NORTH QLD COWBOYS vs BRISBANE BRONCOS (Friday 20th May 7.50pm)
What a belter of a game this will be. The Grand Final rematch between two outstanding sides and it just cannot get any better on a Friday night. I have to say I am surprised to see the Cowboys outright favourites here as I thought the betting was going to be take-your-pick odds. The Broncos beat them earlier this year and the Cowboys were touched off a point at the Storm last week however they return home to fortress Townsville for what will be an epic clash.
The game looks like it will be tight here, and the best betting option will be to go Brisbane / Cowboys in the Half-Time / Full-Time double ($8.30 LuxBet). The Broncs always begin well whilst the same outfit know exactly how well the Cowboys can finish, and this looks a value play. As for First Tryscorer – when your hot you’re hot: Gavin Cooper ($19 Ladbrokes). He has landed us the spoils before at juicy odds and has been first tryscorer on no less than four occasions this season. He loves sniffing around the ruck area close to the opposition line and he can do it for us again.
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WESTS TIGERS vs NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (Saturday 21st May 3pm)
Last Sunday the Knights were obliterated by the Sharks, it was hard to watch but you couldn’t imagine how hard it was to play for them in that game. Some of the raw emotion afterwards showed the difficult predicament the Knights are in, they lack depth, injuries have hit them hard, their NSW Cup side is coming last and they face off field struggles. It isn’t a happy time in the Hunter.
They surely have to improve off the back of a 62-0 hiding. The only way is up. I am a bit surprised they dropped Cory Denniss as I thought he was nearly their best player last week, Hodkinson coming back has to help as does Ross starting, but it is impossible to tip them. Even though the Tigers have lost Farah, Matt Ballin comes into the squad and he will tighten them up around the ruck. The Tigers are a team who can leak points, but also score points – especially out at Campbelltown Stadium. I reckon the bet here is playing the Overs / Unders line in Total Points. I have many theories but one that I am very keen on is the ability to score points in daytime matches. This game is a 3pm kick off, the forecast is perfect for footy, so expect the Total Points Overs option ($1.91 Bet365) to be the play here.
As for First Tryscorer – Tigers will score points so I am looking to them first, I am going to go for the nippy Luke Brooks ($19 William Hill) as he will be close to the action and isn’t a bad price at all.
NZ WARRIORS vs CANBERRA RAIDERS (Saturday 21st May 5.30pm)
From a betting perspective this is a nightmare game, seriously. The one week I plump for the Warriors they got belted so a lesson learnt. I have to tip the Raiders ($2.18 UNIBET) off the bat here. The Raiders lost the plot last week and should have beaten the Dragons, they pushed premiership contenders Penrith to the wire the start before and racked up a cricket score prior to that so they have some good form on the board despite last week’s disappointment. It is desperation time for both these sides and the Raiders look to have a bit more in them. They are the tip.
Both teams are free-scoring sides so there could be a boatload of points on the west coast of NZ where they are playing in New Plymouth. However a look at the forecast doesn’t bode well, it is saying it will be raining all day with possible heavy showers. It might turn into a scrap so we will steer clear of the Total Points Option. The big fella Edrick Lee ($12 Sportsbet) looks some value to be the first to grab a four-pointer, so we are going to side with the tall green machine winger to dot down first.
CRONULLA SHARKS vs MANLY SEA EAGLES (Saturday 21st May 7.30pm)
One of the most impressive things about this NRL season is the way the Sharks have overcome every hurdle thrown in front of them. A few weeks ago the media were in a nice lather like one of my bubble bath’s saying the Broncos were the big test – they overcame that. Then the Sharks had a disjointed few weeks before playing the Knights where a potentially slippery game ended up a record score in their favour. They are a team on fire, they have been blessed with low or no injuries, players are in career best form and they look the real deal on the back of a seven match winning streak.
The last time the Sharks were beaten was in Round 1 when rolled by the Sea Eagles at Brookvale. In fact if you look at the head-to-head menu, you will see that the most popular selection in recent times has been a Manly win. The Sea Eagles have won the last 7 meetings between these two teams so if there is a bogey side for the Sharks, the maroon and white blokes from further up the peninsula are it.
I’m going to throw those stats in the bin. The Sharks are going to make another statement here and give the Eagles a touch up. Sharks 13+ ($2.25 Bet365) is the bet and a bet with confidence, as this Sharks side is something special. The man who will get the ball rolling for the Sharks is Luke Lewis ($17 UNIBET), he has a habit of scoring first and we are going to go with him to be First Tryscorer in front of a packed house on Saturday night.
PENRITH PANTHERS vs GOLD COAST TITANS (Sunday 22nd May 2pm)
I believe the Panthers are Top 4 material and they probably just don’t know themselves just how good they are as a rugby league side. Whilst the Titans were solid against the Roosters on Monday night, I have to side with the Panthers -10.5 line ($1.96 LuxBet) and you know what, I am also going to go the Panthers 13+ ($2.15 UNIBET) here as well. Daytime game on Sunday, fast track, at home – all the ingredients of a strong Panthers win. There could be a large amount of points in this game as well, so if you fancy it, you can take the Total Points Overs ($1.91 Bet365).
Tyrone Peachey ($13 William Hill) has found a nice home in the centres, he bagged three tries last week and we are going to vouch for him to snaffle the first try on Sunday out at Pepper Stadium. Panthers all day with some razzle dazzle at the foot of the mountains.
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS vs SYDNEY ROOSTERS (Sunday 22nd May 4pm)
I am really wary here. The Roosters walk into ANZ with a good record over Canterbury, winning 6 of their last 7 meetings and that one time to the Dogs was only by a point. Most recent form highlights the Dogs being on fire last week, whilst the Roosters were on holiday on the Gold Coast. I know the Roosters won’t dish up what they dished up on Monday night so we expect improvement from them but I can see the Bulldogs getting home in a tight one here. They are short straight out so the value can be found in the Bulldogs 1-12 Winning Margin ($3.10 luxBet) as the Roosters can stay with them, but I expect at the death the Dogs will have the edge.
I do expect the Roosters to come out humming, so it isn’t the worst idea to back them to Score The First Try ($2.08 UNIBET) and as a result we of course need to pick a Rooster as First Try Scorer – let’s roll with Latrell Mitchell ($14.50 LuxBet). He knows his way to the line.
PARRAMATTA EELS vs MELBOURNE STORM (Monday 23rd May 7pm)
This is a cracker of a match. The Storm have found form recently and they are starting to show what they are really made of by toppling the defending premiers last week. They are a very professional side and always have been under the tenure of Craig Bellamy. Parramatta have had the salary cap saga to contend with and were flat against the Bunnies last week, however time is the great healer, Peats has been offloaded and they can focus on footy. The betting opened with Parra as favourites, money for the Storm has seen it drop into $1.91 take your pick and for mine, that is good enough to be on the Eels in a tight one. However we love a bit of value, there is no way the Eels will smash the Storm so if they are going to win, it will be two converted tries or less in margin, therefore Eels 1-12 Winning Margin ($3.20 Palmerbet) is a great bet.
Given the nature of this game, playing the Storm – Eels in the Half-Time / Full-Time double ($8.55 LuxBet) looks a juicy play. Those odds are superb and worth a tickle whilst the machine out wide is the man whom we will vouch for to score first, Semi Radradra ($6.75 LuxBet). His acceleration off the mark is almost as good as mine as is his ability to jink and turn at speed. Yet another forte of mine. Back Semi to start the night off on a positive note.