2018 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 89/144 (62%)
Line Betting: 31/62 (50%)
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. Then, be sure to sign up at the bottom of the page to get betting tips sent straight to your inbox!)
NRL Round 20 Tips and Previews
Broncos v Sharks
Offense VOA: Broncos 13.31% (3rd), Sharks 3.55% (6th)
Defense VOA: Broncos -4.76% (7th), Sharks -14.21% (3rd)
The opening match of the round is shaping up as a real barn-burner, with the Broncos coming off a 32-point demolition of the Panthers, while the Sharks were fortunate to squeak home against the Raiders.
The Broncos have been installed as favourites for this outing, as you’d typically expect of a team who just posted 50 points against a fellow premiership contender. That said, we don’t believe that the scoreline in any way reflected that game (or how the Broncos have been traveling). Yes, the Broncos racked up a half-century. However, we’re not interested in how many points they happened to score; we’re more interested in how replicable those points are. And by that measure, the answer is (for the most part) “not very”. If we go back and look at how that match played out, we’ll find that over half the Broncos points came from fluky, against-the-run-of-play occurrences. They scored 2 converted tries from intercepts, 2 converted tries from chip-and-chases, and kicked a penalty goal from a bizarre ruling that James Maloney should have wrapped the kicker while going for a charge-down (why would he complete a tackle he wasn’t trying to make?). That accounts for 26 of their points, none of which you can reasonably expect them to repeat with any sort of reliability. Of course, they would still have won without them; but a scoreline of 24-18 looks very different to the opportunistic demolition that we witnessed on Friday night.
Which is important, as the inflated scoreline has done a lot to mask the obvious problems with the Broncos that they still have yet to fix. Their spine continues to struggle to generate line breaks (though they had 4 against the Panthers, their spine combined for just 1 assist), which leaves them needing either trick plays or brilliant individual efforts to generate points. Fortunately, they’re stacked for talent in that regard, but it’s worth noting that the Sharks rank 3rd in both TBCVOA and LBCVOA – suggesting that defensive lapses aren’t likely to be easy to come by.
Similarly, the Broncos recent struggles to stop opposition run metres reared it’s ugly head again, with the Panthers ultimately outgaining the Broncos, despite possessing just 48% of the ball. As we suggested in last week’s preview, a good chunk of that damage was done down the Broncos’ right edge, with Waqa Blake and Viliame Kikau combining for 2 line breaks, a try, a try assist, and 240 metres at 10 metres/carry. Once again, the Broncos will be trotting out Tevita Pangai Jr on that edge; and once again, they’ll be facing an elite edge forward – this time, it’ll be Wade Graham, who turned in a try, a line break, and 112 metres against the Raiders, despite only playing the first half.
Finally, if there’s a knock on the Sharks recent form, it’d be on their defense; however, we’re expecting those numbers to quickly improve. Though their 24 points and 5 line breaks conceded don’t look great, it’s worth noting that a) the Raiders offense is awesome; and b) nearly all the damage was done in the second half, down the Sharks’ left edge – where Graham should have been defending, but wasn’t. With Graham returning (who’s conceded just 4 line breaks all season from 13 matches), as well as Luke Lewis reclaiming his place on the right edge (who’s conceded 2 from 8), there’s certainly reason enough to expect the Sharks’ edges to be at their water-tight best once again, after a scrappy past couple of weeks.
And if their defense is tight, then they should be OK. Though the Broncos won their last meeting 20-16, we should remember that the Sharks actually ran in 9 line breaks that day, and scored the same number of tries (3). If they can continue to generate those sorts of opportunities (and they have been, averaging 8 breaks per game over the past fortnight), we can reasonably expect them to score more tries; and from there, the Broncos are going to need a whole lot more intercepts if they’re going to keep up.
Our tip: Sharks