Dividing the NRL Season

One critical element to having success as an NRL punter is identifying that all rounds of the season are not the same. Trends that have held historically in the first round can often be totally reversed come the last. Where big home underdogs are money early in the season, big favourites are the play at the backend of the year. Understanding these divides can provide a major edge for those trading the NRL.

The best way to consider the season is as four separate periods

  • Season Opening (Rounds 1 – 4)
  • Pre-Origin (Rounds 5 – 10)
  • Origin Period (Rounds 11 – 18)
  • Run Home (Rounds 19 – 26)

Season Opening (Rounds 1 – 4)

During the opening month of the season, most teams have healthy rosters and most teams have hope. There are few excuses. Early favourites try to assert their dominance. Rising contenders try to prove their legitimacy. Even those not fancied in preseason betting – like St George Illawarra in 2017 – look for some early momentum to propel them up the ladder.

Key Takeout: Back unfancied teams, avoid ‘boom’ teams
Key Trend: Home underdogs of 4.5 or more cover at 76%, which drops to 58% during the ‘Run Home’ period

Pre-Origin (Rounds 5 – 10)

This period holds plenty of similarities with the ‘Season Opening’ period but the competition starts to open up more as injuries begin to take hold and it becomes more apparent which teams are the real deal and which teams are overrated or not very good. By this period teams should have established their identities.

Key Takeout: Bet to teams identities – under teams will go under, good road teams cover on the road etc
Key Trend: Stick with big home underdogs

Origin Period (Rounds 11 – 18)

The competition is thrown into chaos during the Origin period with the best players often unavailable or backing up on a short turnaround from the cauldron of Origin Rugby League. There is no more dangerous period for punters. Team news is more critical at this time of year than any other. Anticipation is key.

Key Takeout: Be careful and follow team news with an eagle eye
Key Trend: Totals drop an average of 2.0 points per game during the Origin period

Run Home (Rounds 19 – 26)

By the run home, the divide between the best teams and the worst has widened. For some sides, all hope is lost. For others, the drive to finish in the Top 4 or Top 8 is on. Some teams are ravaged by internal division. A coaching change is perhaps imminent. Players’ futures are being decided. Others are building momentum for the finals, looking to tear apart the worse teams. At this time of year, injuries are critical.

Key Takeout: Stick with the cream of the competition
Key Trend: The over hits at 53% during the run home, up from 46% during the opening month

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