Friday, March 25 from 8:05pm at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
IT’S the 2015 Grand Final rematch NRL punters have been salivating over.
The Brisbane Broncos will be looking to avenge their narrow loss in last year’s final where they gave up a try to Kyle Feldt in the final second of the game. They will also look to erase the memories of last week where they gave up a big lead to the Panthers.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, will be looking to keep their roll going after they defeated the Sydney Roosters 40-0 last Thursday night. Johnathan Thurston was at his brilliant best in the rain-soaked win and the Broncos will need to come fully prepared for another onslaught.
The Broncos won’t be at full strength and their backline resembles nothing like the one that lost to the Cowboys last season. Justin Hodges has retired and the loss of Corey Oates and Jack Reed to injury last week hasn’t made life easy for coach Wayne Bennett.
The Cowboys haven’t made any changes to their squad for the eighth week in a row which makes them a tough proposition.
Despite their injury troubles, bookmakers are counting on Brisbane’s good home record and the Cowboys’ poor record at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos are the favourites with CrownBet.com.au which will give punters up to $50 in bonus points if your team loses by 10 points or less.
Broncos vs. Cowboys head-to-head market and tips
Broncos – $1.65
Cowboys – $2.30
The stats show that the Broncos have won 26 out of 29 games played between these two sides. They also show the Cowboys only winning six of 15 at Suncorp Stadium which is why we think the bookmakers are favouring the Broncos, but are they favouring the wrong side?
We understand home ground advantage is big in any sport, but the Broncos are dealing with multiples injuries and are coming off a disheartening loss to the Penrith Panthers.
The Cowboys have had over a week to prepare for this clash and they remain unchanged in their lineup. They look solid across the park and that will make life tough for the Broncos this Friday night.
There is also the match-up between Thurston and Ben Hunt. Thurston has been on form this season, but Hunt has failed to show his best football this season and he still looks nervous.
Will the thoughts of dropping the kickoff which ultimately lead to the Cowboys winning in 2015 come back to haunt him? We think so and the experience of Thurston and Michael Morgan will play heavily on the result.
The $2.30 at Sportsbet.com.au for the Cowboys looks like great value. It’s rare to see one of the better sides in the NRL paying such a good price and we think this will close up as the game approaches. Bookmakers are giving the Cowboys a +3.5 points start ($1.91 at CrownBet) and that should be a multi-bet inclusion.
Score prediction: Broncos 16 – Cowboys 22
Broncos vs. Cowboys first tryscorer market
Every punter loves a flutter at the first tryscorer and there is a very even market presented here. The top market chances for the Broncos are Greg Eden and James Roberts with the latter trying to trying to score his first try since signing with the Broncos this season.
Roberts is a noted speedster who hasn’t been able to get open air in three games so far this season. Punters and fans are biding their time before he shows his skills, but for the meantime he looks overvalued at $11 in the betting.
A better bet is five-eighth Anthony Milford who has already scored three times this season. Milford is more of a noted playmaker, but has found himself scoring at will this season. Bookmakers have shortened him into $14 to score first for this game.
There are many tryscoring options for Cowboys backers. Thurston is the only back to have not scored a try this season with Justin O’Neill and Kane Linnett both scoring multiple times. Linnett scored first last week and he remains a top chance again at unbelievable odds of $18.
Two Cowboy forwards have also scored twice this season with Ethan Lowe ($23) and Jason Taumalolo ($34) proving hard to stop close to the line. They are solid chances here in what should be a tightly-contested defensive display.
Brisbane Broncos team lineup and tryscoring odds:
Greg Eden – $10
James Roberts – $11
Lachlan Maranta – $11
Jordan Kahu – $12
Kodi Nikorima – $14
Anthony Milford – $14 at WilliamHill.com.au
Ben Hunt – $17
Darius Boyd – $20
Matt Gillett – $20
Alex Glenn – $26
Sam Thaiday – $34
Andrew McCullough – $34
Jarrod Wallace – $46
Joe Ofahengaue – $46
Adam Blair – $56
Josh McGuire – $56
Corey Parker – $56
North Queensland Cowboys team and first tryscorer market:
Kyle Feldt – $11
Antonio Winterstein – $11
Michael Morgan – $18
Kane Linnett – $18 at Sportsbet.com.au
Justin O’Neill – $18
Lachlan Coote – $18
Gavin Cooper – $23
Jake Granville – $23
Ethan Lowe – $23
Johnathan Thurston – $26
Rory Kostjaysn – $34
John Asiata – $34
Jason Taumalolo – $34
Matthew Scott – $51
Scott Bolton – $61
Ben Hannant – $61
James Tamou – $61
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