IT’S HARD to believe we’re already into Round 19 of the NRL, but the business end of the season is well and truly here.
The heritage round kicks off with a Friday night double header featuring the Eels vs. Bulldogs and Storm vs. Panthers.
Only two of the four teams sit inside the top eight, so expect a tough contest from both the Eels and Panthers which will be looking to make a late charge into the playoffs.
There will be plenty of focus on the third game this Saturday night between the Dragons and Rabbitohs. The Dragons are sliding down the ladder and need the two points to get back into title contention.
The Roosters take on the always tough Warriors which now sit fourth on the ladder and the week ends when the Sea Eagles take on the Cowboys on Monday night.
Eels vs. Bulldogs
Friday, July 17, 9:35pm, ANZ Stadium
Eels – $3.20 (+8.0)
Bulldogs – $1.37 (-8.0)
You never really know what you’re going to get with the Eels and their head-to-head odds suggest they don’t stand much chance, but the Eels of 2015 can surprise you.
They seem to sneak up on teams when least expected and the Bulldogs haven’t exactly looked like world beaters this season.
With an 8-8 record the Bulldogs have managed to sneak inside the top eight and they will be looking to secure the win and stave off the competition that are closing in.
Tip: Bulldogs to win at $1.37
Exotic: Perrett to score ($2.45) at CrownBet.com.au
Storm vs. Panthers
Friday, July 17, 9:35pm, AAMI Park
Storm – $1.38 (-8.0)
Panthers – $3.15 (+8.0)
The Storm sit in a precarious position on the ladder in sixth place after losing to the Warriors last week. The Melbourne-based side haven’t quite looked the same since losing Billy Slater and there is doubt about them making the playoffs.
They should find life much easier at home against the Panthers which haven’t had much to get excited about this year.
Many believed the Panthers would have a good chance last week against the Roosters, but they scored only four points and gave up 24.
The bookmakers look to have this game on the money and the two Friday night favourites should win their respective games.
Tip: Storm -8.0 ($1.91) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Storm 13+ at $2.25
Raiders vs. Sharks
Saturday, July 18, 3:05pm, GIO Stadium
Raiders – $1.65 (-3.5)
Sharks – $2.25 (+3.5)
We get the feeling the bookmakers weren’t sure which team to make favourite in this, but they are risking a fair bit on the Sharks.
The Cronulla side are coming off a demolition job of the Dragons 28-8 and are the outsiders in their next game. Their price represents value regardless of the fact that the Raiders are also coming off an impressive win.
The Raiders scored an impressive 36 points in their win against the Knights, but they won’t find things that easy against a more formidable defense in this clash.
We expect a very tight game and we suggest taking the Sharks at a value price.
Tip: Sharks to win ($2.25) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Sharks -3.5 at $2.74
Knights vs. Titans
Saturday, July 18, 5:35pm, Hunter Stadium
Knights – $1.58 (-4.0)
Titans – $2.40 (+4.0)
I doubt there will be much interest in this game as both teams are struggling to find any reason to turn each week.
The Knights suffered an embarrassing loss last week against the Raiders and the Titans were manhandled at home by the Manly Sea Eagles.
Bookies are favouring the Knights at home and based on their team lineup, they should win this.
Tip: Knights -4.0 ($1.91) at WilliamHill.com.au
Exotic: Over 38.5 points at $1.90
Dragons vs. Rabbitohs
Saturday, July 18, 7:35pm, SCG
Dragons – $3.05 (+8.0)
Rabbitohs – $1.38 (-8.0)
Oh how the mighty ‘Red V’ have fallen. After sitting inside the top two throughout the early stages of the season, the Dragons have slipped all the way down to seventh.
Things don’t get easier for the Dragons as they take on a Rabbitohs side looking to break their way into the top four.
The Rabbitohs sit nine points behind the Warriors on points differential after receiving a bye round last week. The bookmakers think they will win this game comfortably and we might have to agree.
Take the Rabbitohs to win and throw them into your NRL multi-bets.
Tip: Rabbitohs to win at $1.38
Exotic: Under 36.5 points ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Roosters vs. Warriors
Sunday, July 19, 2:05pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters – $1.28 (-10.5)
Warriors – $3.70 (+10.5)
The Warriors are getting absolutely no respect from bookmakers this week, most likely due to their injury count.
The Warriors have been in great form and have made their way into the top four, but without Manu Vatuvei and a host of other players, bookies think a win against the Roosters is a stretch too far.
The Roosters sit in third position on the ladder and are well poised for another run at the title after defeating the Panthers by 20 points.
We still don’t think the Warriors deserve the be the second largest underdogs of the week so the +10.5 looks good to us.
Tip: Warriors +10.5 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Lolohea to score at $2.50
Broncos vs. Tigers
Sunday, July 19, 4:05pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos – $1.13 (-16.5)
Tigers – $6.00 (+16.5)
It’s safe to say the Brisbane Broncos are hot favourites to win against the Tigers after putting in a gutsy 16-8 performance against the Bulldogs.
The Tigers on the other hand aren’t going so well this season and this should really be a try-fest. The Tigers are coming off a bye week which would have given them a much needed rest, but it could all be for nothing.
The Broncos are high flying and should take this game comfortably.
Tip: Broncos -16.5 at $1.90
Exotic: Over 44.5 ($1.90) at CrownBet.com.au
Sea Eagles vs. Cowboys
Monday, July 20, 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles – $1.85 (-1.0)
Cowboys – $1.95 (+1.0)
Throw the NRL ladder out the window said the bookmakers this week. Who would have thought the lowly-placed Sea Eagles would start favourites over the second placed Cowboys?
The Cowboys have won 12 and lost four games, as opposed to the Sea Eagles record of 16 and six. We realise the Sea Eagles have improved in their recent games, but does that count for much against the Cowboys?
Don’t overthink this game and take the much better side.
Tip: Cowboys to win ($1.95) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Cowboys HTFT at $3.00
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