THE NRL returns after State of Origin Game One thrilled fans on Wednesday night, with Queensland coming out as narrow winners 11-10 over the Blues.
Round 12 features seven games including the marquee game between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm next Monday night.
Other feature games include the Raiders vs. Broncos, while the Dragons will be looking to continue their good mid-season form against the Sharks.
The round starts with the Panthers taking on the Eels and both teams need to kick-start their season, otherwise a finish in the bottom eight is looking likely.
Panthers vs. Eels
Friday, May 29, 7:45pm, Pepper Stadium
Panthers – $1.38 (-8)
Eels – $3.05 (+8)
The Eels were unable to take advantage of the Rabbitohs missing key players when they lost 14-12 last week, and they face a Panthers team coming off a much needed bye week.
The Panthers won narrowly in Round 10, beating the Manly Sea Eagles by a solitary point and the win plus the bye-week points has moved them back into the top 8.
The Eels have a team that can show up at any given time and the $3.05 looks like good value, but they will need something better from Chris Sandow, if he sneaks into the squad.
Tip: Eels +8 ($1.91) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Semi Radradra to score at $2.30
Titans vs. Rabbitohs
Saturday, May 30, 3:05pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Titans – $2.60 (+5.5)
Rabbitohs – $1.50 (-5.5)
Things don’t get much easier for the Titans as they face a Rabbitohs side that gets their Origin stars back.
The Titans sit in 13th position after a lacklustre couple of weeks, but the bookmakers line leans up to believe they will be competitive against the Bunnies.
The +5.5 is within the one converted try range and we thought the Titans would be getting at least 8-10 points in this one.
The Rabbitohs sit in sixth position on the ladder, but they have shown some chinks in their armour this season.
The $1.50 looks too short, so take the value with the Titans.
Tip: Titans +5.5
Exotic: Titans HTFT ($3.60) at CrownBet.com.au
Raiders vs. Broncos
Saturday, May 30, 5:35pm, GIO Stadium
Raiders – $1.82
Broncos – $2
It may be ninth versus second on the ladder, but the Canberra Raiders hold slight favouritism over the Brisbane Broncos which are coming off a strong win without their stars.
The “Baby Broncos” won last Monday against the Newcastle Knights and they were missing the likes of Sam Thaiday, Justin Hodges and Corey Parker.
That win holds them in good stead for this, but the Raiders have been tough to beat at home, despite losing in a points scoring fest last week against the Bulldogs.
Defense wasn’t to be seen as the Raiders scored 34 points but lost 34-41. They have no trouble scoring, but holding out the intelligent offense of the Broncos will be tough.
Tip: Broncos to win ($2) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Darius Boyd to score first at $15
Cowboys vs. Sea Eagles
Saturday, May 30, 7:35pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium
Cowboys – $1.28 (-10.5)
Sea Eagles – $3.72 (+10.5)
The North Queensland Cowboys are coming off a gritty display against the West Tigers where they didn’t allow a single point.
The Cowboys started their season off horribly, but have since found their best form and winning against the Tigers without the likes of Johnathan Thurston and James Tamou is a very strong effort.
They face the Sea Eagles which failed to win at home last week, a game in which they were favoured to win.
The loss set them back as the two points could have pushed them close to the top eight. Things don’t get easier here and they should struggle against the in-form Cowboys.
Tip: Cowboys 13+ ($2.10) at WilliamHill.com.au
Exotic: Lachlan Coote to score a try at $2.10
Warriors vs. Knights
Sunday, May 31, 2:05pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors – $1.36 (-9.5)
Knights – $3.18 (+9.5)
The New Zealand Warriors sit just inside the top 8 after some impressive mid-season form.
They should continue on their winning ways as they come up against the Newcastle Knights which are struggling to find any form of late.
The Knights had a halftime lead against the Broncos which were missing plenty of stars and they should have performed better.
Travelling to New Zealand won’t be easy for the Knights which are reeling after starting the season well, and we’re expecting them to struggle once again.
Tip: Warriors -9.5 ($1.90) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Warriors 13+ at $2.10
Dragons vs. Sharks
Sunday, May 31, 4:05pm, WIN Jubilee Oval
Dragons – $1.45 (-6.5)
Sharks – $2.78 (+6.5)
The Dragons are high flying and they sit third on the NRL ladder after beating the Raiders 32-18 in Round 10.
Led by a solid defense, the Dragons are doing just enough to score the two points and facing the Sharks shouldn’t pose too many problems for their defense.
The Sharks are currently in 10th position and have yet to find their rhythm this season. They still sit within range of the top eight which should spur them on.
This game has a classic Sunday thriller written all over it so expect a tight contest between two evenly-placed teams.
Tip: Sharks +6.5 at $1.90
Exotic: Dragons 1-12 ($3) at Sportsbet.com.au
Roosters vs. Storm
Monday, June 1, 7:00pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters – $1.57 (-4)
Storm – $2.42 (+4)
What a cracking game this is setting up to be as the fifth-place Sydney City Roosters take on the league-leading Melbourne Storm.
The Roosters hit a mid-season patch of bad form, but have rebounded well and they look like the team that has contested the finals in recent years.
The Storm will welcome back their star trio of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk and that combination is proving very tough to beat.
The Storm are sitting in the familiar position at the top of the table and they are getting four points in this matchup, which looks like value.
We’re leaning towards the Storm in a tight contest.
Tip: Storm +4 ($1.90) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Under 36.5 points
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