2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 50/72 (69%) (Last week: 6/8)
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.)
- Despite ultimately romping in by 26 points, the Roosters‘ last-start win over North Queensland was undoubtedly their weakest performance in a long while. Putting aside their clumsy handling, it was of some interest to us that with Victor Radley, Isaac Liu and Sam Verrills on the sidelines, the Roosters logged their lowest RMVOA since their Round 1 loss to Penrith (though to keep things in perspective, they did still outgain the Cows by over 300m). With both Radley and Verrills gone for the year, it can be expected that their forward pack’s best days are now behind them, and their #2 ranked RMVOA will likely regress somewhat going forward. Of course, they’re still the best team in football, but the gap between them and everybody else has probably tightened just a smidge.
- Speaking of injuries, the loss of Josh Hodgson for the Raiders has likely put a pin in the Green Machine’s recent offensive resurgence. After a pretty ordinary start to their campaign, Canberra’s offense had really kicked into gear over the past four weeks, a period in which they made 20 line breaks at a LBVOA of 47.33% (2nd in the league). Though they managed just a single win through that difficult section of the draw, they looked to be rounding into some form. Unfortunately, that’s probably over. We can’t possibly tip them here without Hodgson, and the most interesting part of this game will instead be assessing just how far Canberra’s offense drops off.
- We’ve got to hand it to the Titans – we can’t imagine any other team going the opening quarter of an hour without completing a set, yet still managing to come away with the win (mainly because no other team would go that long without completing a set, period). To their credit, they hung in there – but that’s where the positives end. They made an absurd 20 errors over the course of the game (their worst of the year – which is a fair effort, given they lead the entire league for errors), made just a single line break, and required one of the most mind-bogglingly stupid bunker calls to rob the Warriors of a try and secure the game (no, Graham Annesley, not even Titans fans would argue Jack Hetherington’s try should have been disallowed). They should have lost last weekend, and they’ll definitely lose this weekend.
- We already mentioned the Raiders’ impressive LBVOA over the past four weeks, but you mightn’t have noticed is that the Tigers have quietly given that a nudge, posting a similarly impressive 36.01% over the same period – and unlike Canberra, with Benji Marshall coming back into the side, it’s conceivable that their offense may be about to get even better. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops though – it must be pointed out that Marshall has been a complete defensive liability so far in 2020, and his return will likely come at the cost of a few extra points conceded (in games Benji’s played, the Tigers have conceded an average of 23.6 points per game; without him that drops to 14.75). This should give some hope to Broncos fans, though we weren’t terribly smitten with anything Brisbane did against Canterbury. We’re happy to roll with the Tigers.
- While nobody was watching, the Dragons have quietly joined the group of mediocre sides competing for a spot at the bottom of the 8. And just quietly – they’re probably playing better than many of them. Though most of the credit has been given to their remodeled spine, we believe this is misplaced – throughout their five-game “good” period, they’re still yet to record a single game with a positive LBVOA, and their TBVOA of -7.97% over that period is actually worse than before the changes. No, the heroes of this improvement are the Dragons’ forwards, and their defense. St George’s middles have been superb through this period, outgaining every opponent they’ve faced except the Roosters. Against an undermanned Manly side, the Dragons forwards were merciless, outgaining the Sea Eagles by over 500m, despite an essentially even possession share. Winning the yardage battles has clearly boosted their defense, with the side conceding 3 or fewer line breaks in 4 of their past 5 games. At this point, the biggest thing stopping the Dragons from having a realistic shot at the finals is their draw – they can only afford to lose at most 4 more games the rest of the way, yet still have Souths, Sydney, Parramatta, Canberra, Newcastle and Melbourne on the menu. Good luck.
- Speaking of those good teams, we have the Saturday arvo Rabbitohs/Knights game as the pick of the round. On form, there’s a struck match between these sides, and both bring their own injury issues into the game. However, if we’re balancing the ins-and-outs against one another, the advantage surely falls with Newcastle. In the red-and-blue corner, Newcastle regain a few serviceable first graders in Mitch Barnett, Connor Watson and Sione Mata’utia; however they also lose Daniel Saifiti – and we can’t stress enough what a huge out he is. Where in previous seasons Knights fans have had to suffer through watching their elite playmakers being constantly starved of field position, in 2020 it’s been the opposite – they lead the league in RMVOA, but have been held back by misfiring spine players squandering opportunities. Saifiti has been a huge part of that yardage – he leads his team for metres per carry, and somehow also ranks 3rd in his side for line breaks (yes, Newcastle have a prop forward third on the team for line breaks). Losing Saifiti will surely sting – but not as much as losing Latrell Mitchell will hurt Souths. As much as Mitchell has been a lightning rod for criticism, he nonetheless leads the league for line break assists, and has more than the next three players in his team combined (Latrell has 14, while Cody Walker, Damien Cook and Adam Reynolds combine for 13). Quite simply, losing Latrell will fundamentally change the way Souths have to attack, and that’s an adjustment that will be hard to execute in one week. Add in the further loss of Campbell Graham and the necessary shift of Alex Johnston to fullback, and they now have to deal with fresh edge combinations as well. Taken together, these are major adjustments for the Rabbitohs, and the new edges in particular present excellent opportunities for the Knights’ attacking players to take advantage of, and work themselves into a bit of form.
- It’s official – the Sea Eagles are toast. Though Daly Cherry-Evans’ stinker will be all anyone remembers from their loss to the Dragons, they really lost that game in the forwards. They were starved of field position for huge lengths of time, and if there’s any positive, it’s that in that context their D wasn’t actually half bad. But they’re not going to beat anyone if they can’t get downfield, and against an Eels pack that’s better than the St George one that crushed them last Sunday, it’s hard to give Manly much of a shot.
- On overall numbers, the Warriors should actually be right in this contest with the Sharks. They’ve been consistently competitive against other opponents of a similar standard (they’ve recorded wins against the Dragons, Cowboys and Broncos), and Penrith just laid bare for the entire league just how ordinary Cronulla’s edge defense really is. Unfortunately, events have transpired that make it near impossible to tip New Zealand. After the howler Hetherington no-try call, the Warriors appeared to mentally fall out of the game, and there’s little reason to believe they’ll be able to get back up for this contest. Four players have quite literally already booked their trips home, and with a whooping from the Roosters on the immediate horizon, we simply can’t trust that the Warriors will be up for this contest at all. They’re good enough if they’re up for it, but we’ll leave it for someone else to gamble on their mindset.
- If the Panthers’ complete dismantling of Cronulla didn’t make you feel compelled to tip Penrith, the loss of Scott Drinkwater and Valentine Holmes for the Cowboys ought to do the trick. Though Drinkwater’s greasy palms cost his side any hope of competing with the Roosters, he and Holmes remain the Cowboys’ only remotely competent attacking weapons. To give you some idea of just what the Cows are up against, consider this: Drinkwater and Holmes have together produced 15 line break assists, while the rest of the team combined have just 13. Together with the long-term absence of Michael Morgan, that eliminates pretty much all the Cowboys’ firepower, for an away trip against one of the league’s best defenses. Oh, and they have the worst D in the league, facing a Panthers’ offense that just posted 56 points against an opponent who at the time was in the Top 8. Honestly, this has the potential to be a record-setting level of horrific for North Queensland.