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 three of his match previews from the eight games. Check out his NRL Round 9 Triple Preview…

For the rest of Steve’s NRL Round 9 previews plus all of his best bets, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 9: Eels vs Roosters (Friday)

I thought the Roosters were amazing against the Knights. While a lot of the focus was on how the Knights played poorly, the Roosters were simply ruthless in the opening 20 minutes.

Every mistake made by the Knights led to a try, with Sam Walker leading the way and the Morris brothers, Tupou and the highly underrated Ikuvalu finishing off every half chance that came their way.

However, the Roosters injury toll is now getting ridiculous. This weekend they will be without Sitili Tupouniua, Freddy Lussick, Billy Smith, Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary, Brett Morris, Lindsay Collins and Jake Friend.

Contrast this to the Eels, who are likely to be without only Nathan Brown in terms of key players missing.

The Eels are playing at Bankwest (where they always seem to lift), and hopefully you can see why my system says the Eels are value at -4.5.

Although a lot of attention is focused on the Panthers, Storm, Souths and Roosters, the Eels look like they have taken a big step forward in 2021 and now genuine contenders.

The Eels’ back three are as good as any in the competition, while their spine is also up there with the likes of the Storm. They have plenty of depth in the forwards and a low injury toll to deal with.

With a slightly stronger squad and a home ground advantage, I would normally be putting this one forward as a big play.

However, I am conscious that in such an uneven season (so far!) the strength of each team’s draw to date could be distorting things. The Eels have only played one team currently in the top 5 (the Storm), so there is a risk that their numbers are being inflated by some soft opponents (Broncos x 2, Wests, Bulldogs etc…).

I am happy to have a small play here and will be watching closely as to how the Eels go about shutting down the gifted Sam Walker.

Predicted score Eels 22 – Roosters 12

NRL Round 9: Cowboys vs Broncos (Saturday)

Both these teams staged impressive comebacks last weekend, however the Broncos comeback was unlike anything I have seen.

With Isaako’s poor positional play exposed on multiple occasions early in the match, the Broncos looked set for a long night. However, off the back of some beautiful backline movements and some amazing runs by their enigmatic number 1, the Broncos got themselves back in the game.

After that they started dominating through the middle, with Haas, Pangai, Carrigan and Lodge all proving hard to contain in the middle.

The Broncos outside backs also made a solid contribution, while the halves pairing of Gamble and Milford played far better than I thought was possible.

As for the Cowboys, they lost Hampton to injury last week and this has seen Clifford given another shot at the 7. He has been playing great in the QLD Cup, so it will be interesting to see if he can step up and cope with the NRL speed of the game.

Taumalolo is lining up at lock again, but he was underwhelming last weekend and does not seem too settled under Coach Payten.

Out wide, Javid Bowen gets another shot at the NRL – but he has not impressed me whenever we have seen him line up.

Drinkwater and Holmes are the big threat for the Broncos and because the Broncos still look very vulnerable at times, I am not willing to have too big of a bet here…but off the back of their last 60 minutes of football, I think the Broncos are a very good chance of covering the line.

Predicted score Cowboys 24 – Broncos 24

NRL Round 9: Dragons vs Bulldogs (Sunday)

The Dragons losing Zac Lomax is a big blow to a team that is starting to show some really worrying signs.

Earlier in the season the Dragons looked to be playing tough, error-free footy… but in recent weeks their form has really dropped off. From Round 5 to 8 (the past month) the Dragons have the second-most missed tackles, the fifth-most line breaks conceded and the fourth-most run metres conceded. But worst of all, they have the least amount of metres made.

With Ravalawa and Pereira still missing, they are losing a lot of go-forward early in their sets, and the likes of Vaughan and Lawrie are having to do their hit ups without any momentum. Ramsay is also in doubt, meaning this could be a very understrength Dragons backline.

Norman also looks to be straying from the gameplan at times and falling back into the habit of making poor decisions, while the strong early season form of guys like Fuimaono, Kerr and Alvaro is dropping off.

While the Doggies stats are nothing too flash, they once again showed some heart to stage a mini fightback against the high-flying Eels last weekend.

After a strong game for the Mounties, there is a very good chance that Luke Lewis is promoted back into the top grade and this will allow Alvero to push out to the centres and strengthen their backline further.

I do not think the Dragons have done enough to be such heavy favourites for this one and I think the Doggies offer a little bit of value at the line.

Predicted score Dragons 22 – Bulldogs 16

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NRL Line Ladder

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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