2019 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 27/40 (68%) (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.)
- Both the Sharks and Panthers turned in underwhelming defensive efforts in their last-start losses. The Sharks were comprehensively dominated by the Roosters, continuing a worrying trend for their D. They conceded 5 line breaks for the second consecutive week, and their 1458 run metres conceded – which came a week after leaking over 1800m to Parramatta – marked the 4th time in 5 outings their opponents have earned 1400+ (for context, this week’s opponent, the Panthers, have yet to concede over 1400m in a match this year). Neither run metres nor line breaks alone is cause for alarm – in the opening two weeks they conceded huge yardage, yet kept the scorelines tight by successfully holding their line. The past two weeks, however, in which they’ve been both gashed for yardage and given up line breaks, has seen their typically stout defense blown up for 24 and 30 points, respectively.
- As for the Panthers, their defensive issues on the weekend stemmed mostly from poor tackling. Having finally ceased dropping the ball at every opportunity (which, funnily enough, coincided with their offense suddenly showing signs of life), they then managed to throw the game away with some astoundingly bad tackling efforts, missing a shocking 32 tackles in the game (the Sharks, in contrast, have yet to miss over 25 in a game this season). With both defenses looking iffy, that leaves us having to decide between the two sides’ offenses – the high ceiling/low floor volatile Panthers offense, or a Sharks O that’s yet to score more than 3 tries in two outings without star fullback Matt Moylan. As it happens, we’re siding with the home team, if only due to their recent dominance over Penrith (the Sharks have won 11 of the sides’ past 13 meetings) – but we do so with no conviction whatsoever, and quietly rate the Panthers a good chance of an upset.
- After a brief foray into competitive football, the Bulldogs turned back into a pumpkin last week, getting smoked 40-4 by the Dragons. For those of you interested in finding a common pattern, we observed that in their two decent outings (their Week 3 & 4 meetings with the Tigers and Storm), the Bulldogs gained over 1500m; in all three of their losses however, they were held to under 1350m. What this suggests to us is that perhaps their defense wasn’t especially improved in the first place, and instead it was simply being protected with quality field position. In all three matches in which they struggled to win at the advantage line, they were lit up for 7, 6 and 7 tries. Now, with a suspended Sauaso Sue joining the injured Dylan Napa on the sidelines, we find it doubtful that their go-forward is likely to improve against the Rabbitohs.
- Set your watches for 7:55pm on Friday night (though it’s a Channel 9 game, so maybe allow for a delay of 20 minutes or so), because the Grand Final rematch is shaping up as a meeting of the best teams of 2019, too. It’s incredibly hard to split the two sides, with the Roosters‘ Offense and Defense VOA numbers (40.54% and -13.46%) almost exactly the inverse of the Storm‘s (17.07% and -43.94%). That difference translates to a Roosters’ offense that’s scored 5 or more tries in 4 of 5 matches (a mark the Storm have hit just once), and a Storm defense that’s allowed 2 or less tries in 4 of 5 matches (a mark that the Roosters have hit just once). With the two sides so evenly matched, you could argue for tossing a coin. We’re backing the Storm, in part due to the home ground advantage, but also because in general we value defense slightly more than offense.
- We know that we swore off the Warriors forever, but the Cowboys really do look hopeless, and this match-up couldn’t be worse for North Queensland. Last week they managed to find a strategy that’s likely to see them become more competitive week-to-week (trying to keep the game close by protecting possession with their lives), and even still they managed to give up 5 line breaks for the 4th week in a row, despite having 53% of the ball. Now, they face a Warriors offense that’s made 7 breaks in 3 matches this year – and they lost the possession count in 2 of those. In short, this is a bad match-up for the worst team in the league for LBCVOA.
- We’ve been telling everyone who’d listen that the Dragons were building into something, and that something was a 36-point demolition of the Bulldogs last weekend. Unfortunately, that win came with a small asterisk (and that asterisk denotes a corresponding asterisk elsewhere, that reads “the Bulldogs are still shit”). To be clear, we’re not taking the Dragons because we were blown away by their last start (pleased as we were). Rather, we’re backing them due to the mounting injury toll of the Sea Eagles. If Manly were at full strength, there’s a strong argument for backing them here (and we should note that we made a similar point last week – about a game Manly ultimately won). However, the loss of Addin Fonua-Blake to suspension may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The Sea Eagles have weak depth in the forwards to begin with, and losing their only forward who averages over 10m per carry is devastating. After what Manly did to the Knights, nothing would surprise us – but we feel the safe option is to stay solid with our Dragons.
- Titans fans got to enjoy their annual win last weekend (this year, the victims were the Panthers), but we’re not expecting that to begin a streak. In their victory, the Titans conceded 5 line breaks for the 4th game in a row, and though we’d agree that their offense is improving, at least some responsibility for their 30 point attacking effort should fall with the Panthers’ defensive “effort”. Now, they’ve lost forward Jarrod Wallace to suspension, as well as star utility AJ Brimson to injury. Yes, the Knights have been losing, but we think they’re on the verge of a big offensive effort soon (last week they made 7 line breaks yet returned just 3 tries) – and the Titans defense is the perfect target.
- Through five weeks, the Eels have now played just two confirmed ‘good’ teams – the Roosters and Raiders – and they’ve lost those matches by a combined score of 51-18. It’s a small sample size, but it gives the impression that the Eels probably aren’t a ‘good’ team yet. That said, at this point, we’re satisfied that they’re not a ‘bad’ team either – instead, they’re looking like being a decidedly average team, who are capable of beating the bad teams, as well as the occasional good teams having off days. The good news here is that there aren’t that many teams rising up as obviously ‘good’ teams anyway – the Storm and Roosters stand out, with the Raiders and Rabbitohs the only others we really like so far. As for the Tigers, they’re looking like a similarly average team performing to the best of their abilities. Thus far in 2019 we slightly prefer what we’ve seen from the Eels, but to be honest, it’s pretty close. Both sides are winning more on effort than anything else, and their ability levels are close enough that if Parra don’t turn up, the Tigers can certainly pull their pants down. It might not be pretty, but we’re expecting an enthralling Easter Monday slugfest.