We have just one round remaining in the NRL season and the finals picture is pretty close to set in stone now.
Of course the final spot won’t be decided until 2:00pm Sunday as we have a win and in game to look forward to.
There’s also three teams still competing for one of the two double chance spots so as we try to line up what is ahead this weekend, let’s look back at the numbers of Round 25.
1 – The Clean Sweep
If you backed all eight favourites to win outright, first of all brave decision and secondly, congratulations on the big land.
It was a great week for the favourites going 8-0 outright and 6-2 against the spread.
There were more than a few nervy moments with two games decided by field goals, not that the Broncos and Raiders will have any problem not covering the line, they were just happy to take the two points.
You would understandably be a bit upset if you’d taken Canberra -1.5 though.
In the first game of the weekend, the Cowboys had a miraculous cover, up 9-8 as a -1.5 favourite going into the game before Shane Wright’s last gasp try gave them a fantastic cover.
On the other end of the scale, the Roosters covered a -14.5 line over the Panthers which was pretty impressive and continuing their very good run of form.
2 – Manly’s Concern Hits Turbo Button
You never want to celebrate an injury to a star player but you’d be remiss not to consider it when betting on their team going forward.
Manly just aren’t the same team without Tom Trbojevic and they’ll have to find a different way to win games without him.
Or you could put Manly as the “back against them” team going into the finals considering their best attacking player doesn’t seem like he’ll be ready to go.
For next weekend though, if you need a new player to back as an Anytime Try Scorer for Manly your best option should be Rueben Garrick or if you’re looking for a value play, stick with the Trbojevic surname and back Tom.
3 – Titans Spread Out Their Struggles
It’s been a rough season on the Gold Coast so perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising to find them with the worst record against the spread on the season.
On the plus side they have covered the line two more times than they have won this season, with a 6-17 record going into their final game against the Dragons still to play.
Three sides have the next lowest number of covers and it’s a mixed bag with the Dragons, Panthers and Rabbitohs all beating the line nine times.
Backing against the Titans with the line has been highly profitable of late with just one cover in the last ten weeks, against the Storm with a +20.5 head start.
4 – Beware the Rested
It’s the final round dilemma every coach would love to have, but Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson have to decide if they want to have their team fresh for the finals or keep their momentum going.
Before jumping on the Storm and Roosters this weekend, it might be worth keeping an eye on their selections when they come out, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a couple of players dealing with niggling injuries are left to rest.
If the Storm do opt to rotate, the backups will still be playing quite hard but it does make the Cowboys at the line look pretty tempting to take.
5 – Win & In
Back when the NRL draw was announced, they could not have had this weekend work out better.
The Sharks and Tigers have a “win and in” game with the eighth spot on the line so get in front of a tv at 2:00pm Sunday.
In the past two weeks the Tigers have put up 88 points and given up just 18 so there’s a great argument to back them as the hot hand, especially with such a strong record at Leichardt Oval.
They have gone 7-4 head to head and against the spread while the Sharks have won just three times away from home all season.
Gear up because this should be a good game.