NRL Rd 4 Rugby League Preview & Betting Tips
There’s some cracking fixtures for the Easter holiday period including two rippers on Friday!
Cowboys v Penrith
Round 4 kicks off with teams looking to bounce back. Penrith’s depth will be in for a real test as the injury toll continues to mount for Anthony Griffin’s men. The biggest injury blow for the Panthers is the absence of Nathan Cleary who went down with a knee injury during his side’s clash against the Bulldogs, ruling him out for 10 weeks. Tyrone Peachey looks to be the likely replacement. Paul Green publicly blasted the players lack of effort and attitude in their second loss for the season when they went down 30-14 to the Storm. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier tonight for the Panthers who don’t travel well to North Queensland. They have lost their past five matches played up there. We expect to see the Cowboys turn it around and notch their second win of the season in front of their home crowd.
A big performance from Coen Hess last week that saw him score his 4th double, produce nine tackle busts and run for 139 metres. He has now scored three tries in three games this season. It will be interesting to see how the Panthers stop him. He is one to watch in tonight’s game.
Best Bet: Cowboys win $1.28
Value Bet: Coen Hess to score 2+ tries
Rabbitohs v Bulldogs
The rivalry is set to heat up in this traditional Good Friday clash. After a disastrous opening two rounds for the Bulldogs, they finally notched their first win of the season taking down the Panthers 20-18. Moses Mbye looks right at home at fullback, notching up his second career double and having a hand in multiple plays. The Rabbitohs also recorded their first win of the season with a 34-6 thrashing over Manly. Sam Burgess was impressive for his side running 143 metres and made 26 tackles. The head-to-head match up with these teams is fairly even, with a win a piece in both 2016 and 2017. ANZ Stadium looks to be a favoured venue for both sides with the Rabbitohs winning four of the past six games played there, whilst the Bulldogs have won their past two matches there. For total match point players two of the past three games have been Under 40 points.
South Sydney have scored the opening try in all three games this season. Alex Johnston is a player to watch tonight. He has scored 18 tries in his past eight matches played at ANZ Stadium.
Best Bet: Total Match Points Under 40
Value Bet: Alex Johnston 1st Try Scorer @ $10
Sharks v Storm
Southern Cross Group Stadium
The 2016 Grand Final rematch rounds out Good Friday. The start to the Sharks season has been somewhat disappointing, recording their first win last weekend against a Parramatta side that displayed ill-discipline. The standout for the Sharks was Andrew Fifita, running for 164 metres and making four offloads. A boost for the Sharks is the potential return of Matt Moylan and Luke Lewis. Cameron Smith and Billy Slater were exceptional in the Storm’s win over the Cowboys. Felise Kaufusi is expected to return. The Sharks have won two of the past three matches over the Storm. These games have usually been tight affairs with the margin being decided by single figures in four of the past five contests. The Sharks have now won 11 of 14 away matches since the start of 2017. The concerning stat for the Sharks is their home record with just five wins from 14 matches played at Southern Cross Group Stadium. We think the Storm in another close one.
The Storm had four different try scorers last weekend but their main scorers in Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu failed to register. As the top try scorer in 2017 Suliasi is rarely quiet, so expect to see him to score tonight.
Best Bet: Melbourne Storm 1-12 @ $2.80
Value Bet: Suliasi Vunivalu 1st Try Scorer @ $7
Roosters v Warriors
After a stunning Round 3 victory over the Raiders, the Warriors are now 3-0 to start the season for the first time in the club’s history. The Warriors are showing resilience and consistency but are facing their first real test here. This will be the first time the Warriors have played at Allianz Stadium since 2015. The Roosters were ruthless against the Knights, in particular Luke Keary and Cooper Cronk, with both players notching up a try each. Interestingly, head-to-head stats between these sides favour the Warriors. They have won the past three matches over the Roosters, although they have been tight affairs with four of the past five matches decided by less than five points. The past two games have also seen the Total Match Points go Under 40. Whilst it’s been a dream run for the Warriors so far, the Roosters will be too good in a tight one.
Luke Keary is certainly making a case for an Origin call up. Since his return from injury this season he has been crucial for the Roosters. He has now scored in both games since his return.
Best Bet: Luke Keary To Score @ $2.80
Value Bet: Roosters 1-5 (Winning Margin) @ $7
Sea Eagles v Raiders
Things are getting desperate for the Raiders who are 0-3 heading into this game at Lottoland and to make thing worse, they have a terrible record at the venue with just four wins at Brookvale since 2003.
Canberra again found a way to lose after leading for most of the match against the Warriors and if Ricky Stuart’s men can find that missing ingredient to finish off their opponents, it won’t be long before they start racking up the wins because they’ve been in winning positions in all three of their matches so far.
Manly will be hoping to bounce back to the sort of form that saw them thump Parramatta 54-nil at this venue a fortnight ago and one of the huge benefits of playing the Raiders is the fact the Sea Eagles have won eight of their past 11 clashes.
Value players can shop around for some juicy prices in the try scorer markets with Elliot Whitehead scoring in each game so far for the Raiders while teammate Siliva Havili is just one of two players in the comp to score the first try on two occasions so far in 2018.
Best Bet: Canberra +5.5 (Line) @ $1.909
Value Bet: Elliot Whitehead 2+ Tries @ $19
Dragons v Knights
St. George Illawarra are aiming to win four straight games for the first time in club history and the way they’ve been playing suggests they will create a tiny piece of history against Newcastle this weekend. The Dragons have had the better of the Knights in recent times, winning nine of the past 11 clashes but they did lose their previous encounter in Round 21 last season.
The Dragons are coming off a 54-8 thumping of the Gold Coast which was their biggest away win in the joint venture’s history. Newcastle, on the other hand, came crashing back down to earth after suffering their first loss of the season (38-8) to the Roosters while also seeing Connor Watson go out injured.
The Red V are the first team to score 100 points this season is only behind the Tigers and Roosters after three rounds. Newcastle has won three of four against the Dragons at WIN Stadium, however, the last of those was in 2011 and their away form has been terrible over the past two years. They won just one away game all last season but have matched that already in 2018.
Best Bet: St. George Illawarra (Win) @ $1.36
Value Bet: St. George Illawarra 7-12 (Winning Margin) @ $5.50
Broncos v Titans
Brisbane look one of the better bets of the weekend when they host Gold Coast on Sunday night. The Broncos have won seven straight against the Titans dating back to 2014, with four of those being by margins of 13 points or more. They head into this game with a Golden Point win over the Tigers which saw them create a bit of history by winning their first game without scoring a try.
A try was all the Titans had to show for their efforts against the Dragons last Sunday 54-8 thrashing up in Toowoomba. It was the Gold Coast’s equal second worst defeat.
Things don’t get any easier here for the Titans who have just one win against the Broncos at Suncorp and that was in their inaugural season (2007).
The Broncos are short and are entitled to be. They’re our best bet. Want a bit of value? Get on James Roberts to Score 2+ Tries. He has scored in four of five matches against his former club and that includes two hat-tricks!
Best Bet: Brisbane to Win @ $1.22
Value Bet: James Roberts To Score A Hat Trick @ $8
Tigers v Eels
Parramatta are looking to avoid going 0-4 for the first time since 2012 – the year they finished last. Their task this week is made a little difficult with Jarryd Hayne out injured. They face the surprise packets of the opening three weeks in Wests Tigers who are extremely unlucky not be to 3-0 after a controversial Golden Point loss to the Broncos last week.
Wests Tigers are our pick here and we cannot believe they are outsiders. Ivan Cleary’s men have the best defence in the competition (8.33 avg per game) and have kept the Storm and Roosters scoreless in the first halves of their respective matches, while last week, Brisbane couldn’t even cross the tryline against them!
With Parramatta struggling in attack (6ppg average) the defence of the Tigers may be good enough to get the result and stop a worrying trend against the Eels that has seen them lose four of their past five encounters.
Best Bet: Wests Tigers to win @ $1.90
Value Bet: Wests Tigers by 2 (Exact Margin) @ $14