We have reached the one third marker of the 2021 NRL season with every club eight games into their campaign.
The Premiership is still wide open with the Panthers leading the way however there are half a dozen clubs still very much in the mix.
It was an eventful Round 8 full of upsets, comebacks and most importantly, points and we have our five big takeaways right here.
1 – Road Teams Held the Line
It was a good week to hit the road with six of the eight away teams covering the line.
Only the Broncos and Storm held their ground at home in the handicap market although head-to-head it was a slightly more even split with four wins apiece.
Souths have the best record as the away side through eight rounds with four wins and four covers from five games.
This weekend they are at home against a side that has surprisingly struggled away from home thus far with the Storm recording a 1-2 head-to-head record as the visiting team.
2 – There’s Some Fight Left in the Broncos
Brisbane’s season might not have gone to plan so far but you have to be impressed with the resiliency they showed on Friday night.
It would have been very easy to roll over when down 22-0 after a quarter of an hour but they took the early punches and fought back to claim their second win of the season.
Perhaps is has something to do with the still loyal fans packing out Suncorp Stadium but the Broncos have been a decent bet at home so far this season.
They have covered the line on all four occasions and with three of those games coming on a Thursday or Friday night, it’s a worthwhile trend to follow when they return “home” for Magic Round in a couple of weeks.
3 – The Punters Love Souths (Or Hate The Raiders)
How you see this really depends on your point of view.
The line for the Raiders-Souths game on Thursday night opened at Souths -3.5 and the bettors were more than happy to take on Ricky Stuart’s side.
By kickoff the line had reached 8.5 points in favour of the visitors and that faith was justified as they ran out 34-20 winners.
Canberra has been installed as an early favourite over the Knights this Saturday but it will be a good test of where the punters’ confidence lies if they take on the home side here.
4 – The Roosters Have Hit The Critical Mass
At some point you just have to cut bait and it may time to do that with the Roosters.
It’s not an indictment on their squad, coaching or anything else, but it’s pretty clear that they are in the middle of a season from hell when it comes to injuries.
They have just suffered too many losses to give me any confidence that they can sustain a title challenge come September.
You know they will still be good enough to be in most games though.
When it comes to the 2022 futures market, I’ll be ready to jump on them having a bounce back year.
5 – Keep Backing the Overs
It has been something that has been a popular lesson all season in the NRL, but the points totals in these games continue to beat the pregame numbers.
Six of the eight games went over their closing value with the two Sunday games the only ones to go under.
Seven games had 40 or more points with the Warriors and Cowboys producing 44 but still going under the closing total of 45.5.
Overall this week the games averaged 46 points with the average total being 43, so while the deficit still favours overs, it’s the trend to follow.
The Titans are one of three teams to have six overs to date and could be primed for a bounce back after falling to the Broncos last week.