We are almost at the halfway point of the 2021 NRL season and that means it is State of Origin time.
Players had one final chance to earn a call up this weekend (or avoid missing out on one) and we were delivered plenty of entertaining moments across the eight games.
Check out our five big takeaways below!
1 – Home Cooking Wins The Week
A week after visiting sides stole the show against the spread, home sides dominated the head to head results.
Seven of the eight hosts won their games and the only visiting team to pick up a win was the Storm in Brisbane, who are a fourth Queensland side in every way but name anyway.
There was a healthy mix of favourites winning and a couple of upsets thrown in for good measure with the Cowboys, Sharks and Knights all coming away with surprise victories.
Had you backed every home team to win at their closing price, you would have returned a healthy profit of $7.08 per $8 outlay.
A shortened Round 12 kicks off with the Dragons taking on the Broncos, on the four occasions St George Illawarra have been installed as the punters choice at home they have recorded an even split of results, going 2-2 head to head and against the spread.
2 – The Cowboys Just Keep Rolling On
They made life hard for themselves but the boys up north got the job done in dramatic fashion on Friday night.
After racing out to a 22-6 halftime lead, it looked like the Cowboys were going to blow it, falling behind 28-22 to a rampant New Zealand Warriors outfit.
A late try to Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow started the rally before the boot of Valentine Holmes levelled the scores before winning the game with a 40m field goal.
Currently at $2.40 to make the NRL Finals, there are worse value propositions than the North Queensland Cowboys.
3 – Beware The Big Lines
The punters love Penrith and the markets continue to dare people to take on the runaway competition favourites.
Over their 12 games this season, the Panthers have been favourites in every single one, had a double digit handicap on eight occasions and had the biggest line of the millennium against the Bulldogs at a number of 37.5 points.
It turns out that number was just too big for even Penrith to handle in spite of winning their prior three games by an average of 42.67 points.
While a 26-point victory is nothing to be ashamed of, it wasn’t enough to cover that insane handicap.
It’s a nice reminder for punters as well that as the handicaps approach AFL level numbers, it becomes a huge ask for the favourites to cover, even with some of the mismatches we have seen thus far.
As you would expect, the Storm have been installed as the biggest favourites of Round 13 with a head to head price of $1.11 and a 20 point handicap.
4 – The Knights Have A Chance To Build Some Momentum
Newcastle handed Manly its first defeat in almost a month with their hard fought, 18-10 win on the weekend.
Daniel Saifiti secured the two points with this effort and the Knights certainly enjoyed their first win since Round 6.
Every streak starts with a first victory and the Knights have a great chance to push for the top eight if they can keep up that fight.
Up next for them is a Parramatta side that is coming off back to back defeats and will be short on confidence.
5 – It’s Going To Be Tough Next Week
Welcome to one of the two toughest weekends in the NRL season.
Half the competition is on a bye, which means half the number of games and most teams will be missing players due to Origin call ups.
There’s no need to chase a bet here if you can’t get a good read on the sides involved, but it does offer up a great opportunity to check out our State of Origin markets available here!