Dragons – $1.75 at Sportsbet.com.au
Titans – $2.10
Points spread line
Dragons: -1.5 ($1.92 at CrownBet.com)
Titans: +1.5 ($1.92)
A potential NRL playoff spot is on the line this Friday night at Jubilee Oval as the eighth-placed Dragons take on the ninth-placed Titans.
Both teams have been on the verge of looking like finals contenders this season, but recent losses have stifled the charge.
The Dragons were manhandled by the Sea Eagles in round 17 before receiving the much-needed bye week. They had looked good prior, with wins coming against the cellar-dwelling Newcastle Knights and the Origin-affected Melbourne Storm, but just how strong those wins were is the big question.
The Titans, on the other hand, have lost three of their last four games, with their only win in that patch coming against Manly.
Following the 30-10 smashing of the Eagles, the Titans have lost 22-30 to the Canberra Raiders and 18-27 to the New Zealand Warriors. Both are top-eight sides so the losses aren’t overly poor, but it would want to improve if it’s going to score an away win this Friday.
In the Titans favour is their record at Jubilee. They have won two of their three games there, while the Dragons only have a 50 percent win rate this season at the venue.
State of Origin star Josh Dugan is expected to start for the Dragons and former Warrior Konrad Hurrell will surely have an impact in a Titans jersey.
Dragons vs. Titans anytime tryscorer market
We’re not so sure defence is going to play a big part in this game. There should be plenty of tries, which makes the anytime scoring market very attractive.
No Dragons player has scored in double digits this season, with Kalifa Faifai-Loa and Euan Aitken leading the club on five a piece. That doesn’t mean tries won’t flow this Friday night as the Titans have conceded more than 22 points in three of their last four games.
Expect a big game from Josh Dugan, who will be lining up in the fullback role. He has played in 13 games for the Dragons this season and has scored only two tries, but he has had a team-leading seven line breaks.
The 17 errors committed makes him a head-scratching Origin selection, but he should perform better at this level.
Dragons team list and tryscorer odds:
Market by Sportsbet
1. Josh Dugan – $2.10
2. Kalifa Faifai-Loa – $2
3. Euan Aitken – $2.40
4. Kurt Mann – $3.10
5. Jason Nightingale – $1.91
6. Gareth Widdop – $3.60
7. Benji Marshall – $5
8. Russell Packer – $10
9. Mitch Rein – $5
10. Tyson Frizell – $5
11. Jacob Host – $5
12. Joel Thompson – $5
13. Jack de Belin – $6
14. Tariq Sims – $4.20
15. Leeson Ah Mau – $10
16. Dunamis Lui – $10
17. Jake Marketo – $5
Dugan is good value at $2.10 with Sportsbet; look for him to get more involved in the game. He will be playing only two days after origin, but we think that will help his cause this Friday night.
Other Dragons try-scoring options are Kurt Mann ($3) and Tyson Frizell ($5), who is another Origin star on the back up. Frizell is having a standout season and has already scored three tries from 15 games.
Mann has played in only five games for the Dragons and has scored four tries. He is great value to score at $3.10 so get stuck into that price at Sportsbet.
Titans team list and anytime tryscorer tips:
Market by Sportsbet
1. David Mead – $3.20
2. Anthony Don – $1.91
3. Josh Hoffman – $2.50
4. Konrad Hurrell – $2.40
5. Nene Macdonald – $2.30
6. Tyrone Roberts – $4.33
7. Ashley Taylor – $4.33
8. Luke Douglas – $10
9. Nathan Peats – $6
10. Ryan James – $6
11. Zeb Taia – $5
12. Chris McQueen – $5
13. Greg Bird – $6
14. Eddy Pettybourne – $9
15. Leivaha Pulu – $6
16. Agnatius Paasi – $6
17. Nathan Friend – $7.50
Konrad Hurrell was a lazy player with the Warriors, but he should have received a boost when the Titans picked him up off the scrap heap. He’s extremely hard to stop when he’s close to the line and $2.40 is a good price for the enigmatic Tongan centre to cross the line in his second game for Gold Coast.
The Titans have a plethora of scoring options. Anthony Don, Josh Hoffman and Nene Macdonald have all scored six tries this season, but it’s prop Ryan James who leads the count with seven.
The rampaging James is playing well above what was expected and, despite his prolific record, is still paying $6 to score a try at Sportsbet. That is great value and worth including in your weekend NRL bets.
Dragons vs. Titans game prediction
The Titans should have too much firepower for the Dragons despite what the bookmakers suggest. A Gold Coast win would see them jump in front of the Dragons on the NRL ladder (due to points differential) and could kick-start their resurgence.
With players such as Hoffman, Ashley Taylor, Chris McQueen and Greg Bird, the Titans have a great mix of youth and experience that see them over the line at $2.15 in the head-to-head market.
Expect a high-scoring game, plenty of tries and a scoreline resembling a 30-20 Titans win.
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