2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 25/40 (63%) (Last week: 5/8)
2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: (64%)
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.)
- The Broncos gave a much better account of themselves last week, particularly defensively, conceding just 15 tackle breaks (their season best) and allowing over 500 fewer metres than their first two games since the resumption. That’s a positive sign for the unit, but is unlikely to be enough against Newcastle. Kotoni Staggs is a huge out for Brisbane, having made twice as many line breaks as any of his teammates (4) on his way to scoring 5 tries (no other Bronco has more than 1). Their improved D may help prevent a blow-out, but without Staggs, we doubt Brisbane have the points in them to keep up with the Knights‘ #2-ranked offense.
- The Warriors were fabulous last weekend, somehow putting 7 tries on North Queensland, after managing just 4 in the opening 4 weeks combined (though admittedly, this is largely a reflection of just how ordinary the Cows’ defense is). Against the Rabbitohs though, they’ll face a much sterner test (Souths rank 8th in Defense VOA). Despite the Bunnies running up a bit of a score against the Gold Coast, we’re anticipating a low-scoring affair here. Though Souths’ 5 line breaks last weekend may look impressive on the surface, the shine fades once you notice that the Titans are conceding almost 7 per game – making the Rabbitohs effort a fair whack below average in actuality. We still expect Souths to win, but anticipate another decent showing by the Kiwis, in what’s likely to be a dour, low-scoring affair.
- After a horror 6 minute stretch cost the Panthers last weekend (and cost us the opportunity to look like geniuses), we’re doubling down and backing the Pennies to get it done against the Storm. Putting aside the result, it’s hard not to be impressed by just how strong the Panthers have been. Though 2 soft line breaks jump off the highlight reel (we suspect Waqa Blake’s palm may still be lodged deep in the chest of Stephen Crichton), we should remember that the Panthers conceded just 1 other break in the entire match – a match in which they gave up a 54% possession share to a team averaging almost 5 line breaks per game. As a result, Penrith now stand as the only remaining team to have held every side they’ve faced to 3 or fewer breaks. Granted, they face the only defense better than theirs this weekend, but the gap in the two sides’ offensive production so far is arguably greater – and favours the Panthers. While Penrith have rolled along creating 4 or more line breaks in all but one match this season, the Storm have hit that mark just twice. The issue for Melbourne has been a lack of production from anyone other than Cameron Smith. While the Panthers’ halves rotation of Cleary, Luai and Burton have combined for 7 line break assists between them, their Melbourne counterparts (Munster, Hughes and Jacks) have combined for just 4. Granted, it’s comparatively easy to rack up assists when your job is simply to shovel the ball to Viliame Kikau, but hey – it works. Melbourne, on the other hand, are still struggling to hit their stride. Of course, we still believe Melbourne are good enough to win here – they’ve been too good for too long to be quickly written off. But if we’re making a call based on the two sides’ performances so far, the fact of the matter is that Penrith have been better. Now they just need to prove it.
- The good news for the Dragons: their latest spine combination (Dufty; Norman; Clune; McInnes) seems to have been a hit, with the side producing their season-best TBVOA (27.18%), and their highest LBVOA since Round 1 (35.89%) against the Sharks. The bad news: their D showed no measurable signs of improvement, performing at the same consistently poor level that has seen them win just 1 of their opening 5 games. Fortunately, that should all be academic against the Titans – a defense so bad, they make St George look like Melbourne. Last weekend, the Gold Coast conceded 30+ points for the 3rd time so far, and they’ve now conceded at least 23 points in every game they’ve played. As a result, the Dragons look like a great bet to make it two-in-a-row, meaning Mary’s probably another week away from a three-year extension.
- Oh my goodness – how bad is the Cowboys defense? We’ll tell you how bad – they’ve conceded the 4th most points in the NRL this season, despite having only faced the offenses rated 10th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th. All but one of those sides posted their highest try total of the season against North Queensland, at a combined average of 22.6 points per game. If the Cowboys are getting shredded by the worst offenses in the league, we can’t help but wonder how ugly it could get when they finally face a good team. Unfortunately, we won’t get to find out this week, as the stodgy Tigers offense gets their turn at boosting their offensive average. That being said, 22 should be more than enough points for Wests to get the chocolates, backed by a defense who’ve held every opponent to 4 or fewer line breaks. Better still, with defensive liability Benji Marshall dropped last week, that defensive improved even further to produce a LBCVOA of -47.30% – good enough for first in the league. Granted, it came at the cost of drying up their offense completely; but with the Cowboys on deck this week we wouldn’t worry too much about that.
- The Eels got away with one against Penrith, but don’t be expecting that to be replicated here. The Roosters offense is operating at the highest level we’ve ever recorded, producing a staggering offense VOA of 73.02%. The Eels’ defense is reasonable, but relies on hoarding possession to hide its weaknesses. In their two games with 63%+ of possession, they’ve conceded just 2 line breaks per game. In their remaining three matches – where they’ve had between 48%-54% – that more than doubles to 4.3. Against a unit such as Sydney’s, who’ve racked up 6 or more in every game since Week 2, Parramatta would need north of 60% again, just to stand a chance.
- It’s a real tragedy that the Sea Eagles will be without Marty Taupau this weekend, because we’re firmly of the view that they’ve otherwise got a great shot to pull off an upset. Manly’s offense is electric (#5 overall), and their match-up with a Raiders D that’s leaked 18 line breaks since the resumption looks absolutely delicious (for comparison’s sake, the eye-wateringly bad Gold Coast D has only conceded 17 over the same period). However, the loss of Taupau makes us hesitate to pull the trigger. The issue is that there’s no side in the competition less equipped to handle the loss of a major yardage contributor than Manly. The Sea Eagles have a dire lack of middle forward depth, meaning that Taniela Paseka will likely be required to significantly lift his workload (he currently averages just 30 minutes a game) to prevent their go-forward grinding to a halt for an extended period when the bench takes over. With Taupau missing for most of the game against Brisbane, his side’s adjusted run metres dropped over 100m below average. A similar performance here would invite the Raiders to camp down Manly’s end, effectively limiting the ability of strike players like Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans to impose themselves on the game, and waste what is otherwise a favourable match-up.
- After being on the receiving end of a footballing clinic on Monday night, the Bulldogs must be relieved to see the bog-average Sharks appear on the schedule. At this point, both sides look like bottom-4 material, making this surprisingly hard to tip. That being said, we’re thinking that Canterbury may be just the side to provide a 2020 coming-out party for Andrew Fifita. Fifita looked slow and ineffective last week against St George-Illawarra, leading to internet trolls coining the term “Fatfita” (kids can be cruel). However, considering Fifita’s style – he’s a sideways-running, tackle-breaking, offload machine – Canterbury may be just the tonic to his ills. Here, he’ll a face an engine room loaded with as many as 4 forwards ranking outside the league’s top 150 players in tackle efficiency (a group headlined by interchange forward Dean Britt, who somehow manages to lead the entire league in missed tackles, while only playing 44 minutes a game). Against this motley crew of jersey-grabbers, Fifita has the perfect opportunity to excel, and hopefully create the second-phase play required for his misfiring halves to generate something.