NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017 Round 26
NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017 Round 26
MrG provides NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting content each week for our Reading The Play NRL subscribers.
Rd 26 Game Handicaps
+4.5 Cowboys vs Broncos
-10.5 Eels vs Rabbits
-18.5 Roosters vs Titans
+4.5 Sea Eagles vs Panthers
-11.5 Storm vs Raiders
+8.5 Knights vs Sharks
-6.5 Dragons vs Bulldogs
-6.5 Tigers vs Warriors
NRL Round 26 Recommended Bet List
Bet 3 units Eels to win $1.22 x Roosters tri bet over 6.5 $1.15 x Storm to win $1.30 / $1.82 CrownBet
Bet 2 units Panthers +2.5 $1.92 Unibet / Tabsportsbet / William Hill
Bet 1 unit Panthers H2H $2.20 Unibet
Bet 1 unit Knights +10.0 $1.92 William Hill / +10.5 $1.80 Tabsportsbet
Bet 2 units Bulldogs +8.0 $1.92 CrownBet / William Hill
Bet 2 units Tigers -6.0 $1.90 Pinnacle / -6.5 CrownBet
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
To Miss Top 8 (10th August)
Bet 3 units Panthers to miss Top 8 $3.25 CrownBet / $3.15 Ubet / $3.00 elsewhere
Individual Game Tips
Broncos, Eels, Roosters, Panthers, Storm, Sharks, Dragons, Tigers
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 @
Cowboys vs Broncos
An all Queensland derby to get the final Round of the regular season underway with the Cowboys hosting the Broncos in Townsville. Since the 2015 Grand Final clashes between the 2 sides have been epic, with 4 of the last 5 decided by Golden Point and 4 of the 5 results decided by a point. The home side has won 12 of the last 14 clashes (excluding the 2015 GF), giving the Cowboys 7 wins from the previous 8 encounters at 1300SMILES Stadium. The team to score the 1st try of the match has gone on to win 13 of the last 17 encounters, with Brisbane scoring the opening try of the match in 7 of the last 8 meetings and they have also led at half time in 7 of the last 8. The half time leader has gone on to win 15 of the last 20 match ups, while the Cowboys have won the 2 nd half in the last 8 clashes and in 6 of the last 8, they have scored the last try of the match. In 7 of the last 10 meetings the match points have topped 41, while in 7 of the last 10 meetings in Townsville the match points have finished Overs. The Cowboys ended their 4 game losing run last start with a come from behind win over the Tigers and now return North for their final home game of the season, a game which they haven’t lost since 2010. They start as an underdog for their 3rd consecutive home game and have lost 3 of their last 4 from that position. The Cowboys win last week ensured they will make the Top 8 and play Finals Football for the 6th straight year, they currently rank 9th in attack and 5th in defence, with a 34 point differential that rates 8th. They are 15-8 ATS, which is the best cover record in the League, but they have had 4 straight non covers when starting as an underdog. They are 15-8 Under in total match points, including 10 of 11 at home, while they have had Unders results in 10 of their last 15 with a start of 4.5 or less. The Cowboys have won 7 of 11 with a half time lead, while they have a 5-6 record when trailing at the break. Michael Morgan has scored 3 tries in his last 4 games against the Broncos, while he has scored 3 tries in his last 3 outings for the Cowboys. The Broncos are coming off an 18 point loss after conceding 50 points at home for only the 2nd time in their history. They have won 3 of their last 4 when coming off a 13+ loss, but have lost 4 of their last 5 against a Top 8 side and their last 3 away from Suncorp Stadium against a Top 8 opponent. A win for Brisbane will ensure they finish 3rd, but a loss will see them drop to 4th and face a trip to Melbourne in Week 1 of the Finals. The Broncos are 13-10 ATS and have covered in 4 of their last 5 away games, while they have a 10-9 cover record on the road since 2014 when laying less than a converted try advantage. In total match points, no side has had more Over results than the Broncos, who are currently 15-8 in favour of the Over, including 8 of their last 9, with 6 of those 8 topping 50. The Broncos have won 10 of 13 with a half time lead, but have lost 5 of 9 when trailing, while they have led the Cowboys at half time in the previous 6 encounters
Great match up to start the round with two teams who will be “all chips in” and full tilt here needing and wanting to win. For the Cowboys its now or never with only one result possibly out of this game – a win puts them into the top 8 and finals a loss and its season over. For the Broncos a win cements a top 2 position, but I think more importantly after such a resounding loss last week to the Eels Bennett will be very keen to try and get them back in the groove again.
As suggested last week I expected the Eels could give a very good account of themselves vs the Broncos, and could win, their physical in your face play the type that is proven to trouble them, but it was then staggering to see them fall apart so badly from the opening minutes and concede 52 points at home – to be honest the defensive offering was that poor they were very lucky not to have 60 odd points run up against them. It was a very out of character offering, but it was bad. Is Bennett right that they just had a bad night, it was one of those things, or did we see some underlying team self doubt? Time will tell. It’s also worth noting that not team who has had 50 put through them at any time during a season have ever gone on to then win the competition, quite an indictment for this team who will finish top 3.
These two teams hold an amazing match up record through recent seasons with 4 of the last 5 games ending in Golden Point results. The Cowboys also hold a hefty advantage, especially at home winning 7 of the last 10 played anywhere, 7 of the last 8 played at this ground including winning the last 5 straight in Townsville. The Broncos lose Sims so have a further key hard man forward out. The Cowboys have been limping for weeks with injury but they have been getting a few key players back in Coote and Cooper and this is their best team line up for 4 to 5 weeks, and the best they have available post Thurston.
For the last 5 weeks the Cowboys have been very plucky, rolling their sleeves up against all sorts of injury and in game outs, losing 4 straight prior to last weeks late win over Tigers. The positive was their attitude and effort, they also came through a tough top of the table schedule including teams #1, 2 and 3. But the wear and tear was catching up with them last week when down 14-6 at half time and there to be beat, their coach then doing an excellent job at half time in getting them back up and giving them some belief to go back out and get the job done (3 tries in 9 minutes turning the game into a 22-14 win). The question now remains what have they got left? Home advantage will be significant, they will also lift in playing the Broncos, and they might well get the Broncos the right week when riddled with some self doubt. I expect they will give this a real go, scrap and fight what looks a close contest.
The Broncos. Its never a good sign when all of a sudden you have to change up your training plans and sessions and bring in key consultants to focus on your defence 10 days out from semi finals. Defence is attitude, and something somewhere went “pop” last week, and it would never have been in the finals weeks plan to be doing what they had to do this week. Such a big loss leaves significant self doubt and thin confidence, and I’m just not sure given all of this is they have a big strong leader in their forward line up (like a Webcke) who can grab hold of them and say follow me, this is the way forward. If and when they get to open a game up they are great, they have small fast and skillful players who can make it all look easy, but right now they are also looking a lot like flat track bullies who based up a few easy opponents when the circumstances suited but then got toweled up when someone put one right on their chin. the loss of Sims means they now start Hunt at #9, have to move Thaiday to front row (which he is not) and then have Marshall off the bench, for mine a further weakened team list, short on up front grunt with lots of youth being asked to aim up.
As good a clash as this looks my bottom line is doubt over both sides. The Cowboys great record over the Broncos included having Thurston as the conductor, I expect they have one last big effort in them, and to win they will need to play very physical through the middle. I don’t like the signs of the last week for the Broncos, their best would win this, but I’m certainly not convinced they are at their best. Looks tight and close, two sides trying to hang in there and come up with some winning plays to give them some new energy and confidence. Small lean to the Broncos.
Eels vs Rabbits
The Eels and Rabbitohs face off at ANZ Stadium in the final Friday night fixture of the regular season. Parramatta will be looking to do the double over the Rabbitohs for the 1st time since 2003 and in the process make it 3 consecutive victories over the Bunnies. There have been plenty of points on offer in recent seasons, with 9 of the last 12 encounters topping 40, while in 3 of the last 4 clashes, the winning margin has been by 6 points or less. The Eels are coming off their biggest score in 10 years after posting 52 against the Broncos, taking them to 8 wins from their last 9 matches. They have won 7 of their last 8 against a bottom 8 opponent and 10 of their last 12 at ANZ Stadium, while they have won 4 of their last 5 when favoured by more than a converted try. Parramatta have moved into the Top 4 for the 1st time since the opening 3 Rounds and win or lose, they are set for their highest finish since winning the Minor Premiership in 2005. They currently rank 8th in attack and 9th in defence, but only once in their last 7 matches at ANZ Stadium have they conceded more than 2 tries. The Eels are 13-10 ATS and have covered in 9 of their last 13 at ANZ Stadium as a favourite. In total match points they are 15-8 Under, including 8 of their last 10 and 8 of their last 9 versus a bottom 8 opponent, while they have a 20-6 Under record at ANZ Stadium since 2014, including 10 of 13 in 2017. Parramatta has a perfect conversion rate when leading at half time this season, winning 13 from 13, but has won only 2 of 8 when trailing. Semi Radradra has scored 20 tries in 25 games at ANZ Stadium, while he has also scored 5 tries in his last 3 matches against the Rabbitohs. The Rabbitohs are coming off their biggest defeat since 2006 after going down 64-6 against the Storm. They have lost 9 of their last 10 against a Top 8 opponent and 8 of their last 11 at ANZ Stadium as an underdog, with 7 of those losses being by a margin of 13+. Only once in their last 10 matches against a Top 8 opponent have Souths scored more than 1 first half try, while they have conceded the opening try of the match in 11 of their last 13. Souths remain in 11th spot on the ladder, with an attack and defence that also rank 11th. They are 12-11 ATS and have covered in 6 of their last 8 at ANZ Stadium, but have covered in only 1 of their last 5 against the Eels. In total match points South Sydney is 12-11 Over and has had Over results in their last 5 straight, with 4 of those 5 topping 50. The Rabbitohs have won 4 of 5 when in front at half time, but have lost 13 of 16 when trailing at the break and have led at half time in only 1 of their last 8. Home teams have won and covered in the last 5 matches with Gavin Badger at the helm, while double digit home faves have won the last 6, with a 5-1 record ATS under Badger.
On numbers I could have the Eels much longer than 10.5 (market approx the same early in the week, now 15.5) and I expect they win, but this looks a game where their interest s more about winning not so much putting their foot on the throat a week out from semi finals when a win alone secures a top 4 spot. They come off a big win last week, they should be buoyed by this but Arthur has shown he’s happy to let them down as well as pump them up, and I’d suggest next week becomes more the focus than any big thumping margin.
The Rabbits were terrible last week, picked up some key injuries and have very little to play for here. teams flogged by such a big margin as last week actually have a very good long term record of aiming up the following week and covering the line, and at near 16 pts it looks a tempting position, if I had to do anything that would be the angle.
A 6pm game with a couple of teams likely to be going through the motions. Eels win.
Roosters vs Titans
The Roosters have won 3 of the last 4 clashes with the Titans and will be looking to do the double over the Gold Coast team for the very 1st time. Home ground advantage has counted for little when the 2 sides have met, with the away team winning more than half of the 15 previous encounters. In 7 of the 8 meetings played in NSW the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while 4 of the last 6 clashes have topped 44. The Roosters have won 11 of their last 12 matches played at Allianz Stadium, going unbeaten in their last 7, but have lost 4 of their last 5 at the ground against the Titans. They have won 10 of their 12 matches against a bottom 8 opponent, while they are undefeated in their last 12 matches when starting as a double digit favourite. The Roosters have moved back into 2nd place on the ladder and after 25 Rounds, they, along with Melbourne, are the only sides that haven’t sat outside the Top 8 all season. They rank 7th in attack and 3rd in defence, with a 68 point differential that ranks 5th. They are 11-12 ATS and have covered in 5 of their last 7 and 5 of their last 6 at Allianz, while they have also covered in 5 of their last 7 when laying a double digit start. In total match points they are 14-9 in favour of the Unders, including 6 of their last 7, while 7 of their last 8 at Allianz and 8 of their last 10 against a bottom 8 side have also finished Unders. The Tri-Colours have won 13 of 14 with a half time lead, but have won only 3 of 8 when trailing. A Roosters try has been the 1st scoring play in their last 6 matches at Allianz Stadium and in 8 of their last 10 against the Titans. The Titans are on a 6 game losing run and look likely to set a new club record of 7 consecutive defeats. They have lost 8 of 11 on the road in 2017, while they have lost 5 of their last 6 against a Top 8 opponent, conceding 20 or more in all of those 5 losses. The Titans have conceded over 200 points during their 6 game losing run at an average of nearly 34 PPG and have failed to score a 1st half point in their last 5. They remain in 14th position on the ladder, with an attack that ranks 12th, while their 618 points conceded ranks 2nd last. The Titans are 9-14 ATS and haven’t covered since Round 19, while they have failed to cover in 5 of their last 6 on the road. Double digit road dogs are 22-26 ATS since 2014 in Rounds 20 to 26. Gold Coast is 15-8 Over in total match points, with 7 of their 11 road games topping 40, while 16 of their last 24 as an interstate underdog have also finished Overs. The Titans have won 3 of 8 with a half time lead and have lost 10 of 13 when trailing.
Looks straight forward, Titans have long list of key outs, thin depth and very little to play for but get themselves through this and then on to their end of season drink. A Roosters win means 2nd spot and a home semi final next week which would be very important to them. They are very good at belting sides at the bottom of the table but I don’t want to play with the line that is now out to 26 points, just include them in an all up option.
Sea Eagles vs Panthers
+4.5 Sea Eagles
A must win game for both the Sea Eagles and Panthers when they clash at Brookvale, with the loser being a chance of dropping out of the Top 8 and missing the Finals should other results not go their way. The Panthers have won 7 of their last 8 against the Sea Eagles, including the last 5 straight and 3 of the last 4 played at Brookvale Oval. In 6 of the last 7 meetings the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while 3 of the previous 4 clashes at Brookvale have totaled 51 or more. Points have come early in recent meetings, with the 1st try of the match having been scored prior to the 7th minute in the last 6 encounters, while the home team has scored the opening try in 8 of the last 9. Manly return home after a Golden Point road win against the Warriors and will be looking for B2B wins for the 1st time since Round 17 after losing 4 of their last 6. They have won their last 5 home games, but have won only 4 of 9 against their Top 8 counterparts. The Sea Eagles are holding onto 8th place, with an attack that ranks 4th, but they are 11th in defence and have conceded at least 18 points in their last 6 matches. They are 10-13 ATS and have covered in only 2 of their last 9, while they have covered in just 2 of 13 this season as a favourite. Manly has also failed to cover in 5 of their last 6 at Brookvale Oval when laying a start. In total match points they have a 12-11 record in favour of the Overs, including their last 6 straight, while only 2 of their last 15 matches played at Brookvale have tallied less than 41. They have won 7 of 9 with a half time lead, but have lost 8 of 12 when trailing at the break and only once in their last 9 have they led at half time. The Panthers 7 game winning run ended last week after going down at home to the Dragons. They have a 5-6 road record in 2017 and have won only 2 of 8 against the Top 8, with both of those wins coming at home. They remain in 6th spot, with an attack that ranks 6th, while they rank 7th defensively. Penrith are 11-12 ATS and have covered in 7 of their last 8, but have failed to cover in 4 of their last 5 as a small road underdog. They are 13-10 Under in total match points and have also had Unders results in their last 7 away matches as an underdog with less than a converted try advantage. The Panthers have won 8 of 9 with a half time lead, but have lost 8 of 11 when trailing at the break. Panther’s winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has scored a try in each of his last 4 games against the Sea Eagles. Small home faves have covered in only 2 of the last 10 matches with Matt Cecchin in charge.
This is the money game of the day. I don’t like the Eagles form and regardless of being at home into a must win game I’m happy to be against them. Prior to last week they had lost 5 of their previous 7 games, including some very low offerings vs Dragons and Bulldogs, shocker second half vs Tigers and what should have been a 7 pt loss last week to Warriors (who themselves are disgraceful at present). Across these recent run they have also leaked at will 30 pts to Bulldogs, 30 pts to Tigers, 40 to Storm and 52 to Dragons.
I’ve been happy to take on the Panthers across the last 6 weeks, and still have significant issues with their game, dumb handling errors on occasions, poor 5th tackle kick plays or attack decisions. But they reek talent and skill and can whack weaker sides with points. They were much better than I expected when under pressure in Canberra beating the Raiders in a good quality game two weeks ago, and blew last weeks game 14-16 to the Dragons where they should have won. I like the fact that they copped that loss, a kick in the backside off a string of wins and I think a bit of a shake up into aiming up here.
Panthers have won their last 2 at the ground, I expect some steel in attitude here, and they have the talent strengths to hurt the Eagles where they have some key defensive weakness. I’m not convinced the Eagles can do the tough stuff under pressure for 80 minutes. Panthers anything near the best of the last 2 weeks I have them well placed as winning.
Bet 2 units Panthers +2.5 $1.92 Unibet / Tabsportsbet / William Hill
Bet 1 unit Panthers H2H $2.20 Unibet
Storm vs Raiders
The 1st of 2 matches in Round 26 featuring 2 last start winners gets underway with Minor Premiers, Melbourne, hosting the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park. Melbourne has won 4 of the last 5 clashes with the Raiders, including the last 2 in Melbourne. The winning margin has been by 6 points or less in 3 of Melbourne’s last 4 wins over the Raiders, while the previous 4 meetings have failed to breach 34. The Storm are on a 6 game winning run, while they have won 6 of their last 7 at AAMI Park, none more convincing than their 64-6 win against the Rabbitohs last start. They have won 11 of their last 12 at AAMI Park as a favourite and 10 of 11 matches against a bottom 8 opponent. Melbourne is also undefeated in their final home game of the regular season since the year 2000. Only once in their last 13 matches have they conceded more than 1 first half try, while they haven’t conceded more than 8 second half points in their last 8. They have been the bench mark all season long, spending 21 weeks on top of the table, off the back of the best attack and defensive records in the NRL. The Storm is 13-10 ATS and has covered in 4 of their last 5, while they have covered in 8 of their last 13 as a double digit home favourite. In total match points they are 13-10 Under and have had Unders results in 6 of their last 8 at home as a big favourite, while their last 5 clashes with the Raiders have also finished Unders. The Storm has won 16 of 19 this season with a half time lead and have a 91% conversion rate at AAMI Park when they have led at the break, winning 48 of 53. Home teams have won and covered in 9 of the last 10 matches with Grant Atkins as lead referee. The Raiders have little to play for with their Finals campaign coming to a grinding halt after the Dragons defeated the Panthers. It’s been a season of “what if’s” for Canberra, who have been unable to close out a tight contest, losing 7 games by 4 points or less, including 3 Golden Point losses. They have won 4 of their last 5, but have a 5-6 road record, while they have lost 10 of 14 against a Top 8 opponent. Canberra are 10th and out of the Finals race, they rank 3rd in attack, averaging 24 PPG, but rank 10th in defence. They are 14-9 ATS and have covered in 6 of their last 7, while they have covered in 7 of their last 9 as a double digit underdog and 5 of their last 6 against the Storm. The Raiders have a 13-10 total point’s record in favour of the Overs, including their last 5 straight, while 5 of their last 6 against a Top 8 side have also finished Overs. The Raiders have won 8 of 11 with a half time lead, but have lost 7 of 9 when trailing at the break.
Bellamy has done as expected through recent weeks, rotated a few players with rests across the last 2 games and will now go full strength and full tilt into this game as a full dress rehearsal for the finals series. They have won 11 of their last 12 at home and won 4 of their last 5 vs Raiders including the last 2 in Melbourne.
Raiders are another with nothing to play for, but with the pressure released they could be the risk of playing care free and ad lib with the ball and try and upset things. The Storm can normally lock down the ruck and wrestle and slow teams down so I expect they can control things, especially with them wanting to play out how they train in preparation for finals ahead.
Storm are the benchmark, 2 pts here now doesn’t matter but a well played execution and rehearsal will be their focus.
Knights vs Sharks
The 50th meeting between the Knights and Sharks in Newcastle’s final home game of the season. The Knights hold a 27-21 all time advantage over Cronulla, coupled with 1 draw, but the Sharks are currently on a 5 game winning streak against the Knights and have also won 3 of the last 4 clashes in Newcastle. Low scoring affairs have been common place, with only 5 of the last 18 encounters breaching 40. In 5 of the last 7 meetings the winning margin has been by 13+, while the Sharks have scored the opening try in the last 6 straight. The Knights will collect their 3rd consecutive Wooden Spoon, with just 5 wins after 25 Rounds, but have been much improved as they continue their rebuild. They have recorded 4 of their 5 wins for the season at home, but their best win was on the road against the Eels in Round 23, unfortunately that is their only win against a Top 8 opponent from 11 attempts. The Knights are 11-12 ATS, with an 8-8 record as a double digit outsider, but have covered in 6 of their last 8 day games from that said position. In total match points they are 13-10 in favour of the Unders, including 4 of their last 6, but they have had Overs results in 14 of their last 22 at home in day time matches as an underdog. Since 2014 home underdogs are 19-11 Over in day games in the closing Rounds. The Knights have led at half time on 12 occasions this season, but have converted only 4 of those, while they have lost 10 of 11 when trailing at the break. The Sharks have lost 3 of their last 4 and are now a realistic chance of missing out on a spot in the Top 4, even with a win over the Knights. They have a very good record on the road, winning 9 of 11 and have won 9 of their last 12 as a road favourite, while they have an 8-4 record against a bottom 8 opponent. They are currently 5th, with the 2nd best defensive record, but are a lowly 10th in attack and have conceded an average of more than 21 PPG since Round 19. Cronulla is 9-14 ATS and have failed to cove r in their last 3 on the road as a double digit favourite, but have covered in 4 of their last 5 against the Knights. In total match points they are 15-8 Under and have had Unders results in 10 of their last 15 as a favourite. Cronulla has won 8 of 9 with a half time lead, but have won only 6 of 14 when trailing at the break. Valentine Holmes and Sosaia Feki have had a picnic against Newcastle in recent matches, with Holmes bagging 7 tries in his last 3 games, while Feki has scored 5 tries from the last 3 against the Knights.
Watch for final team list for the Sharks here, as they can no longer improve their table position I expect that they will rest a few key players, and so clearly have a less that full tilt go at this game.
For the Knights it’s their annual Old Boys Game weekend, and if their is any club that does this day/weekend well and it means something it’s the Knights. They again have some injury issues and are blooding a rookie, but as their last game, at home, big Sunday crowd and a milestone weekend I’m sure they will give this a crack, and if they can make some of their ball play stick we should be in for an entertaining game. 4 of their 5 wins this season have been at home, given the Sharks are likely to rest a few key people and possibly not be fully focused I expect they win but that the plus line start is the way to play the game.
Bet 1 unit Knights +10.0 $1.92 William Hill / +10.5 $1.80 Tabsportsbet
Dragons vs Bulldogs
It’s a simple equation for the Dragons when they take on the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, win and they play Finals, lose and they have played their last game of 2017. Problem for them will be how to beat the Bulldogs as they have only achieved it once from their last 11 clashes with Canterbury, including losing 7 of the previous 8 encounters played at Homebush. In 6 of the last 8 meetings the winning margin has been by 13+, while low scoring affairs have been common place, with 12 of the last 17 (including 9 of the last 12 at ANZ Stadium) having tallied 38 or fewer. The Bulldogs have scored the opening try in 9 of the last 11, while they Dragons have failed to cross in the 1st half in 4 of the last 7. The Dragons will be looking to record B2B wins for only the 2nd time since Round 7, while a win will make it just their 4th victory at ANZ Stadium from their last 13 matches at the ground. They have a 7-4 record as the home team, while they have lost 4 of their last 5 against a bottom 8 opponent The Dragons are 11-12 ATS and have covered in only 3 of their last 11 matches played at ANZ Stadium, while they have also failed to cover in 7 of their last 8 as a favourite and 7 of their last 8 when laying more than a converted try advantage. In total match points they are 13-10 in favour of the Under, while their last 6 matches at ANZ Stadium have also finished Under, with none of them surpassing 37. The Dragons have won 11 of 16 with a half time lead, but have lost 6 of 7 when trailing at the break. Only on 2 occasions from their last 12 matches have the Dragons been able to outscore their opponent in the 2nd half. Kurt Mann has been the Dragons 1st try scorer in 2 of the last 3 clashes with the Bulldogs, giving him a total of 3 tries in his last 3 games against Canterbury. The Bulldogs will be looking to end their season on a high with 3 consecutive victories and make it 6 straight against the Dragons. The shackles have come off in the last fortnight, with the Dogs posting their highest scores of the season in B2B weeks. They have a 7-3 record against their bottom 8 counterparts, but have been poor, both on the road and at ANZ Stadium, winning only 2 of 11 as the away team and 2 of their last 8 at Homebush. They remain in 12th position, with the worst attacking record in the comp, while they rank 8th in defence. Canterbury is 12-11 ATS and has covered in 11 of their last 16 as an underdog, including a 6-3 cover record at ANZ Stadium, while they have covered in 8 of their last 10 with a start of more than 6, including 6 of 7 at Homebush. No side has had more Unders results than the Dogs, with a 17-6 record, with 9 of those coming from 10 matches against a bottom 8 opponent, while they have also had Unders results in 13 of their last 17 at ANZ Stadium as an outsider. The Bulldogs have won 4 of 5 with a half time lead and has lost 12 of 17 when trailing at the break.
The Dragons are no gimmie here. They have not been a noted performer under pressure and or expectation, and now their season comes down to a must win pressure game, and they have given up their key home ground advantage to play at a ground their record is poor, oh and its their opponents home track.. The Dragons have won just 3 of their last 12 games at Homebush, then add in the H2H factor that the Bulldogs have been a massive bogey team for the Dragons for many many years winning 10 of the last 11 contests.
Bulldogs have nothing to play for and this carefree approach across the last few weeks of relaxed attack focused footy has lifted their spirits. They thumped the Eagles (how does that now look..) 30-16 then belted the Titans pretty easy last week (which is thin), but if they look to again play with some confidence, some attack and open things up they can really trouble the Dragons here. Hasler is gone, its common knowledge and has been for weeks, he’ll be sacked in the next week or few, and so the players have decided to just go about what ever they want to do in their own way.
The Dragons, well they have finals appearance pending, yet they’ll need to be at their best here. Their losses at 3 of their last 5 have been very poor, belted Titans but that’s no measure and then beat Panthers last week which after their pathetic offering yesterday also looks decidedly shite form reference. They have had some problems on occasions over recent months when opponents have looked to open the game right up and play some footy and attack, ie the two Knights games and then Eagles. Pressure and expectation can do bad things to some teams and the Dragons will face their maker at some stage today. I expect they can probably get the victory, but the plus start is again where I want to be.
Bet 2 units Bulldogs +8.0 $1.92 CrownBet / William Hill
Tigers vs Warriors
After 191 games, we have now reached the final match of the regular season when the Warriors travel to Leichardt Oval to take on the Tigers. Both sides have been out of Finals contention for quite some time and both sides are coming off Round 25 defeats. The Tigers hold a 14-13 all time advantage over the Warriors and have recorded 3 straight victories over the New Zealand outfit, while they have also won 3 of the previous 4 clashes at Leichardt Oval. Defence has not been a priority for either of the 2 sides in recent meetings, with the last 5 encounters all totaling 54 or more. The Tigers have lost 5 of their last 7 and 9 of their 11 home games, while they have lost 6 of their last 8 at home as a favourite. They are in 15th spot and look likely to finish there for the 3rd time in 5 years, they also rank 15th in attack, while their defence and differential both rank 14th . The Tigers have conceded 22 points or more in 8 of their last 11. They are 12-11 ATS and have covered in only 3 of their last 13 at home as a favourite, while they have failed to cover in 3 of their last 4 at Leichardt. The Tigers are 16-7 Under in total match points, including 8 of their last 9, while they have a 9-2 Under record as the home team. They have won 5 of 11 with a half time lead, but have lost 11 of 12 when trailing at the break. Kevin Naiqama has scored 7 tries in his last 9 games played at Leichardt Oval. The Warriors are on an 8 game losing streak and another loss this week will be their longest ever losing run in a single season. They have lost 11 of their last 12 away games and haven’t won on Aussie soil since Round 22 last year. They haven’t been positioned higher than 10th since Round 1 and are currently in 13th spot, with an attack, defence and differential all ranking 13th also. The Warriors have been the worst cover side in the NRL, producing an 8-15 result and have failed to cover in 6 of their last 7, while they have also failed to cover in 9 of their last 12 played outside of New Zealand. In total match points they 12-11 Under, but 5 of their last 7 away games have finished Overs. They have won 6 of 8 with a half time lead, but have lost 12 of 13 when trailing at the break. No side has scored fewer 2nd half points than the Warriors with an average of less than 7.
Handicap updated to -12.5
There’s trouble in the Warriors camp I am informed yesterday, with a massive public blow up during the week between Foran, Johnson and Coach Kearney which got quite ugly. Kearney has since in the last 24 hrs then dropped both players for this game. They are playing into a 9 game losing streak, I’m sure all of this has not been good for their team moral or unity.
The Tigers have a very good record at Leichhardt, they have a send off game for Woods and Tedesco and have either won or been up to their ears in most of their offerings across the last 6 weeks. Coach Cleary has put some polish on them already and I’m sure he will be looking for a healthy offering here to finish the season on a good note and start their off season with a positive kick. They lost their way and concentration last week when leading the Cowboys 14-6, but this should be a different level.
Looking for the Tigers to put and early stamp on the game, start hard and positive, really put the question to Warriors take away their confidence and take them out of the game.
Bet 2 units Tigers -6.0 $1.90 Pinnacle / -6.5 CrownBet
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