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 20 Friday Night Double Preview below

For the rest of Steve’s NRL Round 20 previews plus all of his best bets, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 20: Wests v Warriors

This is two teams that are really struggling at the moment, however the continued exodus of senior Warriors players and Gus Gould, along with key suspensions and injuries up front, means Wests have rightfully been installed favourites here.

Wests, for all their issues, at least have a pretty steady lineup, and spine in particular. Brooks, Doueihi, Laurie and Liddle continue to be among the best players for Wests each week, and if only their outside backs and forwards could defend a little better, Wests would be a much more competitive team.

Wests have averaged 42 points conceded per game over the last five weeks. Admittedly, they have been playing against some strong attacking teams during that period (Storm, Souths, Eels and Manly)… so the Warriors attack, missing some of their best players, will be a big step down and Coach McGuire will be looking at this match to get his team’s confidence back.

As for the Warriors, while I think their squad is still strong on paper, it is clear that things are chaotic in camp with senior forwards like Harris, Lodge and Fonua-Blake out for this match, Ah Mau on his way home, and their heart and soul RTS also granted early leave.

The Warriors will head into this match with a spine made up of an 19-year-old at fullback, Peter Hiku at 6 (after a long layoff, the former winger / centre has not played many games in the halves), O’Sullivan at halfback (only played seven games this season) and Taniela Otukolo… who despite looking very impressive with limited opportunity, is also only 19 and has only played 2 NRL games.

Because of this lack of cohesion in key positions, as well as severely weakened front row, I think Wests should be bigger favourites here.

I’m backing them at the line, but I am reluctant to bet too much on a team that has such a leaky defensive record.

Predicted score
Wests 26
Warriors 14

NRL Round 20: Broncos v Cowboys

Both of these teams showed a lot of improvement and determination in their losses last weekend, with the Cowboys pushing the Storm all the way and the Broncos nearly running down the Panthers with a late flurry of tries.

While the Cowboys were impressive and I can see why they are being given such a strong chance here, I do think the Cowboys benefited from a strong home ground advantage, an uncharacteristically high error rate from the Storm and a failure of the Storm to ice their opportunities.

There is no doubt the Cowboys are a gritty team when they do not make errors and play to Coach Payten’s game plan, but on my ratings the Broncos lineup is stronger and with the home ground advantage, I would have them bigger favourites.

With Albert Kelly a strong chance of returning at 7, and Staggs really firing out wide, I think the Broncos backline is looking a lot sharper than it was earlier in the year.

Gamble and Niu have been performing quite well out wide, while Riki, Bullemor, Robati and Hetherington are providing plenty of enthusiasm and aggression in the middle.

Although they only had a small crowd last weekend, I think the Brisbane faithful will come out in their droves and I like the Broncos to get the win here. The head-to-head looks a decent bet.

Predicted score
Broncos 25
Cowboys 18

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Clubs

NRL Line Ladder

NRL Line Ladder: Round 25

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 24

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 23

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 22

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 21

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 20

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 19

The Storm go down! Their closing line against the Cowboys was a whopping -34.5, only for them to just scrape in by 4 points. They now sit 15-3 against the line this season. Which is still… well, reasonable.

Would you bet against them this week? The Panthers are 2-5 at the line over the last seven weeks, so it still looks a good idea to be with Melbourne.

Storm -18.5
$1.85 with TopSport

NRL Line Ladder: Round 18

What more is there to say about the Storm? They were handed a 15.5 point closing line against the Knights… and won 48 – 4. That makes them 15-2 against the line this year. They face the Cowboys this week, who’ve missed their last five lines.
TopSport
Storm -26.5

Not that we should forget the Eels. They’re humming along at 14-3, just a game behind the Storm, and face the battling Raiders.
TopSport
Eels -14.5

NRL Line Ladder: Round 17

Interesting match-ups this weekend:

Is Manly versus the Raiders a no-brainer? Manly have covered 10 of their last 11 lines, including the last three by an average of 30 points! The Raiders are the complete opposite, having missed 10 of their last 11. Sea Eagles at the line, surely.
TopSport
Sea Eagles -14

The Sharks could be a decent bet here. They copped a beating on the weekend, but have pretty solid at the line aside from that. Their opponents, the Warriors, actually covered… but it was only by 0.5 points and it was their first cover in 8 weeks. This looks like favouring Cronulla.
TopSport
Sharks -5.5

NRL Line Ladder: Round 16

Interesting match-ups this weekend:

Is Manly versus the Raiders a no-brainer? Manly have covered 10 of their last 11 lines, including the last three by an average of 30 points! The Raiders are the complete opposite, having missed 10 of their last 11. Sea Eagles at the line, surely.
TopSport
Sea Eagles -14

The Sharks could be a decent bet here. They copped a beating on the weekend, but have pretty solid at the line aside from that. Their opponents, the Warriors, actually covered… but it was only by 0.5 points and it was their first cover in 8 weeks. This looks like favouring Cronulla.
TopSport
Sharks -5.5

NRL Line Ladder: Round 15

Interesting match-ups this weekend:

The Roosters have only covered one line of the past six, while the Storm have only missed two all season.
TopSport
Storm -10.5

The market can’t get a line on the Dragons, who are WLWLWLW against the line over the past seven weeks. They’re doing better than the Warriors however, who now have not covered a line for eight weeks!
TopSport
Dragons +2.5

NRL Line Ladder: Round 14

The market was a little more accurate this week, but punters and bookies alike are still clearly trying to come to terms with exactly where scoring is at. The big shock of the round was, of course, the Doggies and the Dragons, with the former getting a 13.5-point head start before actually winning by 22 points. Obviously it’s a dismal year for Canterbury but that was actually their fourth line cover in a row, so the pendulum has swung and they’re now outperforming the market’s expectations. Not that it’ll be easy this week… they’ve got the Eels, with TopSport currently affording them a 20.5-point headstart. With the Eels sitting second on the Line Ladder, the Doggies might need every point of that… and more.

NRL Line Ladder: Round 13

Origin time always throws up a few surprises, and the shock line result on the weekend was the Storm vs Titans, with Melbourne only recording a six-point win despite a hurdle of 24.5 points. It was a very rare miss, with the Storm having covered their previous ten lines in a row. They’re back into it on Sunday and have a 14.5 hurdle with TopSport to clear against the Warriors, who haven’t cleared a line in their past six starts. But they haven’t been far off either, with their largest miss in that period being 6.5 points. Are the Storm ripe for the picking?

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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