NRL Round 17 sure is short and sweet.
There were some big results last weekend, but aside from the Storm jumping back up into the Top 3, the ladder remained relatively unchanged.
With eight teams on a bye this week, there’s plenty on the line for the likes of the Panthers and Broncos, but all eyes will be on Thursday night’s match up in what looks like a potential grand final showdown.
Four days, four games, and as always, all of our 2018 NRL Round 17 Tips can be found below!
Melbourne Storm Vs St. George Dragons
Thursday 5 July, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
If we took anything away from last week, it’s this: the Storm and the Dragons aren’t invincible.
Okay, both teams still walked away with a win, but the Dragons looked rather unconvincing for the better part of 60-minutes against the Eels, while the Storm sputtered their way to a last minute field goal win over the Roosters in Adelaide.
You could say all of that sets the stage for what should be a Thursday night epic this week.
When these two teams last met back in Round 9 it was the Dragons running away with a comfy 34-14 victory at home, but although St. George sit atop the ladder, this Melbourne outfit is really starting to kick into gear.
So much is made of the Storm’s attack, but despite a close shave against the Roosters, it was Melbourne’s defence that got the job done last week.
The Storm recorded more tackles and forced more errors over the course of the game, showing just how stingy their defence can be against an elite attacking unit.
Head-to-head the Storm have won three of their last five against the Dragons, and punters will be happy to know Melbourne also hold a 7-0 record against the Dragons in home games as the favourite.
Of course, the Dragons are ladder leaders for a reason, but there’s certainly a few question marks surrounding St. George right now.
Silly mistakes from the likes of Ben Hunt nearly cost the Dragons last week, something that won’t fly against a punishing outfit like the Storm.
Back Melbourne Storm to Win by 13+ @ $3.00
Penrith Panthers Vs New Zealand Warriors
Friday 6 July, 7:55pm, Panthers Stadium
Underwhelming and unconvincing, that was the Panthers last week.
Holding a 6-1 record at home, Penrith looked a sure-thing against bottom dwellers Manly, but the Panthers struggled to get anything going on attack in the second half, resulting in an 18-10 loss.
Fortunately for Penrith, their opponents this week, the New Zealand Warriors, also suffered the same fate.
A game against the Sharks was certainly no gimme, but the Warriors looked like the team to beat at home against Cronulla last week, only to fall short by three points.
What we’re left with now is a huge game as far as ladder implications are concerned, one that could see the winner potentially jump into the top three, or fall towards the bottom of the eight.
Odds wise, the Warriors enter as the favourites, in large part thanks to their 6-1 record in away games this season.
The Panthers, on the other hand, own a not so favourable 0-2 record as the home head-to-head underdogs vs. New Zealand, but that isn’t to say they aren’t every chance to return to winning ways on Friday night.
If Penrith are to earn a victory here, they simply need to get their hands on the ball.
Last week against Manly the Panthers were dominated in the possession count, forcing their defence to step up and try and shoulder the workload.
Of course, that resulted in 39 total missed tackles against the Sea Eagles, a stat that won’t bode well for Penrith against one of the better attacking teams in the competition this week.
Having now slipped down to fourth on the ladder, the Panthers suddenly look pretty so-so.
They aren’t as menacing close to the line, and errors are really starting to cost this team.
The potential loss of back-rower Viliame Kikau this week could also add salt to Penrith’s wounds, and since the Warriors still managed to pile on two unanswered tries in the opening 10-minutes during their loss against the Sharks, New Zealand’s attack should be too strong for this wobbly looking Panthers team.
Back New Zealand to Beat the Line (-2.5 Points) @ $1.91
Canterbury Bulldogs Vs Canberra Raiders
Saturday 7 July, 7:55pm, Belmore Sports Ground
Heavy, heavy heartache for the Raiders last week.
It was a game Canberra should have won against the Broncos, but sloppy defending and a lack of momentum turned the Raiders’ 12-0 halftime lead into a 26-22 loss in the matter of 40-minutes.
Meanwhile back in Canterbury, the Bulldogs pulled off what was perhaps their biggest win of the season against the Knights.
Despite the disappointment in Brisbane, the Raiders will still fancy themselves a chance at finals.
There were some huge positives to take away from that loss, including two unanswered tries in the first half.
What the Raiders did particularly well in that game was make the most of their opportunities.
Canberra were decimated in the possession column, but they still managed 22-points.
The Bulldogs on the other hand, well they just shutdown defensively, especially around their own line, and they’ll need to do much of the same this week.
Canterbury have won just two of their last five meetings against the Raiders, with Round 5’s game resulting in a 16-point loss.
Canberra’s 2-1 record as the away favourites at the line is tough to go by, but their impressive performance against the Broncos last week isn’t.
This is a team that looks like it’s building on something, whether or not that’s finals remains to be seen, but Canberra should make the most of this opportunity to inch closer to the eight.
Back Canberra to Win 1-12 @ $2.90
Gold Coast Titans Vs Brisbane Broncos
Sunday 8 July, 4:10pm, Cbus Super Stadium
The biggest surprise came from the Titans last weekend.
No one gave them a chance against the Tigers at Leichardt Oval, but here’s Gold Coast with their sixth win on the board.
The Broncos also pulled off the unthinkable last week, fighting all the way back from 16-0 down to win against the Raiders.
It was the kind of performance that really makes Brisbane look like a finals side, and if they can make short work of the Titans, the Broncos could jump as high as sixth on the ladder.
The Titans have looked awful at times this year, but they’ve beaten the Broncos once already.
Round 4’s game saw the Titans stun Brisbane at Suncorp, shutting the Broncos down following two tries in the opening ten minutes.
It will take that kind of fast start for the Titans to make it three wins in a row this week.
Gold Coast have won just one of their last five against Brisbane, but the Titans’ 3-4 record as the home underdog might be enough to dissuade some punters, but for those more daring, there’s value here.
For the Broncos to make it three wins in a row, they simply need to keep doing what works.
The kicking game was huge for Brisbane last week, and there’s certainly plenty of belief restored within this team.
Unfortunately for the Broncos though, belief is no good if you can’t show up prepared from the opening whistle.
There was no excuse for Brisbane to fall so far behind in the first half against the Raiders, a common theme we’ve seen from the Broncos all year.
Since the Titans know how to score fast and early, there’s certainly every chance Gold Coast pulls off another upset this week.
Back Gold Coast Titans to Win @ $2.38
There are a host of massive games in the NRL this weekend and we will see a couple of potential Grand Final previews.
The Brisbane Broncos host the Melbourne Storm in a genuine Friday Night Blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium before the Sydney Roosters face the Cronulla Sharks on the Central Coast on Saturday afternoon.
While those games are clearly the highlights, there are winners to be found in every single fixture this weekend and our complete 2017 NRL Round 17 tips can be found below.
Parramatta Eels Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday 29 June, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
The Parramatta Eels have won the past two games played between these two teams and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
Parramatta went into the bye on the back of a solid win over the St George Illawarra Dragons and they have won three of the past four games.
The Eels have won six of their past eight games as favourites and they are 5-1-2 against the line in this scenario.
Canterbury produced another uninspiring effort to go down to the New Zealand Warriors last weekend and they have lost five of their past six games.
The Bulldogs have lost five of their past 16 games as underdogs and they are a middling 8-8 against the line when being given a start.
It is impossible to have any faith in the Bulldogs and the Eels should be able to beat the line comfortably.
Back Parramatta To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)
Gold Coast Titans Vs St George Dragons
Friday 30 June, 6:00pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Both these teams head into this clash on the back of much-needed wins.
The St George Illawarra Dragons came from behind to beat the Newcastle Knights last Sunday afternoon, but their performance still left a fair amount to be desired.
They will still start this clash as favourites, but they are a tough side to trust on the back of their recent form.
Gold Coast ended a four-game losing streak with a comfortable win over the Wests Tigers and these are the sort of games that they need to win to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Titans have won only one of their past five games as home underdogs and they are 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
St George Illawarra have won six of their past seven games as the punter’s elect and they should be able to grind out a narrow win this Friday night.
Back St George Illawarra To Win @ $1.80
Brisbane Broncos Vs Melbourne Storm
Friday 30 June, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm are two of the best teams in the NRL and this is set to be another riveting clash between these two great rivals.
Brisbane may have the home-ground advantage, but it is the Storm that will start this clash as favourites.
An undermanned Melbourne were desperately unlucky not to come away with the two points against the Sydney Roosters last weekend and their record away from home continues to be strong – they have won nine of their past ten games as away favourites and they are 9-1 against the line in this scenario.
Brisbane were excellent against the Canberra Raiders last weekend and they are now well-placed to secure a top four finish.
This will be the first time in over 12 months that the Broncos have started a home game as underdogs and they have won 10 of their past 13 games as home favourites, but they are only 6-7 against the line in front of their home fans.
Melbourne have won three of the past four games played between these two sides and as long as they go into this clash at full-strength they will be very tough to beat.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
Sydney Roosters Vs Cronulla Sharks
Saturday 1 July, 3:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
This is the other game this weekend that could end up being a Grand Final Preview.
The Sydney Roosters got out of jail late against the Melbourne Storm last weekend and they will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
Sydney have won 12 of their past 15 games as favourites for a clear profit, but they are only 6-9 against the line in this scenario.
Cronulla produced one of their worst performances of the season to go down to the Manly Sea Eagles last weekend and their recent form really has left a fair bit to be desired.
The Sharks will take confidence from the fact that they have won their past five games against the Roosters and their record as underdogs continues to be excellent – they have won eight of their past 10 games as underdogs and are 8-2 against the line in this scenario.
This game could be a genuine nail-biter and I am keen to back the Sharks with the insurance of a 1.5 points start.
Back Cronulla To Beat The Line (+1.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles Vs New Zealand Warriors
Saturday 1 July, 5:30pm, NIB Stadium
The Manly Sea Eagles have taken this game to NIB Stadium in Perth and that could prove to be a very shrewd decision – the New Zealand Warriors don’t travel well at the best of times.
Manly made it four wins on the trot with a comprehensive performance against the Cronulla Sharks and there is an argument to be made that they are the form team in the competition.
The Sea Eagles have won six of their past nine games as favourites and they have won their past six games against the Warriors.
New Zealand made it two wins on the trot with their victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs, but this lengthy trip to Perth is sure to test their often fragile mindset.
The Warriors have won only two of their past nine games as away underdogs and they are 4-5 against the line in this situation.
I am always keen to take on the Warriors and I will be doing exactly that this weekend.
Back Manly To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points)
Canberra Raiders Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 1 July, 7:30pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders have lost three games in a row, but they will still go into this clash with the North Queensland Cowboys as clear favourites.
Canberra are playing like a side that has forgotten how to win close games and they lacked composure at key times against the Brisbane Broncos.
The Raiders have won nine of their past 13 games as home favourites for a loss and they are a poor 5-8 against the line.
The North Queensland Cowboys showed that they are capable of winning without Johnathan Thurston when they scored a thrilling victory over the Penrith Panthers last Saturday afternoon and they are sure to take a fair bit of confidence from that performance.
North Queensland have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs, but they are a profitable 5-2 against the line in this scenario.
Taking on the Raiders has been a profitable play in recent weeks and the Cowboys are more than capable of giving their rivals a scare.
Back North Queensland To Beat The Line (+4.5 Points)
Newcastle Knights Vs Wests Tigers
Sunday 2 July, 2:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The wooden spoon could be on the line when the Newcastle Knights and the Wests Tigers do battle this weekend.
The market cannot split these two teams at this stage of the week and they are two teams that are very tough to trust from a betting standpoint.
Newcastle let slip a golden opportunity to return to winning form when they gave a big lead up to the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend, but there were still some positives to take away from that performance.
The Knights have won just two of their past 11 games at home and they are 4-7 against the line in this scenario.
Wests never really looked like beating the Gold Coast Titans and they have now lost seven games in a row.
The Tigers have won three of their past ten games away from home and they are 6-1-3 against the line in this situation.
Wests have been poor in recent weeks, but the likely return of James Tedesco should be enough to see them return to winning form.
Back Wests Tigers To Win @ $1.87
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Penrith Panthers
Sunday 2 July, 4:00pm, ANZ Stadium
The Penrith Panthers had their winning streak ended by the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend, but they will still go into this clash as clear favourites.
Penrith had their chances against the Cowboys, but were unable to land a killer blow and let a much-needed two points slip away.
The Panthers have won four of their past seven games as away favourites and they are 3-4 against the line in this scenario.
South Sydney went into the bye on the back of a drought-breaking win over the Gold Coast Titans and it would not surprise if they were able to string a few wins together in the second half of the season.
In saying that, the Rabbitohs have won only one of their past nine games as home underdogs and they are a poor 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
Both these sides are tough to trust from a betting perspective and I am happy to stay out of this clash.
Round 17 of the 2016 NRL season is set to be an absolute ripper and there are a number of blockbusters spread right across the week.
The Sydney Roosters and Canterbury Bulldogs renew acquaintances in Thursday Night Football before the Brisbane Broncos look to improve their horrible recent record against the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Queensland Cowboys at Cairns on Sunday is the highlight of Sunday’s games before Manly take on St George Illawarra in Monday Night Football.
Sydney Roosters Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday 30 June, 7:50pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters have an excellent record against the Canterbury Bulldogs and they have won the past four games played between the two sides as well as six of the past seven, but they will still start this clash as clear outsiders.
The Roosters went into the bye on the back of a narrow loss to the New Zealand Warriors and they have now won just two of their past eight matches.
They have been a very poor team from a betting perspective this season and they have lost all four of their games as home underdogs, while they are 1-1-2 against the line in this situation.
Canterbury produced one of the best performances of the season to date to score a commanding victory over the Brisbane Broncos last Saturday night and they have an excellent opportunity to make it three victories on the trot.
The Bulldogs have won six of their past seven matches as away favourites for a tidy profit and they are a profitable 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
Canterbury are a safe bet in this contest and they should be able to cover the line of a converted try.
Recommended Bet: Back The Canterbury Bulldogs To Beat The Line (-6 Points)
Brisbane Broncos Vs Melbourne Storm
Friday 1 July, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
The rivalry between the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm has been one of the fiercest in modern times and this is a genuine Friday Night Blockbuster.
The Broncos suffered a big defeat at the hands of the Canterbury Bulldogs last weekend and they have now won just one of their past five games, but they are still set to start this game as clear favourites.
Brisbane have won ten of their past 14 games as home favourites, but they have not actually generated a profit in head to head betting markets although they are 8-6 against the line.
Melbourne returned to winning form with a comprehensive performance against the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon and they remain one of the form teams in the NRL.
The Storm have won three of their past six matches as away underdogs for a tidy profit, but they are only 3-3 against the line in this scenario.
Based on watching these two teams play in the past month, it is tough to see how the Broncos could be such short-priced favourites and the Storm are great value to inflict another defeat on their rivals on Friday night.
Recommended Bet: Back The Melbourne Storm To Win @ $2.20
New Zealand Warriors Vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 2 July, 3:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors have dominated the Gold Coast Titans in recent seasons and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Warriors had their three game winning streak ended by the Cronulla Sharks last weekend in golden point, but there was still plenty to like about their performance and they are now genuine finals contenders.
Favourtism has not been a position in which New Zealand have thrived in the past 12 months and they have won just three of their past seven games in front of their home fans as the punter’s elect, while they are 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
Gold Coast lost a hard-fought game to the Canberra Raiders last weekend and they have now dropped out of the top eight, but they can potentially jump back up with a win this weekend.
The Titans don’t have a great record away from home – especially in New Zealand – and they have won just three of their past eight games as away underdogs, while they are also a losing betting proposition against the line in this position.
I really don’t like betting on games that include the unpredictable New Zealand Warriors and I am more than happy to stay out of this clash.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Wests Tigers Vs Penrith Panthers
Saturday 2 July, 5:30pm, ANZ Stadium
The Penrith Panthers have moved into the top eight after recording hard-fought victories over Manly and South Sydney and can make it three wins on the trot on Saturday night.
Penrith will go into this game as clear favourites, but their record as the punter’s elect is not particularly impressive and they have won only two of their past four games as away favourites.
The Wests Tigers continue to be inconsistent and we saw both sides of them against the Melbourne Storm last weekend – they were disgraceful in the first half before they improved significantly when the game was already lost in the second half.
The Tigers have proven to be a profitable betting play as underdogs in the past 12 months and they have won four of their past ten games as home underdogs, while the Panthers are the type of team that could be exposed by the exciting football that the Tigers do play at their best.
This match should be closer than the market suggests and there is some definite value available in the $2.35 that is on offer for a Tigers victory.
Recommended Bet: Back The Wests Tigers To Win @ $2.35
Cronulla Sharks Vs Parramatta Eels
Saturday 2 July, 7:30pm, Shark Park
The Cronulla Sharks have now won 11 games on the trot and they are dominate favourites to extend that winning run against the Parramatta Eels this weekend.
The Sharks were taken to golden point by the New Zealand Warriors last weekend, but they once again came up trumps in a tight finish to take the two points.
They have now won nine of their past 11 games as home favourites, but their record against the line in this scenario is a non-profitable 5-6.
It has been another week of disasters for the Parramatta Eels – Kieran Foran has been stripped of the captaincy and Semi Radradra remains in Fiji with plenty of speculation surrounding his future.
In saying that, controversy has surrounded the Eels all season long, but it has not affected them in the past month and they went into the bye on the back of three straight wins over the Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Eels have won just two of their past six games as away underdogs, but they have been a profitable betting play in this scenario and the $3.50 that is currently available does represent a fair bit of value.
Recommended Bet: Back The Parramatta Eels To Win @ $3.50
Canberra Raiders Vs Newcastle Knights
Sunday 3 July, 2:00pm, GIO Stadium
This is the biggest mismatch of the weekend as the Canberra Raiders are set to start this game as dominant favourites.
The Raiders sit in seventh position on the ladder after winning four of their past five games and they should really have no problems accounting for a Newcastle Knights side that has won just a single game this season.
Canberra have won seven of their past ten games as home favourites and are 6-4 against the line in this scenario, but they are giving away a massive start of 24.5 points.
Since 2008, there have been only seven games in which a team has given away such a large start and the line was covered on four occasions, but three of those came from the Melbourne Storm when they were at their rampaging best.
The Knights produced a somewhat improved effort against the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend – despite going down by 12 points – but they have still beaten the line in just three of their past 12 games as away underdogs.
This is a very tough game to analyse from a betting perspective as the line is just so large and I am happy to stay out and watch the action unfold.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday 3 July, 4:00pm, Barlow Park
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have elected to take their home game to Barlow Park in Cairns and it is fair to say that the crowd will be on the side of the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Rabbitohs have not won a game for over a month and the closeness of the score should not hide the fact that they were very poor against the Penrith Panthers last weekend.
They will start this game as clear underdogs and this is a position in which they have really struggled in the past 12 months – they have won just two of their past ten games when unfancied and they are 3-7 against the line.
The North Queensland Cowboys were very poor in the second half against Manly, but they were still able to get the job done when it counted and they are deserving favourites to make it two wins on the trot.
This is technically an away game for North Queensland, but playing this game in Cairns actually gives them a big advantage and their record in front of their home fans in the past 12 months is almost perfect.
The Cowboys have beaten the line in 12 of their past 21 games as favourites and they should be able to put South Sydney away comfortably this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The North Queensland Cowboys To Beat The Line (-9.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles Vs St George Dragons
Monday 4 July, 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval
The Manly Sea Eagles have an excellent record against the St George Illawarra Dragons at Brookvale Oval and they have not lost to their rivals in front of their home fans since 2008.
Manly have lost seven games on the trot, but there was plenty of positives to take from the performance and their reshuffled back line finally showed some signs of coming together.
The problem for Manly is that Brookvale Oval has been far from a fortress in the past year – they have won just four of their past 13 games in front of their home fans and they are 2-4 against the line as home favourites.
St George Illawarra have been boosted by a very favorable draw during the State Of Origin period and they have been able to win three of their past four games.
The Dragons generally win when they are expected to, but they have a truly horrific record as underdogs and they have won just one of their past 10 games as away underdogs, while they are 3-7 against the line in this scenario.
Both these teams are hard to trust from a betting perspective and this is another game that I will be staying out of.
Recommended Bet: No Bet