2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 123/166 (74%) (Last week: 1/2)
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.)
- We should say from the outset: tonight’s blockbuster between the Storm and Raiders projects as a bit lop-sided. That being said, so did last week’s Raiders game – and we all saw how that turned out. Critically, we have to point out that the Raiders had to turn in their best game of the year to get the result (and even then, it went down to the wire). Against the Roosters, Canberra produced their highest RMVOA of the year (17.56%), their highest LBVOA of the year (66.84%), and their best TBVOA in a month (25.16%). Put differently, they played their absolute best game of the season last weekend, and snuck home by a whisker. This tells us two things:
- That they’re absolutely good enough to match up with the league’s best teams; but also,
- That they need to be red-lining to do it.
Which leads us a popular point of view: that Canberra “always turn up against Melbourne”. This is an odd position to hang your hat on – partly because Melbourne actually won their last clash, and partly because prior to Canberra’s 3-game streak against the Storm, Melbourne had won 5-in-a-row against Canberra between 2016-2019 (by an average margin of 16 points); and even including the Raiders recent success against them, the Storm have won 9 of the last 14 between the sides. It’s really not as close as you think it is.
So, as we often say: what’s more likely? That Canberra play the game of their lives for the second time in a fortnight, or that they regress – even a little – back to their average? This isn’t intended to knock them – Canberra’s average is still a long way better than most teams in the league. But the Storm aren’t most teams in the league. They feature the league’s 2nd best defense, and are coming in having made double-digit line breaks in 3 of their past 4 (something the Raiders have yet to achieve in any game this year). Melbourne are in form, healthy, and well-accustomed to winning at this time of year. Frankly, the odds look pretty accurate to us.
- As for the other game, it projects as the closer contest, but we don’t think it’s a friendly match-up for the Rabbitohs. The problem for South Sydney is their dependency on forward dominance for their attack to fire. When their middles are rolling and providing quick play-the-balls, they’re almost unstoppable. Damien Cook is easily the best running hooker in the competition, and South Sydney’s structured attack is a well-oiled machine. But if they’re not winning the ruck, it’s a different story. So far this season, they’ve played 8 games against teams ranking Top-5 in RMCVOA. If we discard their 60-8 pummeling of the Roosters (in which they outgained Sydney by over 700m, which actually proves our point), they’ve averaged just 14 points per game in those contests (and for the record, that’s a group that includes 3 games against defensive lightweights Cronulla and Wests). This is because as the ruck gets slowed, Cook’s influence is stifled, while their beautiful attacking moves are blunted by needing to attack a set defense. And the set defense they’re facing here is the best in the league. Yes, they’ve looked unbeatable with the ball recently, but they’ve done it while running for over 1600m in 4 of their last 5. You know how many teams have run for even 1500m on Penrith? Zero.
And that’s where this game will be decided. The only chance the Rabbitohs have of matching it with Penrith is if the ref gets involved and starts punishing the Panthers with set restarts. It’s not impossible – they were the most pinged team in the league in that regard for much of the season. But of late, they’ve actually improved significantly, conceding 4 or fewer set restarts in 10 of their past 12 (after conceding 6 or more in 5 of their first 7). Without that, we doubt the Bunnies can score more than 3 tries – and considering that they’ve conceded 3 or more in 10 of their past 13 games, and the fact the Panthers have scored 3 or more in all but 2 games this season, it just looks like a tough spot for South Sydney. We don’t necessarily think Penrith will pump them; about 4 tries looks right for Penrith. The issue is that 4 tries is generally all Penrith needs for their defense to do the rest.