NRL tips, NRL preview
  • Cowboys coming off a tough win v Penrith
  • Dogs in red-hot form over the past 5 weeks
  • Score prediction and suggested bet from an expert

NRL Tips expert Steve Green previews the season’s penultimate Thursday night clash as the Cowboys tackle the Bulldogs.

Off the back of a strong win against the Panthers last weekend (a win I didn’t see coming), the bookies have installed the Cowboys favourite for this match against the Doggies.

While I understand that with superstars like Taumalolo and Morgan lining up, and the game being played in Townsville, the Cowboys are going to be hard to beat… but I don’t think there is enough respect for what the Doggies are achieving in this final few months of the NRL.

That is why at this stage in the season I look at more recent data, rather than season long data. Because what the Doggies were doing in Round 1 (getting flogged by the Warriors) is not as relevant as what they have done over the last 5 weeks.

For example, over the season the Doggies have conceded 74 tries…which is not bad for a team positioned so far down the ladder (i.e. they rank 7th behind a whole host of teams in the top 8). But over the past 5 matches, the Doggies have only conceded 8 tries…which is better than the Roosters, Storm and Manly. In contrast, the Cowboys have conceded 20 tries over the past 5 weeks and have conceded 82 tries through the season.

Whatever time frame you look at, the Doggies have better defence than the Cowboys.

When you turn to the attack of these two teams, then both teams are clearly struggling. In the past 5 weeks the Cowboys have scored only 11 tries, while the Doggies have only scored 12 over that period. Over the course of the season the Doggies have 50 tries to their name, while the Cowboys have 58.

So, don’t expect this one to be a try-fest, but if it comes down to an arm wrestle, then I know which team I want to be on (particularly if they are paying well over 2.00)!)

In terms of team news, the Cowboys still without McGuire and Scott, while Clifford has been named on extended bench and may suit up at 7 on game day. For the Doggies, Okunbor replaces R Smith on the wing, with this a net positive on my ratings. I never understood why Okunbor was not brought straight back into first grade and really like what he brings to the table.

I would have the Bulldogs 2.5 point favourites in this one and so the +2.5 is good value.

Predicted Score
Bulldogs 18
Cowboys 16

Suggested Bet: Bulldogs +2.5

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