The Green Machine are shorties to get back into the winners circle.
Canberra are one of the hottest priced favourites of the round as they host a much improved Newcastle outfit in the first of the Friday Night footy encounters.
Bet365 @ $1.17 is the best price available at the time of writing for Canberra whose finals chances are all but gone after a narrow loss to Penrith at home last week.
Newcastle’s three-game winning streak was bought to an abrupt end by Melbourne last week with the Knights going down 44-12 at Hunter Stadium.
TOO LITTLE TOO LATE
Ricky Stuart’s men will look back on 2017 as the year of ‘what could have been’.
Preliminary Finalists last season, they will now miss out on finals footy after starting the season as one of the main premiership fancies. No doubt their performances over the past six weeks have been a huge improvement on what they showed at the start of 2017, however, they left themselves a massive task to make the finals.
They are two wins outside the top eight with two games remaining and need the Sea Eagles, Cowboys and Dragons to lose all of their matches while at the same time, winning theirs.
NEWCASTLE has definitely been the feelgood story in the NRL over the past month.
Nathan Brown’s side notched a hat-trick of wins prior to last week’s defeat which gives them five for the season in total – four more than they were able to muster throughout 2016.
The improvement has been noticeable from a number of players including rookie half Brock Lamb, however, the Novocastrians will be without him for the remainder of the season as well as Luke Yates who succumbed to injuries last week.
On the positive side livewire fullback Nathan Ross has been named on an extended bench and could make a surprise return to the Knights after it was feared he had played his final game in 2017.
These sides have put on quite a show in recent times.
Back in Round 10 it was Newcastle who scored a popular 34-20 win at Hunter Stadium with Sione Mata’utia getting a double and brother Peter also getting on the act with a try of his own in the six tries to three victory.
Prior to that their two clashes in 2016 were crackers with the Raiders scoring a try in Golden Point to get the verdict 29-25 while earlier in the year, back in Round 3 to be precise, they played out a thrilling 24-all draw at Hunter Stadium.
GIO Stadium hasn’t been overly kind to Newcastle in their past four visits with three losses coming their way. They have just three wins in the nation’s capital since 2007.
CANBERRA are short for a reason and we are banking on them to get the money here.
They were gaining some real momentum before the red-hot Panthers put their fire out last week and we feel that a Newcastle side without the services of Lamb will be theirs for the taking.
Of course, there is the disappointment factor of not making the finals to consider if you want to load up on the Raiders but we still think they are a safe bet in their final home match of the season.
Considering Newcastle has just one away win all season this makes the Green Machine near certainties. If you want another certainty then back Nick Cotric to Score A Try At Anytime with the Raiders flyer on a nine-match tryscoring run.
NICK COTRIC ANYTIME TRYSCORER
CANBERRA 13+ WINNING MARGIN