2021 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 92/128 (72%) (Last week: 3/4)
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
- Though we’re inclined to agree with popular opinion that the Eels should be good enough to get home on Friday night, we certainly don’t consider it a lock. The main concern for us is the quality of Parramatta’s defense (or lack thereof). With the Eels having conceded the 3rd fewest points so far this season, you could be forgiven for assuming that their D must be the real deal. However, once you scratch beneath the surface, you quickly discover they’re anything but. Sure, they’ve managed to hold their opponents to less than 18 points in 10 different games this season. But who exactly were those teams? Well, 8 of them were sides with negative Offense VOAs, meaning they’ve held just 2 above average offenses to under 18 all season – and even those two come with asterisks (the Melbourne game was in a torrential downpour; the Panthers were missing half their spine). This matters because for all their faults, the Titans do come armed with a heavyweight offense – as evidenced by their last-start 44-6 hammering of Canberra. Of course, the Titans’ own D is infinitely worse (indeed, it’s the worst in the league by a wide margin), but the possibility remains that the Titans could easily drop 20+ on Parra and potentially make this a contest. More than likely, it’ll be a contest they still find a way to lose (something like their 40-30 loss to Souths, for example), but a contest nonetheless, and for that reason we’re not inclined to be heavily invested in Parra.
- Many punters saw the Sea Eagles‘ shock loss to Canberra last weekend as confirmation that Manly without Turbo offer absolutely nothing. For the most part, we’re inclined to agree. However, that game in particular didn’t really support the argument at all. In fact, Manly’s attacking numbers were pretty consistent with their typical performance: their LBVOA of 16.21% was pretty much bang on their season average of 16.67%; their run metres actually climbed from 1.21% to 2.79% (which may or may not be the result of Jake “310th in the league for metres-per-carry” Trbojevic being unavailable). Rather, the disappointing result was almost entirely due to their pitiful 40% possession share – and it’s unrealistic to assume that Tom’s presence would have significantly changed that. Manly made 14 errors (their 4th most this year, and most since Round 7), and the Raiders were able to force a ridiculous 8 drop-outs (their previous best in a game was 4). Sometimes, it just isn’t your night. It’s unfortunate, but you shouldn’t draw any other conclusions from the result than that. So, we fully expect Manly to shake it off and get things back on track this weekend against an inconsistent and undermanned Dragons unit, even with Turbo expected to sit another one out.
- Valentine Holmes was the big injury to come out of Wednesday night, but we weren’t about to tip the Cowboys, anyway. Though the Roosters were hardly convincing in scratching out a 6-point win over the Bulldogs, we saw what we were looking for from Sydney. Specifically, a return to dominance from their forward pack, who’d been repeatedly whacked in their past three starts, with the Tri-Colours getting outgained by over 350m in their past three consecutive matches. Against Canterbury (aka “The Worst Pack In The NRL”) the Roosters flexed all over them, winning the yardage by 362m, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves awakening from his recent slumber and dropping a massive 219m on Canterbury’s pack (92m of which came after contact). For Sydney, their attacking rhythm will inevitably click as their stars return, with Victor Radley back last weekend, and this week joined by Angus Crichton. When James Tedesco and Siosiua Taukeiaho return next week, the Roosters will be essentially back to full-strength (excluding season-ending injuries to Lindsay Collins and Luke Keary; Joseph Suaalii is far too raw and had no business in their Top 17 in the first place). Talking heads have been writing off the Roosters for weeks, but we remain of the view that a break-out pereformance is on the immediate horizon, and may very well come this week. The Cowboys’ D has now leaked 4+ tries in their past 7 straight games, the first of which was in a 10 line break effort by… the Roosters.
- Obviously, the inverse side of our Manly argument is that – in light of the sheer volume of footy the Raiders had, especially in Manly’s red zone (Canberra had a massive 50 tackles in their opponent’s 20) – we weren’t particularly whelmed by Canberra at all. Their attack was clunky and directionless (although this was to be expected given the mass of unavailabilities they were battling), and they were only able to earn the W courtesy of unusually clean handling and the aforementioned 8 forced drop-outs. To highlight just how big an outlier that effort was from Canberra, consider this: in just that one game, replacement half Matt Frawley produced 4 forced drop-outs – the same number Jack Wighton has from his past 14 games (and for further evidence of Wighton’s dreadful short kicking game, you need only have watched him on Wednesday night, twice hammering it into Row 6). Frawley’s reward? Being immediately dropped. Though we acknowledge that Wighton’s position is safe, we believe there’s an argument to be made for keeping Frawley at the expense of Sam Williams – partly to retain Frawley’s surprisingly effective short kicking game, but also to attempt to shore up the Raiders’ defense. Since replacing his namesake George Williams at halfback, Sam has been repeatedly targeted by opposition offenses, and the Raiders’ D keeps getting shredded as a result. Canberra’s LBCVOA has climbed from a roughly league-average 1.89% to 17.04% since Williams took over, a figure that would place them 4th last in the NRL if extrapolated over the season. The difference is easily attributed to Williams, who has missed almost twice as many tackles as George (19 v 10) in almost half as many games (6 v 10). Accordingly, Sam has leaked 0.83 line breaks per game vs George’s 0.7. Frawley, meanwhile, didn’t leak any in his one start, and missed just 2 tackles. If Canberra could find a way to force a few more repeat sets and improve their defense in a single stroke, they could quickly become more competitive; unfortunately, we doubt that’s likely to happen while Ricky Stuart persists with the status quo. So, Canberra fans are left hoping that the Sharks just wet the bed. It’s certainly possible – they are just two weeks removed from a loss to Brisbane, after all – but we don’t think it’s likely. Cronulla should comfortably get to 20+ against this defense, which is likely to be enough.
- When we first sat down on Thursday arvo to go through this week’s games, the Storm/Knights game on Saturday night seemed curiously priced (Newy were $6.50), with Newcastle’s price not seeming to have accounted for their recent influx of troops. The Knights’ last start was the first time all season they’ve had their first-choice spine united, and they celebrated with a 38-0 beat-down of North Queensland. Kalyn Ponga, Mitch Pearce and co are only going to get better the more time they spend together on the field, and now their pack – which was already among the very best in the league – is further boosted by the return of Tyson Frizell. Melbourne, meanwhile, remain without Harry Grant and Ryan Papenhuyzen, and have a host of stars who will be either backing up three days after Origin, or worse, potentially late scratchings. We weren’t about to declare the Knights certain victors, but this surely had the potential to be significantly closer than it would have been if, say, it had been played a month ago. Unfortunately for the Novocastrians though, word leaked out this afternoon that Pearce is doubtful with a hamstring injury picked up at training. Assuming Pearce sits, the long odds on Newcastle now appear to make a lot more sense, though we’d still give them a better shot than what those odds suggest (at $6.50, the implied probability of a Newcastle win is around 15%), remembering that Ponga, not Pearce, is the main driver of Newcastle’s attack. Still, are you going to take the Knights straight up? No.
- For those of you with a keen interest in watching dreadful halves fumble around massacring their own team’s attacking opportunities, you won’t want to miss the early Sunday game between the Panthers and Warriors. For Penrith, you’ll get to enjoy the attacking stylings of Tyrone May, whose chronic inability to engage the defensive line is matched only by his desire to turn the ball back inside for another ineffective hit-up. Consider the plight of Panthers’ right centre Stephen Crichton, the poor bloke stuck outside May. Since claiming the right centre gig in Round 7, Crichton has enjoyed an average of 19 pass receipts per game; not so with May responsible for getting him the footy. No, with May, that drops to 14 receipts per game, showing that the Panthers’ right edge is not only getting lower quality ball (which is to be expected – you can’t expect May to be Nathan Cleary), but a lower quantity as well. With the Panthers’ attack largely confined to the left (where the prodigious Matt Burton is left to carry the load), it’s unsurprising then that they’ve scored 18 points or less in all 3 of May’s starts (something that’s happened just once in the Panthers’ other 13 games, by the way), winning just 1. So the Warriors are in the box seat, right? Not so fast… they have a Tyrone May of their own. You see, over at New Zealand, they get to see their attacking play hamstrung by Sean O’Sullivan. Like May, O’Sullivan produces shockingly few assists (he has just 1 try assist and 2 line break assists from a whopping 7 starts, fewer than household names like Adam Clune, Phoenix Crossland and… Tyrone May), in large part due to his curious passion for running it himself over and over again. We say ‘curious’ because, frankly, he isn’t any good at it. If his high volume of runs netted him a bunch of line breaks, fair enough. But no, his 44 runs have earned just 2 line breaks (in contrast, his halves partner Kodi Nikorima has ripped through for 7 from 61 runs – perhaps he should be taking the line on a bit more?). Accordingly, the Warriors have been held to 18 or less in 5 of O’Sullivan’s 7 starts (they’ve been kept to this mark in just 3 of their remaining 9 games). So, what can you expect here? Probably a low-scoring, painful to watch arm-wrestle, in which the Warriors are more competitive than many expect, but ultimately find another way to blow it.
- How exactly the Broncos – currently 2nd last and owners of the 2nd-worst offense in football – come to be favourites in a rugby league game against anyone other than Canterbury, we just don’t know. Ok, they won their last start. But did anyone who watched that seriously think they looked good? Everyone’s quick to turn the blowtorch on the Tigers for having leaked 7+ line breaks in their past 3 straight matches, but look at who Wests have been getting hammered by: the Eels, Storm and Rabbitohs (teams #7, #1 and #4 for Offense). The Broncos, meanwhile, last week made it 5 weeks on the trot they’ve conceded 7+, from a group of offenses including Canberra (8th), Cronulla (11th) and St George-Illawarra (14th). In short, they’ve arguably been defensively worse than the Tigers, yet that’s being conveniently forgotten thanks to a fluky win. In reality, both defenses are bog average, but offensively the Tigers have been night-and-day better than Brisbane. Indeed, some of the Tigers’ attacking production has been spectacular, considering how little football they’ve actually had over the past month. They’ve put 3 line breaks past Melbourne, 4 past Parra and 5 past Souths – all in matches where they’ve had 44% possession or less. This would suggest that Wests shouldn’t need a lot of ball to put points on against Brisbane (who themselves rank 12th for defense), and if they can get anything resembling an even possession share (admittedly no guarantee given their absurdly high recent penalty counts), they should easily get north of 24+. In fact, we’d suggest that possession is of most value to Wests not for the purpose of accumulating scoring opportunities, but rather for protecting their own crummy defense – when the Tigers earn 50% or more of the possession, they concede 4 tries per game (which is poor, but gettable given the standard of their offense); when they have 49% or less, that climbs to almost 7, regardless of opponent. One good way of maintaining possession is scoring tries, and frankly, we have far more faith in the Tigers’ offense than we do in whatever it is that Brisbane are likely to throw up. We’re backing Wests, potentially in a blow-out if they can get going early.
- The Rabbitohs are really building into some form, and this week are getting back Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Damien Cook and Dane Gagai from State of Origin. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are still rubbish, and this week are getting back Jayden Okunbor from Port Macquarie Middle School. It’s hard to imagine any sort of path for Canterbury to win this match; in fact, it’s hard to even imagine them losing by less than 30.