2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 56/92 (61%) (Last week: 2/4)
2018 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: (58%) Line Betting: (46%)
2017 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 66% Line Betting: 55% (NOTE: If this is your first visit to the site, be sure to click here for an explanation of what we’re all about.)
- Sea Eagles
- The opening match of the round has been left almost impossible to tip, in the wake of a swathe of injuries to key players. The Knights have already ruled out superstar Kalyn Ponga for this match, and key forward David Klemmer will reportedly be joining him due to a broken wrist. Ordinarily, the loss of Ponga would have us drawing a line through the Novocastrians on the spot, however the Rabbitohs have major issues of their own. Cody Walker won’t back up after Wednesday night, and news that halfback Adam Reynolds has a fractured back (along with the continued absence of Alex Johnston) leaves the Bunnies missing three quarters of their regular spine (and the only regular, Damien Cook, will be playing just 2 days after turning in 80 minutes in the middle of the park for New South Wales). So, who’s affected the worst? It’s difficult to say. For what it’s worth, the loss of Walker leaves an enormous volume of production to be replaced by the Rabbitohs. He ranks 1st in the league for try involvements, and 2nd in the league for line break assists (behind Mitchell Pearce – who will be playing on Friday night, just for the other team). Reynolds’ output is significantly less, however his 5 and 9 try and line break assists are comparable to the 6 and 7 of Ponga. Finally, while we don’t know for sure how badly the Knights will be impacted by Ponga’s and possible Klemmer’s absences, we do know how the Rabbitohs go without Walker – we saw it last weekend in a directionless effort against the Eels, and with Reynolds joining him on the sidelines, we rate the Knights as smokies for an upset – Ponga or not.
- The second Friday night game holds a similar amount of mystery, with the Raiders getting a crack at their favourite whipping boys, the Tigers. Prior to their surprise loss to the Tigers in August last year, the Raiders had built an impressive record up, posting 4 consecutive scores of 46 or more against Wests. However, the Tigers are getting Canberra at the best possible time, with Hodgson and Joey Leilua still unavailable, and Nic Cotric under an injury cloud from State of Origin. The Raiders were bog average in limping home last weekend against the Bulldogs without their stars, but they weren’t traveling particularly well even before that. Last weekend was the Raiders’ 3rd match in a row with 3 line breaks or less, and they’ve now scored just 6 tries in their past 3 games combined (a period in which they got to play they league’s worst defense, the Cowboys). To be clear, we’re not at all confident in the Tigers, either – outside of torching the Panthers three weeks ago, they’ve been absolutely forgettable themselves, having scored more than 3 tries in a game just 3 times all season. But we have to pick somebody, and if nothing else, there’s got to be something to be said for continuity.
- Though Paul Green may be criticised for his excruciatingly boring gameplans, he pretty much wrote the book on getting maximal results from unimaginably sub-standard football teams two years ago, when he guided a shockingly bad Cowboys unit to the Grand Final (where they promptly got the 28-point hiding they deserved). Now, he may be in the process of doing it again, with the Cowboys finding themselves out of the Top 8 only on for-and-against following an inspired (yet nonetheless painfully boring) 6-4 win over the Titans. The recipe is simple: they hide their defensive frailties by dominating field position and possession. That’s achieved predominantly through discipline – the Cowboys rank 2nd in the league for fewest penalties conceded, and the extra sets they get are then converted into high possession shares (they’ve won the possession battle in 8 of 12 matches this year, and never had less than 47%), which in turn leads to big metres, despite their forwards lacking the dominance of a couple of years ago (they’ve made 1400m or more in all but 4 games, despite ranking 2nd last in RMVOA). If they could actually play a bit, these sorts of numbers would equate to some big scores, however they possess just one genuine playmaker in Michael Morgan, and even he ranks just 8th among NRL halves for line break assists. As a result, they’re yet to win any game in which their opponent has scored 18 or more points. We expect that to be an issue against a Sea Eagles team who’ve hit that mark in 7 of 12 matches, and will be boosted by the expected return of Tom Trbojevic.
- We’re not about to tip the Panthers (doing so would probably crash the site, due to the volume of readers hitting the ‘unsubscribe’ button all at once), but don’t be surprised if this match turns out to be a lot more competitive than most expect. The Roosters come in without star five-eighth Luke Keary, prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, and Origin-related absences for Boyd Cordner and Latrell Mitchell. Penrith have been unimpressive even in recent back-to-back wins, but the Roosters have been arguably worse, losing 2 straight matches, while scoring just 22 combined points across those outings. To be honest, considering the Roosters curiously poor recent form and added unavailables (they’re literally missing their entire left edge), we’re pretty much just picking them on reputation here. We’re expecting a tight, even contest – just the sort that Penrith seem to find ways to lose.
- Finally, we could certainly understand the temptation to pick the Bulldogs this week – the Dragons are mired in a 5-week losing stretch in which they’ve lost every game by 8 or more points – but we’re recommending against it. Firstly, the Dragons’ losses have been largely defense-related, with the team conceding 20 or more points and 4 or more line breaks in all of those losses. Assuming that Ben Hunt backs up from Origin, the worst handicap for their defense will be fixed – the return of Corey Norman would bump Jai Field out of the team altogether, so he surely can’t do any more damage (Field ranks 6th in the team for tries conceded, despite having played just 3 – yes, three – matches). Secondly, they’re playing the Bulldogs – the team who could manage just 2 tries against a Canberra park football side last week. No matter how badly your defense might be going, there’s generally very little to fear about the Bulldogs’ offense. Finally, the return of Norman should also give the Dragons’ offense a little more punch. The Dragons haven’t scored more than 3 tries in a game for 6 weeks, with Norman still ranking 1st in the team for try assists (9), despite having missed 3 matches. His return should hopefully begin the slow climb back to relevance, and besides – against the Bulldogs, three tries is typically plenty.