The top eight is locked and loaded, but we still have the not-so small matter of finals seeding to attend to.
With a three-point lead atop the table, the Storm remain the only side capable of catching the Panthers, while there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the makeup of the top four, as well as who might miss out on a home final.
Saturday’s blockbuster between the Roosters and Sharks should help clear things up, followed by an interesting battle on Sunday between the Raiders and Warriors from Canberra.
With just two weeks remaining before finals, now is the perfect time to build yourself a bank, so be sure to read our entire 2020 NRL Round 19 Preview below.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday September 17, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
A win on Thursday night is crucial for the Rabbitohs with the top four still in sight.
The Bunnies bounced back from a previous defeat to the Storm a fortnight ago to win by two against the Tigers, although coach Wayne Bennett will be asking for a much more complete performance after penalties and a sin bin nearly got in the way.
A win and a Raiders loss could potentially see the Rabbitohs into fifth – a very realistic scenario with Souths playing a Bulldogs side that hasn’t tasted a win since July.
The Dogs came up well short of Manly last week in a 32-20 defeat and they won’t hold particularly fond memories of the Bunnies after losing by a similar margin back in Round 8.
Souths have lost only once all year at ANZ and have also covered in six of their last seven games as the line favourite at home.
The last five games between these two sides have also gone Under the Total, so don’t be afraid to combine the two for some added value.
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs to Win & Under 45.5 Total Points @ $2.10
North Queensland Cowboys
Friday September 18, 6:00pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium
The Panthers have a very enviable run home after locking up home-field advantage in the finals last week with a big win over the Eels.
Penrith can now set their sights firmly on the minor premiership now with two handy games against the Cowboys and Bulldogs to close out the home/away season.
To their credit, North Queensland did put up somewhat of a fight against the Storm last week, but their long list of outs ultimately left them a little short in the end.
Jason Taumalolo and Michael Morgan both appear to be at least another week away from returning, while the Panthers are playing wait-and-see with Api Koroisau following last week’s head knock.
Penrith cruised to a 22-10 win over the Cowboys back in Round 10 and it’s very difficult to see this game going any other way.
The Panthers have lost only once on the road all year and are also a perfect 2-0 in Queensland so far.
After the way the Storm tore the Cowboys up through the middle, Penrith should have no problem doing the same.
Tip: Back the Panthers to Cover the Line (-14.5 Points) @ $2.00
Friday September 18, 7:55pm, Bankwest Stadium
The Eels find themselves firmly in the danger zone with two rounds remaining as they desperately cling to their spot inside the top four.
After shutting out the Storm four weeks ago, the last three weeks have been largely forgettable for head coach Brad Arthur.
The Eels backed up their performance against Melbourne with a shutout loss to the Rabbitohs, followed by a less than convincing performance two weeks against the Warriors on the Central Coast.
The worst was yet to come though as the Eels failed to score a try in their 20-2 loss to the Panthers in Penrith.
Fortunately, Parramatta has been afforded a huge opportunity to steer the ship back in the right direction against a Broncos side that has now lost nine in a row.
Brisbane showed some signs of life last week in the Queensland Derby but still failed to come away with the chocolates against the rival Titans.
These two sides are well familiar with one another after meeting in two very forgettable games over the last 12 months.
The Broncos infamously lost 58-0 to the Eels in the finals last year, before losing 34-6 in Round 3 back in May.
With Reed Mahoney likely returning this week for Parramatta, we might see a similar story unfold at Bankwest.
Tip: Back the Eels to Cover the Line (-14.5 Points) @ $2.00
Manly Sea Eagles
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday September 19, 3:00pm, Brookvale
A win would be a massive scalp for either of these two clubs on Saturday.
Manly finally returned to the winner’s circle last week with a well-deserved victory over the Bulldogs, while the Titans were equally as impressive in their season sweep over the Broncos on the Gold Coast.
To add to the excitement, Dylan Walker, Tom Trobjevic, Reuben Garrick and Addin Fonua-Blake are all a chance at returning this week for Manly, which largely explains the short price on offer for the Sea Eagles in the market.
These two clubs haven’t met this year, which probably plays into Manly’s hands with the game being played at Brookvale.
That said, the Titans recorded a famous victory over the Sea Eagles in Manly last year, while you might be surprised to learn that Gold Coast has won three of the last five games between these two sides.
Even with a handful of Manly’s stars a chance at returning, there really isn’t as much separating these two sides as the betting suggests.
The Titans have shown real heart over the last six weeks and they should be hungry to record what could be a season-defining win.
Tip: Back the Titans to Cover the Line (+5.5 Points) @ $2.00
Saturday September 19, 5:30pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium
The Storm are the only team that can spoil Penrith’s party as they prepare for a very comfortable final two weeks of the regular season.
Melbourne has now won 17 straight games up in Queensland and it is no real surprise to find them as the odds-on favourites against the Tigers.
Wests season officially came to a close last week with a loss to the Rabbitohs, and it doesn’t appear the Tigers are about to end 2020 on a high note with games against the Storm and Eels to wrap things up.
Ryan Panenhuyzen is set to return this week for the Storm, while the Tigers will receive an added boost in the form of Zane Musgrove, should they choose to play him.
The Sunshine Coast has been mighty kind to the Storm this year and it is impossible to tip against them on Saturday.
Josh Addo-Carr and Cameron Munster clearly love playing in Queensland, so it’s safe to say this one has all the makings of a very one-sided blowout.
Tip: Back the Storm to Cover the Line (-16.5 Points) @ $2.00
Saturday September 19, 7:35pm, SCG
The Sharks are about to receive a taste of what October life will be like against the Roosters on Saturday night.
The reigning champs were relentless last week against the Knights in their comprehensive 42-12 victory – a result that has seen the Roosters back into Premiership favouritism in the market.
Sydney are clearly firing on all cylinders right now and all accounts suggest they should have no trouble maintaining that pace against Cronulla.
The Roosters have now scored 40+ points in their last two games at the SCG, which spells potential disaster against a Sharks outfit that has proven very vulnerable on the wing this season.
To make matters worse, Matt Ikuvalu is a chance at returning this week for the Chooks.
Sydney has won four straight games over the Sharks dating back to 2017, and with home-field advantage, they should extend that record to five.
Tip: Back the Roosters to Cover the Line (-18 Points) @ $2.00
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday September 20, 2:00pm, GIO Stadium
The Raiders have plenty at stake over the coming two weeks if they wish to secure the double-chance in the finals.
Still sitting two points behind the Eels, the Green Machine must ensure they win this week at home – which is easier said than done against a Warriors side well known for causing upsets this season.
New Zealand’s 2020 campaign is now over after losing to the Sharks last week, but they’ve shown time and time again that they are capable of hanging tight with just about anyone.
Canberra, meanwhile, got back to basics last week with a huge win over the Dragons in Wollongong.
The result should inspire some confidence back into the side following a flat performance against the Roosters the week before, but with a 5-4 record at home this year, it’s fair to say the Raiders aren’t always the safest bet in the nation’s capital.
New Zealand lost 20-6 when they met the Warriors back in Round 2, but a lot has changed since then.
The Kiwis are also 4-1 in their last five games as the away underdog against Canberra, so there’s a bit to like about the Warriors keeping this respectable.
Tip: Back the Warriors to Cover the Line (+14.5 Points) @ $2.00
St George Illawarra Dragons
Sunday September 20, 4:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
A win this week is crucial for the Knights if they hold any hope of moving back into the top six.
Currently sitting seventh, Newcastle find themselves with plenty of work to do after suffering a crushing 42-12 defeat at the hands of the Roosters last week.
Fortunately, the Knights run in to a Dragons side down on their luck after also suffering a blowout defeat last Saturday against the Raiders.
The Knights are set to welcome back Kalyn Ponga, Hymel Hunt and potentially even Bradman Best into the side – three huge additions that should make a world of difference on both sides of the ball.
Newcastle has been an outstanding betting play on the back of a loss over the last two seasons, playing to a 6-1 record head-to-head and a perfect 7-0 record at the line.
With a chance to still play a home final in three weeks’ time, take the Knights to cover what is a very generous line.
Tip: Back the Knights to Cover the Line (-6.5 Points) @ $2.00
It was a weekend for punters in Round 189 of the NRL season, as favourites were able to win every single game.
Will the favourites continue their winning ways or will underdogs bounce back?
We have analysed every game set to take place this weekend and our complete 2019 NRL Round 19 tips can be found below.
North Queensland Cowboys
Thursday July 25, 7:50pm, Shark Park
This is close to a must-win game for both these sides.
The Cronulla Sharks have now lost four games on the trot, but they will still go into this clash as clear favourites.
Their inability to close out games has become a huge problem and a number of their highly-paid, senior players continue to disappoint.
The Sharks have won six of their past nine games as home favourites and they are 4-1-4 against the line in this scenario.
North Queensland had control of last Saturday’s clash with South Sydney, but they were unable to put the game to bed and ran out of gas late.
In saying that, there has been some promising signs for the Cowboys in recent weeks and they are set to be buoyed by the return of captain Michael Morgan.
The Cowboys have won four of their past ten games as away underdogs for a profit and their past three wins have actually come on the road.
There is not as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests and they are over the odds at $2.70.
Back The Cowboys To Win @ $2.70
Friday July 26, 6:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Both these teams head into this clash on the back of three straight wins.
The Newcastle Knights were particularly poor against the Sydney Roosters last weekend, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
Newcastle have now won only two of their past six games as home favourites and the away team has won the past three games between these two sides.
The Tigers were not disgraced against the Canberra Raiders last weekend and it should be noted that they have won three of their past four matches against the Knights.
They have won only three of their past nine games as away underdogs, but they are 6-3 against the line in this scenario.
This is another game where there isn’t as much between the two sides as the market suggests and the Tigers are a great bet to cover the line with a start of 6.5 points.
Back Tigers To Cover The Line (+6.5 Points) @ $1.91
South Sydney Rabbitohs
St George-Illawarra Dragons
Friday July 26, 7:55pm, ANZ Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs got out of jail late against the North Queensland Cowboys and they will start this clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons as clear favourites.
It is fair to say that the final score flattered the Rabbitohs and their recent form continues to be on the inconsistent side.
They have now won nine of their past 12 games as home favourites, but they are a poor 4-8 against the line in this scenario.
St George Illawarra produced their worst effort of the season to date against the Penrith Panthers last weekend and the wheels look to have well and truly fallen off.
They have won four of their past 11 games as away underdogs for a small profit, but they are 5-6 against the line in this scenario and tough to trust from a betting perspective.
It is the Over in Total Points betting that appeals in this clash.
The over has saluted in the past five games played by the Dragons away from home and backing the Over in games involving either of these sides has been a winning play all season.
Back Over 40.5 Points @ $1.88
New Zealand Warriors
Saturday July 27, 3:00pm, BankWest Stadium
This is a crucial game for both these sides.
The Parramatta Eels had their winning streak ended at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles last weekend, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
The Eels have proven tough to beat at BankWest Stadium this season and they have won five of their past six games as home favourites, while they have covered the line in each of these wins.
New Zealand have played five extremely tight games in a row and they held their nerve to beat the Cronulla Sharks last weekend.
They have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs, but they are 5-2 against the line in this scenario.
This is another game where the Over in Total points betting appeals.
The Over has saluted in 15 of the past 23 games played by the Eels as well as 15 of the past 24 games played by the Warriors.
There should be plenty of points in this one.
Back Over 41.5 Points
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday July 27, 5:30pm, CBus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans scored a stunning upset win over the Brisbane Broncos earlier this season, but it is the Broncos that will start this game as clear favourites.
The Broncos impressed in the second half to put away the Canterbury Bulldogs last weekend and a repeat of that effort would make them tough to beat in this clash.
Winning away from home has been an issue for the Broncos this season and they have won only four of their eight games on the road, while their record against the line in this scenario is even poorer.
The Titans were not helped by the new-coach bounce and they have now lost four games on the trot.
They have lost three of their past 13 games in front of their home fans at CBus Super Stadium, but they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Titans have beaten the Broncos in two of their past three games and it would not surprise to see them give their rivals a scare in this contest.
Back The Titans To Cover The Line (+6.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday July 27, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm just keep on winning and they are looking ominous ahead of the NRL Finals.
They have now won nine games on the trot and they have been nothing short of dominant over the past fortnight.
Melbourne have now won 11 of their past 13 games as home favourites and they are 7-6 against the line in this scenario.
The Manly Sea Eagles continue to impressive themselves and they returned to winning form with an emphatic win over the Parramatta Eels last weekend.
Manly have won three of their past nine games as away underdogs, but they have covered the line in six of their past nine games in this scenario.
This is a market that looks just about right and the value may lie in exotic betting options.
Back Tom Trbojevic Anytime Tryscorer
Sunday July 28, 2:00pm, ANZ Stadium
The Sydney Roosters are the shortest-priced favourites in the NRL this weekend and it is easy to see why.
Sydney returned to their brilliant best with a dominant win over the Newcastle Knights and it could get ugly if they repeat that effort against the Bulldogs.
The Roosters have won only five of their past nine games as away favourites, but they have covered the line in each of those wins.
The Canterbury Bulldogs ran out of legs late against the Brisbane Broncos last weekend and it doesn’t get any easier for them against the Roosters.
Sydney beat the Bulldogs by 26 points when they met earlier this season and it would not surprise to see a repeat in this clash.
Back The Roosters To Cover The Line (-14.5 Points) @ $1.91
Sunday July 28, 4:05pm, Panthers Stadium
The market can’t split the Penrith Panthers and the Canberra Raiders ahead of this intriguing Sunday afternoon clash.
Penrith made it seven wins on the trot with a dominant performance against the St George Illawarra Dragons and they really have found excellent form.
The home side has won seven of the past nine matches between these two sides and the Panthers have won seven of their past 12 games in front of their home fans.
Canberra made it two wins on the trot with a professional performance against the Panthers, but this is a much tougher challenge.
The Raiders have won only five of their past ten matches away from home and they have not won at Panthers Stadium since 2015.
Home ground advantage does give the Panthers the edge here and it would not surprise if they are well-backed.
Back The Panthers To Win @ $2
With seven rounds left to play, things are really starting to heat up on the NRL ladder.
Last weekends upsets have caused chaos inside and outside the Top 8, and with another blockbuster eight game slate in store, this roller coaster doesn’t look like it’s going to end in a hurry.
Finding themselves slipping down the ladder is the Dragons, while the Storm slide back inside the top two following a close shave last week.
Who’s moving and who’s staying put?
Be sure to check out our entire NRL Round 19 tips below!
Thursday 19 July, 7:55pm, ANZ Stadium
It’s hardly a Thursday night thriller, but despite their position on the ladder, the Eels and the Bulldogs could still turn out to be quite the close and lively affair.
These two last met back in Round 10, a game the Bulldogs stole in the dying stages 20-12.
Moses Mbye was the star for the Dogs that night, but the Bulldogs will now have to find attacking chances elsewhere after their star halfback departed for greener pastures.
On the heels of a loss, the Eels are still well on their way towards the wooden spoon, but they’ll take a lot from last week’s close call against the Knights.
The Eels were arguably the better team on the day, with the loss coming down to one missed conversion from Clint Gutherson.
The Dogs on the other hand, well they lost a game they probably had no chance of winning.
The Rabbitohs pounced all over Canterbury in the first half, scoring three unanswered tries before the Bulldogs finally crossed the line in the 52nd minute.
On-field production and consistency has been hard to come by for these two, and it reflects in the odds.
The Eels are 2-5 as the home favourites, while the Dogs are a miserable 4-10 in away games as the underdog.
Flip a coin, toss a dart, this one is tough to call.
The Eels have had a much easier time scoring as of late compared to the Dogs though, and given Canterbury’s 2-7 record in away games, Parramatta should earn their fourth win of the season.
Back the Eels To Win 1-12 @ $2.90
Friday 20 July, 6:00pm, Southern Cross Stadium
Two straight wins sees the Sharks right back in the thick of the action, but more importantly, sitting sixth on the ladder.
Canberra’s season has been up and down, but there’s something to be said for the green machine.
The Raiders have strung together two straight themselves, and a win over the Cowboys in freezing conditions last week has Canberra right back in the hunt for a finals spot.
Friday nights meeting should be a high scoring affair – the Raiders rank second in the league in tries scored, while the Sharks are one of the top possession teams in the competition.
Picking a winner, though, well things aren’t quite as straightforward.
The Sharks have won three of their last five over the Raiders, but are a shocking 2-5 as the home favourites in games against Canberra.
The Raiders, meanwhile, well they’ve made a name for themselves in away games against the Sharks, holding an impressive 5-2 record as the underdogs at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Much of this game will come down to the early possession battle, an area both sides have dominated in recent weeks.
The Raiders and the Sharks have shown a knack for cracking the scoreboard early, but there’s also something to be said for each side late in games.
Like any good finals team should, the Raiders and the Sharks have found a way to hang in games right until the final minutes.
Cronulla in particular have showed plenty of surge in the second half, and with a talented lineup led by Matt Moylan last week, they more often than not crack opposing defences.
This should be one of the games of the round, but given Canberra’s sloppy 3-5 record on the road this year, the Sharks at home looks like the safest bet.
Back the Sharks 1-12 @ $2.75
Friday 20 July, 8:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
It’s been one step forward, two steps backwards for the Broncos and Panthers this season, with both sides on the back of two disappointing losses last weekend.
The Broncos played in front of a large crowd at Suncorp Stadium, except they failed to actually show up ready for the game.
The Warriors pounced on Brisbane in the opening ten minutes, going on to score five unanswered tries.
New Zealand’s 26-6 victory wasn’t the only headline from the weekend, though.
The Panthers miserable efforts at home against the Sharks on Friday night was nothing short of unconvincing, and with finals right around the corner, it’s hard to know what to make of this fifth placed Penrith side.
Fortunately for each team, Friday nights game is a chance for redemption, and with both teams holding impressive home and away records, this should be a pretty even fight.
The Broncos haven’t played the Panthers since last season, winning both games by comfortable margins.
Prior to last week’s disappointment Brisbane had won three straight, and given they are somewhat the “in form” side, the Broncos enter at the shorter odds.
At home the Broncos are 6-3 as the head-to-head favourites, while the Panthers’ 2-6 record as the away underdog against Brisbane isn’t quite as flattering.
With Wayne Bennett still seeking career win No. 500, the Broncos have yet to rise to the occasion.
The thought of Brisbane losing two straight home games seems unlikely, though, and as we’ve said so often, if the Broncos can limit the damage early and actually hit the scoreboard themselves, they should get back to winning ways.
Back the Broncos 1-12 @ $3.10
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 21 July, 3:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The thought of Newcastle potentially playing finals seems completely outrageous, but believe it or not, mathematically the Knights are still half a chance.
A win over the Eels last week helped, and with a game in hand against an unpredictable Titans team, we could certainly see Newcastle jump further up the ladder.
The scoreboard doesn’t do the Titans any justice, but they actually played rather well last week against the Roosters.
Gold Coast did well to answer back after Sydney cracked the scoreboard in the opening 20 minutes, but sloppy missed tackles and errors ultimately cost the Titans a chance.
Looking forward, it’s hard to see this game being a clean and well thought out affair, but with the Titans holding a 2-1 record as the favourite in away games against the Knights, they’re the team to back this weekend.
Gold Coast on their day are capable of anything, and this Knights team has been cruising along in third gear for most of the season.
Last week’s narrow win over the Eels was nice, but there’s a lot more attacking weapons on the Titans’ roster that can hurt.
Back the Titans to Beat The Line (+1.5 Points) @ $1.91
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday 21 July, 5:30pm, ANZ Stadium
You couldn’t hold down this talented Tigers lineup for long, as the Dragons found out the hard way last week.
South Sydney on the other hand, well they almost look unstoppable.
The ladder leaders have now won eight straight games, not only making the Bunnies the premiership favourites, but also placing the Rabbits at very short odds this weekend.
Surprisingly enough, the Tigers have won four of their last five against the Rabbitohs, but last seasons 28-8 loss will still be fresh in the mind of Wests coach Ivan Cleary.
If last weeks win over the Dragons taught us anything though, it’s that the Tigers are pretty tough to beat when they run away with possession.
Wests held the footy nearly 60% of the time last week, resulting in an early try in the 10th minute.
It also helps when Esan Masters slots all four of his conversions, valuable points the Tigers will need to rely on if they are to make it two straight wins this week.
At home Wests have been so-so this season, holding a 5-4 record in front of the Tigers faithful. Souths, meanwhile, are 6-0 as the away favourites over the last 12 months.
With their season almost in do-or-die mode, the Tigers will need a big time performance if they are to win this one.
Things are really starting to click for this rejuvenated side though, making Wests another good upset chance beaming with confidence following last weeks win over the Dragons.
Back the Tigers 1-12 @ $5.00
North Queensland Cowboys
St. George Dragons
Saturday 21 July, 7:35pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
All of a sudden the Cowboys look like they might just take the wooden spoon.
Last weeks loss to the Raiders was nothing short of disheartening for a team that opened the game so well, but in the end, the usual errors cost North Queensland a victory away from home.
Luckily for the Cowboys, the Dragons also looked underdone last week against the Tigers.
Robbie Farah ran all over St. George during the 20-16 loss, but don’t let the scoreline fool you, the Dragons trailed 20-6 with just 15 minutes left to play.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen the Dragons leave the scoring ’till late, famously pulling off a come from behind victory over the Eels just two weeks prior.
St. George looked like a Grand Final certainty six weeks ago, but after three weeks of half-baked efforts and sloppy defensive performances, there’s plenty of question marks surrounding this Dragons squad.
So is another loss right around the corner?
The Dragons were no doubt flat and fatigued last week, but they do have an excuse.
Five players were returning from Origin duty against the Tigers, but with the rest of the squad backing up following the bye week, coach Paul McGregor had every reason to be mad.
A game on the road against North Queensland is never a ‘gimme’ and as St. George’s away record suggests, away stadiums aren’t exactly their forte.
This one has plenty of upset potential, but given the Dragons horror fortnight, it’s a market you’re best staying away from.
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday 22 July, 2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Would it be wrong to say the Warriors would prefer to play this game away from home?
New Zealand hold one of the best records on the road this season, and after a big win over the Broncos at Suncorp last week, the Warriors will be keen to continue their climb up the ladder.
Up next, the Storm, a team who has now won five straight. Melbourne’s 6-2 record at home speaks for itself, but the Storm have been almost equally as impressive on the road, having last beaten the Warriors in Auckland last season.
As the favourites, the Storm are 8-2 in away games, while the Warriros are 1-4 as the home underdog.
This game should feature plenty of speed and attack, but the biggest question now surrounds New Zealand’s defence.
We’ve seen the Storm hold opponents to very minor scorelines in recent weeks, a scary thought for the Warriors this week.
New Zealand have lost their last three homes games, and unless they can find a way to stop Josh Addo-Carr, something they failed to do on more than one occasion back in Round 8, the Warriors might be in for a long day.
Back the Storm to Beat The Line (-3.5 Points) @ $1.91
Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday 22 July, 4:10pm, Brookvale Oval
The Roosters have won three of their last four, and against a Manly side that’s sliding down the ladder, this is a game Sydney should lap up away from home.
These two last met back in May, playing out an instant classic that saw the Roosters hold on for a 22-20 victory.
Manly have still won three of the last five meetings though, but as we saw last week, even Sydney’s backups are capable of destroying an opponent.
Sydney’s were expected to win against the Titans, but without Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner and Cooper Cronk, no one expected the Roosters to win quite so easily.
Since Trent Robinson is set to welcome all of his stars back this week, the Roosters march towards the finals can continue, and given Sydney’s 5-2 record as the away favourite over the last 12 months, they should have no trouble on Sunday.
Back the Roosters 13+ @ $2.90
State Of Origin is in the books for another year and attention now turns back to the NRL and the charge to the Finals.
There is now a four point gap between the Parramatta Eels in 8th and the Penrith Panthers in 9th, but there is very little between the teams in the top eight and every game is vital in the battle for the top four.
This weekend is packed full of intriguing fixtures and our complete 2017 NRL round 19 tips can be found below.
New Zealand Warriors
Friday 14 July, 6:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
New Zealand Warriors 22 - Penrith Panthers 34
This a crucial game for both these sides as they attempt to edge their way closer to the top eight.
The New Zealand Warriors have the home-ground advantage in this clash and they will start as favourites, but they have been tough to trust in this scenario.
They have won six of their past ten games as home favourites for a loss and they are a poor 3-7 against the line in this scenario.
The Penrith Panthers returned to winning form with a much-needed win over the Manly Sea Eagles and they have won four of the past five games played between these two sides.
Penrith have won two of their past six games as away underdogs for a narrow profit and they are a middling 3-3 against the line in this situation.
There really is not a great deal between these two teams and the Panthers really do represent value at their current price.
Back The Penrith Panthers To Win @ $2.10
St George Dragons
Friday 14 July, 7:50pm, GIO Stadium
Canberra Raiders 18 - St George Illawarra Dragons 14
The Canberra Raiders have lost four games on the trot, but they will still start this clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons as clear favourites.
Canberra were no match for the North Queensland Cowboys in their final game before the bye and they are a team that is playing like there are a number of internal issues.
They have won only seven of their past 12 games as home favourites for a clear loss and they are a poor 4-8 against the line in this scenario.
There is no doubt that the St George Illawarra Dragons have fallen in a hole in the second half of the season and they have won only one of their past four games.
St George Illawarra have won three of their past eight games as away underdogs for a narrow profit and they are 5-3 against the line, while they have won their past four games against the Raiders.
Both these teams are tough to trust from a betting perspective, but the Dragons do look a good bet to cover the line with a start of 3.5 points.
Back St George Illawarra Dragons To Beat The Line (+6.5 Points)
Saturday 15 July, 5:30pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle Knights 22 - Brisbane Broncos 34
The Brisbane Broncos have recorded some massive wins over the Newcastle Knights in recent seasons and they are dominant favourites to maintain that record.
The bye could not have come at a better time for the Broncos following their big loss to the Melbourne Storm and there really will be no excuses if they are unable to get the job done this weekend.
Brisbane have won five of their past seven games as away favourites for a profit, but they are only 3-4 against the line in this scenario.
Newcastle lost the unloseable against the Canterbury Bulldogs last weekend and the pressure is now really on Nathan Brown to show whether this team actually has improved under his watch.
The Knights have won only two of their past 11 games as home underdogs and they are a poor 4-7 against the line in this scenario.
The betting play that really does standout in this clash is the Over in the Total Points betting market.
Over 50 points have been scored in the past four games played between these two sides and the current line of 42.5 points does not look like anywhere near enough.
Back Over 42.5 Points
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 15 July, 7:30pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Gold Coast Titans 30 - Cronulla Sharks 10
The Gold Coast Titans upset the Cronulla Sharks earlier this season, but it is the Sharks that are the favourites to win this clash.
Cronulla went into the bye on the back of a most impressive win over the Sydney Roosters and they are one team that really should be able to improve with State Of Origin behind them.
The Sharks have won only three of their past six games as away favourites for a narrow loss and they are a poor 2-4 against the line in this scenario.
Gold Coast went into the bye on the back of wins over the Wests Tigers and the Dragons, but this obviously represents a much tougher challenge.
The Titans have won two of their past six games as home underdogs for a narrow profit and they are a middling 3-3 against the line in this situation.
The last game played between these two sides was a low-scoring affair and it is the Under in Total Points betting markets that represents the value in this clash.
The Under has saluted in nine of the past 14 away games played by the Sharks and has also been a profitable betting play in games involving the Titans.
Back Under 40 Points
Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday 16 July, 2:00pm, Brookvale Oval
Manly Sea Eagles 28 - Wests Tigers 16
The Manly Sea Eagles are the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend in the NRL and they are dominant favourites to account for the Wests Tigers.
Manly had their winning run ended by Penrith last weekend and they did lost the most recent clash between these two sides last year.
The Sea Eagles have won four of their past six games as home favourites for a loss and they are a lacklustre 2-4 against the line in this scenario.
The Wests Tigers ended a lengthy losing streak with a victory over the Newcastle Knights, but the Sea Eagles obviously represent a much tougher challenge.
Wests have actually won four of their past ten games as away underdogs for a big profit and they are 6-1-3 against the line in this scenario.
There is nowhere near as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests and the Tigers are an outstanding bet to beat the line with such a huge start.
Back Wests To Beat The Line (+15.5 Points)
South Sydney Rabbitohs
North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday 16 July, 4:00pm, Barlow Park
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 - North Queensland Cowboys 23
This is a South Sydney Rabbitohs home-game, but they have taken it to Cairns and that obviously gives the North Queensland Cowboys the advantage.
The Cowboys have won both their games since Johnathan Thurston was ruled out for the rest of the season and their most recent win over the Canberra Raiders was particularly impressive.
North Queensland have won seven of their past eight games against South Sydney and they have won won 11 of their past 17 games as favourites, while they are 9-1-7 as the punter’s elect.
South Sydney looked to be building towards a late run to the NRL finals, but they were very poor against an undermanned Sydney Roosters last weekend and were unable to get the job done.
The Rabbitohs proven to be a profitable side as underdogs so far this season, but they are very tough to trust on the back of their most recent performance.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am more than happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
State Of Origin is now in the books for another season and attention turns to the run up to the 2016 NRL Finals.
Round 19 of the NRL season is highlighted by the Saturday night fixture between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos before the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers do battle in the Western Sydney Derby on Sunday.
The round concludes on Monday night when premiership contenders the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks face off at Allianz Stadium.
St George Dragons
Gold Coast Titans
Friday 15 July, 7:50pm, Jubilee Oval
St George Illawarra Dragons 12 - Gold Coast Titans 32
This is a crucial game for both sides as the Gold Coast Titans can leapfrog the St George Illawarra Dragons with a victory.
St George Illawarra went into the bye on the back of a very poor performance against Manly, but they are still set to start this contest as favourites.
The Dragons have an excellent record as home favourites and they have won their past five games in this scenario, while they are a profitable 3-2 against the line.
The Titans went into their bye after suffering back-to-back losses at the hands of the Canberra Raiders and New Zealand Warriors and they need to win this clash to keep in touch with the top eight.
The Gold Coast generally produced their best performances in front of their home fans and they have won just three out of their past 12 games as away underdogs, with a 6-6 record against the line in this situation.
St George Illawarra are a very safe bet at home favourites and they should be able to get the job done in a rare Friday night football appearance.
Recommended Bet: St George Illawarra To Win @ $1.70
Manly Sea Eagles
New Zealand Warriors
Saturday 16 July, 5:30pm, Nib Stadium
Manly Sea Eagles 15 - New Zealand Warriors 14
The Manly Sea Eagles have dominated the New Zealand Warriors in recent years and have won nine of the last ten games played between the two sides, but it is the Warriors that will go into this game as favourites.
New Zealand went into the bye with a victory over the Gold Coast Titans and they have now won four out of their past five games to put themselves into the top eight.
The Warriors have struggled with favourtism in the past 12 months, but their record as away favourites is a profitable 3-1 and they have an identical record against the line.
Manly finally ended their losing streak with an impressive performance against St George Illawarra, but they dace a tough assignment making it two wins on the trot this weekend.
The Sea Eagles have won five of their past 14 games as underdogs for a loss, but they are 7-16 against the line in this scenario for a very narrow profit.
There has been plenty to like about the football that the New Zealand Warriors have played in recent weeks and they are a good bet to get the job done against Manly this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back New Zealand Warriors To Win @ $1.82
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday 16 July, 7:30pm, ANZ Stadium
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 - Brisbane Broncos 30
This is a crucial game for both sides as they head into this clash in thoroughly average form.
The Brisbane Broncos have won just one of their past five games and they were particularly poor against both the Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm, but they will still start this game as clear favourites.
The Broncos have been particularly poor on the back of the past two State Of Origin fixtures and their record as away favourites is a poor 4-4, while they are 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
It is fair to say that South Sydney have been nothing short of woeful in recent weeks and they could not hold on to the football in their 20-0 loss at the hands of the North Queensland Cowboys in Cairns.
They have now lost five games on the trot and their record as home underdogs is particularly poor – they have failed to win a single game or beat the line in this scenario in the past 12 months.
It is very tough to have any faith whatsoever in these two sides and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Sunday 17 July, 2:00pm, Hunter Stadium
Newcastle Knights 16 - Melbourne Storm 20
This is the mismatch of the weekend as the Melbourne Storm are extremely short-priced favourites to beat the Newcastle Knights this weekend.
Along with the Cronulla Sharks, the Storm have been the form team in the NRL for the past couple of months and they went into the bye on the back of a simply outstanding performance against the Brisbane Broncos.
It is very easy to see the Storm putting up another big score against the Knights and they have won five out of their past six games as away favourites, while they are 4-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Newcastle Knights raced out to a big 22 point lead against the Canberra Raiders in their final game before the bye, but they fell apart in the second half and lost the game in golden point.
They still have just the one win on their record this season and their form as home underdogs is very poor – they have won just one of their past nine games in this scenario and they are 4-5 against the line.
The line of 18.5 points does not look like it will be anywhere near enough and the Melbourne Storm should be able to cover that margin very easily.
Recommended Bet: Back The Melbourne Storm To Beat The Line (-18.5 Points)
Sunday 17 July, 4:00pm, Pepper Stadium
Penrith Panthers 22 - Parramatta Eels 18
There is no love lost between the two teams and the Western Sydney Derby is one of the fiercest in the NRL.
The Penrith Panthers scored a thrilling victory over the Parramatta Eels when the two sides met earlier this season and they have opened as clear favourites to record another victory over their rivals this weekend.
Penrith blew a golden opportunity to beat a depleted Cronulla Sharks outfit last weekend and their record as home favourites is now a non-profitable 4-3, while they are a very poor 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
Off-field controversy continues to haunt the Parramatta Eels week after week, but it has not affected their performance on the field and they recorded a very tough 22-18 victory over the Sydney Roosters last weekend.
The Eels have proven to be a profitable side as away underdogs in head to head betting, but their record against the line is a lackluster 3-4.
Opposing the Panthers as favourites has proven to be a profitable betting play all season long and the Eels are great value to overcome the controversy and record yet another upset win.
Recommended Bet: Back The Parramatta Eels To Win @ $2.45
Monday 18 July, 7:00pm, Allianz Stadium
The absence of their State Of Origin players did not stop the Cronulla Sharks last weekend against the Penrith Panthers last weekend and they are clear favourites to record their 14th straight victory.
There is no team that has been more reliable from a betting perspective in the past 12 months and they have won their past five games as away favourites, while they are 4-1 against the line in this scenario.
The Sydney Roosters have not had the mid season resurgence that a number of experts expected and they suffered their fourth loss in a row at the hands of the Parramatta Eels last weekend.
The Roosters have been almost the opposite of the Sharks from a betting perspective – they have lost their past five games as home underdogs and their record against the line in this situation is 1-1-3.
Backing the Sharks has been profitable all season long and they are a great bet once again to cover the line of six points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Cronulla Sharks To Beat The Line (-6 Points)