5 Lessons Learned – NRL Round 18

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It was points galore in Round 18 of the NRL season, unfortunately for some teams though, the scoring wasn’t shared around.

There were quite a few one sided affairs but that didn’t stop the punters who backed the favourites and the over having a very good weekend.

In fact it was a clean sweep* for the favourites this weekend and six of the eight games hit the over as well.

As always there was a lot to take away from this past weekend so let’s get into our 5 Lessons Learned from the NRL.

1 – Favourites Flourish

Three weeks after we had our first statistical clean sweep of the season in the total points category, it was a perfect* weekend for the favourites, going 8-0 both head to head and against the spread.

First of all let’s clarify the asterisk, by kickoff the Warriors-Sharks game had moved to a pick, so there was no “favourite” there but New Zealand did open with the shorter odds so for the sake of ease, we’ll call them the favourites with a half point line.

It started with the Broncos comfortable accounting for the Bulldogs, and aside from the Warriors one point win, the closest any side came to not covering was Canberra who only beat the Tigers by eight points.

The Raiders are actually the best side all season against the spread, going 12-5 on the season, including a remarkable 4-1 as an underdog, so they know how to keep games close, but more on them later

Conversely, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the Titans are massive battlers against the spread covering just five times this season, by the way they are playing the Broncos and are once again underdogs.

2 – Points Galore

If you like high scoring games, this was the weekend for you, as long as both sides scoring plenty of points is not a prerequisite.

Last week saw six of the eight games with points totals of 40 or more and just three went over, this time, there were just three with a high number and six hit the high mark for points.

That field goal in New Zealand was not only decisive for the Warriors but it also helped the game clear the pregame total of 36.5.

Overall this weekend there were 383 points scored across the eight games for an average of 47.875 points per game.

Five of the winning sides scored over 30 points but remarkably, five of the losing sides managed to score at least 18 points as well.

Don’t be too surprised if there’s some sort of correction next weekend with a much more balanced spread of overs and unders.

One game that should have a pretty high line and a decent chance of clearing it though, is the Eels-Warriors game on Saturday afternoon.

Parra loves to play at Bankwest and has an 11-6 record of overs, going 5-3 at home while the Warriors have the same overall record but have gone 6-2 against the points total line.

3 – Tigers Travel Woes

Wests road struggles continued this weekend losing another game away from home, going down in Canberra by a score of 20-12.

That dropped their record to 2-6 as the away team which, compared to their home record of 5-4, they really need to at least try and shore things up over the next month.

It can start this weekend when they face another trip, heading to Newcastle.

There’s no sugar coating just how underwhelming the Knights were last weekend getting crushed by the Roosters, but should we be expecting a bounce back against a side that doesn’t travel well?

4 – Sea Eagles Spread Their Wings

We are going to be better than making a “Manly Hits Turbo Drive” pun about the Sea Eagles finding a rich vein of form with the Trbojevic brothers taking charge of the side’s surge up the ladder.

Since losing to the Titans and Panthers in successive weeks, the Sea Eagles have gone 4-1 head to head, and covered the line in five straight games, making them a very appealing betting play.

The only game they lost was against the Rabbitohs and that was by a single field goal and they looked pretty good cruising by Parramatta on Sunday evening.

Overall this season they have posted an 11-6 record against the spread with an even 6-3/5-3 home and away split.

It will be a huge ask to keep the run going when they face the ultimate test in the competition this weekend, travelling to Melbourne but given the history between these two sides, it could be an excellent encounter.

5 – Penrith v Raiders Preview

The other game this weekend featuring two sides currently in the top six features the Panthers hosting the Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

Neither side can feel overly safe about it’s spot in the top eight just yet but the Raiders are one of the competition’s best travelling teams and could give themselves some breathing room with a win here.

With a 5-3 record away from the nation’s capital, including shutouts of the Titans and Tigers, Canberra has shown it can win all over the place.

Penrith on the other hand absolutely dismantled the Dragons putting up their highest score of the season and breaking 20 points in back to back weeks for the first time since Rounds Five and Six.

In short, two sides that are in form should put on a treat of a game.