THE NRL showed why it’s one of the most even competitions in the world last week.
There were upsets a plenty with the Sea Eagles, Knights and Panthers all losing by double-digit numbers in games they were heavily favoured to win.
The biggest upset, however, came when the lowly-placed Cronulla Sharks ($4.85 at Sportsbet.com.au) defeated the Sydney Roosters 20-12 in an inspired display of rugby league.
The Good Friday clash between the Bulldogs vs. Rabbitohs went as expected with the Rabbits stealing a one-point win. The Broncos, Tigers, Storm and the Cowboys all had solid wins and will be looking to continue their momentum into round six.
The week kicks off with what should be a cracking game between the Roosters and Broncos, and it ends on Monday night with another when the Rabbitohs take on the Cowboys.
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Broncos vs. Roosters
Friday, April 10, 7:45pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos – $2 (+1.5)
Roosters – $1.80 (-1.5)
The Broncos are coming off a solid win against the Titans but what quality of opposition were they really up against?
The Queensland-based team has got off to a flying start this season, winning four and losing one, however they face a Roosters team that will be fuming and out for revenge.
The Sydney Roosters were left shocked last week as they went down 20-12 to the previously win-less Cronulla Sharks.
They still own a very slick back line but questions over Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s future will put some doubts in the minds of his fellow players. Still, the Roosters have a very good chance for redemption and their record at Suncorp consists of five games for four wins.
Tip: Roosters to win ($1.80) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Roosters -5.5 at $2.30
Sharks vs. Knights
Friday, April 10, 7:45pm, Remondis Stadium
Sharks – $1.74 (-1.5)
Knights – $2.10 (+1.5)
Low and behold the Sharks won a game, and it came against a quality opponent in the Sydney Roosters.
The Sharks were tailing into the abyss at the bottom of the table but they have found new life and now they get to face a Knights team reeling after scoring no points last week.
Led by Paul Gallen, the Sharks team – which looks good on paper – finally put it all together and caused a massive boil over at huge odds.
The Knights, on the other hand, came crashing back down to earth after remaining undefeated through the opening four rounds of the competition. The coal mining-men failed to score a point against the Dragons and they will need to find some improvement to feature here.
The last time these two sides played each other resulted in a Knights win but the Sharks have their tails up and should be tough to beat on that.
Tip: Sharks to win ($1.74) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Sharks 13+ at $4
Eels vs. Titans
Saturday, April 11, 3:05pm, Pirtek Stadium
Eels – $1.39 (-7.5)
Titans – $3 (+7.5)
The Eels got absolutely hammered by the Wests Tigers last week, but have been installed as the red-hot $1.39 favourites.
The home side has plenty of talent with Chris Sandow running the ship in the back line and with players like Semi Radradra to pass to, it’s no wonder they are at such short odds.
The Titans didn’t look too bad against the Broncos but it’s going to be tough for them to find traction this season. Their off-the-field antics appear to be haunting them and the Parramatta crowd can be daunting to play in front of.
We’re not confident the Titans can win, but the price for the Eels is just too short.
Tip: Titans +7.5 ($1.90)
Exotic: Titans +10.5 ($1.60) at WilliamHill.com.au
Warriors vs. Tigers
Saturday, April 11, 5:35pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors – $1.42 (-6.5)
Tigers – $2.85 (+6.5)
As a Warriors supporter it pains me to say this, but they’re just not playing well.
The New Zealand-based Warriors have won two from five with their only two wins coming against the Raiders in round two and the Eels in round three.
Playmaker Shaun Johnson played one of his worst games last week against the Storm and he appears to be side-tracked, or hasn’t yet played through the rust of the off-season.
The Tigers have looked good in patches, especially last week where they racked up a convincing 22-6 win against the Eels.
With players such as James Tedesco, Pat Richards and Luke Brooks, the Tigers look like tremendous value at $2.85.
They have a 44 per cent win rate at Mt Smart which isn’t overly poor and they will be looking to avenge their most recent 42-18 loss to the Warriors last season.
Tip: Tigers to win ($2.85) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Pat Richards to score two or more tries – $10
Panthers vs. Sea Eagles
Saturday, April 11, 7:35pm, Pepper Stadium
Panthers – $1.50 (-6)
Sea Eagles – $2.60 (+6)
The points start line seems a touch fishy here, as $1.50 favourites usually only give away 3.5-4.5 points, but the Panthers are giving away six.
That makes us believe that money has come for the Panthers in the points start market but punters aren’t touching the $1.50 for the head-to-head.
The Panthers have started the season well but will be disappointed with their 20-point loss at the hands of the North Queensland Cowboys last week.
They face the Sea Eagles which need some serious help after losing to the Canberra Raiders by double digits last week.
They are not the same Manly team of old, there is no toughness in their unit, and teams will enjoy facing them this season.
Expect the Panthers to roll over the injury-ridden Sea Eagles at home.
Tip: Panthers -6 ($1.90)
Exotic: Panthers -11.5 ($2.45) at CrownBet.com.au
Raiders vs. Storm
Sunday, April 12, 2:05pm, GIO Stadium
Raiders -$2.50 (+5.5)
Storm – $1.53 (-5.5)
The Raiders may have scored an upset win against the Manly Sea Eagles last week, but expect a much more resilient Storm outfit here.
The Raiders took advantage of some sloppy defense and ran in 29 points for an easy victory. Their form prior wasn’t flash and the Storm are coming off a demolition of the Warriors.
The always-professional Melbourne Storm always have a chance at winning the premiership so long as the ‘big three’ stay in tact. Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater are the glue that keeps the Storm together but Slater will miss four games due to injury and that could play a part in this game.
The Storm lost their only game at GIO Stadium, but they did win their latest game against the Raiders 28-14 and their overall record sits at 25 games won and 10 lost.
Include the $1.53 for the Storm in your NRL multi-bets this week.
Tip: Storm to win ($1.53) at Luxbet.com.au
Exotic: Koroibete to score a try – $1.72
Dragons vs. Bulldogs
Sunday, April 12, 4:05pm, ANZ Stadium
Dragons – $1.80 (-1.5)
Bulldogs – $2 (+1.5)
The bookmakers are finding it tough to split these two teams and it’s tough to gauge which team has the forward momentum for this game.
The Bulldogs lost a dramatic one-point game against the Rabbitohs last week and the fans showed their disgust by targeting the refs. Whether or not that loss will unite the Bulldogs is yet to be seen, but they don’t deserve to be underdogs for this clash.
The Dragons have had a mixed start to the season but managed to hold the Knights to nil last week in their 13-0 win.
They have never been the most consistent team and we see value with the big Bulldogs forward pack in what should be an exciting game this Sunday.
Tip: Bulldogs to win ($2) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Bulldogs HTFT – $2.63
Rabbitohs vs. Cowboys
Monday, April 13, 7:05pm, ANZ Stadium
Rabbitohs – $1.75 (-1.5)
Cowboys – $2.08 (+1.5)
On face value, the $1.75 for the Rabbitohs looks like good money, especially considering they have dropped only one game this season.
That loss came to the Eels in round four but they quickly rebounded with an 18-17 win against the Bulldogs in a bruising contest last week.
Considering the Rabbitohs were raging hot favourites for the NRL premiership a few weeks ago, and the Cowboys were win-less at that point, the market doesn’t seem right here.
The Cowboys did notch their first season win last week against the Panthers and Johnathan Thurston seemed to find his best form, but this will be a much harder contest.
Don’t overthink the market situation here and take the better team to win.
Tip: Rabbitohs to win ($1.75) at WilliamHill.com.au
Exotic: Rabbitohs 1-12 at $3.20