It is short but sweet for the Eels in Friday Night footy!
The price on offer for Parramatta is prohibitive across all bookies with the best we have found (at the time of writing) being $1.17 @ bet365 and Unibet.
We are treating them as an anchor for multis going into the weekend.
Parramatta is in red-hot form coming into this game with six straight wins with the latest of them a comprehensive 20-4 result against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
Just a few weeks ago you would have suggested this would be an easy two points for the home side, however, Newcastle has found form with consecutive wins over the Dragons and Warriors so there is a touch of doubt over the result.
The Knights were impressive in dismantling the Warriors 26-10 in Round 23.
HOME SWEET HOME
PARRAMATTA may not be playing at their spiritual home ground of Pirtek Stadium but that hasn’t stopped them making their temporary base a fortress.
The Eels have won the past six and eight of nine at ANZ Stadium since Round 7 making them extremely hard to beat at Homebush.
In four of their past six games they have racked up at least 20 points while conceding over that amount just once (v the Warriors).
Those figures spell ominous signs for the Knights who have dropped five of their past six at the Olympic Stadium. Although they haven’t played there often, Newcastle has played one game there for the past three seasons with the last two being forgettable 42 and 46-point thrashings at the hands of Souths.
Nathan Brown’s men are starting to put it all together.
Having led in 10 matches this season, Newcastle has now converted those leads into victories in the past fortnight with upset results over Stgeorge Illawarra and New Zealand. It could be a bit much asking them to notch a hat-trick though.
Newcastle will at least have a dash of confidence about their play despite missing livewire fullback Nathan Ross for the remainder of the season due to a broken bone in his back. Their attack is starting to fire with an average of 23.5 points scored in their past two wins while conceding just 12 points.
For the league’s worst defence that is no mean feat and shows how far they have come in 2017.
Brad Arthur’s side appear to have broken the hoodoo that Newcastle had over them for nearly five years.
PARRAMATTA has won consecutive games against the Knights and will be aiming for three in a row for the first time in 12 years. Remarkably, Newcastle racked up seven straight wins over the Blue and Golds from 2010 to the end of 2014.
Margin players should be on alert.
Although this game has the makings of a 13+ Winning Margin written all over it, traditionally these two teams play out close contests. Seven of the past nine encounters between the sides have been settled by eight points or less and three of those have been by just two points.
Taking that stat into the account the $6.50 @ Centrebet for a 1-6 Winning Margin for the Eels may not be too shabby.
Parramatta are one of the ‘good things’ of the weekend.
They are really starting to fire with the entire team working as a unit and that has been highlighted by the fact that they are on one of their best winning runs since making the Grand Final in 2009.
Rumours are floating about that Bevan French could be rested from the match but even in his absence we suggest going hard on the Eels and throwing them into your multis with confidence.
The loss of Nathan Ross is a big one for the Knights who don’t have a great deal of squad depth. He is one of their lynch pins in attack too so their ability to rack up points against what has become a stingy Eels defence is compromised.
Parramatta has conceded just 10.33 ppg during their winning run and we can’t see Newcastle getting much more than that. Unfortunately for them, they will need to score more than two tries to beat a side that now has their sights firmly set on the finals.
NEWCASTLE TO LEAD AT HALFTIME – they have done so on 10 occasions this season