2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 61/100 (61%) (Last week: 5/8)
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
- Thursday night sees the next installment of one of the game’s most enthralling modern rivalries when the Raiders host Cronulla. The Raiders come in as slight favourites at time of writing, and we have to say – we’re not entirely sure why. As much as we love the Raiders’ effort and playing style, they’re still missing their best player (Josh Hodgson), and really weren’t playing that well to start with. In fact, we’d argue that statistically the 2019 Raiders are worse than the 2018 model that missed the finals, but are enjoying an inflated ladder position courtesy of a soft draw through the first half of the season. Yes, they’re doing a much better job of finishing matches when they’re in position to win, but for the most part, those wins have all been coming against low-end opposition. Indeed, the Raiders haven’t beaten a current Top 8 side since they beat the Eels back in Round 5. Since then, they’ve accumulated losses against contenders Sydney, Souths and Manly, as well as dropping one to the Cowboys.
- To be fair, the same could be said of the Sharks, whose lone Top 8 win came against the Storm a month ago, however they seem to be just hitting their straps. The return of Matt Moylan has coincided with the Sharks offense running up 64 points in 2 weeks, and the addition of Wade Graham and potentially Shaun Johnson only makes them look more dangerous. The only rationale we could see for favouring Canberra here would be the home ground advantage, and even then, we’d suggest you check the numbers again. The Raiders have lost their last 2 in a row at GIO, while the Sharks have won their past 6 straight there, dating back to 2012. We’re not saying the Raiders are without a hope here, but they’re going to have to play a lot better than they have so far.
- The story of the Warriors is similar to that of the Raiders, only with a brutally difficult draw. Against bottom half teams, the Warriors have performed well enough, winning 4 of 7 matches. Against Top 8 sides though they’ve got absolutely nothing, losing all 5 matches they’ve played. In general, we don’t actually think that they’ve been that bad – they’re just astonishingly inconsistent. Here’s a fun fact: 62% of the Warriors’ line breaks have come from just 5 games; in the other 7 matches, they’ve produced just 38%. Unsurprisingly then, they’re offensive output’s completely polarised – they have 5 matches in which they’ve scored 24 or more points, and another 6 in which they’ve been held to 12 or less. For a club with a reputation for Jekyll and Hyde performances, 2019 may be the worst they’ve ever been. As a result, picking Warriors games has devolved into a guessing game about which Warriors side will turn up on any given weekend. Fortunately, the above does suggest at least some sort of trend – their “up” weeks typically come against ‘bad’ teams – and this week, the Gold Coast are on the menu.
- To be fair to the Titans though, we should at least note that they appear to showing signs of improvement. On either side of their total flop against North Queensland a fortnight ago, they’ve put together impressive wins against the Sea Eagles and Broncos. We still can’t pick them until they demonstrate some sort of ability on defense – they’ve now conceded 4 or more line breaks for 6 straight weeks – but they’re certainly good enough that if the Warriors don’t show up, the Titans could win.
- As an aside, it’s good to see young Patrick Herbert return to the centres for the Warriors this week. With Solomone Kata unplayable due to his Bryce Cartwright-level defense (he’s conceded 7 tries and 8 line breaks from just 6 starts), and alternative Gerard Beale a pot-plant on offense (he has 0 line breaks, 1 try involvement and 3 tackle breaks from 5 matches), Herbert is easily the most complete centre in the club (Peta Hiku included), and adds a goal-kicking option to boot. You may not be familiar with Herbert yet, but just make a mental note that the Warriors are a better team with him in it.
- The Cowboys/Tigers game looks like the perfect opportunity to catch up on your laundry, with two bog average teams offering very little to get excited about. We’ll readily concede that the Cowboys’ defense has improved considerably of late, however that’s also the side of the ball on which the Tigers are typically decent too (Wests rank 9th in Defense VOA vs the Cowboys’ last), while you’re more likely to sight a Sasquatch than North Queensland’s “offense”. Unbelievably, the Cowboys have been held to 3 tries or less in all but 2 of their matches this year – yes, that’s right; all but TWO. Now, the Tigers are no high-octane offense themselves (indeed, they just turned in a duck-egg against the Raiders), but they do at least have their moments, having run up scores of 22+ on 5 separate occasions this year. Whether or not this turns out to be one of those days, we don’t really have the foggiest, but we’ll note that the Tigers have scored 20+ in 3 of their past 4 games against North Queensland – all wins, and all in an era when the Tigers were otherwise shit. We’re not at all confident, but you’d have to think they can put a few past this husk of a Cowboys side – and a few is typically enough to win against North Queensland.
- We love the Knights. We do. And we’ve sure enjoyed their impressive winning run. However, there’s absolutely no way we can tip them here, and in fact, we suspect that this match may reveal just how far away they actually are from being premiership contenders. As good as they’ve been (and they’ve been excellent), the first 4 of those wins came against competition lightweights (the Eels, who’ve won just 2 games since, the Warriors, the Bulldogs and the Dragons). Then, they beat a Roosters side without Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary (who was knocked out minutes into the match), and a similarly under-strength Rabbitohs side. In short, the Knights’ only wins against top sides came against almost unrecognisable versions of those opponents. They’ve been good, yes; but the Storm are a whole different beast, and the Knights’ offense – who’ve scored 20+ points for 6 weeks in a row – are unlikely to find the Storm’s defense anywhere near as accommodating (they’ve conceded 20+ just twice all season). We wouldn’t say it’s hopeless for the Knights, and at the rate they’re improving, they’ll be even better when these sides meet again in the finals (and we’re confident that they will). But at this point, an admirable defeat would be a perfectly good result for Newcastle, and a win would simply be a bonus.
- As with last week’s game against the Roosters, we feel obligated to tip against the Panthers, if only because of the reputation of their opponents. And, like last week, we suspect we’ll be wrong. After losing six straight matches (in which they conceded 22 or more points in every game), the Panthers are in the middle of the unlikeliest winning streak this year, winning 3 on the bounce against current Top 8 sides (albeit sides missing a host of top players), all while conceding 12 points or less per game. The Panthers’ improvement could be attributed to a number of factors, with their tight defense and the mid-season resurgences of Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Josh Mansour certainly among them. However, the biggest boost for Penrith has arguably been the form of Liam Martin. Martin may be just 7 games into his NRL career, but his form against Manly earned him the starting lock gig against the Roosters, and he took it with both hands, running at 9 metres a clip while playing 80 minutes in the middle of the field. With Martin providing that sort of production (for context, the game’s best big-minute middle forward, Jake Trbojevic, is going for 8.4 metres/carry in 2019), the Panthers were able to rotate their remaining forwards more heavily, with James Fisher-Harris playing multiple stints. This rotation, combined with another massive outing by the Panthers back three (who all ran for over 180m – more than any Roosters player) combined to give the Panthers a whopping 325m yardage advantage. Now, we can hear you saying “but the Roosters’ pack were missing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Angus Crichton, of course they tore them up!”. But that’s where we point out that the Rabbitohs will be without Sam and Tom Burgess, and are still missing Adam Reynolds on top of that. Look, the Rabbitohs have enough runs on the board to deserve the benefit of the doubt. But we just can’t shake this nagging feeling that the Panthers are about to do us all in once again.
- We actually thought the Broncos had turned the corner prior to last week’s clunker against the Titans. They’d won 3 on the trot, and most impressively, they’d conceded just 22 points combined across those three games, which included three of the league’s better offenses (the Sea Eagles, Roosters and Warriors). So what went wrong? The Broncos’ left edge, basically. The Titans tormented the Broncos down that flank, in addition to a slick solo effort by Tyrone Roberts straight past the supposedly-good Matt Lodge. Fortunately, Corey Oates will come straight back onto that wing, and an injury to Alex Glenn will force a change in the second-row (Matt Gillett comes straight in, but it may be David Fifita who switches to the left) however they still need to find a way to hide Anthony Milford, who leads the league in line breaks conceded (14).
- Regardless, the Broncos’ D has still been no worse than that of the Eels, who’ve allowed 14 line breaks and missed 70 tackles in their past 2 combined matches. The Broncos’ defense has been flawed, but the Eels’ has been downright catastrophic, getting gashed with alarming frequency since their 54-point hiding from the Storm in Round 9. We still think they’re a decent showing here at home, if only because their offense has shown more upside than anything Brisbane’s produced in 2019, but even that has deserted them of late, with the side’s LBVOA collapsing from 35.95% pre-Storm (1st in the league), to -11.32% post-Storm (10th). The only reason we can think of for installing Parramatta as favourites here is the BankWest Stadium factor, and frankly, that may just be a myth. Let’s look at it: what have they actually done there? Thumped a couple of patsies in the Tigers (who hasn’t?) and Dragons (who were in a 5-game losing slump at the time), lost to Penrith (never a good sign), and beaten a Rabbitohs side who couldn’t even name a full 21-man squad. BankWest may be beneficial for the Eels, but the evidence isn’t as overwhelming as the media makes out. It’s a coin flip, and since we thought Brisbane were back a week ago, we’ll give the Broncos the benefit of the doubt that last week was just an aberration.