The first of the two ANZAC Day matches kicks off with a blockbuster. Arguably this is the most anticipated clash of the regular season as it never disappoints. The Dragons received their first loss of the season at the hands of the Warriors last week but come into the game as the number one attacking side in the competition. The Roosters win against the Bulldogs wasn’t flash, but they got the job done. Latrell Mitchell’s try in the fourth minute was the only one for the game and Trent Robinson’s men can’t expect to beat the Dragons with a repeat performance. Concerning for the Roosters is they currently lead the competition with the most errors on 94. Looking at the head-to-head with these sides on ANZAC Day the Roosters have won three of the past five matches, which includes last year’s Mitchell Pearce field goal victory. But since 2002, the Dragons have won 10 of 16 and we think they will bounce back today.
The past three years have been tight affairs. The Roosters won by one point last year and the two previous years saw the Dragons win by two points on both occasions. For total point players, four of the past six matches have been over 34 points.
Best Bet: Dragons 1-12 @ $2.75*
Value Bet: Dragons/ Over 34.5 points
The Warriors gave the Dragons their first loss of the season last week and that was just the second time they’ve beaten the Red V in 15 games. For any doubters that the Warriors were the real deal, case closed! A blow for the Warriors is Tohu Harris will not be lining up due to a concussion and that adds to the absence of Shaun Johnson who is once again missing this week. Mason Lino filled the shoes of Johnson in spectacular fashion with the opening try, one assist, 13 tackles and 80 running meters last weekend. Melbourne were at their best in their win over the Broncos 34-20. The head-to-head stats favour Melbourne who have won the past four straight over the Warriors. Last time they met, the margin was six points but before that the two games saw the margin in double figures. New Zealand don’t like travelling to Melbourne as they have only seen one win at AAMI Park since 2012. With the Warriors missing key players, we think Melbourne will be too strong at home.
David Fusitua has started the season brilliantly leading the league on eight tries. Last time these sides met in round 21 he bagged a double.
Best Bet: Melbourne 1-12 @ $2.85*
Value Bet: David Fusitua to score 2+ tries @ $7.50
The Rabbitohs are coming in off a huge 42-22 win over the Raiders. Since Anthony Seibold has taken the reigns, Souths have become more creative in their attack and as a result we have seen 18 tries in seven games down their left edge. It’s all coming together now for Greg Inglis who was untouched for 80 metres in scoring a try last week. Sam Burgess showed why he is the best forward in the game with a dominate display, until his indiscretion. As a result of the high tackle, Sam will now miss the next two weeks. Brisbane went down to Melbourne 34-20. A blow for the Broncos is the elbow injury sustained to Andrew McCullough who will be miss up to six weeks. Josh McGuire looks set to fill the role of number 9 against Souths. Brisbane have won the past four straight over Souths. Despite ANZ Stadium not being a favourite venue for the Broncos, who only have two wins from their past six matches played there, we think they will get the win tonight.
Matches between these sides tend to be high scoring affairs. Four of the past five matches have totalled more than 40 points, with one reaching 59 points.
Best Bet: Brisbane Broncos @ $2.40
Value Bet: Brisbane/Over 40 points
Manly’s season went south last weekend going down to the winless Parramatta 44-10. They looked unenthused and uninspiring in what was an all-round dreadful performance. The players looked as though they had the weight of the world on their shoulders, so how they bounce back tonight will be interesting. One thing that will play in the Sea Eagles favour is the fact the Knights will be without star recruit Mitchell Pearce. The Knights delivered a grandstand finish in their upset win over the Tigers, topped off with a Shaun Kenny-Dowall piece of brilliance in the 77th minute. While that was a big high, the team will be feeling a little low following the realisation that Pearce is out for up to four months. The Knights broke their seven-game losing streak against Manly when they got the win with a thriller in Golden Point in the opening round, and although the Knights haven’t recorded a win at Lottoland since 2006, we think they will be too good for the struggling Sea Eagles.
Akuila Uate has been revitalised playing under Trent Barrett. When he faced his old side in Round 21 last season, he notched up a double. Keep an eye on him to cross the line tonight.
Best Bet: Newcastle to win @ $2.50*
Value Bet: Akuila Uate to score 1+ try
Penrith will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses against Canterbury when the pair clash on Friday night. This is their second encounter in 2018 after the Bulldogs got the better of the Panthers in a tight 20-18 contest at ANZ Stadium back in Round 3.
Since then the Mountain Men have won three of their past four matches but come into this having lost a cliffhanger to the Sharks on Sunday afternoon. Canterbury, on the other hand, haven’t gone on with the job and have a victory against the Cowboys as their only other win for the season.
Dean Pay’s men were held scoreless against the Roosters last week despite being tackled inside the opposition 20 metre line on 52 occasions. The Bulldogs attack isn’t firing and are ranked 15th in the comp (15.14ppg) and they will definitely need more than that to get the points here.
Penrith are an ominous team at home and have won nine of their past 10 clashes at Panthers Stadium dating back to last season. Off the back of that stat, we are definitely leaning towards Anthony Griffin’s side.
Best Bet: Penrith (Win) @ $1.50*
Value Bet: Dylan Edwards First Try Scorer
Cbus Super Stadium
Are the Gold Coast the value team for the weekend?
Well, we think there is a case to put some of your hard earned on the Titans especially since they are returning to their spiritual home for the first time since Round 1. Gold Coast have had to travel for their recent home games due to the Commonwealth Games and will definitely appreciate being back in front of the sunshine strip faithful.
The Titans will fancy themselves against a Sharks outfit that has been inconsistent so far in 2018. One of the big things in their favour is the strong recent record against the 2016 premiers, as they are aiming for three straight wins against them for the first time in club history.
Cronulla showed some of their best form with a host of big names missing last week, making more linbreaks and giving away fewer penalties after winning a torrid encounter with the Panthers despite having less ball.
With the Titans having a recent edge over them we think the Sharks are a risk this week. Bryce Cartwright moving into five-eighth at the expense of Kane Elgey is the x-factor move.
Best Bet: Gold Coast (Win) @ $2.25*
Value Bet: Anthony Don First Try Scorer
On paper this looks one of the hardest games of the week to have a punt on, however, we have found a stat that could swing you when placing a bet.
North Queensland and Canberra come into this game at 2-5 and neither side has set the world on fire so far this season but the Raiders shocking record in Townsville makes up inclined to have something on the home team. The Green Machine haven’t won at 1300Smiles Stadium since 2006 – that is nine straight losses in the past 12 years at the venue!
That is a big enough hoodoo for us to entertain the Cowboys although we don’t recommend diving head first into the short odds.
This is a game where you should shop around for some value. We fancy wrecking ball Coen Hess for First Try Scorer considering the big boppers from the bunnies did some serious damage up the middle against Canberra last week.
Best Bet: North Queensland (Win) @ $1.40*
Value Bet: Coen Hess First Try Scorer
Wests Tigers are eyeing off a season double against the Eels having beaten them in Round 4 earlier this season. The Tigers had the game in their keeping last week against the Knights but couldn’t seal the deal – one of the rare times this year that you could say that about them.
We expected Ivan Cleary’s side to bounce back strongly from that narrow loss and improve their record to 6-2 after handling the Eels. Parramatta finally got their maiden win, and what a performance it was, racking up a 44-10 victory over Manly. The Sea Eagles are a mess at the moment and the Eels would’ve sensed that, however, this game is a heck of a lot harder.
The Tigers come into Round 8 with the best defence in the competition (12.71ppg) and are one of only two teams, with the Roosters being the other, that have conceded less than a 100 points so far this season.
With such a solid defence and the loss of Jarryd Hayne for the Eels, we cannot see Parramatta going back-to-back.
Best Bet: Wests Tigers (Win) @ $1.80*
Value Bet: Clint Gutherson First Try Scorer