm
The 2nd Friday night match sees the Cowboys at home where they will take on the Storm in what is surely the match of the Round. Melbourne has won 5 of the previous 6 encounters with the Cowboys, with their only loss coming in the 2015 Preliminary Final when the Cowboys marched on to their maiden Premiership. There has been little between the 2 sides in recent seasons, with 6 of the last 7 clashes decided by 6 points or less, including 2 Golden Point matches. Points have been at a Premium, with 6 of the last 8 tallying 35 or less, while a Penalty Goal has opened the scoring in 3 of the last 4. The Cowboys return home after a disappointing loss to the Roosters where they surrendered a 10 point half time lead. It’s a tough couple of weeks for North Queensland, playing 2 nd and 1 st on the ladder in B2B weeks, while 3 of their last 4 are against Top 8 contenders. They have won 4 of their last 5 and have a 6-3 record at home, but have now lost 6 of their last 7 against their Top 8 counterparts. Despite last week’s loss, the Cowboys remain in 5th spot on the ladder, with an attack that ranks 8th, while they rank 4th in defence, giving them a 62 point differential that ranks 6th. They start as a home underdog for only the 5th time in 4 seasons and have won and covered in 3 of the 4 previously. The Cowboys are 14-5 ATS, which is the best cover record in the competition, but have covered in only 2 of their last 7 against Melbourne. In total match points they are 13-6 Under, with a perfect 9-0 Under record at home, while they are 7- 2 Under against the Storm since 2014. The Cowboys have won 7 of 10 with a half time lead and have trailed at the break in only 1 of their last 7, while they have a 4-4 record when trailing at the break. The Melbourne juggernaut just keeps on rolling and the compass is clearly set for the 1st Sunday in October. They have suffered just 4 losses all season, 2 of which were through the Origin period without all of their stars. They have won 7 of 10 against their Top 8 counterparts and 9 of 10 on the road, while they have won 7 of their last 10 against the Cowboys in Townsville. They have spent the last 14 weeks in the top spot and haven’t been positioned lower than 2nd since Round 1, while they currently rank as the best attacking and defensive unit in the NRL. The Storm is 10-9 ATS, with a 7-3 cover record on the road, while they have covered in 10 of their last 14 as an away team when laying less than 6 points. They are 11-8 Under in total match points and have had Unders results in 11 of their last 14 as a small road favourite, while only 2 of the previous 9 meetings with the Cowboys in Townsville have totaled more than 40. Melbourne have led at half time on 15 occasions this season, winning 12 of those, while they have trailed on just 3 occasions and won 2 of them.
Intriguing game to line up and also handicap. The Storm are clearly the benchmark and very hard to be or bet against, but clearly they are human and for mine face a couple of challenges here. They have a short 5 day turn around into a long distant game, now lose Munster but are likely to get Slater back and still remain without Harris. There’s no more professional team with game prep, travel and depth than the Storm but some small handicap negatives against them. The Cowboys have also been very good for 9 week now and come through a very strong form quality game last week in a loss to the Roosters in Sydney, a game they led 16-6 at the break. They have a significant advantage being back at home where longer term they have an excellent record and are very hard to beat. Balancing all of this up into a handicap I rate the game even, yet the markets have the home side with a +5.5 advantage.
In terms of key game angles these also weigh heavily in the Cowboys favour, of the last 7 head to head contests 6 have all produced win margins of 6 points or less (close encounters); the Cowboys have covered the line when an underdog of +4.5 more on 8 of the last 11 occasions, while the Storm when an interstate away fav of -4.5 or more have a cover record of just 4 from last 10. more.
As difficult as it is their are two ways to try and beat the Storm, and the Cowboys have strength in playing both of these angles, either set yourself up for smart wide shifts to the outside edge to catch out the compressed defensive line, and or play back through the middle with big men with ball play. And, they might get them on the right week.
Two quality teams, Cowboys through some strong form and fighting against a tough draw and run home, off a loss they have a point to prove and are advantaged at home. Looks an excellent game, with the Cowboys at home and thought the plus start looked a key possible advantage.
Bet 3 units Cowboys +5.5 $1.91 Unibet / CrownBet
Knights vs Warriors
The Knights will be aiming for B2B wins for the 1st time in nearly 2 years when they take on the Warriors in Newcastle. The Warriors have won their last 4 straight against the Knights, while Newcastle has won 2 of the previous 3 meetings at Hunter Stadium. There are usually plenty of points on offer, with 6 of the last 7 tallying 44 or more, while 9 of the last 10 clashes in Newcastle have been decided by a margin of 1-12. Newcastle ended an 8 game losing run last start with a win over the Dragons, conceding a season low of 14 points and they will need a repeat performance this week to be any chance as they have conceded 20 points or more in 8 of their last 10 against the Warriors. The Knights have won only 3 of 19 matches this season and remain anchored at the foot of the ladder, with the 3rd worst attack and the worst defence. They are 9-10 ATS, but have covered in 8 of their last 9 at home as a small underdog. In total match points they are 11-8 in favour of the Unders, including 4 of their last 5, while they are 13-8 Over at home in day games as an underdog. The Knights have lost 9 of 11 with a half time lead, while they have lost 7 of 8 when trailing at the break. The Warriors have lost 4 in a row and have won only 1 of 9 on the road in 2017. For the 1st time since Round 19 last year, they start as a favourite on Aussie soil where they have an 8-7 record from that position since 2014. The Warriors are 11th on both the ladder proper and in attack, while they rank 13th in defence. They are 7-12 ATS and have a 6-6 cover record when starting as a small road favourite since 2014. In total match points they are 11-8 Under, but have had Overs results in 4 of their last 5 on the road, while they have also had Overs results in 8 of their last 10 day games away from home. They have won 6 of 8 with a half time lead, but have lost 9 of 10 when trailing at the break.
Two sides out of finals contention with little to play for other than making up the numbers, both with weak and questionable defence into a day time afternoon game on a dry track? The Warriors track record for these end of season games when they have little to play for is terrible, they often fold quickly, plus they have won just 1 game away from NZ this season and lost 2 of tehir last 3 in Newcastle, they have been a massive disappointment this year. The Knights get the benefit of a stable team list line up for the 3rd week in a row, they could well have won 3 of their last 6 games, come off a confidence building win last week (at home) and enjoy the benefit of a 7 day home turn around to then play in front of what should be a health crowd.
The Knights are well found in the markets, certainly about the right position given the opponent and circumstance, but they can also be hard to trust under expectation. What certainly stands out is the total points position, two teams who leak 26 and 24 a week, who combined have a 80% record of high scoring games when into a day time shoot out especially against a bottom 8 side, this looks to have points written all over it.
Bet 2 units Knights-Warriors over 42.5 $1.90 Sportsbet / Bet365 / 43.5 $1.90 CrownBet
Titans vs Broncos
An all Queensland affair with little brother, the Titans hosting big brother, the Broncos from Robina Stadium. The Broncos have dominated the Titans in recent years, winning 14 of the last 16, including the last 6 straight and 6 of the last 8 contested on the Coast. There have been plenty of points on offer in the last few encounters, with 4 of the last 5 topping 40 and in all 5 of those Brisbane has posted scores of 24 or more. A winning margin of 1-12 has been the result in 5 of the last 6 clashes at Robina Stadium and in 5 of those 6 the 1st try of the match hasn’t been scored until after the 13th minute. The Titans season is officially over after a poor home loss against the 15th placed Tigers, where they conceded 26 points to the team with the 2nd worst attack in the comp. That was the Titans 6th home loss from 10 matches, with 5 of the 6 losses being by 14 points or more. They have been a 50/50 proposition against the Top 8, winning 5 of 10, while they have also won 5 of their last 10 as a home underdog. The Titans are 12th and out of Finals contention, thanks largely to the 2nd worst defensive record in the League, conceding an average of more than 24 PPG, while they rank 9th in attack. They are 9-10 ATS, with a 4- 6 cover record at home, while they have a 10-6 cover record as a small home outsider since 2014. In total match points they are 13-6 Over, with 5 of their last 7 topping 40, while 8 of their 10 home games have also totaled 40 or more. Konrad Hurrell remains on the injury list and in a quirky stat, the Titans have lost their last 5 matches without him. The Broncos have their own injury concerns with Andrew McCullough ruled out for the remainder of the season and Brisbane has lost 6 of their last 8 without his services. They have won 8 of their last 9 against sides in the bottom half of the ladder, while they have a 15-10 winning record as a road favourite since 2014. Despite their 3rd biggest loss of the season last week, Brisbane remains in the Top 4, with the 2nd best attack and a defence that ranks 6th. They are 10-9 ATS and have a 9-9 cover record on the road since 2014 when laying less than a converted try advantage, while they have covered in 4 of their last 6 against the Titans. In total match points the Broncos are 12-7 in favour of the Overs, with their last 6 all topping 42. The Broncos have won 7 of 10 with a half time lead, but has only won 4 of 8 when trailing. James Roberts is the Broncos leading try scorer with 14 and he scored a hat trick in Round 7 against his former club.
This game has to just be all about watching the Broncos and how they play given a) the significant out of McCullough and b) their poor 2nd half and loss last week to the Eels. Bennett has been tinkering with his combinations at 9, 7 and 6 for a number of weeks now forced with the various key injury outs they have had, Hunt then Milford and now McCullough. I’m not convinced that Milford is right, and certainly the mail continues to suggest his shoulder is not right; I think Marshall is well past his best and offers little but key errors and playing sideways and the likely move of Hunt to #9 then carriers significant risk of how he aims up, the defensive work load and his motor as to what length of time (and quality) he can play in the middle. The other two issues for the Broncos out of last week was they didn’t like nor handle the physical stuff that the Eels gave them and folded as a result into the second half, in addition then giving up 6 second half penalties and inviting their opponent to finish them right off. It was an ordinary performance.
The Titans are equally hard to catch and or work out. They were just rubbish last week, complacent and disinterested at home against the lowly placed Tigers and soundly thumped. Some of their prior form has looked questionable for the last 6 to 8 weeks and very hard to read, but off such a poor offering last week remaining at home and up against their key local rival we should expect a much better offering.
I don’t like the game and have no trust for either. I want to watch the Broncos closely and have a look at their key 9, 7 and 6 combinations, what Bennett chooses to do and how it works, slight lean to the visitors given their longer term hold over the Titans.
Sharks vs Raiders
The home ground advantage has counted for nothing when the Sharks and Raiders have squared off in recent seasons, with the away team winning the last 8 encounters. The Sharks hold a 37-31 all time advantage over Canberra and have won 4 of the last 5, none bigger than the most recent meeting in Round 2. High scoring affairs have been common place between these 2 sides in recent years, with 8 of the last 10 clashes totaling 40 points or more. The Sharks have opened the scoring in 12 of the previous 15 meetings and in the last 8 match ups the 1st try hasn’t been scored until after the 7th minute. The Sharks have won 3 of their last 4 and have won 8 of 10 against the bottom 8, with both of those losses coming against the Titans. They have been a 50/50 proposition at home this season, winning 5 of 10, while they have an 8-9 win record as a small home favourite since 2014. Cronulla are 3rd and have a tough run home, with their next 3 games against their Top 8 rivals, including B2B away legs in Queensland before finishing with the Knights. They have an attack that ranks 10th , while they have the 2nd best defensive record and have conceded only 12 points a game in 3 of their last 4. The Sharks are 8-11 ATS and have been a dreadful cover team at home, with 1 cover from 10 matches, while they have covered in only 1 of their last 6 as a small home favourite. They are 14-5 Under in total match points, with a 7-3 Under record at home, while they are 11-5 Under at home when laying less than a converted try advantage. Cronulla has won 7 of 8 with a half time lead and have a 6-5 record when trailing at the break. Matt Prior has scored 3 tries in his last 4 games against the Raiders, while Wade Graham scored a hat trick in his last meeting with Canberra. The Raiders recorded a much needed win last week to keep their very slim Finals chances alive and will be looking for B2B wins for the 1st time since Round 12. They have won only 3 of 9 games on the road in 2017, while they have won only 4 of 12 against the Top 8. They remain in 10th spot on the ladder with an attack ranking of 5th, but are a lowly 10th in defence and have conceded 18 points or more in 6 of their last 7. Canberra is 11-8 ATS and has covered in their last 3, while they have also covered in 13 of their last 16 as a small road outsider. They are 10-9 Under in total match points, but 4 of their last 5 on the road have topped 41, while 5 of their last 6 against the Sharks have also finished Overs. They have won 5 of 8 with a half time lead and have lost 6 of 8 when trailing at the break. Jordan Rapana has scored 5 tries in his last 4 games against the Sharks.
Thought the Sharks looked somewhat a risk here. I think there are some questions through their recent form, wins over Warriors (11th) and Rabbits (14th) and a loss to Titans (12th) don’t read highly they are then without Maloney at 6, Bailey at 9 and have question marks over Brown playing and Segeyaro’s game time and fitness, these later two issues major disruptions to their key combination and play. Also, they have had a high number of rep players this year and would be feeling the effects of that work load while they also try and freshen them up ready for the finals. Off these recent wins they sit comfortably enough in the top 3 and so less pressure to have to perform to tehir best at the moment. Their record at home this season has been poor with only 5 wins from 10 games, worst still at the Line, covering only 1 of these 10 games.
The Raiders come through some good form games (Storm and Cowboys) before then thumping the Rabbits last week, and with that win would still give themselves a slight chance of making the finals (further enhanced now with the Dragons lass last night). They have won their last 3 games at Shark park so a good record here and key two key player ins for this, the away side has also won the last 8 match ups between these two, so no real advantage to either side longer term.
I handicapped the game 3.5, and could have been slight less, with the possible dislocation for the Sharks with Maloney’s key out and their poor cover record at home any plus position over 4.5 looks a good way to play the game. I also think with something major to play for the Raiders can win.
Bet 2 units Raiders +6.5 $1.90 Ladbrokes / +5.5 $1.90 Pinnacle / CrownBet
Sea Eagles vs Roosters
+3.5 Sea Eagles
Just 3 weeks ago this would have been 2nd versus 3rd, but with Manly suffering B2B defeats and leaking 92 points in the process, they have now slipped to 7th . It still shapes as a good contest and there has been little between the 2 sides in recent years, with 7 of the last 8 decided by 8 points or less, while 4 of the last 6 have topped 40 points. The Sea Eagles have won 4 of the last 5 meetings against the Roosters, but have lost 2 of the last 3 meetings at Brookvale. Manly have lost 3 of their last 4, with their only win in that time coming against the 15th placed Tigers. They have lost 5 of their last 6 against a Top 8 opponent and have conceded an average of 33 PPG in those 6. The Sea Eagles recent record at Brookvale also reads poorly, with just 2 wins from their last 11 when starting as an underdog. As mentioned the Sea Eagles are now 7th and while they still rank 3rd in attack, it’s their defence that has taken a beating, dropping to a ranking of 11th. They are 9-10 ATS and have failed to cover in their last 5 straight, but have covered in 7 of their last 8 as a small underdog. In total match points they are 11-8 Under and have had the same result in 6 of their last 8 at Brookvale as a small outsider. They have won 7 of 8 with a half time lead, but have lost 7 of 10 when trailing at the break. Dylan walker has scored 4 tries in his last 4 games against the Roosters. The 1st try of the match has been scored by the 7th minute in 21 of the Sea Eagles last 26 day time matches played at Brookvale Oval. The Roosters have won 3 on the trot and 6 of their last 7 to remain well in the hunt for the Minor Premiership should Melbourne falter. They have won 5 of their last 6 against the Top 8 and 6 of 9 on the road, including 4 of 5 as a road favourite. For the 3 rd straight week the Roosters hold down 2nd spot on the ladder and they haven’t sat lower than 5th all season and they currently rank 6 th in attack and 3rd in defence. They are 9-10 ATS and have covered in their last 3 straight, while they have won and covered in only 1 of their last 7 on the road when laying less than 4 points. In total match points they are 11- 8 Under, including their last 3 straight, but have had over results in 8 of their last 10 day time matches as a starting favourite. The Roosters remain unbeaten this season with a half time lead, winning 11 from 11, while they have overcome a half time deficit in 3 of 7. Daniel Tupou has scored 5 tries in his last 5 games against a Top 8 opponent.
The big question here is what do the Eagles offer off two resounding large losses, and with some obvious heat on their tail for a finals position. Those two losses have seen 92 points run through them, 103 missed tackles, their right edge leak 7 tries and their middle 6 which all leads to where is their head space and have they near dropped their bundle? One thing against them through recent months has been playing so many games on the road, it takes its toll, so they get the advantage of playing back at home and their overall record vs the Roosters is ok. They are also still without 2 key forwards and have questions over Walker. Barrett has shown in the past he can get them sorted and back on track but I can’t warm to them at all given what we have seen through recent weeks and suspect that it would not take a lot of sustained pressure to start to open them up again.
Roosters sit 2nd on the table and come off a good win and rating last week through their home win over the Cowboys. They have won 4 of their last 5 and while still have key outs here in Cordner and Friend are ticking over nicely enough. If their attitude is right again here then they looked to have two key advantages, they are strong through the middle with their forward list (and bench), and very strong on their left edge (attacking the Eagles defensive weakness on their right) with Mitchell (a weapon) and Tapou quality hole runners and finishers.
The game reads to me to be the Eagles looking to aim up, and likely to be in the contest for awhile, possibly even into the second half, but the Roosters to have too much strength and quality where it matters, in particular through the middle, and the smarts and gun power to finish things off. My only niggling concern is that they play the Storm next week and that they don’t have too much of that on their mind, but I do think they have been building as a team for that effort through recent weeks as see this as a key game to keep on doing the same.
Bet 3 units Roosters -1.5 $1.90 Sportsbet
Panthers vs Tigers
The battle of the cats brings Round 22 to a close with the Panthers hosting the Tigers from Pepper Stadium. The Panthers have won 4 of the previous 5 clashes with the Tigers, with all of those wins being by a margin of 16 or more. More often than not there are plenty of points on offer and in 5 of the last 8 match ups the total points have tallied 44 or more, while 4 of the last 6 meetings at Pepper Stadium have also topped that number. The Panthers have won 4 in row and only 2 of their final 5 matches are against a side currently in the Top 8, none of which will be more important than their Round 25 clash with the Dragons. They are unbeaten in their last 5 games at home and have won 9 of 11 against a bottom 8 opponent. The Panthers are currently 9th with an attack that ranks 7th , while they rank 8th in defence. Only twice in their last 12 games have they been outscored in the 2nd half and no side has scored more 2nd half points than Penrith. They are 8-11 ATS and have covered in 3 of their last 4, while they have covered in 4 of their last 5 when laying a double digit advantage, winning all 5 of those. The Panthers have also covered in 4 of their last 5 against the Tigers. They are 11-8 Under in total match points and 5 of their last 7 at home as a double digit favourite have also finished Unders. They have won 6 of 7 with a half time lead, but have lost 7 of 9 when trailing at the break, while their last 2 matches have been all locked up at half time. The Tigers are on the road for the 2nd week in a row after defeating the Titans on the Coast last start, but only once in 5 years have they managed to win B2B away legs in consecutive weeks. They have lost 9 of their last 11 and have won only half of their 8 games against their bottom 8 counterparts, while they have won just 4 of their last 15 as a double digit road outsider. The Tigers are 2nd last on the ladder, with the 2nd worst attack and the 3rd worst defence and only on 3 occasions all season have they conceded fewer than 16. They are 9-10 ATS and have covered in 5 of their last 6, while they have covered in 7 of their last 9 with a double digit start. They are 13- 6 Under in total match points, with 6 of their last 7 against their bottom 8 companions finishing that way. The Tigers have won 5 of 10 with a half time lead but remain as the only side yet to overcome a half time deficit, losing 9 from 9.
The Panthers still have plenty to play for with a potential semi final spot open for them, they play a bottom 2 side and do so at home where they have a healthy longer term advantage winning 7 of their last 10. They still have key outs in Merrin, Moylan and Latu which pulls them back a little, but clearly also have some good depth. The key question is the strength or otherwise of their recent form, a big loss to the 14th side (Rabbits) then wins over 7th (Eagles aided with 14-4 penalty count), 11th (Warriors), 12th (Titans) and 13th (Bulldogs) – hardly a convincing line to recommend. their biggest winning margin at any of tehir last 5 wins is also just 12 points, so its not like they really hammer any of these opponents in the bottom half of the table.
The Tigers have been good through recent weeks, well lets say much improved for where they had been, with the Coach able to get some of his polish working and they importantly having their best team on the park for consecutive weeks and key contributions from their two rep players. But they face back to back away games into a tough venue and an opponent who will have much more to play for than the likes of the complacent Titans last week.
The plus 9.5 start is probably the right way to play this game if looking for an interest, but not for me. The Tigers have to be some risk of aiming up every week with nothing to play for, plus they face another road game, while their defence has improved significantly through the last month they still have key players on the edges who can be easily found out. The Panthers have something to play for, Clearly gets his chance to take control, if they play to their strengths and add some ball play and off load then a win and possibly 12 point margin is not beyond them. Panther to win, happy to just watch.
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