The NRL returns to full strength this week in the aftermath of Wednesday’s Origin decider.
It’s all systems go ahead of the finals, and with a pair of top-eight clashes to look forward to on Saturday, there’s plenty on the line.
With several sides returning from the bye, as well as a handful of players expected to miss club duty following Origin, it’s worth backing a handful of upsets this week.
We’ve previewed all eight games, and our complete 2019 NRL Round 17 Preview can be seen below.
Gold Coast Titans
Friday July 12, 6:00pm, Panthers Stadium
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Penrith as they look to make a big top eight push with just over two months remaining.
Ivan Cleary’s side enters Friday night’s game on a five-game winning streak, and although they’ll go without Nathan Cleary, the Panthers should feel confident knowing they’ve won four of their last five games against the Titans.
Gold Coast, on the other hand, has very little to play for other than bragging rights – something they’ve attained once already this season against Penrith.
The Titans beat the Panthers 30-24 when they met back in Round 5, a game Michael Gordon dominated on the scoresheet.
Gold Coast has looked very vulnerable on the road this season though, evident in their sloppy 2-5 record away from home.
To make matters worse, the Titans have lost two of their last three trips to Panthers Stadium to go along with a sloppy 3-7 record on the back of a loss.
The stat sheet also suggests we could be in for some points again after both sides combined for 54 back in Round 5. The Panthers and Titans both rank inside the top five in missed tackles this year, so if you’re looking to land a multi, including the Overs, might be worthwhile.
As far as head-to-head betting goes, it’s hard to go past the Panthers and their 5-1 record as the home favourites against the Titans. Four of the last five games between these two sides have been decided by 1-12 points, so back this one to be close.
Tip: Panthers 1-12 @ $3.00
Friday July 12, 7:55pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
A four-point loss to the Warriors last week leaves the Knights scratching their heads as they now face a pivotal Friday night matchup against the Bulldogs at home.
This time last week Newcastle had a shot at the top four, but now the Knights are fighting for life tied on points with the seventh-placed Eels.
Canterbury returns from last week’s bye well-rested and full of confidence after defeating the Sharks at home a fortnight ago.
The Dogs have nothing left to play for, but did you know they’ve won four straight games over the Knights in Newcastle dating back to 2015?
While the odds suggest differently, Newcastle hasn’t been the strongest side on the back of a defeat. The Knights are 2-4 following a previous loss, and if they head into Friday’s game without Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce, the Dogs look a strong upset chance to cause further chaos on the ladder.
Tip: Back the Bulldogs to Win @ $2.90
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday July 13, 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Big game for all involved with both sides returning to the field following a bye.
The Rabbitohs are in a world of hurt right now having lost four straight games, while the Sea Eagles roll into Saturday’s contest riding a tidy three-game winning streak.
Manly fans will hold fond memories of their one-point overtime win over the Bunnies back in Round 4 at Brookvale. The Sea Eagles were outplayed for most of the match, but that didn’t stop Daly Cherry-Evans from nailing a golden point field goal in the 83rd minute.
Neither coach will read too much into their previous encounter, but the Bunnies will need to come up with a defensive strategy to combat Manly’s speedy play of the ball.
The Sea Eagles have been unstoppable in open space this year, while the Rabbitohs have suddenly crept inside the top five in errors and ineffective tackles this season.
Manly look well over the odds at this price considering they hold a 2-1 record as the away underdog against the Rabbitohs.
Both sides will head into Saturday’s game a little battered and bruised following Wednesday’s Origin decider but considering Manly are 3-2 following the bye over the last three seasons, the Sea Eagles are worth backing for some value.
Tip: Back Manly to Win @ $2.36
New Zealand Warriors
Saturday July 13, 5:35pm, Suncorp Stadium
Almost identical victories last week over the Knights and Sharks sets up what should be a lively affair on Saturday afternoon from Suncorp.
The Warriors pulled off an unthinkable win over the Knights in Newcastle to keep their finals hopes alive for another week.
New Zealand was unstoppable in the second half piling on three tries inside the opening 20-minutes, followed by Sam Lisone’s game-winning six-pointer with just five minutes remaining.
Fairytales also came true for the Broncos in Cronulla. Finals are still out of the question, but Anthony Seibold has to be proud of his sides second half effort in their 24-22 win over the Sharks.
These two sides have already met once this year, although it was hardly a memorable encounter. The Broncos won 8-2 in Auckland, but it’s the Warriors who hold the wood over Brisbane having won three of their last five meetings.
New Zealand continues to prove a much better side on the road than at home this season, as was the case last year when the Warriors destroyed the Broncos at Suncorp by 20-points.
Both sides have won back-to-back games only once this year, which makes the odds for the Broncos look a little questionable – even with home-field advantage.
This one is a bit of a coin flip, but the one stat worth banking on is the Warriors at the line. Over the last calendar year, the Warriors are 5-2 as the away underdog.
Tip: Back the Warriors to Cover the Line (+4.5 Points) @ $1.90
Saturday July 13, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
There’s plenty being asked of the Sharks following last week’s gut-wrenching loss to the Broncos at home, and it isn’t about to get any easier with a trip to Melbourne to face this year’s premiership favourites.
While the wheels appear to be falling off, the Sharks can at least find some confidence in last year’s win over the Storm at AAMI Park. Cronulla held on for a narrow 17-14 victory over the Storm, right before losing in blowout fashion a month later in the finals.
As for Melbourne, Craig Bellamy’s side has a few questions to answer themselves. Last week’s come from behind victory over the Dragons was less than convincing, but with a 6-1 record at home this year, it’s difficult to build a case against the Storm.
The biggest problem for the Sharks last week was missed tackles and errors. Cronulla also managed only four offloads against the Broncos, which obviously spells bad news against an elite attacking side like the Storm.
Cronulla got the better of the Storm back in Round 8 but keep in mind four of the last five meetings between these two sides have been decided by 10-points or less. Don’t be surprised if the Storm pull off another miracle in the dying stages.
Tip: Back the Storm 1-12 @ $3.00
North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday July 14, 2:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
The Roosters got back to winning ways last week defeating the Tigers by eight points away from home.
Sydney now heads to the Central Coast on Sunday to face the Cowboys, a team that has typically caused a few problems for the Chooks in recent years.
North Queensland has enjoyed a week off following their loss to the Dragons a fortnight ago. The Cowboys hold a 3-4 record on the road this year, but their 4-1 record on the back of a bye over the last three seasons is worth paying attention to.
Paul Green’s side still stands a chance at playing finals, especially if results go their way this week. A win over the Roosters could see the Cowboys just one win away from jumping back inside the eight, making North Queensland a big chance this weekend.
Despite earning the points last week, the Roosters were far from their best. Sydney still committed plenty of errors and penalties, making the Cowboys and their 3-1 record as the line underdog in away games against the Roosters strong value.
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Cover the Line (+11.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday July 14, 4:05pm, Western Sydney Stadium
The Tigers hold home-field advantage for the third game in a row, but you can expect a big turnout from Eels fans at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday.
Wests were a little hard done by last week against the Roosters, as a slow start cost the Tigers in the end. Michael Maguire will be hoping for a much-improved performance from his side this week, especially following their blowout 51-6 loss to the Eels back in Round 6.
The market suggests Parramatta will be tough to beat, but the trouble is, the Eels are easily one of the most inconsistent sides in the competition.
Parramatta has won four of its last five games over the Tigers dating back to 2017, but even with a near perfect 4-1 record as the away favourite against Wests, you’d still be best off avoiding the head-to-head market.
Backing a high-scoring game has proven very profitable when these two sides get together, with seven of the last 12 games going Over the Total.
Both sides have combined for 50-points or more in their last three games, and with Parramatta’s defence proving a little untrustworthy week-to-week, it’s worth playing it safe with the Total on Sunday.
Tip: Over 40.5 Total Points @ $1.88
St George-Illawarra Dragons
Sunday July 14, 6:10pm, WIN Stadium
The Dragons were unlucky not to walk away with the points last week during a narrow loss to the Storm at home.
With so much to play for, the result leaves the Dragons sitting 12th on the ladder as they face a do-or-die clash against the Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
Canberra head into this game with a point to prove following a six-point loss to the Eels before the bye.
The Raiders have managed only one victory over the Dragons in their last five meetings, while their recent form on the road also casts some doubt over Canberra’s chances.
Fortunately for Raider fans, St. George is 3-5 on the back of a loss this season, compared to the Canberra’s sturdy 3-2 record.
The last five games between these two sides have been decided by 12-points or less and considering Canberra need to win this game if they hold any hope of finishing inside the top four, it’s worth backing the Raiders to win a narrow one.
Tip: Back the Raiders 1-12 @ $3.10
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!
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
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
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
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.
Thursday 29 June, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Parramatta Eels 13 - Canterbury Bulldogs 12
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
St George Dragons
Friday 30 June, 6:00pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Gold Coast Titans 20 - St George Illawarra Dragons 10
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
Friday 30 June, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Broncos 12 - Melbourne Storm 42
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)
Saturday 1 July, 3:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
Sydney Roosters 12 - Cronulla Sharks 44
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
New Zealand Warriors
Saturday 1 July, 5:30pm, NIB Stadium
Manly Sea Eagles 26 - New Zealand Warriors 22
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)
North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 1 July, 7:30pm, GIO Stadium
Canberra Raiders 18 - North Queensland Cowboys 31
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)
Sunday 2 July, 2:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle Knights 12 - Wests Tigers 33
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
Sunday 2 July, 4:00pm, ANZ Stadium
South Sydney Rabbitohs 42 - Penrith Panthers 14
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.
Thursday 30 June, 7:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney Roosters 20 - Canterbury Bulldogs 24
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)
Friday 1 July, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Broncos 6 - Melbourne Storm 48
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
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 2 July, 3:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
New Zealand Warriors 27 - Gold Coast Titans 18
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
Saturday 2 July, 5:30pm, ANZ Stadium
Wests Tigers 34 - Penrith Panthers 26
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
Saturday 2 July, 7:30pm, Shark Park
Cronulla Sharks 34 - Parramatta Eels 24
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
Sunday 3 July, 2:00pm, GIO Stadium
Canberra Raiders 29 - Newcastle Knights 25
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
North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday 3 July, 4:00pm, Barlow Park
South Sydney Rabbitohs 0 - North Queensland Cowboys 20
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
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