2020 Season Results:Head-to-Head Tipping: 63/88 (72%) (Last week: 7/8)
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’re not sure why exactly it took the awarding of Jack Williams’ “try” to finally see a video ref dropped (it was just the latest in a string of woeful bunker calls in 2020), but regardless; that call didn’t cost the Dragons the game – rather, it was their D conceding 4 consecutive tries that got them into a 28-14 hole from which their painfully stale offense couldn’t find a way out. Unfortunately for St George-Illawarra, it doesn’t get much easier for their defense this week. Though the Rabbitohs‘ offense hasn’t looked itself over the past fortnight, this was fairly predictable and was the result of losing Latrell Mitchell to suspension. Despite having played just 9 matches, Mitchell has produced 11 try involvements and a whopping 14 line break assists (2nd in the NRL) – assists they’ve badly missed, with their LBVOA collapsing from 24.22% with Mitchell playing to just 2.04% without him. With Mitchell back, we’d expect Souths’ offense to immediately return to form – and the last time we saw the Bunnies with Mitchell in the team, they were putting 10 line breaks past a decent Wests defense.
- Which means the Dragons will need their offense firing if they’re going to keep pace, but they’re facing a huge jump in caliber of opponent. Against Cronulla, they got to have a crack against one of the worst defenses in the league; against Souths, they’ll face an opponent who just held Canberra to 1 line break and 3 kick tries. And if you’re thinking that the Dragons’ offense looked kind of alright in racking up 4 total tries last week, we’d suggest you check again – their 4 line breaks was the equal-fewest the Sharks have conceded since Week 2 (tied with such offensive powerhouses as the Warriors, Bulldogs and Cowboys), and their 26 tackle busts were Cronulla’s equal-fewest since Round 4. In short, though these numbers were comparatively strong for St George, they were absolutely dismal for anyone playing against Cronulla. So, if that kind of production is as good as it gets for the Dragons, they’ll struggle to out-point any sort of serviceable offense.
- The Warriors reminded us all just how good their defense actually is against the Roosters – we’ve maintained all season that for as long as games are competitive, their defense is the real deal. Yes, they’re prone to giving up and getting themselves smoked, but we believe this is more a reflection of how little faith they have in their offense – when you’ve only scored more than 2 tries in 3 of 11 matches, it’s somewhat understandable to lose hope onceyou fall behind by 3 scores. This can be seen by examining their results – since Round 3, the Warriors have been involved in 5 competitive games (that is, matches they’ve either won, or lost by 12 or less). But in the other 4 games, they’ve lost them all by 26 points or more (with an average points conceded of 40.5). This illustrates the cavernous range of outcomes for New Zealand – if they can jag a couple of tries and keep the game competitive, they can defensively hang with anybody. But once they lose touch, it can get ugly very quickly. Against a Tigers offense that is absolutely humming, we fear this could be another thumping.
- At a glance, this Broncos team looks like the best combination they’ve trotted out so far. After closer inspection though, we’re not so sure. Hiding Darius Boyd at fullback looks like a wise move on the surface, until you realise that his replacement – Herbie Farnworth – is an even worse defender than he is. Boyd has so far shown himself to be a complete defensive liability, conceding 9 line breaks (4th in the team) and missing 16 tackles (5th in his team). However, replacing him in the centres with Farnworth is like trying to fix a leaky bucket by drilling an even bigger hole next to it. In Farnworth, they have a guy who has conceded more line breaks (10) from fewer games (10) than Boyd; and has missed just 3 fewer tackles, despite making 73 fewer attempts. Similarly, though Brodie Croft hasn’t been winning any admirers, Anthony Milford has been in career-worst form in 2020, personally conceding 11 tries, while having a hand in just 7.
- Of course, the quality of their defense won’t be the difference here – the Sharks‘ D is near the worst in the league. However, in a battle between two shockingly incompetent defenses, the difference is likely to come down to their respective offenses – and here it’s a total mismatch. The Broncos have been held to 2 tries or fewer in more than half their games this season; this has been done to the Sharks just once (and it took the incredible Melbourne defense to do it). Though the loss of Chad Townsend may affect the Sharks’ offense somewhat, that should be offset by Brisbane losing Croft. And regardless, the Sharks still have Shaun Johnson and his 25 try involvements to lean on. The Broncos’ best in that regard? Milford… with his 7.
- Though the Roosters can still be expected to comfortably win here, it’s worth noting that last weekend marked the 3rd straight week of LBVOA decline for them since losing Victor Radley and Sam Verrills, and their lowest RMVOA of the season so far (-11.27%). They’re still better than the Titans, but the gap between themselves and the chasing pack (Penrith and Melbourne) is narrowing with each passing week.
- The loss of Josh Hodgson was bound to impact the Raiders‘ offense sooner or later, and it came to a grinding halt last weekend against South Sydney. Were it not for 3 streaky tries from kicks, they’d have suffered a disappointing defeat and fallen into the group of teams clambering for a spot at the bottom of the 8. As it happens, that’s still where we think they’ll finish – but not this week. As bad as their offense looked, their defense has been exceptional since Hodgson went down, with the Raiders producing a LBCVOA of just -37.51% over the past 3 weeks (1st in the league). This defense should be good enough to contain an injury-ravaged Cowboys side that hasn’t scored more than 3 tries in a game for over a month. And once you contain North Queensland’s offense, the game just about wins itself. The Cowboys have so far conceded 20+ points in 9 of their 11 matches so far; including leaking 37 to the Warriors (the 3rd-worst offense in the league), 28 to Brisbane (4th-worst) and 24 to Manly (5th-worst). So, Canberra’s offensive struggles shouldn’t be an issue here.
- On the one hand, the Sea Eagles are getting the Panthers at the right time – Penrith have been recently decimated by injury, and though they get Viliame Kikau back this week, they remain without a host of stars, such as Dylan Edwards, Brian To’o and Luke Capewell, while key players Api Koroisau and Zane Tetevano remain under question marks on an extended bench. But on the other hand, we still can’t construct a plausible narrative for how exactly Manly can win. Looking at the way these sides are built, the Sea Eagles’ are essentially just a poor man’s Penrith. They’re able to make games competitive through their very good defense; but the Panthers’ is bona fide elite. The Sea Eagles’ pack was significantly better with Addin Fonua-Blake in it, but Penrith’s is arguably the best in the league. And though the Panthers’ offense looked like a shadow of itself without Edwards and Koroisau last weekend, it remained a long way better than the Tom Trbojevic-less Sea Eagles, whose LBVOA since losing their fullback (-11.68%) has been exceeded by Penrith in 8 of 11 matches so far. If their strengths and weaknesses are similar, but Penrith are better across all of them, Manly would essentially be depending on Penrith wetting the bed for this to be competitive. And with the Panthers possessing the lowest error-rate in the league, they’re not exactly prone to beating themselves.
- We’ll state this up-front – we don’t expect the Knights to win on Sunday. But, their $5 price with the bookmakers looks like a bit of an over-correction following what went down against Canterbury. First, let’s make something clear: Newcastle didn’t lose because they weren’t productive with the footy. They produced 6 line breaks (their 2nd-most of the season), 33 tackles breaks (3rd-most), and ran for an absurd 1931m (the 5th-highest total of any team this year). In any other week, these sorts of numbers would lead to a score of 30+ – exactly the sort of total you’d expect them to rack up against Canterbury. So what happened? Well, they dropped the darn ball. Over. And over. And over again. Their 16 errors came at the most inopportune times, either bombing tries or turning over the footy in good field position. Ok, these things happen. But get over it. Even the best teams turn in the odd clunker from time to time (indeed, this week’s opponent, the Storm, made 16 errors just a fortnight ago; they just didn’t prove as costly), and in a torrential downpour, it should kind of be expected (though if we’re observing the conditions, we should point out how remarkably well the Bulldogs did to limit their own handling errors to just 8). Second, though the Knights lost both their second and third-string hookers within minutes of each other, we don’t believe it’s that big a deal. The reason is that the hooker role simply isn’t that important within the Knights’ offensive structure. Though some teams lean heavily on their hooker as a playmaker (think Melbourne with Cameron Smith, the Tigers with Harry Grant, or Penrith and Api Koroisau), the Knights’ offense runs exclusively through their 1, 6 and 7 (who have combined for 38 try involvements and 20 line break assists). Their hooker – whether its Jayden Brailey, Andrew McCullough or the ghost of Danny Buderus – is just there to shovel them the ball and make his tackles (McCullough, for example, has just 3 try involvements and 0 assists on the season). For this reason, changing hooker is unlikely to significantly change their fortunes. Are they likely to win? Probably not, but $5 puts them in the company of teams like the Titans and Warriors – and they’re a long way better than both of them.