2021 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 60/80 (75%) (Last week: 8/8)
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.)
- During tonight’s game, there’s every chance that the Cowboys will be winning. You may even get the impression that they’re playing “well”. If you start having these kinds of intrusive thoughts, repeat the following mantra in your head: “North Queensland are not a good football team. North Queensland are not a good football team.” Many have been fooled by the Cows’ 3 tries and 6 line breaks against the typically stout Roosters’ D last weekend. But hold up: 2 of those tries and half the line breaks came in the period while Sydney had Sitili Tupouniua in the sin-bin. In the other 70 minutes, they mustered just 1 try and 3 line breaks – numbers much more in line with North Queensland’s typical attacking output (they’d made more than 3 line breaks in a game just 3 times before last weekend – against the defenses ranked last, 2nd-last and 4th-last). Similarly, the Cows might (finally) keep a team to under 18 points tonight (they haven’t managed it yet this year). But even if they do, that won’t mean their defense is suddenly good; it’ll mean that they’ve had the incredibly good fortune of drawing a Knights team decimated by injury and missing it’s three best players – Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Pearce and Bradman Best. As a result, Newcastle is trotting out essentially their NSW Cup backline. And you know what? The Cows’ defense is so bad, we’re not even that confident that they’ll be able to stop them. We’re talking about a defense that’s leaked 6+ line breaks in 7 of 10 games this year (including against similarly reserve grade-standard offenses like Brisbane and St George-Illawarra). The Cowboys are enjoying an inflated ladder position, earned via a lucky streak in which they’ve won 3 of their 4 games decided by 6 points or less, and scoring more tries than they’ve made line breaks on 4 separate occasions (tied-most with Parramatta). That luck may continue tonight against a decimated Newcastle team, but if it does, we implore you not to believe the hype – the Cowboys are awful, and will inevitably drop down the ladder like a stone (and if they somehow manage to lose to the Maitland Pickers, don’t say you weren’t warned).
- While we were pleased with ourselves for tipping the Tigers upset win over Newie last weekend, we weren’t that blown away by what Wests actually produced. Yes, their opening quarter was incredible. But, their tries came from capitalising on an avalanche of opportunities provided by their opponent, who made 5 first half errors and lost the total penalty count 9-3. Without these repeated short fields to attack from, we’re not convinced the Tigers would have ever seen the other side of halfway. Their forwards got absolutely smoked, with James Tamou’s 7.2 metres-per-carry and Luke Garner’s 6.9 particularly poor. It won’t get any easier here, with this week’s opponent, the Warriors, significantly better at defending run metres than Newie (RMCVOA of 0.98% vs Newcastle’s 4.48%). Should they be stuck down their own end, there’s very little chance that the Tigers’ D will be able to withstand the attacking brilliance of the Warriors’ young prodigy Reece Walsh, who’s produced a ridiculous 7 try involvements in just 232 minutes of football this year (pray for the Tigers if Nathan Brown gives Walsh the start). Since Walsh arrived, the Warriors have seen their LBVOA explode from -16.74% pre-Walsh to 30.68% with Walsh (a figure that would place them 2nd in the league on the season). This jump has resulted in New Zealand scoring roughly 1 extra try per game, and posting 18 or more points in every game since he arrived (after hitting this mark in just 3 of 6 starts without him). We don’t just think the Warriors are too good for Wests, we actually think they’re suddenly a huge shot to make the playoffs.
- Despite going winless for over a month, the Sharks are in as good a spot as ever to get one over the Dragons this weekend. The return of Matt Moylan to five-eighth saw them post 4 tries against South Sydney (they scored 4 tries combined in the 3 games without him at #6), and the inclusion of Shaun Johnson on the extended bench gives them a sudden abundance of attacking options. But the most significant factor in this match is surely the annihilation of the Dragons’ roster after Magic Round madness. The Dragons are sorely lacking in players who bust through tackles, ranking 3rd-last for TBVOA. However, with Matt Dufty, Mikaele Ravalawa, Tariq Sims, Tyrell Fuimaono and Josh McGuire all sidelined, the Dragons have now lost the players ranked 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th on the team in tackle breaks. This leaves them completely starved of punch, and likely to be heavily dependent on assists in order to generate line breaks. And who leads the team in line break assists? The injured Dufty. Without Dufty, the Dragons suddenly become a lot more predictable, allowing Cronulla to focus their attention on limiting Ben Hunt and Corey Norman, who will already be up against it operating behind a beaten pack. It speaks volumes about how badly the Sharks are traveling that we’re still not super confident that Cronulla will actually get up; but they’ll never get a better shot.
- So, how bad are the Bulldogs? Well, they’re “blew a 4-point lead against a 12-man Raiders side who hadn’t won for 6 weeks” bad. It’s an absolute mystery how they managed to lose that game, but having seen it, we doubt we’ll be tipping them against anyone for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, although the Titans got smacked around by Penrith last Sunday, at this point it seems like everybody’s had a turn, and their performance actually showed a little bit of upside. The Titans’ 3 line breaks was the 2nd-most anybody has put on the Panthers this season, and they did it with just 45% possession. 3 against Penrith is worth about 10 against a porous Bulldogs defense that concedes over 6 per game on average. We suppose a David Fifita-less Titans is one of the more winnable games remaining on Canterbury’s schedule for a while (their next 6 straight games are against sides currently in the Top 8), but we still don’t rate them much of a chance. The Titans have been losing, but it hasn’t been for a lack of offense, it’s been because they keep conceding huge totals (they’ve leaked over 28 points in their past 5 games straight). With Canterbury yet to score over 18 in a game, we think the Titans should be pretty safe here.
- In this week’s edition of “Broncos’ Halves Roulette”, we see Kevin Walters calling up Albert Kelly from
2014Souths Logan Magpies. If you’re a regular reader, you already know what we think of dropping Anthony Milford (HINT: Brisbane average 2.75 tries and a LBVOA of -11.62% with Milford, and 1.5 tries and a LBVOA of -20.12% without him), so let’s focus on the positives. Kelly’s been absolutely killing it in Queensland Cup, averaging 2 try assists per game. If he can replicate that form in the NRL (a huge “if”), Brisbane’s offense would be significantly upgraded. On the other hand, he was never considered a great defender during his time in the NRL (read: expect the Roosters to send a lot of traffic his way), and neither he nor Gamble have a particularly strong kicking game (we suspect Kelly likely takes over as the primary option). Against a team such as Sydney, who’ve scored 26+ in 7 of 10 games this year, we can understand Kevin Walters chasing Kelly’s attacking upside; we just can’t understand it coming at the expense of Milford (Milford at fullback could be a viable option for “all-out attack”, or even bringing him off the bench – he can’t possibly be less effective than Danny Levi). In any event, Brisbane likely get hammered again this week. But perhaps the appearance of Kelly may give Broncos fans a reason to tune in – if only out of curiosity alone.
- It says a lot about how far the Raiders have fallen that few would even consider tipping them this weekend against a Storm side missing their three best players (Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Ryan Papenhuyzen). With the Storm’s spine decimated, surely they must be ripe for the picking, right? Perhaps, but it’s impossible to have any faith in Canberra to pull it off. The Raiders haven’t just been playing a long way below their best – they’ve been playing at a Bottom 4 level. Prior to last weekend’s win, they’d conceded 24+ in 5 straight games (Melbourne, by the way, have yet to concede more than 20 points in a game all year). Canberra finally ended the streak by conceding just 18 to Canterbury, but hold your applause – that 18 points and 6 line breaks were the most the Dogs have posted in a game this season, so it could hardly be considered a success. Even without most of their spine, we’d expect the Storm to be at least as dangerous with the ball as Canterbury, and likely much, much more. In replacing Grant with Brandon Smith and playing the 190cm back-rower Chris Smith at five-eighth, the Storm have telegraphed an intent to simplify their game and overpower Canberra through the middle third of the field (a job made easier by the suspension of Josh Papalii). Melbourne’s attacking plays will have to run predictably through Jahrome Hughes, but if Canberra’s defense spends all their time retreating, we doubt there’s much they’ll be able to do about it.
- Apparently punters have extremely short memories. That’s the only explanation we can muster for the Rabbitohs being currently priced at $3.50 against the Panthers. Don’t get us wrong – we do expect Penrith to make it 11-in-a-row on Sunday. But that sort of price for a Souths team with Latrell Mitchell in it is obscene. Sure, the Bunnies have looked pretty unimpressive in squeaking out narrow wins over mediocre opposition for the past month or so (not to mention getting pumped 50-0 by the Storm), but that was without Latrell. With Latrell, the Rabbitohs were a significantly better side, winning his last 5 starts on the trot, including a 26-16 win over the Roosters. The rugby league world readily accepts that the addition of Tom Trbojevic has transformed a spoon-level Manly team into a Top 8 contender. So, what difference can Latrell make to a team that’s actually good? Consider this: in Trbojevic’s brilliant 5-game campaign so far, he’s posted 26 tackle breaks, 11 line break assists, and 10 line breaks (outrageous). But if you cast your mind back to Latrell’s 6 games to open the year, you’ll find this: 35 tackle breaks, 10 line break assists, and 6 line breaks. These aren’t quite Turbo numbers, but they’re pretty darn close, and go some way to explaining why the Rabbits are so much better when Latrell’s playing. Now, to reiterate: we still expect Penrith to win. The Panthers match up extremely well with the Rabbits, due to their total domination of the play-the-ball, which in turn takes Damien Cook’s running game out of the equation (for further evidence of how this works, we go back two weeks to when Souths played the similarly ruck-dominant Storm, where Cook had 3 runs…total). With Cook disarmed, the Rabbitohs are forced to attack side-to-side, away from their own strengths (though it’s worth noting that during their period with Benji Marshall at #6, they were actually attacking the edges extremely well). This approach has proven successful for Penrith of late, winning their last 3 straight against Souths. But look at the margins of those games: 1, 8 and 4 – and in that last meeting, Latrell wasn’t even playing. Yes, Penrith should win, and yes, they deserve to be favourites (though nowhere near as short as they are). But write off Latrell and the Rabbits at your own peril.
- Speaking of strange prices, the Sea Eagles starting at $2.75 is equally as bizarre. Partly because they’ve got that Trbojevic fellow people have been talking about (not the giant slug; the good one). But also because the Eels‘ defense is no guarantee to stop him. Last weekend, the Eels missed 41 tackles and leaked 9 line breaks to the Warriors. Almost half that damage was inflicted by a prodigiously talented fullback in Reece Walsh (who made 3 line breaks, with a further 1 assist). If they couldn’t contain the roaming Walsh, it’s hard to be confident they’ll be able to slow down Tommy Turbo. For Parramatta to limit Manly’s offense, they need to pin Manly down their own end and suffocate them out of the game (as Penrith did to the Eagles three weeks ago). The good news here is that Parra are about as well-equipped as anyone to dominate a supremely mediocre Manly forward pack. With Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo and Isaiah Papali’i ably supported by Clint Gutherson and Blake Ferguson, the Eels have 5 players in their side with over 93 runs of 8+ metres this season. Manly, meanwhile, have zero. This consistency from their major metre-eaters creates the rolling behemoth that is Parramatta’s run offense, and explains why they’re ranked 2nd in the league for RMVOA behind Penrith (and why Manly are 11th). Manly’s meeting with Penrith was the only match since Turbo returned that Manly have been outgained, and unsurprisingly, was the only game they’ve lost (if Turbo is given any sort of field position to work from, look out). Penrith laid out the blueprint, and we would expect Parra to follow it (after all, they’ve outgained their opponents in 9 of 10 games this season). But it’s no guarantee, and should possession and field position end up roughly even, we’d actually give Manly the upper hand. This makes Manly’s price seem curiously generous, and this game look like the most intriguing of the round.