NRL Round 4

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Match Previews

As well as providing his best value bets every week, our NRL guru Steve Green also previews every NRL game for members. Each week on the blog we’ll feature some of his match previews from the eight games. Check out his NRL Round 13 Preview of Wests vs Panthers below

For the rest of Steve’s NRL Round 13 previews plus all of his best bets, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 13: Wests v Panthers

Although the Panthers continue to play stellar footy, this is the biggest challenge they have faced all season. While the Panthers have missed Koroisau and Edwards for an extended period this year, overall the nucleus of their squad has remained better intact that any other team in the competition. In total, ten Panthers players have played every game so far this year.

This weekend, due to suspension and Origin duties, they will be missing Apisai Koroisau, Brian To’o, Isaah Yeo, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin, Moses Leota and Nathan Cleary. Six of these guys are in the Panthers top’ ten players based on my player ratings.

And none are more important that captain Cleary. Cleary’s kicking game and overall control has seen him climb to be the premier player in the competition. His goal kicking is amazing and his combination with Luai is why the latter has been picked for NSW. While Burton and May are very good replacements, May in particular has not played much in the halves in recent times, and so I am not sure we will see the clinical Panthers we have become accustomed to.


In addition, the absence of Martin, Leota, Yeo and Koroisau take away the core of their dominant forward pack. While Kikau and Fisher-Harris remain, these four guys are renowned for doing the tough stuff that is often missed by the pundits. Yeo is also great at playing as a extra ball player, so his absence further compounds the loss of the Panthers halves.

The big question then becomes how well the NSW Cup players can step up. Before last weekend many people would argue these guys are all ready to dominate the NRL, but lets not forget that the Panthers NSW Cup team suffered their first loss of the year last weekend, to a patchwork Mounties team. The week earlier they snuck home against Souths due to a 79th penalty goal…so I still think these young guys will find the going tough stepping up to the NRL in a team missing a ton of talent.

As for the opponents, Wests delivered for us last weekend, and I am confident they can do again this week. Although they will miss Joe O to Origin duties, their forward depth is impressive and I think guys like Amone, Seyfarth, Blore and Utoikamanu will relish the opportunity to play more minutes.

Wests spine looks very settled and out wide, I really like the speed Wests possess in the form of Roberts and Nofoaluma.

Playing at Leichardt, off the back of winning three of their last five, I really like the odds on offer for Wests here.

Predicted score Wests 24 – Panthers 22

TopSport current market West Tigers H2H $2.65

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Clubs

NRL Line Ladder

NRL Line Ladder: Round 12

The Sharks are back in town. Against the line, anyway. They were actually handed a 3.5 point head start against the Titans, and ran away with a big 28 point win to smash that line. They’re still sitting in twelfth on the league ladder, but are 7-5 against the line and fifth on the Line Ladder: something to take into account when betting.

On the other side of the coin, tread warily with the Warriors. They’ve now missed six lines in a row as the market continues to overrate them. They’re not missing by heaps, but the pattern can’t be denied.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 11

The Eels might’ve finally missed a line last week… but they hit back hard. They were actually handed a 3.5 point head start again Canberra, only to make a mockery of the market’s doubts and smash the Raiders by 25 points.

Their hurdle for this week is currently -13.5 points against the Broncos, and you’d be brave to bet against them – even with Brisbane’s vastly improved performance last week. They were given a whopping 27.5 point head start against the Panthers, yet only lost by 8 points.

The club in perhaps the most surprising position is the Sharks. Languishing in 11th on the league ladder, they currently sit third on the line ladder with five covers from six games. They’re getting there by the skin of their teeth, however! They’ve covered both their last two lines by just 0.5 points… the market is reading them quite well.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 10

The obvious (Storm and Parramatta) aside, by the far the most in-form team in the competition is Manly.

In an amazing flip in form, they’ve gone from missing their first four lines to covering the next six in a row. They put an exclamation point on this with their demolition of the Broncos on the weekend, putting an end to Brisbane’s mini run of good form. Handed a 9.5 point hurdle by the market, the Sea Eagles romped in by 44 points.

They face the Eels in a great match-up this weekend… Parra only having missed one line for the whole year. TopSport currently has a 7.5 point headstart for Manly. While it may not look like a hugely close game on paper, recent trends at the line make it a great betting match-up.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 9

The Storm are doing it again… they’ve emerged as the punters’ best friend after Round 9, thanks to their absolute demolition job on Souths (line -8.5, won by 50). They’ve now covered every line for the last seven weeks… not that Souths (6 covers from 7 before the weekend) were doing too badly either!

Another interesting and in-form club is Manly. After missing their first four, they’ve now covered their last five lines in a row – a sure sign the market had written them off far too savagely. They’re favourites this week however, with -8.5 currently on offer for them against the Broncos, who themselves have covered three of their last four.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 8

Starting at the bottom of the Line Ladder this week, it appears that the gap between performance and the market’s expectations is narrowing when it comes to the Bulldogs. They covered their line for the first time this season last week… and while they missed this week, they were only 1.5 points off against the far superior Eels outfit. They’ve been given a 9.5 point head start against the Dragons this week, who are in very poor form when it comes to the line: they’ve missed by 12.5, 15.5 and 17.5 points over the last three weeks.

Similarly, has the market caught the Sharks? Despite having a poor season on face value, they started the year 5-1 against the line… so were providing value for punters. That’s pulled up sharply over the past two weeks, with them falling short at the line by 23.5 points and 9.5 points. In an intriguing matchup this week, they’ve got an 18.5 point headstart against the Panthers… who despite their all-conquering status, are a middling 4-4 against the line this season after three straight misses.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 7

Round 7 was again characterised by results that varied significantly from the market’s closing line. This was again led by the Eels, who made a mockery of the 13.5 point hurdle they were handed against Brisbane, winning by 40 points. Other strong performances were Manly (-4.5 point line, 34 point win) and the Bulldogs, who finally got on the board on the line ladder for 2020! They were handed a massive 17.5 point head start, only to defeat the Sharks by six points.

Some interesting clashes this week, highlighted by…

Souths (-6) are 5-2 at the line, while the Raiders (+6) are 2-5.

Eels (-19.5) are 6-1 at the line, with the Bulldogs (+19.5) at 1-6. Is 19.5 points enough?

NRL Line Ladder: Round 6

The Eels might’ve finally missed a line last week… but they hit back hard. They were actually handed a 3.5 point head start again Canberra, only to make a mockery of the market’s doubts and smash the Raiders by 25 points.

Their hurdle for this week is currently -13.5 points against the Broncos, and you’d be brave to bet against them – even with Brisbane’s vastly improved performance last week. They were given a whopping 27.5 point head start against the Panthers, yet only lost by 8 points.

The club in perhaps the most surprising position is the Sharks. Languishing in 11th on the league ladder, they currently sit third on the line ladder with five covers from six games. They’re getting there by the skin of their teeth, however! They’ve covered both their last two lines by just 0.5 points… the market is reading them quite well.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 5

NRL Line Ladder: Round 4

NRL Line Ladder: Round 3

NRL Line Ladder: Round 2

What about those Roosters?

For the second week in a row they’ve made the betting market look stupid after being installed 10.5 point favourites. They destroyed the Tigers 40-6 to secure their spot at the top of the NRL Line Ladder. They’re just 3.5 point favourites against the Rabbitohs this week, so if you think they’re being underestimated again then get on board!

Also impressive were the Panthers, running out 28-0 winners overs the Bulldogs. This doubled the market’s expectations, which had them as 13.5 point favourites.

The Roosters have inflicted plenty of damage on their opponents, with the Tigers (beaten by the Roosters by 34 points in Round 2) and the Sea Eagles (42 points in Round 1) holding up the bottom of the NRL Line Ladder.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 1

The NRL line ladder is back! This is, of course, the NRL ladder that matters. Rather than simple wins and losses, it measures how each club is performing against the betting market.

We’re just one week in of course, so it’s too early to make any proper conclusions. The runaway winner of the week was definitely the Roosters. Are reports of their demise premature? You’d have to say the market was somewhat confident in the Roosters, handing them a 10.5 point handicap. But it wasn’t nearly enough as they crushed Manly by 42 points to get their backers (including our NRL man Steve Green!) off to a cracking start to the season.

NRL Line Ladder: 2020 Final

The line ladder has been finalised for 2020 – and with some interesting results!

The big overachiever compared to market expectation was the Warriors.

Pre-season the Kiwi franchise had already been predicted to finish in the bottom few sides, and were quickly given no hope following the COVID outbreak that saw them set up in Tamworth for the entirety of the campaign.

However, a 10th place finish on the NRL ladder was  admirable given the circumstances, and the market failed to react to their form.

The Warriors finished third on the line ladder with 12 covers from 20 games – and that comes after failing to cover in three of their first four games.

At the other end, the Eels finish the season in 14th spot on the line ladder despite finishing 3rd on the NRL ladder.

Early on the Eels were underrated by the market, however on this occasion the market DID adjust and well and truly caught up to them.

What’s interesting is that it failed to then re-adjust late in the season when Parramatta’s form slump hit – they covered the line just once in their last nine contests.

In both these instances, the market seemingly made up their own mind about each run of results – that the Warriors were overachieving in games and would revert to the average long-term, while the Eels had underachieved in some games late in the season but would find form again at some stage to balance it out.

Of course, both of these never eventuated and it meant a big edge on the market developed for punters who found it.

So how does this affect 2021?

Using the Warriors as the example, there’s a chance that they are overrated by the market on the back of their efforts this season and their form does indeed drop off, creating an edge backing against the NZ franchise.

Alternatively, the market could stick to its 2020 guns and the Warriors may never ‘revert to the mean’, maintaining the current edge in the process.

The teams that show big discrepancies against the market, such as the Warriors and the Eels, are the ones to watch as a starting point next season. We’ll be back then with the Line Ladder… the NRL ladder for punters!

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