2017 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 117/176 (66%) [Last week:6/8]
Line Betting: 46/87 (53%) [Last week: 2/3]
2016 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 71%
Line Betting: 54%
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NRL Round 25 Tips and Previews
Broncos v Eels
Offense VOA: Broncos 20.45% (3rd), Eels -2.66% (8th)
Defense VOA: Broncos -8.08% (6th), Eels -3.78% (9th)
This match should have been the match of the round, and it while it may still be, it’s been robbed of a lot of its lustre by the injury and suspension problems facing the Eels.
After looking a little wobbly through the Origin period, the Broncos have been humming over the past three weeks, punishing the Titans, Sharks and Dragons on their way to 2nd spot on the ladder. While their exciting attacking style earns all the plaudits (and with good reason, they rank 3rd in Offense VOA), it’s their defense that has us most impressed, with the Broncos conceding just 22 points in those three matches combined.
Prior to their recent run, the Broncos’ defense had been horseshit for five weeks on the trot, in which they averaged 6.8 line breaks and 4.4 tries conceded per game (and among those matches was a 9 line breaks effort from this week’s opponent, the Eels). So, we’re thrilled to see them suddenly stiffen up their defense, however we’re not quite ready to anoint them next in line for the premiership just yet. As impressive as their numbers have been, it could be argued that they’ve hardly been tested across the past three weeks. The Titans and Sharks were both diabolical, making 14 errors in each of their matches, which saw the Broncos win the overwhelming bulk of both field position and possession. We were more impressed by their effort against the Dragons, however stories this week that the entire St George squad had the flu makes us question just how much they had either (considering that the Dragons had 55% possession, their 1373 metres gained was oddly low, and failed to give them the sort of attacking platform that they’re used to).
So, we’d be thrilled to see the Broncos face the red hot Parramatta offense, if only to give their defense a real test. Unfortunately though, that Eels offense is only likely to be lukewarm, at best. In addition to the long-term absence of Clint Gutherson, the Eels will now also be without his replacement at fullback, Bevan French, as well as damaging edge-runner Manu Ma’u to suspension. To compound their problems, the injuries at fullback mean that they’ll now be forced into starting utility Will Smith – who is about as good at football as his namesake is at rapping.
To make matters worse, the Eels head into this clash in the middle of their worst stretch of ill-discipline this year, having made 14 or more errors in 3 of their last 5 matches (a poor stretch that has seen them jump to 2nd most errors in the league this year; the Broncos have made the 2nd least). Should they gift that many opportunities to the Broncos’ offense, the Eels’ bog average defense will almost certainly get lit up, and their patchwork offense will have little chance of making it competitive.
If the Eels can find a way to stop the Broncos from scoring, they certainly have the talent in their backline (Smith excluded) to score some points. However in the interests of a competitive finals series, we’d selfishly like to see the Broncos defense stand up once again, and really cement themselves as the number one challenger to the Storm’s throne.
Our tip: Broncos