2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 37/56 (66%) (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.)
- Though we’ll say upfront that we’re tipping the Roosters to get it done tonight, we can’t help feeling bemused watching the Storm drift out over $3 with the bookies. Yes, the Roosters are the best team in the competition. Yes, they’ve won their last 5 straight matches by 13+. But they’re still beatable – and the Storm are arguably the best constructed team to do it. The recipe for rolling the Roosters was demonstrated in the opening fortnight by Penrith and Manly – essentially, you have to find a way of stopping Sydney’s free-flowing offense. It’s no coincidence that the only teams to beat Sydney so far did so while holding them to 14 points or less; once the Roosters get going, there’s no team in the competition that can hang with them in a shoot-out. But if you can slow down their forwards, you can slow down their scoring – and then you’ve got yourself a contest. The Roosters offense rolls on the back of their dominant forward pack (they rank 1st in the league for RMVOA); their middles grab yards in big chunks (they have six forwards averaging 9+ metres per carry), allowing Keary and co to attack retreating defensive lines. However, if any team can slow them down it’s the Storm, who rank 1st in the league for RMCVOA. In essence, this presents us with a battle between the most dominant metre-eating team and the side who – despite the introduction of the set restart rule that was directly inspired to counteract their control of the ruck – remain the kings of the wrestle and slowing down the play-the-ball. It’s this perfect match-up of skill-sets that has seen the last seven Roosters/Storm matches decided by an average of 4.4 points – and makes the incredibly long odds on Melbourne look deliciously tempting. The loss of Cameron Munster certainly hurts them, but to be clear: they weren’t going to beat the Roosters by outgunning them in the first place. We’re taking the Roosters because they’re the best; but write off the Storm at your own peril.
- It was nice to see the Raiders turn in strong numbers against Parramatta, even if they couldn’t get it done. The reason we liked it so much is that when paired with this week’s dropping of Curtis Scott (finally!), there’s reason to think the Raiders’ fortunes are about to turn. Over the past fortnight, Canberra’s offense has become significantly more aggressive, with the side recording season-highs for offloads in both outings. Though this aggression came at a cost – they also recorded season-highs for errors, which in turn led to season-lows for possession – it at least showed some intent, and they produced their two highest LBVOA figures since the resumption (14.22% and 39.09%). Of course, they still lost – but that was mainly defense-related. Against Manly, Scott’s decision-making (or lack thereof) directly led to both Manly tries; against Parra, his edge conceded another 3 line breaks. And guess what? He’s been plopped on the bench now, with Michael Oldfield taking his place in the centres. If this leads to the defensive improvement we’d expect, the Raiders might just have found the formula to kick-start their season (of course, Oldfield might also turn out to be shit, but at this point we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt that he couldn’t possibly be worse than Scott).
- If you’re hungry for points, keep an eye on the Eels/Cowboys match on Friday night. North Queensland matches pretty consistently hit the overs due to their appalling D (every Cows game this season has seen 40+ points scored, and there’s been 50+ in their past three), but there might just be a perfect storm brewing for a real feast of tries. You can pretty much pencil in Parramatta to score 4 or more tries (as North Queensland’s opponents have done in 5 of their 7 matches so far), but we fancy there’s also room for the Cows to grab a few themselves. Over the past three weeks they’ve quietly posted some decent numbers against reasonable defenses, and as a result, find themselves now ranked 4th in the league for LBVOA. This is interesting because the Eels are surprisingly 4th last for LBCVOA (perhaps less surprising once you realise they’ve conceded 6 or more breaks in 3 of their past 4 matches). Taken together, we’d expect the Cowboys to bag a few of their own, and anticipate a high-scoring shoot-out.
- Few expected the Sharks to run up 40 points against Manly last weekend, but having seen it, we have to tip them to do it again against the league’s 2nd worst defense. It warmed the heart to see the Titans hold somebody to just 2 line breaks in a game (a feat they hadn’t achieved since Round 1, 2019), but let’s be serious – even at their worst, the Sea Eagles remain a better defense than the Titans, and once they leak a few points, the Gold Coast simply don’t have the firepower to keep pace with pretty much anybody (they, Canterbury and New Zealand are the only teams yet to make more than 4 line breaks in a game).
- How much worse can the Broncos get? After being effectively penalised out of every game since the resumption (they’ve averaged a combined 12 penalties/set restarts over their past 5 games – the most in the league), this week they decided to add dropping the ball to their repertoire, making a depressing 14 errors on their way to losing to the humble Titans. Surely this is the bottom, right? They can’t possibly lose to a Roger Tuivasa-Sheckless Warriors team… can they? Well… we actually think they can. If we ignore the team lists for a moment (and at this point, you probably should when you’re assessing Brisbane games) and instead look solely at the numbers, it’s hard to make a rational argument for backing Brisbane. In addition to their aforementioned disciplinary woes, their offense has been virtually non-existent since the break, with the side held to 2 or fewer line breaks in 4 of their past 5 matches. Sure, the Warriors are hardly an offensive powerhouse, but that’s the same number of games in which New Zealand have made 3 or more over the same period. On the season, the Warriors’ numbers are marginally worse than Brisbane’s but the season numbers fail to take into account the fact that Brisbane were the best team in the competition for the opening fortnight; if we only count the five weeks since the resumption, the numbers actually favour the Warriors, and by some margin. Though both sides are poor, the Warriors have the upper hand since Round 3 across LBVOA (-13.80% v -46.59%), RMVOA (3.36% v -4.78%) and TBVOA (-13.95% v -24.73%). And though they’re without their best player, it must be noted that Tuivasa-Sheck actually contributes surprisingly little to the Warriors’ offensive production, being the only fullback in the league with neither a line break nor an assist (and as a result, he has just a single try involvement). It makes sense then, that on the rare occasions that Tuivasa-Sheck has been missing over the past few years, his side has rolled along unaffected (he’s missed just three games since 2018, resulting in 2 wins and a 1-point loss to Melbourne). No, the key piece for New Zealand is actually Kodi Nikorima, whose 8 line break assists place him 4th in the NRL – and who was curiously shown the door last year by Anthony Seibold. With this is mind, we’re falling behind the Warriors to pull off the upset.
- Don’t look now, but the Tigers have been playing some really good football over the past two weeks, and looking more and more like a Top 8-quality side. After shredding two bottom-4 defenses over that period, this week they’ll face a much sterner test in the form of the Panthers (who rank 2nd in the NRL for defense). For Penrith, their toughest test hasn’t been so much the teams they’ve faced, but rather the referees. Here’s a fun fact: since the resumption, the Panthers have conceded a combined 10 first half points in 5 weeks, building an average half-time winning margin of: 9.2. Then in the second half of matches, they seem to suddenly get worse, conceding 46 combined points, at an average of: 9.2. Why do you suppose that is? Maybe it’s because they’re unfit; maybe it’s because they’re not a “second half team”. Or, maybe it’s because they come out after half-time and get relentlessly hammered by the referees, losing the second half set-restart count by a combined 18-3(!). The message for the Tigers then is simple: try and hang around long enough, and eventually you’ll be gifted an avalanche of second half possession. Whether or not they have the tools to capitalise against an elite D – that’s the real question.
- In case you were wondering, we would have picked the Knights this week, regardless of the status of Tom Trbojevic. Newcastle were hot garbage last week, yet still managed to post 5+ line breaks for the 4th week in a row. That sort of firepower is every bit as good as the Sea Eagles’, even if Tommy were playing. Meanwhile, the Knights’ defense has been consistently better (last weekend notwithstanding), and the go-forward battle is a no-contest, with Manly’s RMVOA of -1.31% dwarfed by Newcastle’s 7.88%.