NRL Rd 14 Rugby League Preview & Betting Tips
Back to a full round of matches this week with most teams intact after Origin.
Raiders v Panthers
Both sides come into this clash fresh off a bye. The Panthers sit at the top of the ladder thanks to their 26-point win over the Dragons in Round 12. The Panthers showed plenty of energy and determination in the display which reinforces their chances as premiership contenders. They are now equal $6 favourites to win the Grand Final with the Dragons and Bunnies.
The Raiders notched up a one-point victory over the Sea Eagles before the bye. This was just the second time since the beginning of last season that the Raiders scored a win of four or less points.
The Panthers have won the past two matches over the Raiders. At GIO Stadium, the Raiders have only lost once in the past five matches. Penrith won on their previous visit to GIO Stadium, but before that, they had lost the previous three encounters there. With the Panthers players set to back up from Origin duty, we think the Raiders will take out this clash.
Nick Cotric has scored six tries in his past six games this season, which includes a double in Round 12. Cotric has a good record against Penrith with three tries in his past two games against them.
Best Bet: Raiders (h2h) @ $1.90
Value Bet: Nick Cotric/ Raiders to win (To score 1+ Try/Win)
Titans v Rabbitohs
Cbus Super Stadium
An under strength Rabbitohs side cemented themselves firmly in the top 4 after recording their fifth straight victory with their 12-point win over the Sharks. As a result of the win, Souths firmed into $6 equal favourite with the Panthers and Dragons in the Premiership market. Before the bye, the Titans went down by 20-points to the Roosters at Central Coast Stadium. This loss has seen the Titans only record four wins this season.
A big concern for the Titans is they are currently ranked the second worse team defensively in the league and tonight they face a side that is the best in attack. Last time these sides met, the Rabbitohs won by 16 points. Souths enjoy playing at Cbus Super Stadium and have won their past four matches there while the Titans have only recorded two wins in their past six matches at home. The challenge for the Titans will be stopping the Burgess brothers!
Thomas and George Burgess have enjoyed a form reversal this season. Last week against the Sharks, Thomas scored a double taking his season tries to three. In a game where Souths should win convincingly, keep an eye on him to cross the line.
Best Bet: South Sydney 13+ (Margin) @ $2.40
Value Bet: Thomas Burgess to score 1+ try (Player Performance)
Sea Eagles v Warriors
Both sides come into this clash looking to bounce back. The Sea Eagles blew an opportunity to record a win over the under-strength Cowboys side, but the return of the Trbojevic brothers today from Origin duty will be a huge boost to the side’s chances. New Zealand have had a week to recover and digest what went wrong in their 20-point loss at home to Souths. They need a win here if they want to maintain a spot in the top four.
A welcome addition to the side will be Shaun Johnson returning from injury. Manly have had the wood over the Warriors in recent years having won seven straight and 13 of the past 14 encounters. Games between these sides are usually close with the past four decided by four points or less with two of those decided by one point. AMI Stadium is a foreign venue for both sides with Manly never playing at the ground and the Warriors returning for the first time since 2016.
This season, Tom Trbojevic has recorded two tries, but he has a great record against the Warriors with five tries in his past four games against the Warriors. He represents some value in try scorer markets.
Best Bet: Warriors 1-12 (Margin) @ $2.90
Value Bet: Tom Trbojevic (First Try Scorer)
Knights v Roosters
The Roosters held on and got the two points in a dicey game against the fast finishing Tigers 16-14 last weekend. Blake Ferguson stared the game slowly, but ended with 219 run metres, 3 tackle busts, a try assist and that final tackle on Mahe Fonua that saved the game. This was the 8th victory for the Roosters, which sees them remain in the top 8.
The Knights ended their four match losing run with a very dominant 30-4 performance over the disappointing Eels. The strong performance from Kalyn Ponga got him an Origin call up as a shadow player, however, he didn’t play so will be fresh for this. Whilst the Knights will be buoyed by last week’s victory, it’s not going to be an easy task for them against a side that looked like they may have finally clicked. A concerning stat for the Knights is the Roosters great head-to-head record over them, with five straight wins and nine of the past 10 games.
Blake Ferguson has scored six tries this season. He has scored three tries in his past two matches against the Knights, which includes a double in Round 3 this season.
Best Bet: Roosters 13+ (Margin) @ $2.30
Value Bet: Blake Ferguson to score 1+ Try/ Roosters to win (To score+ Win Market)
Eels v Cowboys
North Queensland looks a good bet despite their poor record so far in 2018.
The Cowboys have won just four matches so far but were pretty good in knocking off Manly last week at Lottoland 26-12 and the big thing for them is that they haven’t been too hurt by State Of Origin this year. Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott weren’t involved on Wednesday night and Michael Morgan, Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper will be assessed closer to game time.
Parramatta have won just two games this season and were disgusting against the Knights at home.
We don’t know what’s happened to Brad Arthur’s men from last season but they definitely aren’t a betting proposition so on that basis we are going for the Cowboys to secure the two points and keep their hopes of a top eight finish alive.
Value players should note that Antonio Winterstein is in form for the Cowboys. He has scored four tries in his past five matches and loves playing Parra, scoring eight tries against them.
Best Bet: North Queensland (Win) @ $2.30
Value Bet: Antonio Winterstein To Score 2+ Tries
Sharks v Wests Tigers
Southern Cross Group Stadium
Cronulla get the chance to bounce back to the winners stall when they host Wests Tigers this Sunday afternoon.
The Sharkies won’t have the concern of having several Origin players backing up like they’ve had in recent years. In fact, only winger Valentine Holmes was involved for Queensland on Wednesday night.
Shane Flanagan’s men will be keen to erase last week’s disappointing 22-14 loss to Souths after the bunnies were missing four players due to Origin commitments.
Playing at home is definitely an advantage for Cronulla as they have won three straight matches at the venue for the first time since 2016 – the year they won the premiership.
Wests Tigers are starting to falter now and come into this off the back of five losses in their past seven games. Making their trip to Shark Park even harder is they have dropped four straight on the road including their past two in the Shire.
Off the back of that we cannot go past the Sharks here.
Best Bet: Cronulla (Win) @ $1.50
Value Bet: Cronulla by 4 (Exact Margin)
Storm v Broncos
No one handles the Broncos like the Storm.
Melbourne has a fantastic record against Brisbane and that is highlighted by their recent performances against them – 14 wins in their past 16 matches!
With Cameron Smith not playing Origin and being fresh for this it’s definitely advantage Melbourne despite them having a few others backing up, with all due respect to them, they aren’t as important to the Storm as Smith is. We all saw how valuable he is to the team a few weeks back when they were handled by Manly when serving a one-game suspension.
That said, he is playing and they’re at AAMI Park and that formula is enough to back them confidently here. Will Chambers will miss the game though after being suspended coming out of Origin I but the rest of their players should be right to go.
Margin players should have a crack at the 13+ as the Storm have been lethal when winning this season as six of their seven wins have been by 13 points or more.
Best Bet: Melbourne (Win) @ $1.40
Value Bet: Josh Addo-Carr (First Try Scorer)
Bulldogs v Dragons
On paper you would say this is a ‘no contest’ but history suggests otherwise.
Canterbury has won just three matches this season and they have failed to make the finals each time that has happened previously. St. George Illawarra, on the other hand, come into Round 14 as equal leaders but have struggled against their opponents over the years.
The Bulldogs have a great record against the Red V and have won 11 of the past 12 between the sides with the latest of those in Round 26 last season when they stopped the Dragons from making the finals.
Despite that, Dean Pay’s side face a big mountain here with Keiran Foran out of play but the Dragons will have a number of players backing up from Origin so that will definitely play into the Bulldogs favour. When you factor in Stgeorge Illawarra’s poor record at ANZ Stadium (two wins in 11) that definitely gives the Dogs a fighting chance.
If the four Dragons players line-up after Origin then they should have way too much firepower but knowing how they’ve struggled against the boys from Belmore over the years, we aren’t predicting a blow out result. Go the 1-12 margin.
Best Bet: Dragons (Win) @ $1.47
Value Bet: Dragons by 10 (Exact Margin)