THERE has been plenty of off-field drama this week, especially regarding the decision of Daly Cherry-Evans to stay at Manly, but just how will that affect both Manly and the Titans this week?
Both teams will be in action this Friday night, but they won’t be facing each other. The Sea Eagles are playing the equal premiership-leading Brisbane Broncos and the Titans square up against the Tigers.
Other highlight clashes include the Rabbitohs vs. Warriors and Bulldogs vs. Dragons.
We have all eight NRL games covered this Queen’s Birthday Weekend complete with analysis, odds and free tips.
Broncos vs. Sea Eagles
Friday, May 5, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos – $1.39 (-8)
Sea Eagles – $3.00 (+8)
The Broncos managed to escape the first Origin period unscathed, winning against the Knights without their stars, and winning last week against the Raiders.
They currently sit second on the ladder with 18 points, sitting only behind the Dragons on points difference. They are at full strength for this game against the Eagles, who should be pleased that DCE has stayed with them.
Daly Cherry-Evans has decided to stay with the Eagles after it was almost certain the play-maker could be leaving. How that will affect the Eagles, we’re not sure, but having him there should only be a positive in the eyes of punters.
The Broncos are expected to win this game, but the -8 line is troubling. The Sea Eagles have tightened up in recent weeks and they could cover this spread.
Tip: Sea Eagles +8 ($1.91) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Over 40.5 points
Tigers vs. Titans
Friday, May 5, 7:45pm, Leichardt Oval
Tigers – $1.65 (-3.5)
Titans – $2.25 (+3.5)
The big question is how will the Titans come out after losing Daly Cherry-Evans? Will they have a point to prove?
The Titans were expecting the superstar to feature heavily in their attack, but he has left them up a creek without a paddle.
Now the Titans must regroup and they can use that energy to overcome the Tigers which haven’t exactly been in scintillating form.
The Tigers are coming off a bye which was needed after being beaten 8-0 by the North Queensland Cowboys without their Origin stars.
There doesn’t seem to be much going right for the Tigers and the Titans are coming off a strong performance against the Rabbitohs, so we favour the underdog here.
Tip: Titans to win ($2.25) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Titans HTFT at $3
Knights vs. Raiders
Saturday, May 6, 3:05pm, Hunter Stadium
Knights – $1.95 (+1.5)
Raiders – $1.85 (-1.5)
The Knights poor season continued last week when they lost 24-20 to the Warriors.
They face the Raiders which are also coming off a loss (24-12 to the Broncos), but their season has had more positives than negatives.
The Raiders may be on a three-game losing streak which has seen them slip out of the top eight, but they handily defeated the Titans 56-16 in Round 9 and that form could be reached again here.
The Knights have been bit by the confidence bug and their form is very poor at this stage, but playing at Hunter Stadium will increase their chances.
Tough game to call, but we’re sticking with the offensively-minded Raiders.
Tip: Raiders to win at $1.85
Exotic: Raiders 1-12 ($3.20) at CrownBet.com.au
Rabbitohs vs. Warriors
Saturday, May 6, 5:35pm, NIB Stadium
Rabbitohs – $1.65 (-3.5)
Warriors – $2.25 (+3.5)
Is this the same Rabbitohs team that won the premiership last season? It certainly doesn’t look like it after just scraping by the Titans last week.
The Rabbitohs started the season well, but haven’t looked the same since losing to the Eels 29-16 in Round 4.
The Warriors on the other hand have plenty of confidence after beating the Knights and the play of Shaun Johnson is giving them reason to be confident.
Johnson has played himself into Dally M Medal contention with some stellar performances and the young Warriors backs are jumping on his lead.
The Warriors tend to play best against the quality sides and we’re expecting them to push the Rabbitohs in what should be a close thriller.
Tip: Warriors +3.5 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Shaun Johnson to score at $3
Panthers vs. Storm
Saturday, May 6, 7:35pm, Pepper Stadium
Panthers – $2.25 (+3.5)
Storm – $1.65 (-3.5)
Those who watched the Roosters vs. Storm game last Monday night witness one of the worst Storm performances in their young NRL history.
The Storm got thrashed on every level and there was nothing the Origin players could do about it. They did miss the fullback play of Billy Slater, but the forwards weren’t able to get any go-forward ball and this must change if they want to beat the Panthers.
Penrith have a very good chance to capitalise on a Storm side lacking confidence and the underdog price looks very enticing.
$2.25 is a good price for the Panthers which won their last home game against the Sea Eagles.
Tip: Panthers to win ($2.25) at WilliamHill.com.au
Exotic: Panthers +3.5
Sharks vs Roosters
Sunday, May 7, 4:05pm, Remondis Stadium
Sharks – $3.00 (+8)
Roosters – $1.39 (-8)
The Roosters are coming off the most dominant display of league you will see this year, beating the Storm 24-2 in an absolute smashing at ANZ Stadium last Monday.
Due to that impressive display, their odds for this game against the Sharks is very low at $1.39, but for multi-bet punters that price should sit well.
The Sharks haven’t been too bad in recent times, but they would have to improve ten-fold in order to overcome the much improved Roosters outfit.
Tip: Roosters to win at $1.39
Exotic: Aubusson to score first ($11) at CrownBet.com.au
Bulldogs vs. Dragons
Monday, May 8, 4:05pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs – $1.85
Dragons – $1.85
The Queen’s Birthday Monday doubleheader kicks off with the Bulldogs vs. Dragons. This game is one of the most highly anticipated games so far this season.
The Dragons sit atop of the NRL premiership after smashing the Sharks 42-6 last weekend and you know they are travelling well when Benji Marshall is leading the Dally M Medal count after 12 rounds.
The Bulldogs have been up and down this season, but they are coming off a bye which followed a dramatic 41-34 win over the Raiders.
The Bulldogs were always going to click into form sooner or later and this is a big danger game for the high-flying Dragons.
The bookmakers can’t split them, but we’re leaning towards the Bulldogs.
Tip: Bulldogs to win ($1.85) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Bulldogs 1-12 at $3.20
Eels vs. Cowboys
Monday, May 8, 7:00pm, Pirtek Stadium
Eels – $2.70 (+6)
Cowboys – $1.47 (-6)
The Eels are a very tough team to trust, but they are coming off a 26-20 win at home against the Penrith Panthers.
The Eels have struggled with consistency this season, but they grow in confidence when they play at Pirtek Stadium and they’ll need all of that against premiership favourites the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Cowboys managed to score a win last week against the Sea Eagles, but notch that closely-run encounter down to Origin tiredness.
With time to rest, expect the Cowboys to put all their best moves in the final game of Round 13. The $1.47 is on the shorter side of value, but there will be a lot of multi-bets ending on this option.
Tip: Cowboys to win at $1.47
Exotic: Under 41.5 points ($1.90) at CrownBet.com.au