2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 108/168 (64%) (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.)
- We have to tip our hats to the Bulldogs‘ defense – we gave them virtually no chance of beating the Bunnies last week, but their stubborn D completely shut down their opponent for the 3rd week in a row, facilitating the surprise win. We still want no part in tipping a team who’s scored more than 18 points in a game just once in their past 11, but nevertheless, we have to acknowledge one thing at least – as long as their defense is performing at this level, they’ll at least be in a position to compete every week.
- Do we actually think they will win? Look – probably not. Given their inability to score, teams typically need only score 3 tries to beat Canterbury – something the Eels have achieved in all but 6 matches this year. Indeed, when the two sides met back in Round 2, the Eels pumped the Bulldogs 36-12. Add in the Bankwest Stadium Effect – where the Eels average almost 29 points per game – and it just seems like the odds are against the Doggies turning in another flawless display (indeed, there’s a fair argument that their recent impressive defensive results have had more to do with the offensive ineptitude of their opponents – Penrith, Wests and South Sydney – than anything the Bulldogs themselves have been doing).
- If either side’s recent performances are any indication, the Friday evening clash between the Cowboys and Panthers is likely to be borderline unwatchable. North Queensland are mired in a 5-match losing streak, while the Panthers surrendered control of their own destiny last week with the sort of insipid attacking effort that’s become a hallmark of their 2019 season. It’s pretty much indisputable at this point that Penrith are capable of significantly better football than North Queensland – the Cowboys rank dead last in every attacking metric we use, in addition to possessing the league’s 2nd worst defense. However, the Panthers remain their own worst enemy. One week, they’re blowing the doors off against an in-form contender like Cronulla. The next, they look like they’ve hardly met each other. They’ll surely have no shortage of motivation here, with their season now on life support, but the same could have been said last week (and for that matter, it’s every bit as likely that the Cowboys will be fired up to “do it for Matt Scott”, who suffered a mild stroke earlier this week). If Penrith turn it on, the Cowboys can’t possibly hang with them. But will they? Your guess is as good as ours.
- Please don’t confuse the Broncos‘ recent winning record as any sort of indication of form – if you’ve actually been unfortunate enough to watch them play, you’ll have seen that they’ve been dismal. Last week was no different, with the Panthers somehow still in a position to win the game inside the final 10 minutes, despite having played one of the worst games of football in recent memory (there was a point about half an hour into the clash where the Panthers had a sub-50% completion rate). If Brisbane were actually in decent form, they’d have eaten up Penrith for breakfast. Instead, they turned a wealth of field position into… well…not much at all, really, and needed an epic Payne Haas run (through some weak defense) to clinch the game.
- Much has been made of the loss of Tom Burgess this weekend for the Rabbitohs, as well as the potential loss of brother Sam. The concerns are well founded – Souths have been struggling for a while now, having won just 3 of their past 10 matches. But if a single player’s absence is going to decide this game, we should be looking at the other team. The Broncos have lost edge forward Tevita Pangai Jr to suspension, and he’ll take with him the only hint of offensive spark the Broncos have had for the past month. In addition to his 6 line break assists for the season (which ranks 3rd on his team), the Broncos will badly miss Pangai’s offloading ability. Pangai’s 46 effective offloads not only rank 1st in the NRL in 2019 – they’re more than triple any other player in the Broncos’ pack (Matt Lodge is the next closest, with just 14). Though offloads aren’t the be-all and end-all, they’re invaluable to a team such as Brisbane, whose halves are completely incapable of generating scoring opportunities (their team leader in line break assists, Anthony Milford, isn’t even in the top 30 in the league). If their halves aren’t creating opportunities and their second-phase play dries up, the Broncos should be pretty easy to shut down.
- The Tigers made us look foolish for talking them up as a good chance against Manly last week, getting comprehensively belted by an evidently superior opponent. That being said, we still think there’s a lot to like about the Wests. For a start, it’s worth acknowledging that the Tigers finished with just a 39% share of possession – with so little football, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to win. Secondly, though in many cases such a low possession share is the fault of the team involved, in this case it had more to do with the clinical execution of Manly (who forced 4 line drop outs, and conceded just 2 penalties) than anything particularly bad that the Tigers did. Finally, it can’t be ignored that despite having very little time in possession, the Tigers still managed to create 4 line breaks through the Sea Eagles’ defense. Though the scoreline looked bad, we stand by the position that with an even share of possession, the Tigers would have been in that game up to their eyeballs (or, in the very least, their elbows).
- Having said that, we’re still tipping the Knights here. Not because of their offense, which burst back to life last week in a 42-6 thumping of North Queensland. Rather, we fancy Newcastle because of their defense. Yes, the Knights’ attack looked sharp, but as mentioned above, we quite fancy the upside of the Tigers’ offense these days, too. However, on the defensive side of the ball, the Knights have been consistently superior – even though they’ve been losing for weeks. After a mid-season slump due to the mix-and-match approach to their edges, the Knights have trotted out the same edge combinations for the past 3 weeks in a row – and have been rewarded, posting a LBCVOA of -35.52% over the past fortnight (1st in the NRL). They’ll have a single forced change here due to the loss of Tautau Moga to injury, but that should be offset by a similar shift for the Tigers (where Robert Jennings comes into the side). In addition, their already-superb run defense (the Knights rank 2nd in the league for RMCVOA) should be further bolstered by the return of Tim Glasby. In what should be a competitive, quality game of football, we’d rather back the better defense – but still give the Tigers a good shout.
- Sea Eagles fans are well within their rights to be feeling good about themselves at the moment – they’ve won 7 of their past 9, and the Rabbitohs’ surprise loss last weekend lifted Manly into the Top 4. However, we expect them to find out exactly what a Top 4 standard team looks like on Sunday’s expedition to Canberra. The Eagles come armed with one of the league’s most explosive offenses, but the Raiders have been pretty sharp themselves of late, scoring 4 or more tries in 3 of their past 4, including a 4-try effort last week against the stupendously good Melbourne defense (for comparison, the Sea Eagles scored just 1 against the Storm four weeks ago). And unlike Manly, the Raiders back up their offense with one of the league’s best Ds. We mentioned above that Manly conceded 4 line breaks to the Tigers last week, despite a dominant 61% share of possession. That match was the 4th time in 5 weeks that the Sea Eagles have conceded 4 line breaks in a match. In comparison, the Raiders haven’t conceded that many in a game in over a month. We’d only give Manly a chance here in the event they can keep 55%+ of the football – something that’s near impossible against Canberra, because they’re constantly stripping the bloody thing (indeed, the Raiders have only been held to less than 48% possession once all year – their loss to Manly in Round 7, in which they were penalised out of the game, 13-5). Barring a similar referee intervention, we’re expecting a Canberra win, and quite possibly a comprehensive one.