Your Expert NRL Tips For 2018

The Analysts provide their expert NRL Tips for each round of the 2018 season. There’s in-depth analysis, betting strategy and reasoning behind each of their selections. Check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for up to the minute NRL odds.


NRL Grand Final 2018

Sydney v Melbourne

Sunday 30th September 7:20pm AEST ANZ Stadium 

A sensational Grand Final with the two best teams in the premiership set to do battle. Melbourne are in their third straight Grand Final and their eighth in the Craig Bellamy era. The Sydney Roosters are back for their first decider since 2013 and their sixth this century. Cooper Cronk is central to all the Roosters do and is a massive blow to the Roosters’ chances. The Roosters get boosted by the return of Latrell Mitchell and have more potency on the edges with him but the aggressive Storm edge defence is exactly the antidote. When it comes to packs, Melbourne have a clear advantage in both discipline and an ability to get on the front foot. The Roosters held on grimly against Souths but really struggled to punch holes in the Rabbitohs pack.

History certainly gives the nod to Melbourne. The Storm have won five of the last six and 16 of the last 24 against the Roosters. Melbourne also won the only finals meeting between the teams over the last decade.

The big betting angles here are finals related. Favourites have won and covered 8 of the last 10 deciders while favourites of less than a try are a remarkable 32-11 against the spread in finals matches since 2008.

Over the last four years, the Storm have won 17 of 21 matches when the match total was set at 36 or lower. Low scoring matches suit them. They will get this here. The Storm are on the verge of history.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne Storm


Total Match Points

The two top defensive teams square off and it should consider the good stretch of under Grand Finals with eight of the last 10 failing to go over the total. Five of the last seven Grand Finals have totalled 36 points or fewer while only three Grand Finals since 2001 have surpassed 40 points. This is the lowest total for a Grand Final over the last decade but these teams can shutdown like few others. The Storm have gone under in four of their last five Grand Finals and there are plenty of other angles pushing the under in terms of Melbourne with the under hitting in 27 of 41 Storm games when they are off a double digit win and 28 of 45 Storm road games. The under has hit in 17 of 28 Roosters games after conceding 10 or fewer. The under hits ay 60% when Gerard Sutton is the lead referee over the last two seasons.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 32.5


First Try Scorer

In the last seven Grand Finals, the first tryscorer has been a winger or fullback in six of those. It has been a winger who has crossed first in four of the last five deciders. Josh Addo-Carr scored a long intercept to open the scoring last year and has a career strike rate of 46 tries in 60 games.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Josh Addo-Carr

Clive Churchill Medal Winner Profile

There have been 32 Clive Churchill Medal and 31 had played Test Rugby League prior to their win with the other, Scott Prince, named to play soon after his first medal. There is no question at all that big and established reputations win the Clive Churchill Medal.

A line goes straight through those who have not played Test football. Outside backs have never won the award.

Clive Churchill Medal Winner By Position

Fullback: 5 (Last: Billy Slater – 2017)

Wing: 0

Centre: 0

Five-Eighth: 2 (Last: Greg Inglis – 2007)

Halfback: 10 (Last: Johnathan Thurston – 2015)

Backrower: 10 (Last: Luke Lewis – 2016)

Prop: 3 (Last: Brent Kite – 2008)

Hooker: 2 (Last: Shaun Berrigan – 2006)

Halves – The Winner

Cameron Munster

The best bet. Game breaking ability. Lifts for the big games. Will be everywhere. Comes off a sensational season.

Hookers – A Game That Suits

Cameron Smith, Jake Friend

Both rack up huge stats, which will count for plenty in a low-scoring game. Smith is a legit game changer who has remarkably never won the Clive Churchill.

Fullbacks – Talent For, History Against

Billy Slater, James Tedesco

Two superstars who are both short in betting. Slater is looking to become the first player to win three and no retiring hero has ever gone out with a Clive Churchill. Tedesco has yet to play for Australia.

Forwards – Those That Can Win It

Felise Kaufusi, Jesse Bromwich, Boyd Cordner, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

All have played international Rugby League. Backrowers in particular have a good record, particularly edge tryscorers like Kaufusi and Cordner.

Halves – Half A Chance

Luke Keary

Takes a bigger role without Cronk but take a different role without Cronk. No rep footy.

Outside Backs – Outside Chance

Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr

Mitchell is coming off Centre of the Year Dally M honours and is destined for Test football while Addo-Carr has game breaking speed. Neither are likely to defy history but they stand a chance.

Forwards – Those That Can’t Win It

Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Victor Radley, Isaac Liu, Joe Stimson, Dale Finucane, Tim Glasby

Minutes and reputation render these players no chance.

Benchies – Miniscule Chance

Dylan Napa, Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Impact players. Asofa-Solomona has a Test jersey.

Halves – Highly Unlikely

Brodie Croft, Mitch Aubusson

Aubusson is $501 to play halfback while Croft has only just won the jersey back.

Outside Backs – No Chance

Daniel Tupou, Blake Ferguson, Joseph Manu, Curtis Scott, Will Chambers, Suliasi Vunivalu

The game script won’t suit and none have the game to really be any hope of being the Grand Final man of the match.

Benches – Less Than No Chance

Zane Tetevano, Ryan Matterson, Paul Momirovski, Kenny Bromwich, Brandon Smith, Christian Welch

Selectors would not be able to recognise any of these players.


Betting Strategy

Recommending Munster and Smith to win the Medal. Expecting the Storm to win the game and Munster to be a big reason why.

However, Smith has won everything there is to in Rugby League in terms of both team and individual honours. All except the Clive Churchill Medal. Smith has been in stellar form and the tight and low-scoring game will lend itself to a middle forward winning the Clive Churchill.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Cameron Munster for 4 units

 BACK – Cameron Smith for 2 units

 


Extra NRL Betting Resources

If you’re looking to improve your NRL betting, we recommend checking out the following resources as well:


Sydney v South Sydney

Saturday 22nd September 7:40pm Allianz  Stadium 

The Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs have one of the fiercest rivalries in Rugby League and this will be the latest chapter in the 110-year feud. The Rabbitohs have endured a difficult week and have been done no favours with the appointment of Ashley Klein as referee.  Home teams have won at 64.4% and covered at 60% under Klein over the last two seasons while his short 10 metres favours the slower Roosters.

The Roosters have won four of five against the Rabbitohs and have covered seven of eight after scoring 20-plus points. The Chooks are big overs in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney Roosters


Melbourne v Cronulla

Friday 21st September 7:40pm AAMI Park

Cronulla are a huge overlay in the opening preliminary final against the Storm in Melbourne. The Sharks play the Storm better than any other team with five wins in the last seven meetings including the two clashes this year. Cronulla love to get into a lowdown grind and that is the style that can frustrate Melbourne.

The Sharks have covered the start in 20 of 29 as an underdog away from Shark Park and have won 24 of 38 as an underdog straightup since 2015. Their price and the big start is well out of whack. High confidence on Cronulla here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Cronulla +7.5

Cronulla v Penrith

Friday 14th September 7:40pm Allianz Stadium

Cronulla have won five straight and 10 of their last 12 against Penrith and are expected to bounce back after going down to the Roosters last Saturday. Week 1 Top 4 losers have an exceptional record in finals, winning nine of 12 since 2012. The big angle at play here is small home favourites in finals. Favourites of less than a try are an excellent 33-12 against the line since 2008 in playoff matches. Penrith have covered just one of their last five as an underdog while Cronulla have covered three straight as a final. The Sharks should bounce back well in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Cronulla -3.5


South Sydney v St George-Illawarra

Saturday 15th September 7:40pm ANZ Stadium

St George Illawarra put 48 on the Broncos at Suncorp in one of the most impressive finals performances imaginable yet go in massive double digit outsiders against South Sydney. The line here is just too big. Teams who score 40-plus in finals have covered 12 of 19 while underdogs of 10 or more points have covered six of nine finals dating back to 2008. The Saints should be able to keep this close against their old rivals.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – St George Illawarra +12.5

Penrith v New Zealand

Saturday 8th September 5:30pm ANZ Stadium

Penrith have won nine of 12 against the Warriors and look well placed to win again at ANZ Stadium. The Panthers will be lead by James Maloney, who has taken his last three teams to the Grand Final in his first year with the club. The Warriors have won just three of their last 10 at ANZ, a ground that has not been a happy hunting ground. Favourites of less than 3.5 points in finals have covered 21 of 31 dating back to 2008.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Penrith -2.5


Brisbane v St George-Illawarra

Sunday 9th September 4:00pm Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane are the form team heading into the finals but they are in the rare spot of being a double digit favourites in a finals match. Only eight teams have been favoured by 10 or more points in finals since 2008 with just three covering the big start. The Broncos have covered just four of 13 as a favourite this year and just two of seven as a double digit favourite over the last two seasons.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – St George Illawarra +9.5


Melbourne v South Sydney

Friday 7th September 7:40pm AAMI Park

Melbourne have totally dominated South Sydney throughout their history with 24 wins from the 29 all-time meetings. South Sydney have, in fact, never won in Melbourne with 11 of the 14 coming by 14 points or more. The Storm have been cover machines at home with 11 covers from their last 16 when favoured. Melbourne have covered the start in 13 of 21 at home when favoured by less than a try. Favourites of less than 3.5 points in finals have covered 21 of 31 dating back to 2008.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne –1.5

Gold Coast v North Queensland

Saturday 1st September 5:30pm AEST Cbus Super Stadium

Johnathan Thurston farewells Rugby League but the smart money will be betting against the future Immortal. Home underdogs of 4.5 or more have covered 10 straight this season while the Titans have covered 20 of 33 as a home underdog and 8 of 11 as a home underdog of 4.5 or more. The Titans have played well in recent weeks and don’t deserve to be outsiders here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Gold Coast +5.5


Parramatta v Sydney Roosters

Saturday 1st September 7:45pm AEST ANZ Stadium

There is no question that the Sydney Roosters are a far superior team to wooden spooners Parramatta but the line in this one is ridiculously big. The Eels have covered 10 of their last 15 as an underdog at ANZ while road double digit favourites off a double digit loss have covered just six of 29 over the last decade.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Parramatta  +11.5


New Zealand v Canberra

Friday 31st August 6:00pm Mt Smart Stadium

Betting the Warriors as a home favourite has been absolute poison and so it looks again this week against a rejuvenated Raiders outfit. New Zealand have covered just four of their last 14 when the popular elect at Mt Smart. Canberra are very much the opposite. They have covered 17 of 26 when an outsider of more than 4.5. When an underdog of 4.5 or more off a win, the Raiders are 10-4 against the line.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canberra +4.5


Melbourne v Penrith

Friday 31st August 7:55pm AEST AAMI Park Stadium

Melbourne have long held a significant position of advantage over Penrith with 17 wins in the last 18 meetings. The Panthers, who have collapsed since sacking coach Anthony Griffin, have not won in Melbourne since 2005. The Storm have been reliable plays at home when favoured by more than a converted try. Penrith have lost five of their last six against Top 8 teams with four of those losses by double digits.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne -6.5

Canberra v South Sydney

Saturday 25th August 3:00pm AEST GIO Stadium

Canberra are extraordinarily poor bets when favoured in betting but can typically be relied upon as a decent sized outsiders. They did the job outright against the Sydney Roosters as 6.5-point home underdogs and can do something similar as 4.5-point home underdogs to South Sydney this week.

The Raiders are 16-9 against the line when an underdog of 4 or more points while they have covered three of four as a home underdog off a win. Souths have covered just 10 of their last 24 away from ANZ as a favourite.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canberra +3.5pts


New Zealand v Penrith

Friday 24th August 6:00pm AEST Mt Smart Stadium

Penrith have dominated New Zealand in recent years with nine wins in the last 11 clashes and look terrific value at odds again/plus points. The Panthers have posted 34-plus in their last three against the Warriors and destroyed them 36-4 when severely understrength during the Origin period.

The Panthers have covered six of their last nine as an outsider away from Penrith Stadium while the Warriors have failed to cover their last four at Mt Smart. The Warriors have covered just 7 of their last 19 when favoured by the market.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Penrith +3.5pts


North Queensland v Parramatta

Friday 24th August 7:55pm AEST 1300SMILES Stadium

The two bottom-placed teams are likely fighting it out for the wooden spoon. It is hard to cop the Cowboys as a big favourite here. The Cowboys have won just two of their last eight when favoured in betting with just a single cover in those eight matches.

They have also failed to bounce back from poor defeats with just three covers in their last nine off a double digit loss. Parramatta have covered four of their last five after conceding 20-plus.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Parramatta +4.5pts

Canterbury v New Zealand

Sunday 19th August 2:00pm AEST ANZ Stadium

Canterbury have won 14 of 20 against New Zealand and can upset the finals-bound Warriors on home turf. The Bulldogs are a different proposition back at ANZ, particularly as an underdog. The Bulldogs have covered 10 of 16 as an underdog of 4.5 or more at ANZ and have covered 9 of 14 at the ground off a double digit loss. Canterbury have covered 11 of 18 day games at the ground to boot. The Warriors have covered just 2 of 8 as a favourite away from Mt Smart.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canterbury +4.5pts

Canberra v Sydney Roosters

Sunday 19th August 4:10pm AEST GIO Stadium

Canberra have been awful in virtually every aspect of their game over the last few weeks and have astonishingly lost seven games this season after scoring 22 or more points but they are a quality play as a big home underdog against the Roosters. The Raiders have won their last two against the Chooks and have won four on end against the Tricolours at Canberra Stadium. The Raiders are excellent bets as an underdog, covering 24 of 37 as an outsider, 12 of 18 as an outsider of a converted try and 4 of 6 as a home underdog.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra +6.5pts


Brisbane v South Sydney

Thursday 16th August 7:50pm AEST Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane have won six straight against South Sydney and look primed for an upset on the back of two straight losses. The Broncos have averaged 30 points a game over that stretch against the Rabbitohs while Brisbane have covered 11 of 18 on the back of consecutive losses when playing at home. The Broncos are 13-5 against the line when an underdog of 4 or more. Souths have covered just three of 11 interstate. Team changes will be central here with Josh McGuire returning for Brisbane and star South Sydney fullback Alex Johnson sidelined.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Brisbane +4.5pts


Manly v Gold Coast

Friday 17th August 6:00pm AEST Lottoland

Low game here between two bottom-of-the-table sides. Manly have no doubt been thrown under the bus this week with Trent Barrett quitting the club as of the end of the season. How they respond will be important. Not a lot of confidence betting on Gold Coast to turn in a reliable performance but more than happy to lay the Eagles all day as heavy favourites. Manly have covered just 13 of 40 as a favourite and just five of their last 18 as a favourite at Brookvale. Manly are the best lay of the week.

 

Betting Strategy

BACK – Gold Coast +5.5pts

Manly v Canterbury

Saturday 11th August 5:30pm AEST Mcgrath Foundation Stadium

Canterbury have had the best of Manly in recent years with seven wins in the last eight meetings and look well placed in this battle of bottom four teams. The Sea Eagles have covered a poor five of 16 as a favourite at Brookvale, an unenviable record of the ground locals like to refer to as a fortress.

As a favourite of less than a try at Brookvale they have covered just two of eight. The Bulldogs are coming off their best attacking performance of the year and meet the second worst defensive unit in the NRL. With four wins in their last six at Brookvale, the Bulldogs will be confident despite being on the road.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canterbury +3.5pts


Parramatta v St George Illawarra

Saturday 11th August 7:35pm AEST ANZ Stadium

Parramatta have an outstanding recent record against St George Illawarra and can extend that against a Dragons side sliding and sliding fast. The Eels have won six of seven against the Dragons and only went down by two points when the teams met in Round 16.

The Eels have covered eight of 13 as an underdog at ANZ but the real strong angle here is home underdogs of 6.5 or more off a win, which are 50-21 against the line since 2008 with those teams off a double digit win covering 27 of 36. The Saints have covered just 11 of 29 road night games.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Parramatta +6.5pts


North Queensland v Brisbane

Thursday 9th August 7:50pm AEST 1300SMILES Stadium

There has been no better matchup in recent years than that between Queensland rivals the Cowboys and the Broncos, who have played seven matches decided by six points or fewer in their last eight meetings. That automatically makes the plus a bet, particularly with the home side getting the points. The Broncos conceded 30-plus against the Bulldogs last week so are hardly flying.

The Broncos have covered just 10 of 26 as a road favourite including five of 15 as a road favourite of four or more. The Cowboys will be hard to stop at the plus here.

 

Betting Strategy

 BACK – North Queensland +4.5pts

Penrith v Canberra

Sunday 5th August 4:00pm AEST Panthers Stadium

Penrith have won three straight against Canberra but all three have been decided by four points or fewer with these two playing each other close more often than not. The Raiders are typically excellent bets on the road with a 29-18 cover record.

Canberra are particularly strong as an underdog with a 20-10 against the spread number. Getting 6.5 or more Canberra have covered 10 of their last 14. The plus here is the goods.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canberra +7.5pts


Canterbury v Brisbane

Thursday 2nd August 7:50pm AEST ANZ Stadium

Canterbury are in a big spot here with the line here far too inflated. The Bulldogs have a sensational record as a big underdog at ANZ, covering nine of 10 since 2015 when getting a start of 8 or more at the ground. The Bulldogs have also covered 14 of the last 24 at the venue overall. Home underdogs of 8 or more off a win are an excellent 25-8 against the line since 2008.

Brisbane have struggled as road favourites, covering just 10 of their last 25. They have not covered a start of 9.5 or more interstate over the last decade. With the Bulldogs having won five of the last seven at ANZ against the Broncos, they are a super bet with the big plus and can be backed straight out.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canterbury +8.5pts


South Sydney v Melbourne

Friday 3rd August 7:55pm AEST ANZ Stadium

The premiership leader will be determined by this clash with Souths and Melbourne squaring off at ANZ. It is impossible to go past the Storm in this one. Melbourne have won eight straight and have conceded 13 or fewer in seven of those, setting the benchmark. Souths have won 10 of their last 11 but a loss to the Tigers and a lucky late win over the Eels suggest they are waning.

Melbourne have won 24 of 28 all-time against Souths including 19 of the last 21. Melbourne have covered 13 of their last 20 when favoured by less than a try. 

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne -2.5pts

North Queensland v Newcastle

Friday 27th July 6.00pm AEST 1300SMILES Stadium

Desperate to avoid the wooden spoon in Johnathan Thurston’s last year, North Queensland find themselves in a must-win situation at home against Newcastle. The Knights are 7-2 against teams outside the Top 8 this year so the Cowboys will not get it easy – not that any match should be simple for a team that has lost five straight. North Queensland have had the best of it against Newcastle with three straight wins and eight victories in their last 11 meetings. Townsville has been particularly kind with five wins in the last six with four victories by 12 or more. The Cowboys have covered 12 of 18 when favoured by 4 or more at home off a loss while the Knights have covered just nine of 24 road night games.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – North Queensland -5.5


Canterbury v Wests Tigers

Friday 27th July 7.55pm AEST ANZ Stadium

The Wests Tigers are the easiest team to follow from a betting sense in the NRL: when they are big outsiders they can be backed straight out and with the big start and when they are favoured they can be taken on. The Tigers go in notable favourites this week against the Bulldogs and need to be bet against. The Tigers have covered just seven of 23 as a favourite over the last four seasons and are a poor 5-10 against the spread off a win of 13 or more. The Bulldogs are excellent bets as a big outsider at ANZ, covering eight of nine when an underdog of 6 or more points. Canterbury are struggling for points but won’t need many against the second worst attacking team in the NRL.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canterbury +5.5


Gold Coast v NZ Warriors

Sunday 29th July 2.00pm AEST Cbus Super Stadium

The Warriors have dominated the Titans in recent years with 14 wins in the last 15 meetings but look to be in a vulnerable position. Gold Coast have covered 16 of 28 as a home underdog so are a fairly honest proposition at Cbus when going in as an outsider. New Zealand have covered just two of their last seven as a favourite away from Mt Smart and have rarely put together two tough performances in a row this year. The model rightly has the Titans favoured here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Gold Coast  +4.5

West Tigers v South Sydney

Saturday 21st July 5.30pm AEST ANZ Stadium

The Wests Tigers have been astonishingly good bets under Ivan Cleary as big outsiders and can cover the big start against a South Sydney team riding a nine-game win streak. The Tigers have covered 14 of 18 when getting a start of 6.5 or more dating back to 2018. Home underdogs of 8.5 or more off a win are 22-7 against the line dating back to 2008. The Tigers have won four of their last five against South Sydney. This game shapes as a compelling affair that will play tight.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Tigers + 9.5


North Queensland v St George

Saturday 21st July 7.35pm AEST 1300 Smiles Stadium

North Queensland’s season is all but over but with Johnathan Thurston deserving of a better farewell they won’t throw the towel in, particularly back on home turf. They get a major opportunity against a Dragons team that has lost their last two and covered just one of their last eight. The Saints have covered just three of their last 13 as favourites of four or more away from their two suburban home grounds and just 10 of their last 28 night games away from those venues. The Cowboys have won four straight against the Dragons in Townsville.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – NQL + 4.5


New Zealand v Melbourne

Sunday 22nd July 2.00pm AEST Mt Smart Stadium

Melbourne have won five straight against New Zealand by an average margin of 22.2 and posting 50 when the teams met at AAMI Park earlier in the season. The Storm have covered 13 of their last 20 when favoured by less than a try. They have also covered nine of 13 when winning five straight so tend to hold their form. The Warriors have covered just 17 of 41 at Mt Smart.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne – 3.5

Penrith v Cronulla

Friday 13th July 6.00pm AEST Panthers Stadium

It is stunning that Penrith go into this clash as an underdog against Cronulla with all three Origin stars likely to back up after being named on the reserves bench. The Panthers have an outstanding recent home record, covering 12 of their last 15 at Penrith Stadium and 16 of 24 night games at the ground. Penrith are 10-4 against the line at home after conceding 14 or fewer. Cronulla have covered just six of their last 18 games when favoured by the market.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Penrith + 1.5


Canterbury v South Sydney

Saturday 14th July 3.00pm AEST ANZ Stadium

Canterbury have covered all eight times they have been an underdog at ANZ of more than a converted try since 2015 and there is no reason to think they won’t continue that run getting a monster start against Souths. The Rabbitohs are flying on the back of eight straight wins, leading the premiership, but favourites of 6.5 or more riding a winning streak of six or more are 10-22 against the line dating back to 2008. The Bulldogs are coming off the back of their two best attacking performances of the year and have covered seven of eight at ANZ after conceding 30-plus.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canterbury + 10.5


Brisbane v New Zealand

Sunday 15th July 2.00pm AEST Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane have won seven of their last nine matches and are expected to continue their hot recent form against a Warriors team that was humiliated on the road to Penrith, losing 36-4 against an understrength Panthers. The Broncos have won five of their last six against the Warriors at Suncorp and have covered seven of their last 11 at Suncorp off a win of 13 or more. Brisbane have covered 12 of their last 18 at Suncorp after conceding 10 points or fewer.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Brisbane -2.5


Sunday 15th July 6.30pm AEST Cbus Super Stadium

Monster home underdogs are always a bet and the Titans fill that angle this week getting a start of 8.5 at home to the Roosters. Home underdogs of 8 or more are 61-39 against the line since 2011 with those coming off a performance that netted 10 points or fewer 15-8 against the handicap. The Titans have covered nine of 10 since 2013 as a home underdog of 8.5 or more. The Roosters are poor as a road favourite, covering just 11 of their last 27, while road favourites of 6.5 or more off a loss have covered just 26 of 79 since 2008.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Gold Coast +

Melbourne v St George

Thursday 5th July 7:50pm AEST AAMI Park

There are an extraordinary 11 starters from the Storm and Dragons missing due to Origin duty with the Dragons naming a 29-year-old debutant at halfback and both sides looking highly unrecognisable. The Storm have a significant edge here though with Cameron Smith leading a team around that includes former Origin star Ryan Hoffman. The Dragons have Gareth Widdop but must perform behind a shaky forward pack.

The Dragons have not won in Melbourne since 1999 and have won just eight games overall against the Storm in the last two decades. Melbourne have won four straight and should make it five.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Melbourne -5.5


Penrith v New Zealand

Friday 6th July 7:55pm AEST Panthers Stadium

Penrith have been highly reliable at home, particularly as a home underdog, and can continue that against a Warriors side that has returned to its flaky norm. The Panthers have covered 23 of their last 39 at home including 8 of 11 as a home underdog. They have also won eight of 10 against the Warriors including four straight at Penrith by margins of eight or more. The Warriors have covered just seven of 18 as a favourite.

Very happy to take the Warriors on here despite Penrith being without the NSW halves pairing.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Penrith +2.5


Canterbury v Canberra

Saturday 7th July 7:35pm AEST Belmore Sports Ground

Coming off their most impressive performance in over 12 months, the Bulldogs shape as an excellent bet getting a big start at their spiritual home of Belmore on Saturday night. The Bulldogs are a perfect 8-0 against the line as an underdog of 6.5 or more at Belmore/ANZ while they are 11-4 against the line getting a start of a try or more. Home underdogs of 6.5 or more off a win are also an excellent 24-15 against the spread over the last four years.

The Raiders have covered just six of their last 15 off a one-score loss and seem mentally beaten down by their continual failures to close games. The Bulldogs are a quality play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canterbury +6.5

Penrith v Manly

 Stadium

Penrith have been super-reliable as a big home favourite but could be in a vulnerable spot here. The big series win of NSW will probably have the biggest impact on Penrith, whose two stars halves were central to the win and no doubt spent plenty of time celebrating. Manly get Dylan Walker back from a fractured cheekbone and have a very good record as a double-digit outsider, covering seven of 10. The Panthers could rest some players here. The big line should be good.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Manly +11.5


Penrith v Manly

 Stadium

Penrith have been super-reliable as a big home favourite but could be in a vulnerable spot here. The big series win of NSW will probably have the biggest impact on Penrith, whose two stars halves were central to the win and no doubt spent plenty of time celebrating. Manly get Dylan Walker back from a fractured cheekbone and have a very good record as a double-digit outsider, covering seven of 10. The Panthers could rest some players here. The big line should be good.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Manly +11.5

.


North Queensland v South Sydney

North Queensland have won eight out of 10 against South Sydney and should have beaten them earlier this year when a penalty after the siren consigned them to a 20-19 loss. This game will be played in Cairns and is virtually a home game for the Cowboys. Souths have an ordinary record in Cairns with just one cover in their last five with the Cowboys downing the Rabbitohs by 13-plus in the last two meetings in Far North Queensland. The Cowboys have been fairly solid defensively and can keep this one tight.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – North Queensland +9.5

North Queensland v New Zealand

 Stadium

North Queensland have dominated New Zealand at home with 11 wins in their last 12 at Townsville. Overall the Cowboys have won four of five against the Warriors. Paul Green has finally pulled the trigger and dropped some outside backs with Justin O’Neill joining Lachlan Coote in the reserves. The Cowboys have covered four straight as an outsider and are 10-6 against the line at home after being held to 14 or fewer. The Warriors haven’t covered consecutive games since Round 5 and have covered just 2 of 11 as a road favourite.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – North Queensland +1.5


Canterbury v Gold Coast

Canterbury have won three straight against the Gold Coast and can continue that record against the NRL’s worst defensive team. The Titans have conceded 26 or more in six of their last eight games and that limp defence may just kick Canterbury’s insipid attack into gear. The Titans have covered just two of their last 10 as an interstate outsider and will be missing Queensland prop Jarrod Wallace. The Bulldogs have been close in their last three and look to have their foot on the till.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canterbury -2.5


Parramatta v South Sydney

 Stadium

Parramatta and South Sydney are teams sitting at opposite ends of the ladder but the Eels are without question the value in this one. Home underdogs of 8 or more off a win have covered 18 of 22 games dating back to 2008, an angle that has proven near infallible. The Eels have also covered 8 of 12 as an underdog at ANZ. The Eels attack certainly showed more rhythm with Mitchell Moses sidelined and Corey Norman running the show. With three straight wins over Souths, Parramatta are excellent value with the big start.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Parramatta +9.5

Manly v New Zealand

AMI Stadium

Manly have completely dominated New Zealand in recent years. They have won seven straight and 16 of the last 18 so it has travelled well into hoodoo territory. The Sea Eagles will benefit significantly getting the Trbojevic brothers back too. It cannot be underestimated how important they are. Arguably no two players at a club contribute as much to production. The Sea Eagles are an excellent 13-6 against the line over the last four years as an underdog away from Brookvale and they have covered their last four away from their home ground.

The Warriors have a horrific record in New Zealand away from Mt Smart so this Christchurch match seems favourable on paper, history suggests it isn’t. The Warriors have won just five of their last 16 in NZ away from Mt Smart. The Sea Eagles are big overs in this one.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Manly +2.5


Parramatta v North Queensland

TIO Stadium

Injuries can be a blessing in disguise sometimes. That is where the Eels are at with the loss of Mitchell Moses. Moses can be a domineering playmaker who doesn’t understand his limitations. He has had a major negative impact on both Corey Norman and Bevan French. Norman returns in place of Moses this week and less should be more. Parramatta get a big start here against a team also in the bottom four and they match up well here against a team that struggles to score. Parramatta have won and covered both games they have played in Darwin and look in a good spot here to cover a sizable handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Parramatta +7.5


Canterbury v St George

ANZ Stadium

Canterbury have won six straight and 11 of their last 12 against the Dragons and are big overs despite sitting at the opposite end of the table to the all-conquering Saints. Canterbury have covered 12 of their last 20 as an underdog at ANZ and are a perfect 8-0 against the line since 2015 getting a start of six points or more. As an underdog at ANZ after being held to 14 or fewer, the Bulldogs have covered eight of 11. The Dragons have covered just six of 20 as a favourite away from their suburban home grounds and three of 11 when favoured by more than a try.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Canterbury +1.5

South Sydney v Cronulla

Friday June 1, 7:55pm ANZ Stadium

South Sydney have been hit hard by Origin duty with four players set to take the stage next Wednesday but with plenty of depth, the Rabbitohs look a strong bet this week. International Robbie Farah returns at hooker, the highly promising Cam Murray gets the start at lock and Braidon Burns and Hymel Hunt return in the centres.

The Rabbitohs have covered 13 of their last 17 overall and 10 of their last 13 at ANZ while they have won six of seven at ANZ against the Sharks. Cronulla have a poor record as a road favourite so confident the Bunnies can win in what projects as a low-scoring affair.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – South Sydney +1.5


Parramatta v Newcastle

Saturday June 2, 7:35pm – ANZ Stadium

The Eels sit last on the premiership ladder but get their chance to put themselves in touch with second last against the worst defensive team in the premiership. Newcastle have been diabolical defensively of late, conceding 29 or more in their last four including a dreadful 48 last week at home against a reasonably poor attacking team in Cronulla.

The Knights have covered just six of their last 20 on the road at night and have lost strike centre Nathan Ross. A desperate Eels will be hard to roll here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Parramatta -4.5


Sydney v Wests Tigers

Sunday June 3, 5:30pm – Allianz Stadium

The Sydney Roosters have dominated the Wests Tigers in recent years and can continue that strong record despite losing four stars to Origin. While James Tedesco, Dylan Napa, Latrell Mitchell and Boyd Cordner are all missing, the halves pairing of Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary remain and that will prove central.

The Tigers have been winning of late but are a bottom four defensive team and have been winning against poor sides. The Roosters have won 10 of 11 against the Tigers and nine straight at Allianz, seven of which have been by 12 points or more.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sydney Roosters +1.5

Canberra v Manly

Friday May 25, 6:00pm GIO Stadium

Manly have won 16 of the last 21 against Canberra but off a brutal affair in Melbourne where the Sea Eagles lost Dylan Walker for an extended period and the Raiders blew another winnable game, the spot lines up well for Ricky Stuart’s team. Canberra have covered 13 of their last 21 home games at night and 10 of their last 15 at home after being held to 18 or fewer. Manly have covered just 6 of their last 20 on the road after scoring 24 or more points.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra


North Queensland v Melbourne

Friday May 25, 7:55pm – 1300Smiles Stadium

It is impossible to bet North Queensland until Paul Green pulls the trigger and dumps probably all of his outside backs. Melbourne turned in one of their worst performances last week at home to Manly with the absence of Cameron Smith telling. The superstar rake returns this week. Melbourne have won seven straight against North Queensland with the last three all coming by margins of 16 or more. The Storm have covered 19 of their last 32 as an interstate favourite while the Cowboys have managed to cover the start in just two of seven as an underdog in Townsville.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Melbourne -3.5


New Zealand v South Sydney

Saturday May 26, 5:30pm – Mt Smart Stadium

South Sydney look a tremendous bet when they travel to Mt Smart to tackle the Warriors. Souths have won six of their last seven against New Zealand and have covered 12 of their last 16 overall. Off a win, Souths have covered 8 of their last 12. The Warriors have covered just 6 of their last 18 night matches at Mt Smart. The key angle here though is small interstate underdogs, who are 64-33 against the line since 2013.

Betting Strategy

BACK – South Sydney +1.5


Penrith v South Sydney

Saturday May 26, 7:35pm – Panthers Stadium

Penrith have been one of the most reliable teams at home this year and shape as a tremendous bet in their top-of-the-table clash with St George Illawarra. The Panthers have covered 11 of their last 14 home games, 14 of their last 19 at home at night and 7 of their last 10 as a home underdog. The Dragons have covered just 6 of their last 19 as a favourite away from their suburban home grounds.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Penrith +2.5pts

Parramatta v New Zealand

Friday May 18, 6:00pm ANZ Stadium

Parramatta’s season continues to get worse with a loss to second-last Canterbury followed by the latest Kenny Edwards controversy consigning the Eels to last position without a lot of hope. They do get a chance to pull off a win this week though when hosting the inconsistent New Zealand Warriors, who are still without star half Shaun Johnson. The Eels have won the last two against the Warriors, while the Warriors haven’t won at ANZ since 2011.

The Warriors have covered just eight of their last 24 after losing by 13-plus. With their backs against the wall, Parramatta are a bet at home to the Warriors.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Parramatta +2.5 pts


Brisbane v Sydney

Friday May 18, 7:55pm – Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane are in the very rare spot of going into a home game at Suncorp. The Broncos have struggled for form all season and have been hit hard by injury with Jack Bird, Alex Glenn and Payne Haas all joining a long injury list. The Broncos have been good bets though as a big underdog, covering 11 of their last 15 when getting a start of four or more with a 36% POT in head-to-head betting over that run.

The Roosters have covered just 2 of their last 8 as an interstate favourite since 2015 and 2 of their last 10 on the road off a win of 13 or more.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Brisbane +3.5pts


Gold Coast v Newcastle

Saturday  May 19, 3:00pm – Cbus Super Stadium

A battle between the two worst defensive teams in the premiership, it is surprising that the Titans have opened outsiders. Garth Brennan made the right call on Tuesday night and dropped Bryce Cartwright, that will do wonders for team morale. The Titans did lead the Storm early and have got some good Rugby League in them. Newcastle, by contrast, threw away a big opportunity to beat Penrith with stupidity and some soft middle defence.

The Titans are 15-10 against the line as a home underdog over the last four seasons while the Knights have failed to cover any of their three games as a favourite away from Hunter Stadium.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Gold Coast +1.5pts


North Queensland v South Sydney

Saturday May 19, 5:30pm – 1300SMILES Stadium

North Queensland have won eight of their last nine against South Sydney and with their season essentially on the line, they are a big play as a home underdog. The Rabbitohs are certainly in a down spot here after knocking off rivals and premiership frontrunners St George Illawarra, so they are vulnerable. Paul Green has shown significant restraint in not wielding the axe though it is expected he will insert some youth into his backline in his late team changes.

The Cowboys have covered 8 of their last 12 at home after scoring 12 or fewer while Souths have covered just 2 of their last 8 interstate games.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Nth Queensland +2.5pts


Melbourne v Manly

Saturday May 19, 7:35pm – AAMI Park

Melbourne will be without Cameron Smith but the market has significantly overcompensated for his absence. Brandon Smith is an adequate replacement with a bright future and should take this opportunity with both hands. The Storm have covered 7 of their last 10 at home when favoured by more than a converted try while the Sea Eagles have covered just 2 of their last 14 away from Brookvale Oval.

Manly have covered just 3 of their last 11 away from Brookvale after scoring 30 or more.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Melbourne -6.5pts

Newcastle v Penrith

Friday May 11, 6:00pm – McDonald Jones Stadium

Penrith have dominated Newcastle in recent meetings with four straight wins and six victories in their last seven. Over that four game streak the Panthers have posted on average 35.25 points per game with an average winning margin of 26. Penrith have also won three of four against the Knights in Newcastle. Penrith have been hit hard by injury but the Knights have not escaped either. Newcastle have won just five of their last 14 home games and covered just four of their last 11 at home at night. Penrith are the better team here and can be bet with confidence.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Penrith – 3.5


New Zealand v Sydney

Saturday May 12, 3:00pm – Mt Smart Stadium

The Warriors have had the best of the Roosters in recent years with 14 wins from the last 22 including four straight. The teams met earlier this year and the Warriors pulled off a monumental upset at Allianz when Shaun Johnson and Simon Mannering didn’t play. There is a huge angle here for the Roosters though with small interstate underdogs (3.5 points or less) covering 66 of 98 back to 2013. The Roosters have also covered seven of their last nine as an interstate underdog. The Warriors have been flying of late this year but have covered just six of 19 as a favourite at Mt Smart. The Roosters are the bet.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Sydney


South Sydney v St George Illawarra

Sunday May 6, 2:00pm – ANZ Stadium

South Sydney are an excellent play here against a St George Illawarra team in a major letdown spot after a dominant home win against Melbourne. The Bunnies have won nine of their last 12 against the Dragons and all three of those losses came by four points or fewer. Souths have won five of their last seven overall and in their last four games have been devastating in attack, averaging 31 points a game. Souths are in a great spot as an underdog, having covered eight straight as an outsider. The Dragons have covered just six of their last 17 as a favourite away from their suburban home grounds. Souths are significant overs this week.

Betting Strategy

BACK – South Sydney + 6.5

Penrith v North Queensland

Friday May 4, 7:55pm – Carrington Park

Penrith and North Queensland sit at opposite end of the ladder so it is surprising Penrith are such a juicy price. The Panthers continue to get hit hard by injury with star fullback Dylan Edwards the latest to be ruled out for an extended period, a shoulder injury sidelining the No.1 for the year. With each injury though, the Panthers just keeping digging in. That is very much a result of the on-field leadership provided by James Maloney, who is just a winner at every port he plays.

The Cowboys have covered just 4 of their last 11 on the road after being held to 14 or fewer and face a long and awkward road trip to Bathurst. Penrith rate as well overs here.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Penrith


New Zealand v Wests Tigers

Saturday May 5, 5:30pm – Mt Smart Stadium

The Wests Tigers have won four straight against New Zealand and can make it five straight as an outsider with the plus also very much a bet. The Tigers have covered five straight as an underdog and 11 of their last 13 when an outsider in betting. As an underdog of more than four points the Tigers have covered 15 of 18.

The Warriors have been decidedly unreliable at Mt Smart as a favourite, covering just 5 of their last 18 while they have covered 2 of their last 12 as a home favourite of four or more points. The Tigers have been road warriors, covering 8 of their last 10. Ivan Cleary’s team have an intimate knowledge of the Warriors and with Issac Luke highly unlikely for the Warriors, there is plenty of reasons to bet the Tigers.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Wests Tigers + 4.5


St George Illawarra v Melbourne

Sunday May 6, 2:00pm – Jubilee Oval

St George Illawarra are statistically the top team in the NRL this year, sitting atop the table and ranking first in both scoring and defence, but there is little doubt that Melbourne are the best team in the premiership. Since making a change at halfback and going with Ryley Jacks at No.7, the Storm have posted three straight wins by an average margin of 26.67 points, scoring 34 or more in each of those. Remarkably they are an outsider against St George Illawarra.

The Storm have won 17 of 22 against the Dragons, have covered 11 of their last 15 off a win of 19 or more and have covered 13 of their last 18 road games after conceding fewer than 10 points. The Storm’s win against the Warriors was scintillating and any semblance of that form will be winning this.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Melbourne


Sydney Roosters v Manly

Sunday May 6, 4:10pm – Allianz Stadium

The model fancies Manly as being over the odds in both win and handicap markets and while they are in a diabolical state both on and off the paddock, with their backs against the wall, they can show up against a team playing fairly ordinary football. The Sea Eagles have won three straight against the Roosters as well as nine of the last 13 meetings so get the edge on that front.

Manly have also covered 6 of their last 8 as a double digit underdog while they are 11-7 against the line as an underdog away from Brookvale getting a start of more than a converted try. The Roosters have covered just 2 of their last 9 at Allianz. Manly have a shot in this one.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Manly + 9.5

South Sydney v Brisbane

Thursday April 26, 7:50pm – ANZ Stadium

Brisbane have dominated South Sydney since the Broncos entered the competition in 1988 with just nine losses in the 36 meetings. That domination has extended until recently with the Broncos winning the last five, the last three by margins of 20 or more. The Broncos have been hit hard by injury but typically respond with their backs against the ball. The Broncos have covered 12 of their 18 as a road outsider and 12 of their last 17 off a loss.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Brisbane + 4.5


North Queensland v Canberra

Saturday April 28, 7:35pm – 1300SMILES Stadium

Canberra are significantly over the odds according to the Betfair NRL Model and that all lines up. The Cowboys had dropped five straight before ending that run of outs with an unconvincing victory at home against the Titans in one of the worst games of the year. The Raiders have been poor for much of the year but get a good matchup against the slow and aging Cowboys. The Raiders have covered 16 of their last 24 as a road underdog and 25 of their last 40 overall on the road. The Cowboys have covered just 4 of their last 12 after conceding 14 points or fewer. The last three matches between these teams in Townsville have all been determined by a margin of 8 or fewer.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra + 7.5

South Sydney v Canberra

Saturday April 21, 3:00pm – Central Coast Stadium

Canberra have had the best of South Sydney in recent meetings with three straight wins including victories of 14 and 50 in the last two. The Raiders have also won six of the last nine meetings with the Rabbitohs and have covered seven of their last 10 on the road off back-to-back wins. Canberra have found some form and look to be in a good spot to continue it.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra +4.5


Wests Tigers v Newcastle

Saturday April 21, 5:30pm – Scully Park

The Wests Tigers have enjoyed an incredible start to the season and their success seems to be built on the sustainable foundation of defence with Ivan Cleary’s team conceding just 11.2 points per game.

The Tigers have covered 13 of their last 15 games with a perfect 6-0 cover record this year. Having covered seven of their last eight after conceding 12 or fewer, they should have few problems with a Newcastle team who rank 15th in defence and have won just one of their last four games.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Wests Tigers –4.5


Parramatta v Manly

Sunday April 22, 2:00pm – ANZ Stadium

Parramatta are winless through six games here but look to be in a good spot to break through against rivals Manly. The Eels were whipped 54-0 when the teams met in Round 2 but Parramatta had won the six previous encounters. Manly have covered just four of their last 19 as a road favourite away from Brookvale and on that alone they are a bet against team.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Parramatta +4.5


Canterbury v Sydney Roosters

Thursday April 19, 7:50pm – ANZ Stadium

The Bulldogs look to be in a great spot as a big home underdog against the Roosters here. Canterbury enter this off their best performance of the season, a dominant 27-10 win over the Cowboys in Townsville. The Roosters have been hot and cold this year but have struggled to really get any go forward happening. The combinations through the spine are also concerning.

The Bulldogs have covered 11 of their last 17 as an underdog at ANZ and six of their last nine at the ground after scoring 25 or more. The Roosters have covered just one of their last six away from Allianz after scoring 14 or fewer.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canterbury +6.5

 

Canberra v Bulldogs

Thursday April 5, 8:05pm – GIO Stadium

There is no more frustrating team in the NRL than Canberra, who are remarkably win-less through four rounds despite posting the fifth best attack and leading late in three. They get a good match-up this week though against a Bulldogs team that is really struggling for punch out wide. The Bulldogs have covered just 11 of their last 37 away from ANZ, including two of 10 after conceding 20 points. The Raiders are desperate and should be winning well.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra -1.5


Cronulla v Sydney

Friday April 6, 6:00pm – Southern Cross Group Stadium

Cronulla have a great record against the Sydney Roosters and should be able to keep that run of dominance up as a home underdog. The Sharks have won six of seven against the Chooks and have only two losses of more than a converted try against them since 2010. The Sharks have conceded just eight points the last two games and have the second best defence in the premiership. The Roosters have covered just three of their last 10 away from Allianz when favoured by less than a converted try.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Cronulla +2.5


New Zealand v North Queensland

Saturday April 7, 5:30pm – Mt Smart Stadium

The Warriors are in the throes of their finest start to a season after rattling off four straight wins but against a desperate Cowboys they face their toughest test. The last time these teams met at Mt Smart, the Cowboys racked up a 50-16 victory. The Cowboys have won four on end and 15 of their last 23 against the Warriors but perhaps the most telling stat in this is the Warriors at Mt Smart at night, where they have covered the start in just three of their last 15.

Betting Strategy

BACK – North Queensland


Newcastle v Brisbane

Saturday April 7, 7:35pm – McDonald Jones Stadium

It is stunning that Newcastle have come up favourites in this one when the model has Brisbane $1.39 shots. The Broncos were poor at home against the Titans, totally out-enthused, but are a much better team than Newcastle. Brisbane have won six straight against the Knights by an average of nearly 28 points. The Knights have covered just six of their last 15 when starting $2.00 or shorter while the Broncos have covered 11 of their last 15 away from Suncorp off a loss and 11 of their last 17 as an underdog away from Suncorp.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Brisbane

Canberra v Bulldogs

Thursday April 5, 8:05pm – GIO Stadium

There is no more frustrating team in the NRL than Canberra, who are remarkably win-less through four rounds despite posting the fifth best attack and leading late in three. They get a good match-up this week though against a Bulldogs team that is really struggling for punch out wide. The Bulldogs have covered just 11 of their last 37 away from ANZ, including two of 10 after conceding 20 points. The Raiders are desperate and should be winning well.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra -1.5


Cronulla v Sydney

Friday April 6, 6:00pm – Southern Cross Group Stadium

Cronulla have a great record against the Sydney Roosters and should be able to keep that run of dominance up as a home underdog. The Sharks have won six of seven against the Chooks and have only two losses of more than a converted try against them since 2010. The Sharks have conceded just eight points the last two games and have the second best defence in the premiership. The Roosters have covered just three of their last 10 away from Allianz when favoured by less than a converted try.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Cronulla +2.5


New Zealand v North Queensland

Saturday April 7, 5:30pm – Mt Smart Stadium

The Warriors are in the throes of their finest start to a season after rattling off four straight wins but against a desperate Cowboys they face their toughest test. The last time these teams met at Mt Smart, the Cowboys racked up a 50-16 victory. The Cowboys have won four on end and 15 of their last 23 against the Warriors but perhaps the most telling stat in this is the Warriors at Mt Smart at night, where they have covered the start in just three of their last 15.

Betting Strategy

BACK – North Queensland


Newcastle v Brisbane

Saturday April 7, 7:35pm – McDonald Jones Stadium

It is stunning that Newcastle have come up favourites in this one when the model has Brisbane $1.39 shots. The Broncos were poor at home against the Titans, totally out-enthused, but are a much better team than Newcastle. Brisbane have won six straight against the Knights by an average of nearly 28 points. The Knights have covered just six of their last 15 when starting $2.00 or shorter while the Broncos have covered 11 of their last 15 away from Suncorp off a loss and 11 of their last 17 as an underdog away from Suncorp.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Brisbane

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

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 v Penrith

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

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 v New Zealand

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 v Manly

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 v Cronulla

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


Parramatta v Cronulla

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 v Newcastle

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.

St George Illawarra v Brisbane

Thursday March 15, 8:05pm – Southern Cross Group Stadium

Cronulla should be well and truly up for this Round 2 clash after a first-up loss while St George Illawarra project to be in a letdown spot after a massive opener against the Broncos. The Dragons have won just 4 of their last 23 night games away from Kogarah/Wollongong. Expecting Josh Dugan to switch back to fullback, which will significantly improve Cronulla’s chances.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Cronulla -2.5


Newcastle v Manly

Friday March 16, 8:05pm – Suncorp Stadium

The model has the Broncos rated favourites in this and they should be after a horrid season opener. Wayne Bennett will have flogged them at training this week so expecting to see a much sharper outfit. Home underdogs of 4 or more in the opening four rounds of the year cover at 75% while Brisbane have covered 8 of their last 12 getting a start of 4 or more. Brisbane have covered 24 of 42 at Suncorp.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Brisbane +3.5


West Tigers v Sydney

Saturday March 17, 3:05pm – Mt Smart Stadium

The Warriors’ short price is a total overreaction to their Round 1 win in Perth so the Titans are major overs this week. Stephen Kearney’s team face a tough travel schedule back and have a horrific recent record at Mt Smart where they have covered the start in just 13 of their last 33 while they have covered just five of their last 15 at the ground when a favourite of 6.5 or more points. The Titans are the best travelling betting proposition in the NRL, covering 34 of their last 52 interstate.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Gold Coast +8.5


Gold Coast v Canberra

Sunday March 18, 6:30pm – GIO Stadium

Canberra have dominated Newcastle in the capital throughout their entire history, losing just five of the 25 meetings all-time in Canberra. The Raiders have only dropped two of the last nine clashes between the sides as well, scoring 24 or more points in seven of those clashes. The Knights have won just one of their last 18 road games and have covered just 14 of their last 36.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Canberra -3.5

St George Illawarra v Brisbane

Thursday March 8, 7:50pm – Jubilee Oval

Brisbane have a dominant record against St George Illawarra in recent years, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings between the teams dating back to 2010 when Broncos coach Wayne Bennett was in charge of the Saints and they should continue that run at Kogarah in the season opener. The inclusion of Andrew McCullough is a major inclusion for the Broncos while the decision to play Corey Oates on the wing gives Brisbane the right balance. Ben Hunt debuts for the Saints and after a shaky preseason will be feeling the pressure off the bat. The Broncos are 13-5 against the line when interstate in the first four rounds of the year over the last decade.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Brisbane


Newcastle v Manly

Friday March 9, 6:00pm – McDonald Jones Stadium

Manly have won seven on the trot against Newcastle and will be confident of making it eight on end on Friday night. The Knights are certainly a team on the up this year after three straight wooden spoons but with so many new players it will surely take some time to gel. The Sea Eagles look to be headed in the opposite direction but with a stable roster they should be ready to roll opening week. The Knights have covered just three of their last 11 as a favourite and only six of their last 15 at home. The market has overreacted markedly to Newcastle in this one.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Manly


West Tigers v Sydney

Saturday March 10, 4:30pm – ANZ Stadium

If the Wests Tigers get up for one game this year it will be the Roosters in Round 1. The Tigers are playing against their former star fullback James Tedesco. Ivan Cleary has wielded the axe, leaving out a number of senior players including David Nofoaluma, putting everyone on notice. They enter the year wooden spoon favourites. They look to be in a great spot though, sitting in one of the best angles in Rugby League, with home underdogs of 4.5 or more in the opening four rounds covering at over 80% since 2008. The Tigers have also covered eight of their last 11 at ANZ. Expect a big showing from the Tigers to open the season.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Wests Tigers +10.5



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