2021 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 47/64 (73%) (Last week: 6/8)
2020 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: (74%)
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
- We suspect that the Rabbitohs‘ injury issues will have saved a lot of punters from erroneously backing Souths this weekend. As good as the Bunnies are (and they are very good), nothing about this is a good match-up for South Sydney. Souths’ greatest strength is their red-hot offense that’s generated 26+ points in 6 of their 8 starts this year (with one of the two exceptions being against this week’s opponent, Melbourne). However, the Storm are one of the few teams with an offense even better than the Rabbits, racking up scores of 40+ in 4 of their past 5, and ranking 1st in the league for LBVOA and 2nd for TBVOA. Losing studs like Adam Reynolds and Cameron Murray this week will hurt, but they weren’t as good as Melbourne in the first place. On the defensive side of the ball they’re solid, but again just a little bit worse than the Storm. After a strong start to the year, they’ve been gashed for 9 tries and 15 line breaks over the past fortnight, overwhelmingly down their right side (numbers that should have Justin Olam and Josh Addo-Carr licking their lips). Finally, it’s important to note that Souths’ offense works best when their forwards are rolling over the advantage line – something that never happens against a Storm side ranked a distant 1st in RMCVOA. Given Melbourne’s superiority in all of South Sydney’s strengths, it should come as no surprise that Melbourne have won their last 5 straight against Souths (and for those of you who put stock in historical numbers, they’ve won 29 of 35 meetings between these sides, ever). Melbourne were going to win anyway, and now they’re a decent shot to win big.
- This week the Sharks face the second leg of their Tour of Pain, following a 40-14 spanking at the hands of Melbourne. Though there’s an argument to be made that their offense is getting better – their 5 line breaks last weekend was the equal-most anyone has put on the Storm this season – their D is absolutely no match for any of the top attacking sides (and frankly, struggles against the mediocre ones). Though they’ve had a few reasonable defensive outings (specifically, limiting St George-Illawarra, North Queensland and Canterbury to just 2 line breaks each), it should be noted that these efforts were against the offenses ranked 3rd-last, 2nd-last and last, and all were assisted by lopsided possession shares (55%, 57% and 58%). When they’ve faced offenses ranked in the top half of the league (and the Panthers are ranked 3rd), they’ve averaged over 26 points and 7 line breaks conceded per game (most recently, giving up 11 breaks to Melbourne). It’s hard to beat anyone if you give up 26 points; it’s even harder if you’re facing an opponent who’s yet to concede more than 16 points in a game all year.
- Forgive us for not buying in to the Roosters‘ supposed “injury crisis” that the media is whipping up this week. To provide a counterpoint to the popular view, let’s take a walk through the Roosters’ injury ward, shall we?
- Brett Morris: Absolute stud, and in career-best form. However, relative to last week (when they smoked Newcastle 38-4), his place in the 17 will be filled by a pretty capable player in James Tedesco (perhaps you’ve heard of him?). This swap is at best sideways, and arguably an improvement from last week’s side.
- Lindsay Collins: An honest toiler of a middle forward, but one whose minutes have been declining (he hasn’t played more than 44 minutes in a game since Week 2). Best known to most fans from when they read last year’s Queensland Origin team list and exclaimed “who the f#$% is Lindsay Collins?”.
- Luke Keary: A mega-stud, but one who’s in the process of being Wally Pipped by Sam Walker. From three matches, Keary produced 7 try assists and 5 line break assists. In the 5 games since, Walker has generated 12 and 13(!). Another non-issue.
- Boyd Cordner: Inexplicably the NSW Origin captain, and hasn’t been relevant for three years. Gets dizzy cutting the oranges.
- Jake Friend: Retired, so not actually on the team any more. Plus, hasn’t played since Week 1, and nobody seemed to notice.
- Freddy Lussick: Undersized hooker and veteran of 9 first grade games. Only recognisable due to surname.
- Lachlan Lam: Not actually injured; named in the reserves. Again, famous surname.
- Billy Smith: Has played 2 career games, most recently in 2019.
And there you have it. Though we’ll concede that the list is long, it’s hardly devastating, and as my wife has repeatedly reassured me, length isn’t everything. Indeed, we’d argue that the most significant absence isn’t an injury at all (the one-week suspension of Sitili Tupouniua). We’re not suggesting that the Roosters are a certainty – the Eels are a decent side, and one that’s shown they can jag the odd win against a heavyweight (notably in Week 2, where they rolled the Storm 16-12). However, we don’t consider Parramatta a genuine heavyweight themselves; rather, they’re the ‘best of the rest’ – the top of the food chain amongst all the sides in the tier below Melbourne, Penrith, Souths and Sydney. They’ve looked fabulous of late, but have yet to demonstrate they’re anything other than flat-track bullies. Yes, they’ve scored the 4th-most points in the NRL this year (and oh, by the way, the Roosters are 2nd), but they’ve hardly played anyone relevant. Through eight rounds, they’ve played just 2 teams currently in the Top 8 – and in those two games, their points scored dropped from 33.5 points-per-game to just 14. This should be a cracking game, but as it stands, we don’t see any reason not to continue putting our faith in the Roosters to prove the doubters wrong.
- The Raiders/Knights clash might be the most unpredictable of the weekend, with both sides plagued by inconsistency. We’re backing the Raiders here, on the grounds that last week they started showing signs of their old selves. Against Souths, the Raiders posted their season-high RMVOA (5.84%) and their 2nd-highest LBVOA (32.60%). For an offense that had been badly sputtering, it was somewhat reassuring to see Canberra come out and drop 20 points on the league’s 4th-best defense. Yes, they got shredded on D by the Rabbitohs, but at this point, who hasn’t? In the meantime, the Knights are giving up huge numbers to everyone, conceding 4+ tries in their past 6 straight, including against offensive minnows the Dragons, Sharks and Tigers. Our inclination is that the Knights might be just the right opponent to play Canberra into a little bit of form, but we say that with some trepidation – Newcastle do have the sort of game-breaking ability that seems to come out of absolutely nowhere (just ask Cronulla). If Canberra don’t turn up, the Knights are certainly good enough to punish them.
- Fresh off their disappointing capitulation to the Broncos last weekend, the Titans wouldn’t mind getting a shot at the Tigers as they attempt to right the ship. Playing Wests is like looking into a carnival mirror for the Gold Coast, with the Tigers essentially a silly-looking reflection of themselves. Both sides are better on the offensive side of the ball, and both are utterly hopeless on D (their Defense VOAs of 34.50% and 34.51% are essentially identical, and place them 2nd-last and 3rd-last in the league). If there’s an area where one side has the clear upper hand though, it’s in the forwards. While the Tigers have just 2 forwards averaging 10 or more metres-per-carry (one of which is Russell Packer, who’s been banished into another dimension), the Titans have a whopping 7. Unsurprisingly, this disparity sees the Titans ranked 4th in RMVOA vs the Tigers’ last, and is likely to see the Titans dominate field position. Given their defensive frailties, field position is likely to be vital for both sides, as neither is capable of defending their own line for an extended period. We tip the Titans to spend the most time down their opposition’s end, and that is likely to result in points, points, points.
- Who ever would have guessed that picking your best attacking weapon would result in scoring more points? This was the lesson (hopefully) learnt by Broncos coach Kevin Walters, who watched Anthony Milford contribute 1 try assist and 1 line break assist on his return to the line-up (his replacement, Tom Deardon, had contributed zero and zero in 5 starts). Though we need to keep in mind the fact that they were playing the 2nd-worst D in the league, the good news here is that the Cowboys aren’t much better – they rank 4th-last on defense with a VOA of 34.10%. Last weekend, North Queensland gave up 20 points and 8 line breaks to the Warriors – the 2nd highest totals the Warriors have posted all season. With Milford back, we’re suddenly somewhat optimistic about Brisbane’s prospects against an opponent we believe has an inflated ladder position (which is saying something, given the fact the Cows are running 12th). We believe the Broncos are better than the Cowboys on both sides of the ball, and at $2.35 they’re irresistible value.
- Though we’re happy enough to back the Sea Eagles this week, we disagree with the lopsidedness of the current odds in this one. With Manly possessing perhaps the lowest-quality forward depth in the NRL, losing both Marty Taupau and Josh Aloiai at the same time is alarming. With no forward depth to speak of, the Sea Eagles are left trotting out a bench of: Cade Cust (a half/hooker); Moses Suli (a slow, soft centre); Zac Saddler (an edge forward with 2 career starts) and Toafofoa Sipley (a giant middle). We can only assume that Suli is likely to play a bit of middle, an option that could be considered experimental at best. Ordinarily, we’d immediately tip against any bench this dire, except for one thing: Manly’s forwards are always terrible, so how much worse could these guys possibly be? We wrote above about the lack of punch in the Tigers’ pack; well, the Eagles are somehow worse, possessing just 1 forward who averages over 10m per carry (the impressive Sipley). The rest of the pack is terrible anyway, as evidenced by Emperor Plod Trbojevic being permitted to plod away for 80 minutes every week. So, while it’s true that Manly lack the depth to replace their middles, the fact of the matter is that the extraordinarily high likelihood of Manly’s pack getting dominated should be baked into their projection already – if you ever thought they were likely to compete for yardage, you’re delusional (though it is also worth mentioning that New Zealand are without their two best forwards – Addin Fonua-Blake and Ben Murdoch-Masila – themselves). Instead, if you’re tipping Manly, you’re backing Tom Trbojevic to bust the game open on his own, from wherever on the field they happen to be at the time. As it stands, we don’t mind if the Warriors are able to camp down Manly’s end, as Manly’s D has actually been surprisingly decent of late – they withstood all New Zealand threw at them four weeks ago, and they should be able to withstand it again. Assuming the D holds up, Tom should be good enough to be the difference-maker; though with massive packs like Brisbane and Parra in their upcoming schedule, their D is really going to be tested over the next month.
- The Bulldogs remain the worst team in football, but they’ll never get a better chance for a win than this week’s Dragons side. Saints are on a three-match losing streak, hitting rock bottom in an embarrassing loss to the Tigers last weekend. A combination of injuries and suspensions sees them trotting out a NSW Cup-standard backline, with Tyrell Fuimaono a prime target to get abused. The last time we saw Fuimaono in the backline was in 2019, where the Tigers singled him out on their way to an upset 30-4 annihilation of Penrith. Though Fuimaono has been surpisingly decent this season, he lacks both the decision-making and mobility to defend at centre, where opposition sides can easily isolate him and beat him one-on-one. The good news for Fuimaono though, is that we doubt the Dogs are actually good enough to take advantage. We’re guessing he’ll go on the left, which sees him up against Will Hopoate. Besides being slow for an outside back, through eight rounds, Hopoate has… (checks notes)… 1 line break and 8 tackle breaks (which is somehow better than his centre partner Corey Allan, with 0 and 11). Should Fuimaono be forced to spend an extended period at centre, it’s just a matter of time before he gets torched so bad that he gets the hook. But will it be this week? Probably not.