Melbourne v North Queensland

Thursday March 22, 8:05pm – AAMI Park

Recent Form

Melbourne opened their season with a comfortable win against the Bulldogs in Perth before going down 10-8 to the Tigers at home in a major surprise. They are 1-1 ATS and 1-1 over-under. They rank Top 4 in both defence and scoring. North Queensland ground out a 20-14 win against Cronulla in their season opener before going down 24-20 to Brisbane in an epic clash at Suncorp. The Cowboys are 1-1 ATS with a 1-1 over-under record.

Stats That Matter

Melbourne have won 17 of their last 22 against North Queensland including the last six. Only one of the last five has been decided by less than six points. The teams met in the Grand Final last year with the Storm winning 34-6. The Storm hold a 4-2 all-time advantage at AAMI Park. Six of the last nine matches have totalled less than 34 points though four of the six meetings at AAMI have totalled over 36. The Storm are 17-5 off a loss since 2015 while they are 9-1 with an 8-2 ATS record at AAMI off a loss. The under is 24-15 at AAMI Park over the last four seasons. Melbourne are 6-4 ATS with a 7-3 under when favoured by six points or fewer. The under is 16-5 at AAMI after the Storm have conceded 14 or fewer while they are 8-13 ATS in the same situation. The Cowboys are 24-15 ATS interstate since 2015, covering 10 of the last 14. North Queensland have covered six of their last nine interstate off a loss. North Queensland are 21-12 ATS interstate off a loss.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Under 37.5 points

Canterbury Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers

Friday March 23, 6:00pm – ANZ Stadium

Recent Form

Canterbury are winless in their two games with losses to the Storm and Roosters in which they have given up 30-plus in each and lost both by 18. The Bulldogs have conceded the second most points so far this season. They are 0-2 ATS with a 1-1 over-under record. Penrith have overcome 14-point deficits in both their matches in 2018 to win at home against Parramatta and South Sydney. They are 1-1 ATS with a 2-0 under number. Penrith have scored the fifth most points this season.

Stats That Matter

Penrith have won three straight and 13 of their last 20 against Canterbury. The last eight at ANZ have been split evenly between the teams. The last nine meetings have all tallied less than 42 points. The Bulldogs have a 51-38-3 all-time advantage over the Panthers. Since 2008 home underdogs of 4 or more in the first four rounds of the season are 41-13 ATS – the best angle in Rugby League. The Bulldogs have covered 10 of their last 15 at ANZ as an underdog while they have covered 6 of 7 at ANZ after conceding 30 points. Penrith have won just 1 of 6 at ANZ since 2015, covering just two. The Panthers are 29-15 under away from Penrith Stadium. Penrith are 11-4 under on the road after conceding 14 or fewer.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canterbury +4.5

Wests Tigers v Brisbane Broncos

Friday March 23, 8:05pm – Campbelltown Stadium

Recent Form

The Wests Tigers became the first team since 1992 to score just two tries across two weeks and win both games, defeating the Roosters 10-8 on the siren before doing exactly the same to the Storm to win 10-8. The Tigers have the best defence in the premiership and are 2-0 ATS and 2-0 under. Brisbane overcame a horrid 34-12 first round defeat to St George Illawarra to down North Queensland 24-20 in a monster effort. The Broncos are 1-1 ATS with a 2-0 over record on the back of conceding 20-plus in both games.

Stats That Matter

Brisbane have lost just five of the 26 matches all-time against the Wests Tigers with the Broncos winning 11 of the last 13 dating back to 2007. The teams have met seven times at Campbelltown with the Broncos never losing at the venue with six wins and a draw. None of the last four wins have come by more than 10 points. Eight of the last 11 meetings between the teams have tallied less than 38 points. The Tigers have covered just 3 of their last 12 at Campbelltown with an 8-4 under record. The under is 14 of 18 when the Tigers are a home underdog. The Tigers have covered 13 of their last 18 night matches. Home underdogs at night who conceded 10 or fewer the start prior are 13-9 ATS. Brisbane are 1-7 ATS as an interstate favourite off a win.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Wests Tigers +3.5

BACK – Under 36.5 points

Canberra Raiders v New Zealand Warriors

Saturday March 24, 3:00pm – GIO Stadium

Recent Form

Canberra have astonishingly started the season losing 30-28 at the Gold Coast and at home to Newcastle, leading into the final 10 minutes only to blow it late. The Raiders have not covered either game while they have gone over in both. The Warriors have won both their clashes with big wins in Perth against Souths and at home against the Titans. The Warriors are 2-0 ATS with a 1-1 total number.

Stats That Matter

Canberra hold a 21-17 all-time advantage over New Zealand and have won four on end with three of those wins coming by 12-plus points. The Raiders have won 11 of the last 13 matches played in Canberra. Six of the last nine matches have totalled 48 or more points. Canberra are 7-13 ATS with a 14-6 over record. The Raiders have covered just 1 of their last 7 at home as a favourite of less than a try. The over is 12-4 when the Raiders are favoured at home off a loss. The Warriors have won just 2 of their last 18 in Australia. The Warriors are 11-5 over in day games away from Mt Smart. The Warriors have not won in Australia since 2013 after conceding 14 points or fewer with just two covers in that time.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 46.5 points

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles

Saturday March 24, 5:30pm – ANZ Stadium

Recent Form

South Sydney have started the season winless after getting flogged by the Warriors in Perth and then blowing a 14-0 lead to Penrith to go down 18-14. Souths are one of four teams to have conceded 50 points this year. They are 1-1 ATS and 1-1 over-under. Manly lost to Newcastle on the road in golden point in their season opener before totally decimating Parramatta at Brookvale 54-0. The Sea Eagles are now 1-1 ATS with a 1-1 over-under record.

Stats That Matter

Manly have won 76 of the 140 games against South Sydney. The last six matches between the teams have been split evenly. The Sea Eagles have won four of the seven clashes at ANZ. Both matches last year topped 50 points. Souths have covered 7 of their last 9 at ANZ but they are 5-9 ATS with a 9-5 over record when an underdog. Souths have covered just 5 of their last 16 at ANZ off a loss. Manly have covered just 1 of their last 4 at ANZ. Manly have failed to cover nine straight away from Brookvale. The Sea Eagles are 4-13 ATS with a 12-5 over record when a favourite away from Brookvale since 2015. Favourites who score 50 the game prior are 9-15 ATS with a 15-9 under number.

Betting Strategy

BACK – South Sydney +3.5

Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks

Saturday March 24, 7:35pm – ANZ Stadium

Recent Form

Parramatta led Penrith 14-0 in the opener before conceding 78 straight points, losing to the Panthers 24-14 before being embarrassed at Brookvale by Manly 54-0. The Eels have the worst attacking and defensive records through two rounds. Cronulla are also winless with close defeats away to North Queensland and at home to the Dragons. They are 0-2 ATS with a 2-0 under record.

Stats That Matter

Cronulla hold a 44-39 advantage over Parramatta all-time. The Sharks have won the last three by seven-plus points and have come out victors in 10 od the last 15 meetings. The teams have played just once at ANZ with the Sharks winning 20-6 last year. Teams who conceded 50-plus are 45-29 ATS since 2008 with favourites 13-7 ATS with a 13-7 over number. Parramatta are a perfect 8-0 ATS after conceding 50 over the last decade. The Eels are 14-10 ATS with a 17-7 under record at ANZ. Cronulla are 2-5 ATS at ANZ since 2012. Parramatta are 6-2 ATS when favoured at ANZ by less than a converted try. The Sharks have covered just 10 of their last 14 at night on the road.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Parramatta -1.5

Gold Coast Titans v St.George Illawara Dragons

Sunday March 25, 4:10pm – Clive Berghofer Stadium

Recent Form

The Titans pulled off a miracle comeback in their season opener to run over Canberra 30-28 before losing 20-8 against the Warriors when a little unlucky with injury and officiating. The Titans are 1-1 ATS with a 1-1 over-under record. The Dragons have won both their clashes with a dominant win over Brisbane before a come-from-behind road win at Cronulla. The Saints are 2-0 ATS with a 1-1 over-under number.

Stats That Matter

St George Illawarra have won 12 of the 19 all-time meetings against the Titans though the Gold Coast have won three of the last five meetings. This is the first NRL match played in Toowoomba so there is no venue history here. Four of the last six matches have topped 40 points. Since 2008 home underdogs of 4 or more in the first four rounds of the season are 41-13 ATS – the best angle in Rugby League – though somewhat tempered by the match being played in Toowoomba. The Titans are 22-14 over when getting a start of 6 or more. The Dragons are 14-4 under interstate since 2015 with an 11-7 ATS record. The Saints have covered just 7 of their last 17 as a favourite of 4.5 or more. The Dragons have covered just 3 of their last 10 day games.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Gold Coast +4.5

Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights

Sunday March 25, 6:30pm – Allianz Stadium

Recent Form

The Roosters were stunned in their season opener by a gritty Wests Tigers team, losing 10-8, before dominating Canterbury 30-12. The Roosters are 1-1 ATS with a 2-0 under record. Newcastle have started off their 2018 campaign with back-to-back wins, downing Manly 19-18 in golden point before a sensational 30-28 win in Canberra. The Knights are 2-0 ATS with a 1-1 total number.

Stats That Matter

The Sydney Roosters hold a 29-19-2 advantage all-time over Newcastle. The Roosters have won four straight and eight of their last nine against the Knights with all of those wins coming by margins of 16-plus. The Roosters have scored 28-plus in six of their last eight against the Knights. The Roosters have won five straight against the Knights at Allianz Stadium. The Roosters are 15-6 under when favoured at Allianz by more than a converted try. The Chooks have covered just 2 of their last 7 at Allianz when favoured by more 6.5. The Roosters have covered just 2 of their last 7 at Allianz after scoring 30. The Knights have covered 5 of their last 7 road games.

Betting Strategy

The under looks to be the best value play here, but I’m more inclined to pass on the game completely.


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