North Queensland v Penrith

Thursday March 29, 8:05pm – 1300SMILES Stadium

Recent Form

The model has Penrith up as a huge overlay this week but that needs to be taken with a grain of salt with star halfback Nathan Cleary ruled out after sustaining an MCL injury in the loss to Canterbury. Anthony Griffin’s team have shown tremendous resilience in 2018.

Stats That Matter

They have been beset by off-field drama and have fallen behind 14-0 in all three games this year but fought back to win their opening two games against Parramatta and South Sydney and nearly pulled off another comeback win against Canterbury despite the loss of Cleary. The Cowboys have been only mediocre this year and with the Panthers covering six of their last seven when getting a start of 8.5 points or more, Penrith are the play in this one.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Penrith +10.5

Cronulla v Melbourne

Friday March 30, 8:05pm – Southern Cross Group Stadium

Recent Form

Cronulla have had the best of Melbourne in three of the last five meetings including the 2016 Grand Final but the Storm have historically dominated this contest and there is a major gulf in how the two teams are performing this year. The Storm have built a 2-1 record but have posted 30-plus twice while the Sharks lost their opening two matches before falling in against Parramatta in a match that finished one try apiece.

Stats That Matter

The Sharks have covered just 2 of their last 13 games at Shark Park and have an 8-16 cover record at home off a win since 2015. Melbourne have covered the start in 8 of their last 9 interstate off a big defensive performance where they conceded 14 or fewer while they have covered 11 of their last 14 interstate overall. With more attacking potency the Storm should have too many points in them for the Sharks.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Melbourne -3.5

Manly v Canberra

Saturday March 31, 7:35pm – Lottoland

Recent Form

Canberra have started the season winless in three games despite leading at the 76-minute mark in all matches. It has been a wretched record and has the Raiders’ confidence low but they look to be in a great spot here against an inconsistent Manly team. The Sea Eagles turned in one of the worst performances of the season in a lacklustre effort against South Sydney where they got badly exposed on their fringes.

Stats That Matter

Manly have covered just 4 of their last 11 as a favourite at Brookvale while the Raiders have some remarkable angles at play here. Since 2015 Canberra are 16-6 against the line as a road underdog, 15-7 against the line as a road underdog after conceding 20 and 14-4 as a road team at night.  Canberra are better than their record indicates and in a desperate spot should put together a full 80 minutes.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra

BACK – Canberra +5.5


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