2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 32/48 (67%) (Last week: 7/8)
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.)
- Sea Eagles
- One of the great mysteries of 2020 is the year-on-year improvement of the Panthers‘ defense. Through six rounds, the Panthers have held all but one of their opponents to 16 points or less, and they’ve achieved this despite having faced 4 of the top six offenses. They face the last of the top attacking teams this weekend (Penrith themselves are the sixth) when they meet South Sydney. Once they’re through that, the schedule really opens up for Penrith, with their defense only exposed to one more game against a team with an offense with a positive VOA (the return bout with Parramatta in Round 18). With Penrith built to grind field position and defend their way to victory, this makes for an extremely favourable run home, and a gold-plated path to the Top 4.
- But first, they have to get through the Rabbitohs. South Sydney put New Zealand to the sword last week after Kodi Nikorima got himself sin binned, putting 2 tries past the Warriors (and effectively ending the game) while he was parked in the sheds. Prior to that effort though, their numbers had been steady, if unspectacular. The main concern for Souths will be the likelihood that their pack gets monstered by the gorillas from Sydney’s west. Through the first five weeks, South Sydney’s highest run metre total was 1392m; through the first six rounds, that number is also Penrith’s lowest. This disparity has led to Penrith featuring the 4th highest RMVOA in the competition, while South Sydney feature the 4th lowest. This suggests that Souths are likely to struggle for field position, especially if they turn in yet another fumble-fingered effort (they’ve made 14 or more errors in half their games so far; Penrith have yet to do it once). And of course, when they eventually do get down there, they still have to score – something that teams have found frustratingly difficult to do against the Pennies. If Souths produce numbers similar to last week, they do have the ability to trouble Penrith. However, we put a big part of those numbers down to a weak effort from New Zealand, and as such, expect Souths to regress accordingly.
- If you’re a believer that teams who sack their coach always win the following week, then by all means tip the Warriors. But be aware that New Zealand have done absolutely nothing to warrant support here, and on form, may struggle to score a point against the league’s best defense. For what it’s worth, we’re more inclined to believe that the Storm never back up a loss with a bad effort – they haven’t lost two games back-to-back since Rounds 21 & 22 in 2018, and even that was only a 3-point defeat to Cronulla (who made the preliminary final that year). You’d have to go all the way back to 2015 to find consecutive losses of 6 or more (and even that was in an Origin period, where they rested half their spine). In short, we expect the Storm to turn up to play on Friday, against an opponent hopelessly out of their depth.
- As much as we’d love to see the Dragons get the chocolates here, we simply can’t make any argument for how they might be able to compete. Sure, they’ve now won 2 games on the trot, but those wins came against two of the worst teams in the competition, and frankly, against the Gold Coast they weren’t even especially good. Though it was nice to see them finally keep an opponent to less than 3 tries, there’s virtually zero chance that that happens here, against a Roosters offense who’ve now made 6 or more line breaks in their past 5 games in a row. We’d only really recommend this game to sickos who enjoy watching once-great clubs get massacred.
- Speaking of massacres, the real battle of the weekend may be between the Roosters and Knights to see who can run up the biggest score. Yes, the Roosters come armed with the most explosive weapons, but it’s the Knights who get to face a defense that has so far been, at best, hypothetical. We wrote last week about the ineptitude of the Cowboys D, who on the weekend added the Tigers (whose offense VOA is a pedestrian -1.33%) to the list of teams who’ve run up a score against them. Here, they’ll finally get to face an offensive heavyweight – the #2 offense, who’ve scored 20+ in 4 of their 6 games so far. The loss of Bradman Best for Newcastle is disappointing, but against a D that just got lit up for 9 line breaks by the Tigers, it’s unlikely to make a difference. Newcastle by a cricket score.
- The Titans remain the worst team in the NRL. Next.
- If you’d asked us a month ago, we’d have confidently backed the Raiders for the win here, but at this point, their right edge defense is so disgustingly bad that every coach in the competition knows how to beat them. Curtis Scott is only dependable if you’re depending on him to make the worst defensive decision imaginable in any given situation, while Nic Cotric somehow manages to miss a third of the tackles he attempts. Unsurprisingly then, that duo have combined for 12 line break causes between them (with typical right second rower Joseph Tapine adding another 4). Pairing this combination against the in-form Eels duo of Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo (who have a combined 12 try involvements and 8 line breaks) looks like a complete mismatch. Ricky Stuart needs to find a solution, and that solution sure ain’t Curtis Scott.
- The Sea Eagles/Sharks clash is definitely the trickiest match of the round to pick, if only because of the long-term injury to Tom Trbojevic. To be clear, we don’t think Cronulla are very good – on the weekend, they limped home to a narrow win over a side whose primary aspiration is to not come last. Cronulla’s offense has so far barely fired a shot, being to held to 3 or fewer line breaks in all six matches they’ve played so far. Against the Sea Eagles – who possess the 5th best LBCVOA in the league – we’d be surprised if they score more than 2 tries. That being said, we have the same doubts about Manly. Without Trbojevic for the last half hour against Canberra, the Sea Eagles were completely impotent, making zero line breaks and scoring just a penalty goal, despite dominating possession 56-44 in the period. Granted, they’ll be better off with a full bench and a week’s preparation, but it remains difficult to see where their points will come from. As it stands, we’ve backed the Sea Eagles on the grounds that if both offenses struggle, we’d rather be on the team with an elite defense. And that team is Manly.