NRL Rd 18 Rugby League Preview & Betting Tips
Origin is now behind us as we look towards the final stretch of games before the finals.
Panthers v Sharks
The Panthers bounced back with a vengeance after they pounced on the Warriors in Round 17, winning by 32 points!
Penrith’s big win is even more impressive considering they were without their star Origin players in Nathan Cleary, James Maloney and Tyrone Peachy, who may be rested this week. Rookie Jarome Luai was the star for his side in scoring two tries and one try assist, that has now put the Panthers in fourth position on the NRL ladder.
The Sharks will be fresh after the bye. Before the break, the Sharks got out of jail with their three-point victory over the Warriors. The Sharks recorded their fourth straight victory over the Panthers back in Round 7 by four points. The Panthers have only tasted victory on two occasions out of 11 clashes between these sides. The Sharks also have a great record at Panthers Stadium with four wins from their past five matches played there.
Matches between these sides have been tight affairs. Seven of the past 10 matches have been decided by single figure margins. Total points have been under 40 in for of the past seven matches.
Best Bet: Cronulla 1-12 (margin)
Value Bet: Cronulla/Under 36.5
Knights v Eels
McDonald Jones Stadium
It’s 12th versus 16th in the first of the Friday night clashes.
Both of these sides are coming in fresh from the bye and looking to bounce back from Round 16 losses. The Knights are on a three-match losing skid. The last time they tasted victory was back in Round 13 where they beat Parramatta 30-4.
The Knights have been pounded by injuries and have lost young gun Kayln Ponga and Slade Griffin with the latter out for the remainder of the season. They do, however, get a boost with Mitchell Pearce returning.
After recording an upset win over the Cowboys in Round 14, the Eels looked to be getting back on track, but then went on to record back to back losses with the last of those a heartbreaking 20-18 defeat to the Dragons.
Newcastle won their first two games of the season at home but have since gone on to lose six straight. Parramatta will be returning to the Hunter for the first time since 2016, a game where they recorded victory. The head-to-head stats between these sides favours the Knights with nine wins from their past 11 matches.
Ken Sio has a good record over Parramatta with three tries in his past two matches against the Eels.
Best Bet: Newcastle (Win)
Value Bet: Ken Sio to score 1+ Try
Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs come into this game on top of the NRL ladder.
Souths went into the break off the back of their eighth straight victory, the most they have recorded since 12 straight back in 1989. They go into this clash as hot favourites to make it nine on the trot.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs let a 14-point lead slip over the final seven minutes to eventually go down 32-28 to the Raiders. Eight of the past 10 losses for the Bulldogs have been by eight points or less. Rhyse Martin scored his first career hat-trick and became the first player in Premiership history to score 24 points or more in a side that goes on to lose the game.
South Sydney won this clash back in Round 4 by four points and are now chasing their third straight victory over the Bulldogs. Five of the past six matches between these sides have been decided by 13 points or more so that could be a good one for margin players.
Alex Johnston is a try scoring machine with a great record against the Bulldogs. He has scored three tries in his past three matches against them.
Best Bet: Rabbitohs 13+ (margin)
Value Bet: Alex Johnston to score 1+ Try
Sea Eagles v Storm
The Storm were impressive with their 20-point win over the Dragons in Round 17. It was Melbourne young guns Jahrome Hughes, Ryley Jacks and Brodie Croft that starred for their side in the absence of their Origin players.
The win has moved Melbourne up to third on the NRL Ladder. Before the break, Manly caused a huge upset over Penrith, giving them ust their fifth win of the season. Manly caused an upset in Round 11 with a 20-point victory over Melbourne in a fiery clash that saw four sin bins, timing errors and a send-off. In that match the Storm made 15 errors and had a completion rate of just 63 percent. It was evident just how important Cameron Smith is to the side as they became their own worst enemy in that clash without him.
Thankfully, with no Origin commitments, Cameron Smith will be lining up today. Prior to Manly’s win this year, the Storm had won the three previous matches, including their previous two played at Lottoland. Manly will be sweating on the returning Trbojevic brothers as well as Daly Cherry-Evans.
For player of Total Points, matches between these two sides tend to be high scoring affairs. Three of the past four matches have totalled 46 or more points.
Best Bet: Melbourne (Win)
Value Bet: Melbourne/Over 41.5 points
Raiders v Cowboys
When you’re hot, you’re hot and we are taking that philosophy about Canberra flyer, Nick Cotric.
The winger, who reverts to fullback for this match, has been on fire of late, scoring in eight straight games and we think he is a lock to bank another four-pointer this Saturday night.
In fact, the last time Cotric was held tryless was against the opposition he faces here – North Queensland. These teams clashed in Round 8 at 1300Smiles Stadium where the Raiders escaped with a rare win in Townsville.
With the match being played in the nation’s capital we are confident on Canberra winning this and keeping their slim finals hopes alive.
North Queensland have been the big disappointments of 2018 and have only won two of their eight road fixtures so we have to lean the way of the home side.
For margin players, the 1-12 option regardless of which way you want to go is a shoe-in. Seven of North Queensland’s past eight matches have been decided by single figures while Canberra’s record is almost similar with six of seven going down to the wire.
Best Bet: Nick Cotric (To Score A Try)
Value Bet: Nick Cotric First Try Scorer / Canberra 1-12 (First Try Scorer / Margin double)
Broncos v Warriors
Brisbane has quietly gone about their business in the past month or so and all of a sudden are looking like a premiership contender.
Wayne Bennett’s side have now won three games on the trot which is their best run of the season so far. During that span they’ve knocked off some handy teams in Cronulla, Canberra and Gold Coast. In fact last week, they smashed the hot Gold Coast outfit 34-nil while missing a few Origin players.
They will fancy their chances against a Warriors outfit that appears to be down on the sort of early season form that made them a legitimate premiership contender. Brisbane were responsible for New Zealand’s first loss this season back in Round 6 at Mt Smart Stadium and their record against the Kiwis at Suncorp is pretty strong, recording eight wins in their past 11 clashes there.
Stephen Kearney’s men come into this game off consecutive losses which is the first time New Zealand has suffered that in 2018. They were terribly disappointing last week against an undermanned Penrith outfit when going down 36-4. There is no doubt there will be some bounce back but we doubt it will be enough to stop their slide.
Best Bet: Brisbane (Win)
Value Bet: David Fusitua 2+ Tries
Dragons v Tigers
Stgeorge Illawarra can bounce back to winning ways when they host Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
In what should be a great day out for footy fans at the traditional home of the Dragons (Kogarah), the Red V are aiming to keep pace with the competition leading Rabbitohs after suffering a 52-30 loss to Melbourne last week. The scoreline actually didn’t reflect the performance because the Dragons actually led 30-28 with 15 minutes left with both sides missing a stack of players due to Origin.
The Dragons will have five players backing up from Origin and so far all of them have been named to play their part.
Wests Tigers are on a downward spiral and have lost eight of their past 10 and haven’t won at Kogarah since 2005. Their recent record against the Dragons is also poor with just two wins in seven since 2014 but can Robbie Farah and Beni Marshall, back together for the first time in five years, turn their fortunes around? For us, it’s going to be a Dragons win.
Looking for value? Nene Macdonald is our man for First Try Scorer betting. He has three tries in his past four games against the Tigers and has nine four-pointers for the season heading into this one.
Best Bet: Dragons (Win)
Value Bet: Nene Macdonald First Try Scorer
Titans v Roosters
Cbus Super Stadium
Sydney Roosters look one of the better bets of the weekend when they travel up to the glitter strip.
The chooks come into the game off a tough one-point loss to the Storm a fortnight ago in a game where they didn’t have a great deal go their way. Prior to that they’d won four straight including a 26-point thumping of the Panthers.
Trent Robinson’s side have a great record against the Gold Coast with five wins in their past six encounters which gives punters even more of a reason to load up on the tricolours, even if its through multis.
Gold Coast looked as though they were turning the corner with impressive wins over Bulldogs and Tigers, however, they were thrashed 34-nil by the Broncos last week and this assignment looks just as tough, if not tougher.
In First Tryscorer betting, Latrell Mitchell is the man to follow despite having a quiet Origin on Wednesday. He has his equal best strike rate against any team when playing the Titans, scoring at an average of 1.5 tries per match.
Best Bet: Roosters (Win)
Value Bet: Latrell Mitchell 2+ Tries