NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting | 2018 Round 18 | Reading The Play
NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting | 2018 Round 18
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NRL Round 18 Game Handicaps
+2.5 Panthers v Sharks
+1.5 Knights v Eels
+11.5 Bulldogs v Rabbits
+6.5 Eagles v Storm
+3.5 Raiders v Cowboys
-4.5 Broncos v Warriors
-6.5 Dragons v Tigers
+9.5 Titans v Roosters
NRL Round 18 Recommended Bet List
1 unit Cowboys +4.5 $1.90 Topsport
2 units Broncos -2.5 $1.90 Topsport
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 (8th March)
Bet 2.5 units Storm to win Premiership $6.00
Bet 2.5 units Cowboys to win Premiership $6.00
I have both teams rated with a clear gap above the rest of the competition. Both have quality, depth, key home ground advantage and at this early stage are forecast as top 4 sides, if not higher. I expect the the current price barring anything unforeseen should be the top of the market, I want to back both teams long term now at the current quote.
Most Losses (2nd May)
Bet 3 units Sea Eagles $4.50 Tab / Ubet
Individual Game Tips
Panthers, Eels, Rabbits, Storm, Cowboys, Broncos, Dragons, Roosters
Note: FYI, with the introduction of Thursday night games it is now near impossible with the work and list of things that I chose to do to have all game previews written and finished until late in each week or early weekend. With the final team lists not announced until Tuesday afternoon, which I then re rate against (current performance, key ins and outs / final team lists and then look to handicap each up coming game then consider a range of form and match up factors towards final potential bets and written game previews. In short with team lists announced late Tuesday that then leaves two days to work through these tasks. I will focus the first preview notes at any game that has a recommended bet so that any key factors and reasoning is then known in advance, and then be working through each game there after in order of day and time (from Thursday onward).
Key Contest Stats
Kind thanks to Mark Hull a good friend and keen NRL follower who complies a weekly list of key stats and insights for each game. You can also follow Mark on Twitter here @
Try Scorer Stats and Recommendations
Mark Hull has been tracking these stats and recommendations for the last 18 mths, and they are worthy of inclusion and consideration for those who like to take exotic bet options like Any Time Try Scorer and or First Try Scorer in selected games across the round. So far this season Mark has nominated 14 selections with 10 of these then scoring in the game. Clearly the safest option is the any time try scorer play.
Panthers v Sharks
Stats + Overview
The run home to the Finals kicks off at Panthers Stadium when the Penrith Panthers host the Cronulla Sharks in Friday Night Football. It’s 1 of only 2 matches in Round 18 pitting 2 of the Top 8 sides against each other. The Sharks have a dominant record over the Panthers in recent seasons, having won 9 of the last 11 as they look to make it 5 straight over Penrith for the 1st time in 28 years. In 5 of the previous 7 clashes the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while points have proven hard to come by, with only 2 of the last 6 having breached 38. The Sharks have scored the opening try in 5 of the last 6, while the Panthers have scored the final try of the match in 4 of the last 5. The Panthers have trailed the Sharks at half time in 10 of the last 11, including the previous 5 encounters at Panthers Stadium. After recording back to back losses, the Panthers returned to the winners list last week, with a comprehensive and unexpected win against the Warriors. They are at home for the 3 rd consecutive week and have won have won 13 of their last 15 at Panthers Stadium. Only once this season have Penrith been out of the Top 4, spending a week in 5th at the conclusion of Round 5. They rank 5th in attack and 2nd in defence, with no side conceding fewer points at home than the Panthers (106 at an average of 11.8 PPG). They are 9-7 ATS and have covered in 12 of their last 15 at Panthers Stadium, but have a poor record against the Sharks, with 2 covers from their last 7. In total match points they are 9-7 Over, but are 13-6 Under at Panthers Stadium since 2017, while they are 6-1 Under from their last 7 at the ground as a small favourite. The Sharks are coming off the Bye and have generally been poor off the break and slow out of the blocks, losing 7 of their last 10, conceding 1st points in all 10, while they have trailed at half time in 9 of them. This will be the 1st of their 3 remaining matches against a Top 8 opponent where they currently have a 3 & 5 record. They have won 8 of their last 10 and 4 of their last 5 on the road, while they have won 15 of their last 18 as a small road underdog. After spending the last month in 7th, Cronulla have moved up 1 spot to 6th, with the 9th ranked attack and the 5th best defence. The Sharks are 7-9 ATS, but have covered in 10 of their last 12 as a small road underdog. In total match points they are 10-6 Under, including 5 of 7 on the road, while they are 10-4 Under from their last 14 as a road dog.
Panthers have an outstanding recent home record, covering 12 of their last 15 at Penrith Stadium and 16 of 24 night games at the ground, they are also 10-4 against the line at home after conceding 14 or fewer. The Sharks have a good longer term record against them but have covered just 6 of their last 18 games when the fav, and are only 3 from 8 v top 8 sides. The Panthers obviously have their 3 key Origin outs but were impressive in how they lifted last week, should grow in confidence off that effort and will have the benefit of training together all week in the knowledge that their 3 outs were going to be rested. Not a game that I want to bet, but thought the Panthers looked a decent chance at home.
Knights v Eels
Stats + Overview
Game 2 of FNF features 2 teams that are well and truly out of Finals contention when 2017 Wooden Spooners Newcastle hosts the prospective Spooners of 2018 in Parramatta. The Knights have won 28 of the 50 all-time clashes with the Eels, including 9 of the previous 11, but have lost the last 2 encounters played in Newcastle. In 6 of the last 8 clashes at Hunter Stadium the winning margin has been by 1-12 points, while only once from the previous 11 match ups have Parramatta led the Knights at half time. A Knights try has been the 1st scoring play in 11 of the last 14 meetings and in 7 of the last 9, the 1st try of the match has been scored by the 6th minute. Both sides have had the week off and the Knights have been a 50/50 proposition at home off a Bye since 2009, winning 5 of 10, while the Eels have lost 8 of their last 9 on the road off the break. The Knights have lost 7 of their last 8, including their last 6 at home, with their only win over that stretch coming against the Eels in what was their biggest win of the season. The Knights remain in 12th position, with the 12th ranked attack, but they remain as the worst defensive side in the NRL and have conceded an average of 28.1 PPG at home. Newcastle is 7-9 ATS and has covered in only 1 of their last 6 at home and 1 of their last 4 as a small home underdog, but have covered in 6 of their last 7 against the Eels. In total match points the Knights are 9-7 Over, including 4 of their last 6 at home, while they are 9-4 Over from their last 13 as a small home outsider. Like the Knights, Parramatta has also lost 7 of their last 8 and they are yet to win this season as the away team, losing 8 from 8, while they have lost 3 of their last 4 as a road favourite. They have been placed at the bottom of the ladder since Round 2 and rank as the worst attacking side in the comp, averaging 12 PPG on the road, while in defence they rank 13th . The Eels are 5-11 ATS but have covered in 7 of their last 10 when laying less than a converted try advantage as the away side. In total match points they are 10-6 Under, including 4 of their last 5 on the road, while 6 of their last 9 at night as a road favourite have also finished Unders.
Knights have lost their last 6 at home, Eels yet to win on the Road this season, but did stretch and should have won last start v Dragons when away. Pearce is clearly a big in for the Knights but he does return from a major rehab, more my concern the Knights have the worst D in the comp, the leak very easily, have copped some poor floggings over recent months and again will be without 3 key forwards which is where they keep getting worked over. They also then have the out of Ponga. Eels are always hard to trust but they can be strong in the middle and they get an equally weak opponent to have a chance against. An ugly game with no confidence on what might turn up for either team but thought the Eels had a decent chance.
Bulldogs v Rabbits
Stats + Overview
Super Saturday gets underway at ANZ Stadium when the Bulldogs host the Rabbitohs. It’s the 26th consecutive meeting between the 2 sides at ANZ Stadium, with both sides recording 3 wins each since Souths Sydney won the 2014 Grand Final. In 5 of the last 7 encounters the winning margin has been by 13+, while only 3 of the last 10 have surpassed 38. The Bulldogs have opened the scoring in 6 of the last 7, while they have scored the 1st try of the 2nd half in 6 of the previous 8. The half time leader has been run down in 5 of the last 10, while only on 1 occasion from the last 9 clashes have the Bulldogs outscored the Rabbitohs in the 2nd half. The Bulldogs are coming off a last minute defeat against the Raiders and are 1 of only 2 sides that are yet to record back to back wins this season. They have lost 5 of their last 6 and 4 of their last 5 at ANZ Stadium, while they have lost 8 of 9 against a Top 8 opponent, losing 6 straight since beating the Panthers back in Round 3. The Dogs have been a bottom 4 side all season and are currently 15th, with the 13th ranked attack, while they rank 11th in defence. They are 9-7 ATS and have covered in 7 of their last 8, while they have covered in 8 of their last 9 at ANZ Stadium when getting a start of more than a converted try, but have covered in only 1 of their last 5 against the Bunnies as an underdog. In total match points they are 10-6 Under, including 5 of their last 6 against a Top 8 opponent, while they are 18-6 Under from their last 24 games played at ANZ Stadium as an underdog. For the 1st time since Round 2 of the 2016 season, the Rabbitohs are perched on top of the ladder. They come into this match off the back of 8 straight wins and will be looking to make it 9 in a row for only the 2nd time since 1971. South’s have won 9 of their last 12 at ANZ Stadium and their last 6 straight as a double digit favourite, while they remain undefeated against a bottom 8 opponent, winning 8 from 8 previously. The Rabbitohs are ranked as the Number attacking side in the League and have scored 20 points or more in 8 of their last 9 at ANZ Stadium, while they rank 4th in defence. They are 11-5 ATS and have covered in 7 of their last 9 at ANZ Stadium, while they have covered in 5 of their last 6 as a double digit favourite. In total match points they are 9-7 in favour of the Unders, while they are 9-2 Under from their last 11 day time matches.
Eagles v Storm
Stats + Overview
The Sea Eagles and the Storm will feature in the Super Saturday Sandwich when the clash at Brookvale Oval. Melbourne holds an 18-14 all time advantage over Manly, coupled with 1 draw, but the Sea Eagles hold the upper hand at Brookvale, having won 9 of the previous 16 encounters. Manly caused a major upset when the 2 sides met in Round 11 and will be looking to do the double over the Melbourne outfit for only the 3rd time ever. Recent meetings have been high scoring affairs, with 6 of the last 8 having tallied 41 or more, while only 1 of the previous 6 at Brookvale has finished below 45. The Sea Eagles have opened the scoring in 8 of the last 10, with 4 of those being via a Penalty Goal. Melbourne winger Suliasa Vunivalu has scored 7 tries in his 4 games against the Sea Eagles. Manly return to Brookvale for the 1st time in 6 weeks, while it’s just their 2nd game at the ground since Round 8. They have lost their last 3 at Brookvale, but had won 7 straight prior to then. They will be looking to build on their impressive record at home when coming off a Bye, where they have won 8 of their last 10, but will need to overcome a poor record as a small home outsider as they have won only 5 of their last 14 from that said position. Their last match was a road win against the Panthers which ended a 4 game losing streak, but only once this season have they managed to put back to back wins together. Manly remain in 13th spot on the ladder and while they are a respectable 8th in attack rankings, they are a lowly 14th in defence and have conceded in excess of 100 points from their last 4. They are 7-9 ATS, with just 1 cover from their last 5 as the home team, but they have covered in 6 of their last 8 as a small home underdog. In total match points they are 9-7 Under, including 5 of their last 6, while they are 6-2 Under from their last 8 at Brookvale with a small start. The Storm has won 5 on the trot and 5 of their last 6 away from AAMI Park, while their loss to Manly in Round 11 is their only loss against a bottom 8 opponent since Round 5. They have won 15 of their last 18 as a small road favourite and are coming off their 8th 13+ victory of the season, which is the most of any club. Melbourne remains in 3rd spot and only once all season have they sat out of the Top 8. They rank 3rd in both attack and defence, with only the Roosters conceding fewer points as they away team. They are split 8-8 ATS, but have covered in 3 of their last 4 and have an 11-7 cover record from their last 18 as a small road fave. In total match points they are also split 8-8, but are in heavy favour of the Unders when away from AAMI Park, producing a 41-22 record since 2014, while they are 5-1 Under from their last 6 against a bottom 8 opponent.
Raiders v Cowboys
Stats + Overview
The final Saturday match of Round 18 will see the Cowboys leave behind the tropical weather of North Queensland when they travel to the Nation’s Capital to take on the Raiders in what is sure to be a chilly evening in Canberra with a forecast of 2 degrees at kickoff. The Raiders will be looking to make it back to back wins against the Cowboys for the 1st time since 2005 after recording a come from behind win in Townsville earlier in the season, which was their 1st road win against the Cowboys in 12 seasons. Recent clashes have been high scoring affairs, with 11 of the last 15 topping 41, while only 4 of the last 15 in Canberra have tallied fewer than 44. A Raiders try has been the 1st scoring play in 4 of the previous 5 encounters, while the Cowboys have scored both the 1st try of the 2nd half and the last try of the match in 7 of the last 11. The Raiders get a chance to record back to back wins for the 1st time since Round 9 after going on a win loss sequence since Round 11. They have won 4 of their last 6 at GIO Stadium and won 4 of their last 5 at home as a favourite, while they are undefeated in their last 7 against their bottom 8 counterparts. Canberra remain 6 points out of the Top 8 in 9th position, they rank 4th in attack, but are ranked 12th in defence and have conceded at least 20 points in 6 of their last 7. They are 7-9 ATS and have covered in only 2 of their last 6 at home as small favourite, but they have been good against the Cowboys, with 6 covers from the last 8 contests. In total match points they are 9-7 in favour of the Overs, with 9 of their last 10 topping 40, but 7 of their last 8 at home when laying a start of less than 6 have finished Unders. The Cowboys have lost 6 of their last 7 and have recorded just the 4 wins all season. They have won only 2 of 8 on the road and have conceded 20 points or more in all but 1 of those. They have a 2-4 record against a bottom 8 opponent, while they have lost 4 of their last 6 as a small road outsider. North Queensland has moved up 1 spot on the ladder, but remains in the bottom 4, a position they have been out of only once since Round 4. They rank 14th in attack and 9th in defence, with their points for and against pretty much the complete opposite when compared to the same time last year. Like the Raiders, the Cowboys are 7-9 ATS, but have covered in 13 of their last 17 as a road underdog, while they have a 23-11 cover record as an interstate outsider dating back to 2014. In total match points no side has had more Unders results than the Cowboys, with an 11-5 record, 11 of which have come from their last 12 games.
How do you trust the Raiders, their last 3 halves have been all but disgraceful and I’m sure their coach labeling them pathetic in his press conference wouldn’t have endeared the relationship (as only Stuart can do). All o the stats are so strongly against the Raiders, they have covered just 3 of their last 15 as a home fav (there’s that mental fragility again) and covered only 5 of their last 16 at home as fav or dog. Add in that the Cowboys have covered 8 of their last 12 when an interstate underdog, off some close and fair recent form references and still having a decent crack each week I’m happy to be with them to win and take the plus start.
Broncos v Warriors
Stats + Overview
A rare weekend in the NRL with 3 games of Sunday football, the 1st of which will see the Brisbane Broncos hosting the New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos hold a 23-17 all-time advantage over the Warriors, including 5 wins from the last 6 clashes at Suncorp and will be looking to do the double over the New Zealand based outfit for the 1st time since 2009. It’s the 1st Sunday afternoon game for the Broncos since 2016, while it’s the 1st time since 2014 that the Broncos have played a Sunday afternoon game at Suncorp Stadium. In 3 of the last 4 meetings the winning margin has been by 13+, while there have been plenty of points scored in recent clashes at Suncorp, with 7 of last 9 at the ground having breached 40 at an average of almost 47. Only once in the last 15 encounters has the half time leader been run down, while the team to score the 1st points has gone on to win 12 of the previous 14 meetings. The Broncos have won 3 on the trot and 5 of their last 6, while they have also won 4 of their last 5 at Suncorp Stadium. They are coming off their biggest win of the season after keeping the Titans scoreless and will be looking to keep that defensive effort going as they have conceded an average of 22 PPG at home this season (rank 12th). They have won 9 of their last 13 at Suncorp as a small favourite, while they have won 3 of their last 4 against a Top 8 opponent. Brisbane is 7-9 ATS and while they have covered in their last 3 at Suncorp, they have been poor as a favourite, covering in only 2 of their last 9. In total match points they are 10-6 Over, including 6 of 7 against the Top 8, while they are 15-7 Over at Suncorp since 2017. The Warriors are on the road for the 2nd week in a row and will be looking to avoid 3 straight defeats after suffering back to back losses for the 1st time this season. They have been strong on the road in 2018, winning 6 of 8, but have generally been poor travelers, winning only 5 of 16 as a small road underdog since 2014. It’s a tough period for the Warriors, who play 5 matches in 6 Rounds against a Top 8 opponent and they have gone down in the 1st 2 of those, making it 6 losses from their last 7 against a Top 8 team, including the last 5 straight. They have slipped from 4th to 8th off of their 2 last start defeats, with an attack ranking of 10th, while they rank 8th in defence. The Warriors are 10-6 ATS but have covered in only 5 of 16 matches dating back to 2014 as a small road outsider. In total match points they are 10-6 Under
Broncos have won 7 of their last 9, come off a decent win when under strength last week and have the benefit of a Sunday game and so additional days for Origin player back up. The Broncos home record is also particularly strong and they have an excellent record v the Warriors here winning 5 of the last 6 and have covered 7 of their last 11 at home when off a win of 13 or more; they have also covered 12 of their last 18 at home after conceding 10 points or fewer. At their best their forwards have been strong and now have some depth onto their bench which certainly looks a key advantage here. The Warriors last 40 minutes against an under strength Panthers was disgraceful and they can fold very quickly at present under pressure. Like what the Broncos did last week, think they might be on the way up at present while I’m happy to oppose the Warriors under any sustained pressure.
Dragons v Tigers
Stats + Overview
The penultimate game of the Round will see the Dragons hosting the Tigers at Jubilee Oval. It’s the 1st time the 2 sides have met at the ground since 2013 and just the 3rd match played there between the 2 joint venture clubs. The Dragons have won 5 of the last 7 and 6 of the last 8 as the home team and will be looking to make it 3 straight over the Tigers for the 1st time since 2011. In 6 of the previous 8 encounters the winning margin has been by 13+, while recent meetings have been low scoring affairs, with 4 of the last 5 having totaled 37 points or less. A Dragons try has been the 1st scoring play in 7 of the last 10, including the previous 3 encounters, while in 6 of the last 8, the 1st try of the match has been scored by the 7th minute. Only once from the last 11 clashes has the half time leader been run down, while only 3 times from the previous 14 encounters have the Tigers outscored the Dragons in the 2nd half. The Dragons have named all 5 of their Origin stars to back up, while the Tigers are coming off the Bye and have lost 5 of their last 6 off the break. The Saints are coming off a last defeat after going down to the Storm in the highest scoring game of the season, but they are yet to lose back to back matches in 2018. They have a 12-4 record after 17 Rounds and remain undefeated against a bottom 8 opponent, winning 6 from 6, while they have won 23 of their last 27 at home as a favourite. The Dragons have dropped to 2nd spot on the ladder and rank as the equal best attacking side, while they rank 6th in defence, but have conceded at least 16 in 6 of their last 7. They are split 8-8 ATS and have covered in just 1 of their last 7, but they have covered in 7 of their last 9 at their suburban grounds. In total match points they are 11-5 Under, including their last 5 against a bottom 8 side, but are 7-1 Over from their last 8 day time matches at Kogorah. The Tigers have lost 4 in a row and 8 of their last 10 which has seen them tumble down the ladder and out of Finals contention. They have lost 5 of their last 6 against a Top 8 opponent, while they haven’t won on the road since Round 6, losing 5 straight. The Tigers are 10th, with the 7th ranked defence, but they now have the 2nd worst attacking record in the comp and only once in their last 8 have they posted a score of more than 16. They are 7-9 ATS and have failed to cover in 9 of their last 10, including the last 6 straight. In total match points they are 10-6 Under, including a 7-1 Under record against a Top 8 team, while they are 8-1 Under from their last 9 when getting a start of more than a converted try.
Titans v Roosters
Stats + Overview
The final match of Round 18 will see the Roosters travel to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans. The Tri-Colours have won 5 of the last 6 clashes and will be looking to make it 4 straight victories against the Titans for the very 1 st time. In 3 of the last 4 encounters the winning margin has been by 13+, while 5 of the last 8 have topped 44 points. The Roosters have scored the opening try of the match in the previous 5 clashes in Queensland, while the Titans have scored the 1st try of the 2nd half in 7 of the last 10. The Titans will welcome back Wallace and Arrow from Origin duties, while the Roosters will rest Cordner with Tedesco and Mitchell both named to back up. The Titans are coming off their 3rd biggest home defeat ever after going down by 34-0 against the Broncos. That was their 8th loss from their last 11 games, including 6 straight against a Top 8 opponent. They have a 3-4 record as the home team, while they have won only 4 of their last 11 at home as a big outsider. The Titans remain 11th , with the 11th ranked attack and the 2nd worst defensive record in the comp where they have conceded an average of 25 PPG. They are 10-6 ATS, with covers in 6 of their last 7, while they have covered in 7 of their last 10 at home as a big outsider and their last 5 on end when favoured by 8.5 or more at home. In total match points they are 10-6 in favour of the Unders, including their last 5 straight, while they are 7-2 Under against the Top 8. The Roosters have had the week off and have a very good record off the Bye, losing just 2 of their last 11, while the haven’t been beaten by a bottom 8 team since Round 1, winning 7 from 7. They will however need to address a poor record when playing interstate, as they have won only 3 of their last 16. The Roosters have moved into 5th and now rank as the Number 1 defensive side in the NRL, while they rank 7th in attack. Also of note is that the Roosters rank 13th in attack when playing away from home, but maintain their ranking of 1st in defence. The Tri-Colours are 9-7 ATS and have covered in 4 of their last 5, but have failed to cover in 8 of their last 9 as an interstate favourite. In total match points the Roosters are 10-6 Under, including 8 of their last 10 and 9 of their last 13 as a road favourite, while their last 5 against a bottom 8 team have all also finished Unders.
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NRL Tips Previews Sports Betting 2017
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