2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 118/184 (64%) (Last week: 6/8)
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.)
- Though we acknowledge that the Rabbitohs looked significantly better last week in demolishing an underwhelming New Zealand team – their handling in particular was extraordinary, with the side making just 5 errors in the match, paving the way for a dominant 58% possession share – we still can’t see this match being much of a contest. The Roosters come in on the back of a 7-match winning streak, during which they’ve posted a ridiculous LBVOA of 63.57% (a distant 1st), and averaged over 35 points per game. Their offense is lights-out the best in the NRL, and their defense has quietly climbed to be ranked 2nd, only trailing the Storm (did you know that while their offense has been filling the highlight reels, they’ve only conceded more than 2 tries in a match once since Round 16?). Quite simply, the only way we could see them losing this match is if they choose to, perhaps in order to take the pressure off from carrying a long winning streak into a potential Grand Final. But going by the team list, that doesn’t appear to be a part of their plans. Roosters, potentially by plenty.
- The Eels-Sea Eagles clash looms as a tricky match to predict, largely due to Parramatta’s patchy form whenever they’ve had to play good teams. Sure, they’ve looked like world-beaters at times, when they’ve been beating up on light-weights like the Titans and Tigers. However, they’ve struggled against Top 8 sides for most of the season. A relatively soft draw has seen them play just 10 matches against current Top 8 teams, and from those, they’ve managed to win just 4. The good news for Parramatta is that those wins have come almost exclusively at BankWest Stadium – where they’ll be playing on Friday night (they’ve won just 1 of 5 matches against Top 8 sides away from home, and even that was a technical home game that they took to Darwin). The second reason for blue-and-gold optimism is the loss of Tom Trbojevic for Manly. Statistically, his absence hasn’t actually been that devastating this year – their VOA output in most metrics drops off only slightly when he’s been missing. However, he does seem to add something intangible to the side. It can’t be ignored that the side have won 8 of the 9 matches he’s finished in 2019, compared to 6 of 14 without him. Though they may appear measurably fine in his absence, they seem to lack some mysterious quality that gets them over the line. We hypothesize that that quality is his ability to convert opportunities into tries. Consider this – though Manly’s line breaks per game are almost identical with and without Trbojevic (5.2 when he plays vs 4.8 without him), their tries scored drops from 4.1 to 3.2. Put differently, that means a drop in their LB conversion rate from 79% to just 65%. And most importantly, that difference can be traced directly to Trbojevic. The number of total line breaks for Trbojevic and his replacement Brendan Elliott are suprisingly similar – 15 v 11. However, while Trbojevic converts those opportunities almost automatically (either by scoring himself or by linking with a support player), Elliott seems chronically incapable of doing the same, with Elliott somehow sitting with just 2 try involvements compared to Trbojevic’s 19. And therein lies the rub. Though we don’t think Manly will be drastically worse overall in this game, we expect it to be close enough that every opportunity will matter – and as a rule, it seems that if there’s a try-scoring opportunity to be had, Brendan Elliott will find a way to blow it.
- Like everyone else on the planet, we agree that the Raiders are miles better than the Warriors, and we’ll be tipping them here accordingly. However, we feel the need to offer a word of caution: Canberra have opted to rest a host of key players for this match, including fullback Nicoll-Klokstad, winger Rapana and forwards Soliola and Bateman. Further, there’s halves cover on the bench in the form of Sam Williams, as well as a hooker in Siliva Havili, so in the event that the Rabbitohs get rolled on Thursday (making this game completely meaningless for Canberra), there’s potential for even more last-minute cuts. The team that’s been named is already substantially weaker than the bookies seem to have accounted for; if there winds up being even more trimming before kick-off, there may be a chance of a boilover.
- As we suggested would be the case two weeks ago, the Broncos‘ offense has been significantly improved with the addition of a bona fide halfback, with the side producing a LBVOA of 21.93% over the past fortnight. For context, that’s a better figure than what they’ve produced in all but 5 of their previous 21 matches (and Sean O’Sullivan was the halfback in one of those 5, too). So, what does supercoach Anthony Seibold do? He decides to immediately drop his halfback, in order to shoehorn a hooker into the #7 jersey. Figure that out.
- That being said, we’re still tipping Brisbane, but only because we’re not expecting much from the Bulldogs. They have nothing to play for after being officially eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, and will be without star fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and centre Kerrod Holland. When you consider that Canterbury haven’t scored more than 3 tries in a game since May, it’s reasonable to think that any drop-off whatsoever in performance will make winning virtually impossible.
- All eyes will be on Leichardt Oval on Sunday afternoon when the Tigers and Sharks face off for a finals berth. Of course, if Kyle Flanagan could kick a goal, this match would be a complete non-event, after the Sharks out-scored the Raiders, only to somehow find a way to lose (again). But, here we are, and Cronulla need to find a way to regroup, refocus and – hopefully – kick goals. The Tigers put St George-Illawarra to the sword last week, extending their run of matches with 4 or more line breaks to 9 (a record only matched by – wait for it – Cronulla). As good as they’ve been over this period – and as we’ve been saying for weeks, they’ve actually been really good – the Sharks have nonetheless been better. Through their impressive 9-week stretch, the Tigers have posted an incredible LBVOA of 31.97%; however, that’s dwarfed by the Sharks’ 44.62% over the same period. This is a concern for us, mainly due to the Tigers propensity for getting blown out by high-end attacking units. On 6 separate occasions this year, they’ve given up 5 or more tries in a game (something the Sharks have done just twice), with 5 of those coming against Top 8 attacking sides (SPOILER ALERT: the Sharks rank 3rd in overall Offense VOA). With the Sharks having already torn through premium defenses like the Rabbitohs and Broncos this year, you’d have to think the Tigers will offer comparatively little resistance. The question then becomes this: how many tries will the Sharks actually require, if they only go up by fours? Think about it – Cronulla may be likely to run in 5 tries here, but there’s no guarantee that that leads to much more than 20 points – in which case the Tigers may very well be able to win with just 4 – a mark they’ve hit in 4 of their past 6 matches. We’re rolling with Cronulla almost out of stubbornness more than anything – we simply refuse to believe that a team can lose any more matches due to sub-standard goalkicking. However, if you believe that they still haven’t improved in that regard, we’d agree that the Tigers’ offense is good enough to get near enough to snatch it.