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 17 Triple Preview below

For the rest of Steve’s NRL Round 17 previews plus all of his best bets, join NRL Tips now!

NRL Round 17: Souths v Cowboys

This is a game that I see as being similar to the Manly v Raiders game.

The bookies are looking at the flogging the Cowboys copped at the hands of the Knights last weekend and with a few more players out due to Origin, they are predicting another Cowboys capitulation.

But there are a few reasons I think that the Cowboys will be competitive here:

1) In terms of getting flogged by the Knights, as you are aware I am a big believer in the Knights in 2021 and I think they played some terrific footy at home last weekend. The score line was not so much a reflection of how poor the Cowboys are, but rather, just what Ponga can do to a team when he is injury free.

2) The Cowboys were without the head coach due to COVID isolation requirements, so that was a huge disruption to their prep last week. He is back this weekend with the squad.

3) Souths are missing a ton of talent due to Origin and injury, with Latrell, Cook, Murray, Gagai, Arrow and Tatola, all missing this week. That is two key outside backs, and four starting forwards.

While the Cowboys will miss Holmes at 1, Hammer out wide and Molo in the middle, they do not lose Feldt this time around and they keep their halves pairing of Dearden and Drinkwater. Their forward pack is largely intact and they welcome back Gilbert from injury. While Souths still have their starting halves and some fire power out wide, their forward depth will be tested here. Marshall at 9 will be a target for the Cowboys big men, while Taaffe at the back will also be something the Cowboys will look to punish on the kick return, with the diminutive fullback a much different player to Latrell.

All in all, this is a very disrupted Bunnies team and although I do not think the Cowboys have the class to win, I do think they are worth a small bet at the head start.

Predicted score
Souths 24
Cowboys 16

NRL Round 17: Canterbury v Roosters

This is one of those games where even die hard fans such as myself are not very excited about.

The Bulldogs are the worst team in the competition, and are currently dealing with a bad injury toll and a host of suspensions.

The Roosters are a shell of the team they once were and are further weakened this week with the loss of Crichton and Tedesco.

The Roosters still have plenty of talent, but last weekend most of these guys looked like they had given up on 2021. J Moz has not been the same since his brother retired, Lui and Taukieaho are well off their best, while JWH was manhandled by the Storm.

More concerning for the Roosters, is the fact that young Sam Walker is coming crashing back to reality, with the diminutive half now getting rag dolled in defence and attack. Teams are moving the ball to work him over and the rest of the Roosters defence is no longer strong enough to adjust and cover for him.

In terms of Coach Barrett, I have serious concerns about his ability to identify talent. Topine should still be in the 17 and L Lewis deserves another shot. Atoni has finally be brought back into the top 17, but only through necessity… so I am not sure Coach Barrett is using his limited resources as effectively as he could be.

Although the Roosters are falling away in 2021 and are not genuine contenders in my view, they should be far too good here. Radley’s return at lock and Manu at 1 should be enough to see the tries flow towards the end of each half.

If you are going to miss watching one NRL game this year, this should be the one!

Predicted score
Roosters 30
Bulldogs 10

NRL Round 17: Sharks v Warriors

In what is a pretty uninspiring round of footy, this is one that is really shaping up as a contest.

The Sharks’ run of wins came to an end last weekend against the Broncos and although the Broncos played well, I think it did show that the Sharks winning run was off the back of them going through a soft part of the draw.

They did lose Moylan late last weekend, but he is out again this weekend, so it is Tracey and Johnson in the halves. Chambers is back in the centres, after missing last weekend due to the birth of his child, while talented youngster Luke Metcalf is on the extended bench.

It is hard to identify what went wrong for the Sharks last weekend, with nearly every key stat in their favour or neutral. They missed far less tackles, ran for more metres and made more line breaks.

However the Broncos capitilised on their chances, while the Sharks were a bit clunkier with their backline movements.

This weekend, they come up against a Warriors team that has undergone a lot of change throughout 2020. They have Lodge joining the squad and moving straight into starting prop. His combination with Fonua-Blake should prove to be very formidable and one of the reasons I think they can win this one.

In the halves, Coach Brown looks set to give Sullivan a go alongside the returning Nikorima, therefore leaving Walsh at 1 and RTS on the wing. I am not sure this is how they will line up on the day, but overall it is a strong line up – despite a few key outs.

The one out that has me really worried is Tohu Harris. The hard working lock forward is one of the Warriors best players and gets through a ton of work. But the Warriors have great depth in the forwards and so I like their chances of holding their own against this Sharks pack.

All in all, I think the Warriors can win this one and because I think both teams are highly unpredictable, I think the longer term more profitable play in this situation is to have a small bet on the head-to-head.

Predicted score
Sharks 20
Warriors 20

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Clubs

NRL Line Ladder

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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