NRL Ladder

All league fans keep a close eye on the NRL ladder, but it offers few valuable insights for NRL punters!

From a betting perspective you can learn much more with our NRL Line Ladder.

While the traditional NRL ladder simply records wins and losses, the Line Ladder instead records performance against the closing betting line.

NRL Line Ladder Round 20

With the NRL finals now approaching, 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!

NRL Line Ladder Round 16

The Warriors continued to climb the line ladder after yet another impressive performance against the Knights. While the gap to eight may be too far, a team that many had tipped to be wooden spooners this year have performed well above expectations and the bookies, seemingly, have been slow to react.

The Eels have slowed to a crawl after a blistering start to the year, slipping to tenth on the line ladder. Their early season form meant the bookies adjusted accordingly, and suddenly the top four is in doubt for the premiership fancies. With just four games remaining in the regular season, it’ll be interesting to see how the bookies handle their form slump.

The other major late-season slider has been Wests, who sit 15th on the line ladder with just five covers for the season. While the Tigers had been in finals contention up until a week ago, they haven’t offered much for punters (or their fans) in some big games. With their season now dead and a tough run home, it will again be interesting to see how they fare against the market.

NRL Line Ladder Round 15

The Knights rejoined the Storm and Sharks at the summit with a gritty 12-0 win over North Queensland on the weekend. It meant they covered the 10-point spread (just) and cashed in for punters for the 10th time this season.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are fast-becoming the side you don’t want to be on, despite still sitting ninth on the league ladder. Another disappointing performance against a depleted Roosters outfit has seen them drop to 15th on the line ladder – only the Broncos sit below them. The Tigers are given a 12.5-point head-start this week against Penrith.

New Zealand are the only side in the top half of the line ladder (sixth) that sit outside the top eight on the NRL ladder (12th). They covered the +2.5 against Canterbury on the weekend with relative ease, and continue to be underestimated by the market.

NRL Line Ladder Round 14

Cronulla and Melbourne are clear atop the line ladder, with the usually reliable Knights and Panthers failing to cover.

The undermanned Storm dismantled an injury-hit Sydney, while the Sharks proved their worth to punters yet again with a 30-18 victory over the improving Titans.

The Bulldogs continued their climb up the line ladder with another cover, taking their season record to 7-7 against the spread. This is despite sitting a clear last on the NRL ladder after 14 rounds.

That makes four covers from their past five matches, with punters starting to regain some confidence in the Dogs after a horror start to 2020.

Likewise, the Dragons also moved to seven covers from 14 games with a stirring win over Parramatta. After a similarly rough start to the year where they performed well below market expectation, St. George are now in every contest and are becoming a serious betting proposition once again. It will be interesting to see whether the market catches up to both sides in the coming weeks, or if the value remains.

Despite being firmly entrenched in the top four, the Eels are on the slide in the line ladder. They’ve dropped to 9th with just six covers for the season and have failed to cover in their last three contests.

At the other end, the Broncos sit a clear last as the only team to have covered just four times this year. While their form has been diabolical for much of the campaign, the bookies have given them chance after chance it would seem. Does that correct itself in the backend of the year?

In the blockbuster of this coming round, Melbourne are getting a 6.5 point head start for their clash with the Roosters. It’s an intriguing betting proposition as much as anything, with the Storm missing some big guns while the Roosters are in some patchy form to say the least.

Panthers backers will also have an interesting decision on their hands, with a massive 18.5 line against Penrith currently being put up by bookies.

It’s the equal-largest line the Panthers have faced this season and while they’ve outperformed the market most weeks, they failed to cover against the Cowboys on that occasion.

NRL Line Ladder Round 13

We have a breakaway top four for punters, and they’re starting to put some separation between them and the rest of the competition.

The Storm, Knights, Sharks and Panthers have covered a combined 35 times with one push from 52 games – punters would have built a nice bank so far this season by just backing those four sides each week!

Heading the next group is a trio of competition heavyweights in the Eels, Raiders and Roosters. This isn’t really a knock on how they’ve performed this year, but simply that the bookies have continually overrated them in the market.

At the other end, the Broncos sit a clear last as the only team to have covered just four times this year. While their form has been diabolical for much of the campaign, the bookies have given them chance after chance it would seem. Does that correct itself in the backend of the year?

In the blockbuster of this coming round, Melbourne are getting a 6.5 point head start for their clash with the Roosters. It’s an intriguing betting proposition as much as anything, with the Storm missing some big guns while the Roosters are in some patchy form to say the least.

Panthers backers will also have an interesting decision on their hands, with a massive 18.5 line against Penrith currently being put up by bookies.

It’s the equal-largest line the Panthers have faced this season and while they’ve outperformed the market most weeks, they failed to cover against the Cowboys on that occasion.

NRL Line Ladder Round 12

We’ve got a three-way tie at the top of the line ladder with the Knights and Sharks joining the Storm with eight covers for the season.

A number of underdogs managed to stay close over the weekend, with the Warriors, Bulldogs, Cowboys and Titans all given big starts and covering comfortably.

The Warriors staged a stirring come-from-behind victory over the Wests Tigers, putting a serious dent in Wests’ immediate finals aspirations and yet again proving their own worth for punters.

Sydney survived another close shave, with the Roosters now having covered the line just five times in twelve matches this season. They give away another big start against the Dragons to kick off round 13… and that may well have punters licking their lips.

NRL Line Ladder Round 11

The Storm put Brisbane to the sword to tighten their grip on top spot. Melbourne has now covered in 8 of 11 games this season, including three lines of 16 points or more!

At the other end, their opponents Brisbane sit last with a +/- of -149… a whopping 85 points worse against the line than their nearest rivals! Remarkably, the Broncos have still covered in 4 of 11 games, suggesting their best is competitive but their worst is nothing short of embarrassing.

The Warriors gave the Roosters a big scare in their clash, with the +24.5 head-start never looking threatened. Midway through the second half the NZ side were a big chance of stealing the match in what would have been the upset of the decade, but Sydney ground out an ugly win.

The Doggies managed to snare an upset over the Knights, never trailing in an impressive performance for the bottom side. Punters will be watching with a keen eye to see if a change in coach sparks a turn around for Canterbury before the market can catch up.

Wests’ patchy betting form continued as they went down by 10 points, narrowly missing the cover against Parramatta. The Tigers’ best is competitive with most sides, but they’ve certainly been a frustrating side for punters to follow this season.

Looking ahead, the Storm and Knights do battle in what will be an intriguing contest. Melbourne’s form is off the charts, but the Knights have performed well against the market in 2020 as well. The 10.5-point head-start for Newcastle, who will be keen to bounce back from a horror show against the Bulldogs, will tempt more than a few punters.

NRL Line Ladder Round 10

We have a new line ladder leader, with the impressive Storm continuing on their merry way with a 42-6 dismantling of the Gold Coast. The Titans, as a result, have been relegated to last on the line ladder standings with just three covers from their 10 matches this season.

The Panthers took over top spot on the league ladder but just missed their line, falling a try short against a gritty Cowboys outfit. One game certainly isn’t a trend, but with the Panthers in red-hot form we may start to see some bigger lines for Penrith to cover as the market catches up to them.

The Broncos provided a glimmer of hope last week, but were promptly obliterated by a ruthless Tigers outfit this week, to the tune of 48-0. The heavy defeat saw them miss their line by a whopping 42 points and puts them firmly back in the ‘too hard’ basket for punters.

Their opponents are a hard team to catch. So far this season Wests have gone W L W L P W W L L W against the line, which has made it a lottery for punters to know which Tigers side will show up from week to week.

They have a handy 8.5-point head-start against the Eels this week, which will make for an interesting watch for punters.

NRL Line Ladder Round 9

We have a new clubhouse leader, with Penrth’s demolition job on Cronulla seeing them leapfrog the Knights into top spot.

The Panthers are one of the form teams in the comp, and have now missed the line in just two of their nine contests – very punter friendly.

The Dragons and Storm also joined the Knights on six covers for the season, with the former in particular proving again to be a great team to have your cash on.

So uth Sydney seem to be the team to back against this season, with the bookies consistently overrating them in the market.However they managed to buck that trend, for a week at least, with a cover against the Tigers. It was largely thanks to a blistering 25 minutes either side of half-time that saw them pile on four tries, before withstanding a furious Wests fightback late in the match.

The Broncos showed signs of life with an emphatic victory over fellow cellar-dwellers Canterbury. With key players starting to come back into the side, Brisbane could be one to watch for punters in the back half of the season if the bookies are slow to react to a change in fortune.

The race for the ‘wooden spoon’ is certainly on, with the Bulldogs, Titans and Cowboys at the foot of the table and separated by just two points on +/-. Steer clear of these three sides, at least for now.

NRL Line Ladder Round 8

The Knights remain a cover clear on top of the ladder this week after surviving a nail-biting finish against the Sea Eagles.

They covered the -1.5 by the bare minimum, but the market still seems to be underrating Newcastle – who currently sit in the top 4 in the league standings.

At the other end, it’s an all-Queensland affair with the Sunshine State’s three sides – Titans, Broncos and Cowboys – occupying the bottom three spots on the line ladder.

The Broncos in particular are being consistently overrated by the market. On Saturday against the Warriors they started 5.5 point favourites only to to lose the game by double digits. Brisbane’s +/- is a whopping -102 through eight games, indicating they are still getting a little too much credit with the bookies – and that includes three games where they actually covered the line.

In contrast, the Dragons – just one place above them on the NRL ladder – have covered their line five times and are quickly becoming a favourite for punters in 2020.

NRL Line Ladder Round 7

At the top of the NRL line ladder, the chasing pack closed in on the Knights with the Panthers, Tigers and Raiders all covering in their respective games. Newcastle started 8-point favourites against the Cowboys but were blown away in emphatic fashion.

The Roosters continued to build on their impressive +/- with another big win,  albeit after a scare from the struggling Dragons. The Storm also received a big boost to their +/- standing with a 50-6 thumping of the Warriors. The New Zealand outfit now find themselves just half a point clear of the Titans at the foot of the line ladder.

The Eels failed to cover again. They now sit in ninth position on the line ladder, despite leading the traditional NRL ladder and looking every bit a premiership threat. It’s a good reminder of what we need to consider when betting the line. It’s not just about how the team is going, it’s about how efficiently the market is rating their chances.

NRL Line Ladder Round 6

The Knights put last week’s hiccup against the Storm firmly behind them this week, with their 21 point win over the hapless Broncos smashing their betting line by 14.5 points. It keeps them comfortably on top of the Line Ladder. They’ve been given a 6.5 point handicap in this week’s game against the lowly Cowboys.

Speaking of the Cowboys… the market is getting them very, very wrong at the moment. After a reasonable start to the season they’ve missed their last three lines by a total of 37 points, a sure sign the market is overrating them.

All of this adds up to the Knights being the bet of the round this week. Will the pattern hold? We shall see…

NRL Line Ladder Round 5

Round 5 of the NRL was a ‘catch-up’ week for the market… it finally caught those teams at either end of the line ladder!

The Knights were the last team to be undefeated at the line in 2020, and the market gave their opponents, the Storm, a 3.5 point headstart on Saturday.

The Storm rampaged to a 14-point win to smash the Knights both on the scoreboard and at the line. The Knights play the battling Broncos this week, while the Storm have a big clash with the Panthers at Campbelltown.

At the other end of the table, the only team that hadn’t covered a line yet his season – South Sydney – finally came through for their backers with a 20-point win over the lowly Titans. The market gave the Titans a 13.5 headstart, which proved to be nowhere near enough.

NRL Line Ladder Round 4

Four weeks into the NRL season, and the Knights rule the roost in terms of line betting. They’re the only team to cover the line in all four of their matches: the market is clearly underrating them this season.

At the other end of the table, the market is yet to catch up with the dismal performances of the Rabbitohs – they’re yet to cover a line in any game this season.

The NRL Ladder for Punters: How it works

While the regular NRL ladder simply records wins and losses, the Line Ladder takes the betting market into account and measure performance against the line.

For example, let’s say the Storm were playing the Dragons. The closing line is -9.5 (Storm) and +9.5 (Dragons).

Storm win the game by 20 points.

The Storm covered the line by 10.5 points. So they record 1 cover, and their ‘Final margin v closing line’ figure is 10.5.

The Dragons record 1 miss, and their ‘Final margin v closing line’ figure is -10.5.

Then those figures just accumulate through the season. The ladder is ranked first by covers, then by cumulative margin vs the closing line.

That’s all there is to it. It measures team performance, but in relation to the market. So you get a view of how well the betting market is performing in predicting each team’s results. A good example of this in 2019 was South Sydney. They had a great year, finishing in third position on the NRL ladder at the end of the regular season. But despite looking good in terms of wins and losses, they often fell short of the market’s expectations. They covered the line only ten times in their 24 matches to finish way down in 13th position on the line ladder. They weren’t often a good line betting proposition. That’s the sort of information that is valuable as a punter, and isn’t available on the regular NRL ladder.

Steve Green is shooting for his fifth straight winning season with NRL Tips in 2020. NRL Tips covers all of the regular season, finals, State of Origin and any post-season internationals. Join now and start betting the with an edge


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