NRL – Australia v New Zealand – Test Preview &...

 

NRL – Australia v New Zealand – Test Preview – 2013

Canberra: 7.30pm Friday

The Kangaroos have dominated these annual late April clashes for some time, winning the last 13 straight although the Kiwis carry the World Cup title from their 2010 victory. Many have argued through recent days the relative closeness of these recent Anzac Tests (Australia winning the last two by 8 point margins)and that we are likely to see something similar here. The markets (and I) disagree pricing the Kangaroos long odds on fav’s and offering a line of -16.5.

I think this Kiwi side looks decidedly weaker than they have played through recent years. They have no Marshall, Inu, Beale, Vatuvei or Jeremy Smith; are without the return of SBW and are weakened further by the absence for one reason or another of a few players who will now turn out for Sama or Tonga in the other international this weekend (Matai, Asotasi). I am also surprised to see Nightingale selected on the wing (and not at fullback) and Whare in the centres.

I can’t see how the Kiwis can defensively hold the Australian attack across sustained periods of play, especially down either edge where  Johnson, Kenny-Dowall and Whare are at times questionable defenders and I’d suggest by full time will be near spinning in circles given the amount of traffic that I expect to be sent their way. Kearney has made it clear that he’ll be sticking to a dummy half and one pass forward orientated game through the midfield but if the Australians open this up as I expect then they’ll have few points in them to compete with what the Kangaroos are likely to throw at them.

This Kangaroo side is littered with quality and class, with at least 4 game breakers across their list (Smith, Thurston, Slater, Inglis) let alone the direction and play making skill of Cronk at 7. They have the obvious ball play combinations in and around the Kiwi big men via Smith, Cronk and Slater, a mobile forward pack with I would expect an intention to move the big Kiwi forwards about, numerous quality kicking options (9, 7 and 6) and then the finishing skill given any room or a sniff of opportunity from their back 5. They reek points, if they are in the right mood and want to play I have no doubt they will rack up 40 something.

While it’s not always the case in my opinion this game looks made to order for a Kangaroo lop sided result. They’ll enjoy the advantage of playing in Canberra in front of a full house of support at near full strength with all the right players in quality form up against a weakened Kiwi team with many who look to be struggling for their best. I see a lot of attack and points in the Australians and I can’t see the defensive answers in their opponents.

Tip: Australia 

Last Word: Attacking class and skill to rise to the top here, I’d be surprised if they don’t put on a show. 

Betting Interest: I think the Kangaroos are likely to win but at least a 20 something margin, covering the line and then some.

Interests

If you are looking to have an interest on the game you could consider any one of the following betting options.

Anchor Australia Line -16.5 $1.90 as your main bet. I’ll also be speculating on a couple of wider line / margin options like Australia -24.5 $3.15 and Australia winning margin 19+ $2.10 or the Line/UnderOver double of Australia -16.5/Over 42.5 $3.30. If looking to play a Man Of The Match option I’d play Slater, Cronk or then Inglis.

 

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NRL Tips, NRL Selections, NRL Previews, NRL Betting

 

NRL Preview – Round 6 – 2013 – Sunday Be...

 

NRL Preview – Round 6 – 2013
NRL Betting Results – Year To Date
All Bets
 2013  Bets  Winners  %  Units Bet  Units Return  Profit / Loss  POT %
 YTD  8  6  75.0  16  20.13  4.13  25.81%
Best Bets
 2013  Bets  Winners  %  Units Bet  Units Return  Profit / Loss  POT %
 YTD  2  2  100.0  4  6.97  2.97  74.25%

 

MrG’s recommended weekly betting plays for the 2013 NRL Season and are listed below under “Bet List”.

Each NRL Weekly Preview thread will open each Wednesday morning and list any early betting plays. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round (Fridays).

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NRL Sunday – Free Game Previews

 

Sunday NRL Previews
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Individual Game Tips –  22/32  68.7%

Bulldogs, Titans, Sharks, Cowboys, Rabbits, Dragons, Roosters, Storm

Sunday Free Game Previews
Dragons v Knights

 

Dragons

Knights

RTP Rating

 

-3.5

H2H Opened

$2.30

$1.62

Line Opened

-1.5

 

Head to Head

Won 7 of last 10

 

At Ground

Won 8 of last 10

Lost 6 of last 10

Home/Away

80%

30%

 

Kogarah: 3.00pm Sunday

Interesting clash this, all the more so being at Kogarah where the Dragons are very good having won 11 of their last 13 here. They got their season started with a positive win against the Sharks last week, more importantly it being an away game and with some tweaks to their attack. It was noticable that they wanted to play an up tempo game with a far quicker play the ball and far greater emphasis on second phase off load play which broke their opponent up nicely. They will at least take some confidence out of winning and be difficult to roll here if they can play to their strengths of yardage up front and Sowards long kicking game (hence positive field position). Aside from the Brookvale diaster the Knights have been very good, Roberts a key inclusion at 7 adding some positive spark and individual play which is complementing Mullen at 6, they have a nice mix through the middle and then to either edge. Their test here is in aiming up on the road off the back of what happened at Brookie and a 3/10 away record. I have a slight leaning to the Dragons (for whom this is also a test) on the back of their very good form at the ground, but I’ll be happy to just watch and learn some more about both.

Tip: Dragons

Last Word: Home side very tough to beat here (Kogarah), and carry an excellent H2H record. I want to see the Knights prove themselves on the road at these difficult venues.

Betting Interest: Line ball betting game best left alone.  

 

Raiders v Roosters

 

Raiders

Roosters

RTP Rating

 

-2.5

H2H Opened

$2.65

$1.48

Line Opened

 

-5.5

Head to Head

Won 5 of last 10

 

At Ground

Won 7 of last 10

Lost 5 of last 7

Home/Away

70%

20%

 

Canberra: 6.30pm Sunday

Another good clash here. Raiders best as we know is at home (won 7 of their last 10 here) and come of a credible effort last Monday night when away at Newcastle although they have picked up a few key injuries. The key issue with the Raiders continues to be critical errors and or ill discipline at important stages of each game with them rarely able to sustain the pressure and close out a result, last Monday a perfect example when they led 12-10 out of half time yet were then comfortably run over. I expect that they’ll face plenty of frustration here against their opponents quality defence. The Roosters have been good winning their last 3, as suggested their defence impressive and tight although we have to wonder how deep that form is through the disgracful offering from the Eels last week. Their combinations are gaining confidence, Maloney and SBW’s influence notable and we’ll see a very interesting head to head contest up front with the clash of two big front rows. The issue here is a very poor away record (2/10) and at ground record (2/7) which evens the likely contest up considerable. I like what the Roosters are doing and they have the defence to close their opponent out which is what I expect to happen but I’m happy to just watch what unfolds.

Tip: Roosters

Last Word: Roosters on trust, they are very poor away and come off questionable form strength (Eels), Raiders best is at home.

Betting Interest: I could nearly take the start, but then I realised it was the Raiders whom we are never quite sure which one turns up! Leave alone.

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NRL Tips, NRL Selections, NRL Previews, NRL Betting

NRL Preview – Round 5 – 2013 – All Game ...

 

NRL Preview – Round 5 – 2013
NRL Betting Results – Year To Date
 2013  Bets  Winners  %  Units Bet  Units Return  Profit / Loss  POT %
 YTD  3  3  100.0  3  5.54  2.54  84.67%

 

MrG’s recommended weekly betting plays for the 2013 NRL Season and are listed below under “Bet List”.

Each NRL Weekly Preview thread will open each Wednesday morning and list any early betting plays. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round (Fridays).

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Easter Monday NRL Previews

 

Monday NRL Previews

MrG’s recommended weekly betting plays for the 2013 NRL Season commence from Round 4 onwards, and are listed under “Bet List” in each weekly NRL Preview thread.

A new NRL Weekly Preview thread will open each Wednesday morning and list any early betting plays. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round.

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Individual Game Tips –  17/24  71%

Eagles, Bulldogs, Storm, Sharks, Titans, Knights, Cowboys, Roosters

Monday Game Previews
Warriors v Cowboys
Warriors Cowboys
RTP Rating -1
H2H Opened $2.95 $1.40
Line Opened -7.5
Head to Head Won 4 of last 10
At Ground Won 5 of last 10 Lost 7 of last 10
Home/Away 50% 40%

 

Auckland: 4.00pm Monday

I’d caution that this might not look as straight forward as first glance and that the Cowboys have some work to do to be winning here. I have little time for the Warriors at present but they do now have the advantage of their first game at home and the likely return of Friend at 9 (experience, work rate and direction). It’s an away leg that the Cowboys have traditionally really struggled with (only winning 3 of their last 10) and will face up here having clocked up a lot of travel and little preparation with back to back away legs (Newcastle then Auckland). Also, as bad as the Warriors are travelling right now little separates the defensive stats of both sides with them each now conceding near 28 points a game after the first 3 rounds, the Cowboys conceding 66 across their last two weeks. I’m not sure if the Cowboys have been reading their own press and got too far ahead of themselves through recent weeks but right now they have a similar look to the Tigers of last year, on paper one of the likely contenders who then flopped through the opening months while we all kept waiting (and expecting) a form turn around. I’m sure Coach Henry has put a decent rocket up them this week but this is not an easy assignment for them. The Warriors have looked a basket case. One really wonders what they have been doing through the last few months. Their defensive attitude and commitment is poor. They are not interested in the key small plays that can make a huge different to the momentum of a game. Johnson is clearly playing injured and I’m not sure that Leuluai is 6 at this level. I don’t like the game, both sides are searching for improvement, the Cowboys should be a 20 point better side on what we expect but until they stamp some consistent play again they carry significant risk.

Tip: Cowboys 

Last Word: As we know, the Cowboys have the makings of a top 4 contender, they need to get their heads right and aim up here.

Betting Interest: I think the 8 point line is tricky, I want to see the Cowboys put up before playing with them again.

Roosters v Eels
Roosters Eels
RTP Rating -7
H2H Opened $1.40 $2.75
Line Opened -6.5
Head to Head Lost 6 of last 10
At Ground Lost 6 of last 10 Won 5 of last 10
Home/Away 40% 20%

 

SFS: 7.00pm Monday

Another interesting contest. The opening rounds each season will throw up numerous highs and lows as teams find form, combinations and manage the change of new coaches, key players and or tactics – and or a rebound from a poor start or major loss (like the Raiders and Knights). The Roosters and Eels are another two on a new path this season with new coaches, the Roosters off a poor first up effort have then won two games and made improvement each week. The Eels started well with a home win and close loss to the Bulldogs then capitulated last week to the Tigers. So we have some team form and general form lines still sorting itself out. The Roosters have struggled to score points but have defended well (averages attack 12 defence 14), the Eels a mixed result (attack 25 defence 21) yet the markets see a clear advantage to the Roosters and a potential 8 to 10 point margin. Maloney and SBW have provided some class and balance to what the Roosters are now doing, they are also playing with a big middle (Waera-Hargreaves, Moa and Nuuausala) but their basic error and ill discipline is still a major issue and penalising much of their progress. I though the Eels were very luck to finish with only 30 points against them last week. They were there to be thrashed such was their basic error and poor attitude, but they have the advantage here of an 11 day turn around and an extended period for Stuart to freshen them up and attempt to get them back on track. They remain on the road for the third week in a row (and carry a shocking away record) but are lucky to some degree that all three games have been Sydney based road legs. I’ve been with the Roosters through their last two wins, and expect them to win here but I’d not be comfortable playing with a wide line with a side that is still struggling to score points and get their discipline right – let alone have been able to post 8 to 10 plus points winning margins (which they are yet to do). 

Tip: Roosters 

Last Word: At home the Roosters look slowly on the improve and can win here. I do expect the Eels to be better than last week. 

Betting Interest: Happy to leave alone, let’s see the Roosters clock up some points and margin before playing with an 8 point line.

 

2013 NRL Season Preview – if you haven’t seen the detailed (19 pages) season preview it’s available here

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NRL Tips, NRL Selections, NRL Previews, NRL Betting[/private]

 

NRL Preview – Round 4 – 2013

NRL Preview – Round 4 – 2013

MrG’s recommended weekly betting plays for the 2013 NRL Season commence from Round 4 onwards, and are listed below under “Bet List”.

Each NRL Weekly Preview thread will open each Wednesday morning and list any early betting plays. It will be updated each day and then detailed game by game Previews, Ratings and final Bet List will be published online by 8am on the morning of the first game of the round.

A private Twitter account @RTP_NRL_Betting is also available for all NRL subscribed members (5 week subscriptions or longer) for immediate notification of any recommended Bets, published Previews and or any ongoing updates.

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A range of subscription packages are available to suit everyone (from as low as $16 a week), Weekly, Multi 5 Week, Season Pass and or various combinations with our other website offerings of AFL or Horse Racing. Full details can be found here.

Bet List

Sea Eagles Line -6.5 $1.91

Storm Half Time/Full Time $1.72 (Centrebet) – Best Bet

Knights Line -6.5 $1.91

Staking: All betting and results will be based on 1 unit bets on all recommended bets, unless otherwise stated.

Individual Game Tips –  17/24  71%

Eagles, Bulldogs, Storm, Sharks, Titans, Knights, Cowboys, Roosters

Game Previews
Eagles v Tigers
Eagles Tigers
RTP Rating -10
H2H Opened $1.48 $2.65
Line Opened -6.5
Head to Head Won 7 of last 10
At Ground Won 8 of 10 Won 4 of 6
Home/Away 30%

 

Gosford: 8.00pm Thursday

Note this is a home Eagles game being played at Gosford, interestingly both clubs have good records here, but the Eagles a very strong 8 wins from last 10. The Eagles took a long time to get into their game vs the Titans last week, a day game in the coastal Qld heat appearing a hindrance, but I did like the fact that when it got serious (against the clock) they could put their foot down with points and near jag a result. I have a long term knock on the Eagles for two reasons, a) questionable support depth behind the quality that they clearly have – wear and tear may well catch up to them at some stage and I am not convinced that there is all that much behind their top list; and b)possible ASADA intervention and loss of key star players – the mail on this has been around for 5 or 6 weeks that at least 2 or 3 key Eagles players may well have some serious explaining to do. Time will tell. My info is things may well go bang sooner than later and if they were to lose a couple of key players and the wear and tear of a tough season takes its toll…… But all of that is the longer term view. Right now based on their form and attitude to date the Eagles have to be rated in the top 3 so let’s not stare a gift horse in the mouth.  I just can’t warm to the Tigers at all right now. Galloway is a long term major out and they are so loose through the middle (and generally) in defence. Already after just 3 games they lead the missed tackle stats yet come through their last two games against two sides that are likely to be bottom 4 by August? The Eagles have the size and physical play to punish them through the middle, dominate the yardage and field position games and mount points, I can’t see any of the right answers in the Tigers based on what we have seen to date. After just 3 games the Tigers are already conceding the best part of 20 points against a week (the Eagles 10). Pretty keen on the Eagles.

Tip: Eagles 

Last Word: Eagles should have the grunt through the middle to dominate, I expect that they will. 

Betting Interest: I have this marked with a clear margin to the Eagles (-10), if they are serious I think they’ll win by a margin. Looks one of the two better bets of the round.

Bulldogs v Rabbits
Bulldogs Rabbits
RTP Rating -1
H2H Opened $2.00 $1.85
Line Opened -1.5
Head to Head Won 6 of last 7
At Ground Won 9 of last 10 Won 8 of last 10
Home/Away 90% 80%

 

Homebush: 4.00pm Friday

Be aware that both sides play out of Homebush as their home ground and importantly both sides have excellent records here. It is also of note that the Bulldogs have held a healthy H2H advantage through recent years, winning 6 of the last 7. Major key ins for the Bulldogs with Barba and Pritchard returning. While they may be short of a gallop they’ll strengthen the confidence of everyone around them and both have the quality to make an impact straight up. The Bulldogs lifted for the GF rematch in Melbourne last week. They keep making small steps of improvement and at 1/3 and off a loss I think they’ll again aim up and give this a real shake. I also think their ball shift attack to their edges, especially with the return of Barba will trouble the Rabbits but they are still missing the impact of their two big front rowers who remain out. Through the last two weeks the Sharks and Panthers have looked to move the Rabbits around with a lot of deliberate side to side attack and ball movement, obviously looking to run about and tire their bigger men and open up their defence – and with success. The Sharks looked like they could well have done more than they did (line breaks and scoreboard) while the Panthers gave them a fright and clocked up 32 points. The fact that 6 tries were conceded is a major concern for a potential top of the table team. I’m tipping the Bulldogs here off the back of their record in these big matches when it mattered, last year winning 8/13 against top 8 sides and a GF appearance, whereas the Rabbits although in winning form could only win 6/13 against the best sides in the comp (and come off two finals defeats). Looks a great contest, I lean slightly to the Bulldogs but we’ll learn a lot more from the contest.

Tip: Bulldogs 

Last Word: Bulldogs have consistently come up and or won the big games through the last 12 months. The Rabbits are yet to convince us that they can. Great contest, slight lean to Bulldogs given their record. 

Betting Interest: Close game, no betting play for mine.

Broncos v Storm
Broncos Storm
RTP Rating -12
H2H Opened $3.25 $1.35
Line Opened -8.5
Head to Head Lost 8 of last 10
At Ground Won 5 of last 10 Won 6 of last 8
Home/Away 50% 60%

 

Brisbane: 5.30pm Friday

I’ve mentioned my concerns about the Broncos through the last few weeks, they have no commanding authority or size up front (such that Thaiday has now been asked to play Petro’s past role as opposed to his right edge game). They have a “sameness” across their forward list and have been dominated at the advantage line – at times with ease. Worst still off the back of the ordinary performances up front their halves are struggling (yet feeling the full brunt of everyone’s focus). Yes short on creativity but also well short on room and options off which to play – they’ve now conceded the same amount of points through the first 3 rounds as the amount of points they have scored, unheard of for a Broncos side. The real questions that should be being asked is who has been managing the player list decisions and recruitment through the last two years? I thought the Roosters should have won by a wider margin last week but that aside I thought their big men gave the Broncos a real physical working over and I’m sure that that will take some toll into this week. If Hodges returns he is a key in, by far their best player in the opening rounds. One wonders where Norman’s head might be having now signed a big money deal elsewhere (Eels). A further issue of note against the Broncos that has also received little mention is that their defence might well not be as tight as it looks, missing 30 odd tackles each week and lucky that their last two opponents struggling attack had not capatalised further. After a torrid few weeks of travel the Storm will welcome the 8 day turn around here, and off the back of playing at home last week would have had a far more settled and coordinated prep into this which I’m sure will see their attack combinations far sharper and coordinated than that of last week (when looking leg weary). The Broncos are back at home and have some heat on their tail, but that can only take you so far – especially against the bench mark. I like the Storm to be winning. I’d not be surprised to see them clear the line but rather than play with a 10 point line I think the right play is the half time / full time double.

Tip: Storm 

Last Word: Broncos under the pump and off a physical working over last week. Storm get an 8 day turn around and freshen up, they should be winning. 

Betting Interest: No need to get too clever with a 10 point line, I like the Storm with the half time / full time bet play.

Sharks v Dragons
Sharks Dragons
RTP Rating -9
H2H Opened $1.40 $3.00
Line Opened -8.5
Head to Head Lost 6 of last 10
At Ground Won 6 of last 10 Lost 7 of last 10
Home/Away 60% 10%

 

SFS: 7.30pm Saturday

Sharks have back to back home games here, the Dragons the opposite with another away game off the back of their loss in Canberra. This local derby always brings out the best in both sides, regardless of how they are travelling and it’s worth noting that the Dragons have won 6 of the last 10 H2H clashes, although they have struggled at the ground. I’m still cautious of making too much either way of the Sharks form at present, clearly they have a lot going on behind the scenes and they have then been sharpened in the days prior to their last two home wins, the clearing of Coach Flanagan the latest last Friday. They got the job done as expected last week, Carney and Gordon playing very well but it’s a weak form line given the Warriors terrible offerings through recent weeks and shocking away record. This will be somewhat different and aside from winning their key stats are actually no different to their opponent. The Dragons need to do much more with their creative attack options. Their yardage and kicking game (and for the most part their defence) is actually working ok but it’s their inability to create play and or open the line that remains so pedestrian. The key for the Sharks here is how they play the Dragons, and that they don’t get dragged into an arm wrestle and grind. I expect the Sharks to win but I’m happy just to be watching, I have the line marked as about right and so a tricky play, I also have a nagging doubt about the possibility of the Dragons improving on the back of desperation and the derby motivation.

Tip: Sharks 

Last Word: Tipping the Sharks but this might be closer than it looks. 

Betting Interest: Best left alone.

Panthers v Titans
Panthers Titans
RTP Rating -1
H2H Opened $2.20 $1.70
Line Opened -3.5
Head to Head Won 4 of last 7
At Ground Won 4 of last 10 Lost 2 of 3
Home/Away 40% 40%

 

Penrith: 3.00pm Sunday

Panthers remain at home off the back of scoring 32 points against the Rabbits and have named Ciraldo as an inclusion. The Titans come off two home wins but have doubt over Harrison and Takairangi. We have some tricky form lines still und folding here on both sides of this contest, the Panthers are already conceding an average of 28 points each week (offering the worst defensive stats across the competition) and come off a game where 76 points were scored but they did show some smarts in moving the ball and their opponent around. The Titans come off two home day games each played in very hot conditions which back to back will have had some impact and again face an afternoon game. The big plus for the Titans has been their defence with scores of just 12, 0 and 14 against them, in particular their last 30 meter scramble efforts have been very good. I have this game marked as close. The Panthers remain at home and hold a slight winning H2H margin over their opponent. The Titans are poor on the road, have lost 6 of their last 10 interstate away games and 2 of their 3 games at Penrith. I’m tipping the Titans on the back of winning form and their recent defensive offerings but this is not straight forward and  if the Panthers can turn this into an afternoon game of up tempo game of ball movement nothing would surprise.

Tip: Titans 

Last Word: Looks a game of lots of ifs and buts, if the Titans can retain their recent defensive composure they can win. 

Betting Interest: The markets share the opinion of a potentially close game with only a small line on offer, if you wanted to play here I’d look to wind a line out to the home sides advantage or take the +12.5 start. I’m staying out.

Knights v Raiders
Knights Raiders
RTP Rating -10
H2H Opened $1.45 $2.75
Line Opened -6.5
Head to Head Won 3 of last 4 (6/10)
At Ground Won 7 of last 10 Lost 8 of last 10
Home/Away 70% 40%

 

Newcastle: 3.00pm Sunday

Impressive effort from the Knights (off a poor away loss, key outs) back at home last Monday night . This gives them a nice base off which to work into this, especially with the possible availability here of Gidley, Mason and Tahu with Buderus gaining some match fitness . At this stage I’m putting the poor Brookvale offering aside as a crook away offering at a ground where they have a terrible record and working through the two home results where they have scored soft wins, 42 and 34 points and concede little (10 and 6) and have the advantage this week of back to back home preps. The Knights are rebuilding their home ground advantage (winning 4 of their last 6 on the back of which their home support will continue to grow) and they hold a handy H2H advantage. They’ve a preparedness to work their opponents around and shift the ball and have some key attacking strengths in  Uate and Boyd. The Raiders crawled their way to a home victory over the Dragons (whom they seem to own) but are again on the road off the back of two very poor previous road offerings (Penrith, Gold Coast) and may well be a little more comfortable with themselves off the back of their first win. They have lost 8 of their last 10 games at the ground and have been poor on the road (4/10). Defensively they remain a major risk especially on either edge which is where the Knights will look to play them. I think the Knights are well suited here. I have them marked with a two try advantage and a line of approx -10. I like them at home and especially off a back to back home preparation.

Tip: Knights 

Last Word: Numerous ticks for the Knights at home. Numerous questions if not hurdles for the Raiders on the road. 

Betting Interest: Happy to play the Knights here at the line.

Warriors v Cowboys
Warriors Cowboys
RTP Rating -1
H2H Opened $2.95 $1.40
Line Opened -7.5
Head to Head Won 4 of last 10
At Ground Won 5 of last 10 Lost 7 of last 10
Home/Away 50% 40%

 

Auckland: 4.00pm Monday

I’d caution that this might not look as straight forward as first glance and that the Cowboys have some work to do to be winning here. I have little time for the Warriors at present but they do now have the advantage of their first game at home and the likely return of Friend at 9 (experience, work rate and direction). It’s an away leg that the Cowboys have traditionally really struggled with (only winning 3 of their last 10) and will face up here having clocked up a lot of travel and little preparation with back to back away legs (Newcastle then Auckland). Also, as bad as the Warriors are travelling right now little separates the defensive stats of both sides with them each now conceding near 28 points a game after the first 3 rounds, the Cowboys conceding 66 across their last two weeks. I’m not sure if the Cowboys have been reading their own press and got too far ahead of themselves through recent weeks but right now they have a similar look to the Tigers of last year, on paper one of the likely contenders who then flopped through the opening months while we all kept waiting (and expecting) a form turn around. I’m sure Coach Henry has put a decent rocket up them this week but this is not an easy assignment for them. The Warriors have looked a basket case. One really wonders what they have been doing through the last few months. Their defensive attitude and commitment is poor. They are not interested in the key small plays that can make a huge different to the momentum of a game. Johnson is clearly playing injured and I’m not sure that Leuluai is 6 at this level. I don’t like the game, both sides are searching for improvement, the Cowboys should be a 20 point better side on what we expect but until they stamp some consistent play again they carry significant risk.

Tip: Cowboys 

Last Word: As we know, the Cowboys have the makings of a top 4 contender, they need to get their heads right and aim up here.

Betting Interest: I think the 8 point line is tricky, I want to see the Cowboys put up before playing with them again.

Roosters v Eels
Roosters Eels
RTP Rating -7
H2H Opened $1.40 $2.75
Line Opened -6.5
Head to Head Lost 6 of last 10
At Ground Lost 6 of last 10 Won 5 of last 10
Home/Away 40% 20%

 

SFS: 7.00pm Monday

Another interesting contest. The opening rounds each season will throw up numerous highs and lows as teams find form, combinations and manage the change of new coaches, key players and or tactics – and or a rebound from a poor start or major loss (like the Raiders and Knights). The Roosters and Eels are another two on a new path this season with new coaches, the Roosters off a poor first up effort have then won two games and made improvement each week. The Eels started well with a home win and close loss to the Bulldogs then capitulated last week to the Tigers. So we have some team form and general form lines still sorting itself out. The Roosters have struggled to score points but have defended well (averages attack 12 defence 14), the Eels a mixed result (attack 25 defence 21) yet the markets see a clear advantage to the Roosters and a potential 8 to 10 point margin. Maloney and SBW have provided some class and balance to what the Roosters are now doing, they are also playing with a big middle (Waera-Hargreaves, Moa and Nuuausala) but their basic error and ill discipline is still a major issue and penalising much of their progress. I though the Eels were very luck to finish with only 30 points against them last week. They were there to be thrashed such was their basic error and poor attitude, but they have the advantage here of an 11 day turn around and an extended period for Stuart to freshen them up and attempt to get them back on track. They remain on the road for the third week in a row (and carry a shocking away record) but are lucky to some degree that all three games have been Sydney based road legs. I’ve been with the Roosters through their last two wins, and expect them to win here but I’d not be comfortable playing with a wide line with a side that is still struggling to score points and get their discipline right – let alone have been able to post 8 to 10 plus points winning margins (which they are yet to do). 

Tip: Roosters 

Last Word: At home the Roosters look slowly on the improve and can win here. I do expect the Eels to be better than last week. 

Betting Interest: Happy to leave alone, let’s see the Roosters clock up some points and margin before playing with an 8 point line.

 

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NRL Tips, NRL Selections, NRL Previews, NRL Betting

Bulldogs v Rabbits – NRL Free Game Preview

 

NRL Free Game Preview – Round 4 – Bulldogs v Rabbits – 2013

MrG’s recommended weekly betting plays for the 2013 NRL Season commence from Round 4 onwards, and are listed under “Bet List” in the weekly Preview thread.

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Individual Game Tips –  17/24  71%

Eagles, Bulldogs, Storm, Sharks, Titans, Knights, Cowboys, Roosters

Game Preview
Bulldogs v Rabbits
Bulldogs Rabbits
RTP Rating -1
H2H Opened $2.00 $1.85
Line Opened -1.5
Head to Head Won 6 of last 7
At Ground Won 9 of last 10 Won 8 of last 10
Home/Away 90% 80%

 

Homebush: 4.00pm Friday

Be aware that both sides play out of Homebush as their home ground and importantly both sides have excellent records here. It is also of note that the Bulldogs have held a healthy H2H advantage through recent years, winning 6 of the last 7. Major key ins for the Bulldogs with Barba and Pritchard returning. While they may be short of a gallop they’ll strengthen the confidence of everyone around them and both have the quality to make an impact straight up. The Bulldogs lifted for the GF rematch in Melbourne last week. They keep making small steps of improvement and at 1/3 and off a loss I think they’ll again aim up and give this a real shake. I also think their ball shift attack to their edges, especially with the return of Barba will trouble the Rabbits but they are still missing the impact of their two big front rowers who remain out. Through the last two weeks the Sharks and Panthers have looked to move the Rabbits around with a lot of deliberate side to side attack and ball movement, obviously looking to run about and tire their bigger men and open up their defence – and with success. The Sharks looked like they could well have done more than they did (line breaks and scoreboard) while the Panthers gave them a fright and clocked up 32 points. The fact that 6 tries were conceded is a major concern for a potential top of the table team. I’m tipping the Bulldogs here off the back of their record in these big matches when it mattered, last year winning 8/13 against top 8 sides and a GF appearance, whereas the Rabbits although in winning form could only win 6/13 against the best sides in the comp (and come off two finals defeats). Looks a great contest, I lean slightly to the Bulldogs but we’ll learn a lot more from the contest.

Tip: Bulldogs

Last Word: Bulldogs have consistently come up and or won the big games through the last 12 months. The Rabbits are yet to convince us that they can. Great contest, slight lean to Bulldogs given their record.

Betting Interest: Close game, no betting play for mine.

 

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NRL Tips, NRL Selections, NRL Previews, NRL Betting

NRL Preview – Round 3 – 2013

 

NRL Preview – Round 3 – 2013
Storm v Bulldogs
Storm Bulldogs
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.22 $4.25
Line Opened -12.5
Head to Head Won 4 of last 5
At Ground Won last 6 straight Lost last 3
Home/Away 79% 75%

 

Melbourne: 8.00pm Thursday

Bellamy and his staff would be giggling at all of the suggestions that due to their UK trip they’d be underdone or suffer jetlag or alike. If ever there was to be a reinforcement of a) the quality of the off season program that they do (I’m regularly told by those in the know it’s one of if not the toughest off season program of any NRL club) and b) the systems and coaching process that they have in place that then delivers the end results that they do, then the last two weeks have provided it. The Storm are up and running, and right now a number of rungs above everyone else. They come off a quality win in Townsville against a legitimate title contender and line up at home for a grand final rematch but such is tempered with the fact of a 5 day turn around off the back of a distant away leg. The Bulldogs defended well in winning over the Eels last week but they are desperately missing their 4 key players who remain out (Kasiano, Graham, Pritchard and Barba). They don’t control the mid field as they normally do nor have the punch forward, Pritchards hit on an edge or the skill and polish of Barba’s classy line break or finishing. Right now there is also not the cohesion. Keatings kicking game needs significant improvement and they could well have had some much better questions asked of their defence by the Eels. Storm back at home should be winning and are priced accordingly but I’d suggest caution playing a 3 try line and expect the normal cohesion with a side off the back of a short turn around, distant away leg and a few days of light training.

Tip: Storm 

Last Word: Right now the Storm look at a different level to everyone else, and they get a significantly weakened opponent at home. 

Betting Interest: I expect the Storm to win but given the circumstances I’m happy to leave the long line alone.

 

Tigers v Eels
Tigers Eels
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.65 $2.25
Line Opened -3.5
Head to Head Won 5 of last 6
At Ground Won 3 of last 6 Lost 4 of last 6
Home/Away 67% 12.5%

 

Leichhardt: 7.00pm Friday

Key forward outs for both sides here – Galloway for the Tigers, Maitua for the Eels. Tigers got the job done last week over the Panthers but the form line through either (Tigers or Panthers) doesn’t look all that strong right now (and they’ve come up with a key up front injury which they don’t need), with both sides contributing poor key stats in an error riddled offering. Although not taken advantage of once again the yardage through the Tigers middle was soft which is I’m sure exactly where Stuart will want to play. The Eels plan and structure in general has improved considerably as has their general kicking game and they are playing off better field position more regularly than they have for some years. However, their final 30 metres attack red zone play needs a lot of work. With some brains and execution they could well have beaten the Bulldogs last week. But with Mannah, Moimoi and Lussick they should be able to work their way forward consistently and offer Sandow, Hayne and Paulo some room to play, I’d expect with greater ease than what the Tigers will. Certainly the home and away records here are factors, the Tigers are very good at Leichhardt (and Cambpelltown) while the Eels away record through the last two years has been abysmal but I’m happy to take that risk here and look to the visitors improvement and enthusiasm to be the difference.

Tip: Eels 

Last Word: The Eels have only been winning near 1 in 10 away through recent years and so are again a significant risk, but there has been some positive signs through the last two weeks that they might have the muscle and yardage answers through the middle here to be winning. 

Betting Interest: Play the Eels H2H at around the $2.25.

 

Titans v Sea Eagles
Titans Sea Eagles
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $2.25 $1.65
Line Opened -3.5
Head to Head Won 3 of last 5
At Ground Won 3 of last 5 Won last 2
Home/Away 42% 61%

 

Robina: 5.30pm Saturday

Nice test for the Titans which will tell us much more about the depth of their form. They come off a soft win over the Raiders where they were gifted a mountain of ball and some pathetic defensive offerings as they waltzed through for 36 unanswered points. They had few questions asked of their own defence – the Eagles will be a far different offering. The test here will be a) how they handle are far more physical opponent who will offer them far less room to move, and b) on the back of this how their 9, 7 and 6 then play, as I’d expect that they will be obvious targets. They do have the advantage of an extended home prep and be buoyed by their positive win last week. Right now the Eagles would be clearly marked as the next best behind the Storm off the back of impressive wins through the Broncos and Knights, they have the size and skill through the middle to dominate the advantage line and then the class of Foran and Cherry-Evans to then capatalise, the skill of their kicking game will also see the Titans have to earn field position. The Eagles have been very good away, and even better through the last 12 months with distant road games winning 6 of their last 7, but there remains some injury doubt over Brett Stewart and Matai. The Titans execution and handling struggled against a committed defence two weeks ago (Sharks), I think that’s again the key to this game where I think the Eagles have too many guns.

Tip: Eagles 

Last Word: Right now the Eagles look a key long term contender, we are yet to be convinced where the Titans stand. 

Betting Interest: I’d wait for the final pre game team lists before any betting play, should the Eagles be at or near full strength then I expect them to be covering the single try line.

 

Roosters v Broncos
Roosters Broncos
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.55 $2.45
Line Opened -4.5
Head to Head Lost 6 of last 8
At Ground Lost 7 of last 9 Won 4 of last 6
Home/Away 38% 43%

 

SFS: 7.30pm Saturday

The Broncos remain of the road with back to back Sydney away legs and are now to be without key outs of Hodges and McGuire. They carry the advantage of a healthy recent H2H and ‘at ground’ record but right now they look a long way off quality form. Hodges is a key out. He is a class game breaker who has arguably been their best through the last two weeks and whose absence weakens their attack strike power considerably. The Broncos defence was sound last week but let’s put it in context – the Dragons currently can’t buy execution let alone points so although getting through the work well enough there were few questions of quality put to them. The Roosters won what has been a difficult away leg for them for some time (Warriors in NZ) and again showed some positive signs through the first 50 or so minutes (including a 16-0 lead) but again two weeks in a row they have failed to run out a strong final 30 minutes. They do have plenty of size and grunt through the middle (Waerea-Hargreaves, Moa, Nuuausala and Kennedy) through which I’m sure they will look to play and I expect to trouble the Broncos, I also think they’ll target plenty of attack via their favoured left edge (SBW and Jennings) especially now against a weakened Broncos right edge offering missing Hodges. I am seeing upside and improvement in the Roosters through the last two weeks, I’m not so sure about the Broncos (nor a weakened Broncos facing another away leg), look for the Roosters to work them over through the middle then play with some speed and ball play to their edges (in particular to their left).

Tip: Roosters 

Last Word: Home side improving each week, expect then to take a further positive step here. 

Betting Interest: Roosters to cover the line.

 

Sharks v Warriors
Sharks Warriors
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.43 $2.85
Line Opened -7.5
Head to Head Won 3 of last 6
At Ground Won 3 of last 7 Lost 5 of last 7
Home/Away 62% 21%

 

Cronulla: 2.00pm Sunday

Lewis a key out for the Sharks but they do look to have stronger depth this year. If the Sharks are anywhere near 70% of their best then they will be winning this, the problem right now as we know is guessing from week to week how they might be faring under the weight of the current ASADA investigations. They showed a preparedness to ball play and or shift the ball to their edges and then return last week against Souths which worked well for them, quickly moving their opponents defence around, opening yardage and defensive holes and playing to their attacking strengths off Carney, Gordon and Graham. A similar approach here would have the Warriors spinning like a top as they do not have the defensive smarts nor structures to handle such a game. I think the final scoreboard flattered the Warriors last week. At 16-0 it could have and probably should have led to another blow out loss. Having saved a little face last week I would not be surprised to see them again drop their guard. The signs are there that the Sharks are committed and working as hard as they can against some very difficult circumstance right now, far more than any of the signs coming out of the Warriors. They get their chance here back at home and should be winning.

Tip: Sharks 

Last Word: Sharks have been rolling their sleeves up, with a similar commitment then they’ll be winning here. 

Betting Interest: I don’t like the Warriors at all, but I also don’t think the Sharks are a betting proposition at present.

 

Panthers v Rabbits
Panthers Rabbits
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $4.50 $1.20
Line Opened -12.5
Head to Head Won 3 of last 6
At Ground Won 3 of last 4 Lost 7 of last 8
Home/Away 39% 50%

 

Penrith: 3.00pm Sunday

Well the market gives you a clear lead as to what looks on offer here. The Panthers have a key out in losing Coote for what looks like the season which will disrupt and weaken their halves combination and blunted their key attacking options. Clearly the market is suggesting that the Panthers formline looks very questionable (Raiders, Tigers) against which I can’t argue. Those games were each of ordinary quality reflected in the poor handling, completions and defensive errors. Interestingly the Rabbits have had a very poor record at this ground, having lost 7 straight prior to their win here last year, they come off a win last Monday night and have the key in of Sam Burgess who’s presence and play will lift them significantly. For mine they bombed 4 opportunities on their left edge against the Sharks and should well have recorded a far more comfortable victory, I’d expect that coach Maguire will make some further adjustments to the attack combinations on their left and be somewhat forceful about the improvement he’d be looking for here. Realistically we have a top 4 contender playing a weakened bottom 4 side, evened up slightly by the venue.

Tip: Rabbits 

Last Word: Rabbits will win, the margin is the question. 

Betting Interest: I expect the Rabbits to cover the line.

 

Raiders v Dragons
Raiders Dragons
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.70 $2.15
Line Opened -3.5
Head to Head Won 13 of last 14
At Ground Won last 4 Lost last 10 straight
Home/Away 54% 21%

 

Canberra: 6.30pm Sunday

We have two season to date losers facing up against each other. After two weeks away the Raiders will welcome their first formal home game, and given their poor form what better than that of playing the side who has been your “bunny” for years. The lopsided advantage that the Raiders have held over the Dragons is quite amazing, they’ve won 13 of their last 14 H2H while the Dragons have lost their last 10 straight games in Canberra, now that’s what we might call “owning” someone. The Raiders were ordinary first up against the Panthers, then disgraceful against the Titans, all of which smells of attitude issues, we’d be only guessing if we thought any sort of shake up this week and or the fact of playing at home might well help them. The Dragons have their own problems, they had enough ball and field position to win 2 games last week, their line break and attack options are terrible, they too have a terrible away record (3 wins from their last 14 away starts) let alone the record of playing against the Raiders or at this ground. At least with the Raiders one knows that they do have upside in them, I’m not sure that the same can be said about the Dragons. Going with the home side on trust.

Tip: Raiders 

Last Word: Raiders have ‘owned’ the Dragons H2H for some time, and in particular at this Ground. 

Betting Interest: No, two losers H2H is not a place to play.

 

Knights v Cowboys
Knights Cowboys
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.90 $1.90
Line Opened -1.5
Head to Head Lost 3 of last 4
At Ground Won 4 of last 6 Won last 2 (4 from7)
Home/Away 46% 60%

 

Newcastle: 7.00pm Monday

Somewhat a rollercoaster ride through the opening two weeks for both sides, credible in not impressive wins first up followed by disappointing (Cowboys) if not very poor (Knights) results in round 2. The Knights also looked to have picked up a few key injuries which won’t help them short term, in particular with the loss of Gagai. The Knights problem through the last 12 months has been measuring up when it mattered against the contenders of the competition, especially when away, again shown up when trampled at Brookvale last Monday night. They will improve back at home but they’ll need to improve how they handle things through the middle considerable if they are to compete here. The Cowboys weren’t that far off the Storm for good periods of that game last week, they also made numerous line breaks and off loads and had at least 4 near try scoring opportunities, most of which was not reflected on the scoreboard, so the quality of what they were offering was ok, and thorough an impressive formline. Much like the Eagles they will come at the Knights with size and power through the middle, while I’m sure Thurston will also look to target the Knights right edge defence which has looked decidedly suspect through periods of the last two weeks (and from which they now lose Gagai). Cowboys road record has been very good, they’ve also won 7 of their last 13 distant games and their last two at the ground, I think they’ll win here.

Tip: Cowboys 

Last Word: The Storm formline will be strong, Cowboys weren’t that far away last week and can bounce back here. 

Betting Interest: Cowboys H2H

 

Individual Game Tips

Storm, Eels, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Sharks, Rabbits, Raiders, Cowboys

Interests

I won’t be firing a serious bullet till round 4 or 5 but for those looking for an interest this week I’d suggest these –

–          Eels – H2H, get their chance to break through on the road

–          Roosters – Line -4.5, at home, weakened opponent

–          Rabbits – to cover the line v Panthers

–          Cowboys – H2H, like the formline, will be keen to atone

RTP Ratings

An exclusive individual team rating will be introduced from Round 4 onwards, updated for each team and game circumstance each week. The disclosed form of the opening rounds plus a range of historical and week to week factors will be used to determine and update weekly each allocated rating. All 16 individual team game ratings are updated each week and then published in each new weekly preview.

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NRL Tips, NRL Selections, NRL Previews, NRL Betting

NRL Preview – Round 2 – 2013

 

NRL Preview – Round 2 – 2013
Eels v Bulldogs
Eels Bulldogs
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $2.25 $1.65
Line Opened -2.5
Head to Head Lost last 4
At Ground Lost last 10 straight Won 10 of last 11
Home/Away 13% Away record 73% Home record

 

Homebush: 8.00pm Thursday

Eels lose Kelly at 6, Bulldogs look unchanged with Low likely to again play 1. The Eels looked good last week, but I’d just temper any excitement for them until we see what they offer through the grind of week in week out footy, and more importantly up against a few top of table sides as opposed to the rubbish that the Warriors served up last week. The Eels were able to play at will with soft yardage, easy line breaks and little of note played back at them. They will grow in confidence from that but lets review through the coming weeks. Certainly there were the obvious positives of Sandow looking far fitter and prepared to play direct and run the ball; Hayne with any sort of room is always going to be dangerous and he is certainly their “game breaker” while Maitua and Ryan also played well. A further key issue here is that that winning form was at Parra Stadium (where the majority of their winning form through recent years has been) while this “home game” has been moved to Homebush (the Bulldogs home venue) where the Eels have a shocking record having lost their last 10 here on the back of an equally terrible away record. I didn’t think the Bulldogs were that far away last week against the Cowboys. Their attack was well drilled with the same preparedness to play off the back of a go forward offload; they still have class and speed to finish with and while not in Barba’s class Low can fill the roving attack role from the back suitably. The Cowboys are a likely top 4 contender this year and although beaten that’s a handy form line for the Bulldogs to have come through. They’ll improve further back at Homebush and Hasler doesn’t often lose two in a row. I think we’ll look back in weeks to come and confirm that any form line through the Warriors has a bad smell about it.

Tip: Bulldogs

Last Word: Homebush a huge advantage for the “away” side. They’ll improve and I expect to be a much different opponent to what the Eels faced last week. Keen on the Bulldogs.

NRL Betting Interest: Happy to play the Bulldogs through the H2H and or the short line.

 

Dragons v Broncos
Dragons Broncos
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $2.15 $1.70
Line Opened -2.5
Head to Head Lost 6 of last 7
At Ground Won 6 of last 8 Lost 3 of last 4
Home/Away 73% 38%

 

Wollongong: 7.00pm Friday

Tricky game for mine. Dragons as expected struggled in Melbourne and were comfortably beaten franking their poor away record. Granted that they were playing against one of the best defensive structures in the comp but their attack (like last year) again looked well short of options and importantly points with just the one line break and one of their two tries coming from an intercept. The game was also played in draining 34 degree heat from which the Dragons now only have a short 5 day turnaround! They will welcome at return to home base (Wollongong) but gee they look to still have a lot to change to be any different than the disappointing team of 2012 (in particular in attack). For mine the Broncos were also very disappointing first up and had I any inkling of what I saw last Friday night I’d have put a line through them as a semi final contender. They have no domination nor size across their forward list. They now lack anyone with grunt and authority to dominate the middle as a Petro or Webcke have done so in years past. Thaiday is now being asked to play in the middle as opposed to his past strength as a ball running right edge player. Worse still, they have no creativity – more a reliance of pieces of individual brilliance (Hodges) off which to play. Like any of the form through week one we need to wait and balance any views after 4 or 5 weeks but off the back of a rocket from their coach through recent days the Broncos do have a hell of a lot of improvement to make. As suggested, a tricky game. Dragons improve markedly at home but come off a energy sapping distant road trip and short turnaround; the Broncos off a very “vanilla” first up performance. I lean to the Broncos having greater improvement.

Tip: Broncos

Last Word: Both sides have much to do, off improvement the Broncos look like they have more points in them.

NRL Betting Interest: Not a betting game for mine.

 

Warriors v Roosters
Warriors Roosters
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $2.10 $1.75
Line Opened -2.5
Head to Head Won 6 of last 7
At Ground Lost 5 of last 6 Lost 5 of last 6
Home/Away 45% 23%

Auckland: 5.30pm Saturday

What were the Warriors really doing through their off season? It’s not like they didn’t have much improvement to make having lost their last 8 games to finish 2012 nor correct a defensive attitude and structure that was leaking 26 points a week? They were as soft as butter last Saturday making last year’s Wooden Spooners look like top 4 contenders.  Elliott may well give them a jolt this week but aside from the physical execution their attitude looked to have a terrible smell about it that may well take a hell of a lot more work to change and turn around, if at all. They lose Vatuvei and will welcome a return home to what appears a big crowd (SBW factor). The Roosters weren’t that far away last week through the first 40 and actually showed some promising signs with the attack structure and patterns but cruelled themselves with some basic error and ill discipline (signs again of 2012). I do think that they needed to get that game out of the way to start their year. There had been a lot of hype surrounding the SBW appearance, their new signings and suggestions of major on field improvement let alone face their arch rivals. I think having now got that behind them and in coming back to earth such a losing jolt they’ll have their minds very much on the basics and what’s required to get the job done and 2 points this week. The Warriors should improve something at home but I wouldn’t touch them with stolen money, I expect significant improvement from the Roosters.

Tip: Roosters

Last Word: Mustard keen on the Roosters to put up here.

NRL Betting Interest: Roosters already well backed, happy to play the H2H and or Line.

 

Cowboys v Storm
Cowboys Storm
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $2.00 $1.80
Line Opened -1.5
Head to Head Won 2 of last 3
At Ground Won 8 of last 9 Won 4 of last 5
Home/Away 67% 69%

 

Townsville: 7.30pm Saturday

Cracking game! Both sides have opened their account as expected with wins last weekend, both now travel – the Cowboys returning home for their favoured Saturday night time slot and the Storm (off the heat game factor) to head north to Townsville. The Cowboys were good last week in getting the job done as they did. I think that is a stronger game (and form line) than many think. They showed some patience, some well structured and executed defence and the normal touches that they execute themselves for a 10 point victory. They have a good record over the Storm including a well earnt result in Melb late last year. They have the physical game and go forward to trouble them, kicking options that will make the Storm have to play long and more importantly the defensive smarts to contain the Storm better than most. The Storm have picked up from where they’ve been, professional to a tee, but this is an interesting test as they face a shortish turn around, distant travel off the back of the day / heat game last Sunday (34 degree heat) which was only a week after their return from the UK then into another tropical / humid game against a formidable opponent. If there is one side that eats this sort of stuff for breakfast it’s the Storm, but as game two of the season it is a hurdle. Lots of quality match ups across the park, physically in the middle, Smith at 9, Cronk, Thurston then Slater and Bowen! Interestingly I think the new tougher adjudication of the play the ball with less wrestle and 3 man tackles will favour the Cowboys here as it’s been a master card for the Storm for some years.

Tip: Cowboys

Last Word: Home side have some advantage here, cracking game with two top of the table contenders, like the Cowboys at home.

NRL Betting Interest: Happy to watch, enjoy and learn.

Titans v Raiders
Titans Raiders
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.53 $2.50
Line Opened -6.5 -1.5
Head to Head Lost 4 of last 6
At Ground Won 4 of last 5 Lost 4 of last 5
Home/Away 36% 54%

 

Robina: 2.00pm Sunday

Titans have been priced (and then backed) as good things and if a serious contender in any way shape or form this year then this should be a game that they are winning but I’m not so sure being round 2 that it’s that straight forward. They do get the Raiders on the right week off a poor offering at Penrith and then in dealing with the Dugan and Ferguson issues (for which they will be the better) but the Raiders looked well off their game last week first up and although away I do expect considerable improvement. The problem with the Raiders is that there is two of them – what we saw last week and what we saw last August, they like playing without expectation and they’ll get that this week. I thought the Titans could have won their game 3 times last week yet poor discipline and execution cost them numerous times – as suggested pre season that’s what you get with rookies at 9, 7 and 6. If they set it up properly with some yardage and then some depth and attack their right edge with Taylor and Idris they should have a picnic here, but they both ran with little depth or room last week. Going with the Titans at home but they are priced way unders for mine.

Tip: Titans

Last Word: Just the sort of game that the Riders will bob up in, no expectation or pressure. Titans at home but I trust them as much as I do their opposition.

NRL Betting Interest: Anyone stepping into the Titans at $1.50 in round 2 needs medical assistance.

 

Tigers v Panthers
Tigers Panthers
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.70 $2.15
Line Opened -2.5
Head to Head Won last 5
At Ground Won 9 of last 11 Lost last 3
Home/Away 63% 33%

 

Campbelltown: 3.00pm Sunday

Dear oh dear. Have I said another tricky game yet? Tigers come off a Monday night touch up but at least will play at Campbelltown where they have an excellent record. The game looked to get quickly out of their control last Monday night and the rest was easy to read, possession, momentum and then the amount of defence gassed them.  If they have any steel and or attitude they’ll be very keen to turn things around here. Lets judge their progress after this. The Panthers took a long time to put an ordinary Raiders beyond doubt last weekend and they are still a bit scratchy with new combinations. I thought Manu and Segreyaro played well and certainly added something to the Panthers’ play. Not a game I want to read too much into. I’d rather see what’s on offer, watch and learn. Lean to the Tigers with a strong home advantage and a bounce back.

Tip: Tigers

Last Word: Tipping the Tigers, just, but toss a coin.

NRL Betting Interest: Not on your life.

 

Eagles v Knights
Eagles Knights
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.70 $2.15
Line Opened -2.5
Head to Head Won 5 of last 7
At Ground Won 7 of last 10 Lost 11 of last 13
Home/Away 70% 42%

 

Brookvale: 6.30pm Sunday

Great match up. Thought the Eagles were super last week and if they didn’t already “own” the Broncos then they do now. But for some Hodges pieces of brilliance they were the better team of the first half, clearly dominating the yardage and field position games, and then against an 8 point problem then went on to frank that in the 2nd half – and with key outs in King and G Stewart. Kite was super, Cherry-Evans and Foran outstanding, ably supported by others. I rated their win the best of the round being away, key outs and up against it yet commanding when it mattered. Long term they have to stay healthy (still question the depth) and not encounter any ASADA issues, but all of that can wait for another day. They are very good at Brookvale, hold a commanding H2H and at ground advantage and are likely to get King back – hard to beat. The Knights were also very impressive (none of the $3.75 for the Top 4 we recommended a few weeks ago available now) with 3 months of Bennett polish very obvious. They had their yardage and second phase games right, simple spreads to their left, Boyd playing with speed and precision, a very good start to the year. Hard to go past the Eagles here at home, but the Knights will arrive with plenty of confidence and belief and I like where they are headed this season. Should be a ripper game.

Tip: Eagles

Last Word: Eagles the obvious but the Knights will enjoy the challenge.

NRL Betting Interest: No, just a game to enjoy.

Rabbits v Sharks
  Rabbits Sharks
RTP Rating
H2H Opened $1.45 $2.75
Line Opened -8.5
Head to Head Won 5 of last 7
At Ground Won 11 of last 14 Lost 6 of last 7
Home/Away 79% 38%

 

Homebush: 7.00pm Monday

Rabbits started their season with a bang, lose Sam Burgess and Champion for this but they do have depth. The Rabbits size and power game through the middle is going to be a handful for most sides this year, they then have the touches of skill or class of T’eo, the 7, 6 or Inglis, let alone the quality edge finishing. I liked the way they got into the game last week, and then kept going up a level. They are a serious top 4 contender this year. They also love Homebush, winning 11 of their last 14 here and have a 11 day prep into game 2. Nothing but admiration for the Sharks efforts last week – they picked themselves up and got an important job done, but I fear for the emotional letdown that they would have faced off the back of that game and the then preparation into this next one (no coach or key support staff). I think they are very vulnerable here. It’s somewhat pointless trying to work out or forecast where the Sharks might be as they are dealing with some acute pressure and emotion, which I fear will sooner than later take some toll on their on field offering. If the Rabbits knuckle down this game looks for the taking for mine, I think it might get ugly.

Tip: Rabbits

Last Word: I think the Rabbits might well do a number on their opponent here.

NRL Betting Interest: Rabbits at the Line -8.5 and 13+

 

Individual Game Tips

Bulldogs; Broncos; Roosters; Cowboys; Titans; Tigers; Eagles; Rabbits

Interests

I won’t be firing a serious bullet till round 4 or 5 but for those looking for an interest this week I’d suggest these –

–          Bulldogs – playing at Homebush a lovely advantage, play the H2H and short Line

–          Roosters – opened as a gift at over $2.00, still nothing wrong at the $1.70 H2H and play the line

–          Rabbits – look the best of the round, back the Line and 13+

RTP Ratings

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