A handful of upsets in Round 1 has added plenty of intrigue to the start of the 2019 NRL season.
We now set our sights on Round 2, headlined by three prime time blockbusters kicking off on Thursday night between the Dragons and the Rabbitohs. The Storm also take a trip to Canberra, a venue that’s caused Melbourne plenty of problems in recent years.
The first QLD Derby takes center stage on Friday night, followed by Sunday twilight thriller between the Tigers and the Warriors. As always, we’ve previewed all you need to know, and our complete 2019 NRL Round 2 Preview can be found below.
St George-Illawarra Dragons Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday 21 March, 7:50pm, Jubilee Stadium
The Dragons and the Rabbitohs find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum ahead of Round 2. The Rabbitohs pulled off an unthinkable upset over a well-rested Roosters side last week to spoil Sydney’s premiership party, while the Dragons were dominated in just about every statistical category during their 12-point loss to the Cowboys in North Queensland.
Fast forward a week, and you’ll find the Bunnies favoured handsomely on Thursday night. Souths won both games against the Dragons last year, although their narrow 13-12 win in September leaves the door open for what could be another thriller.
The Dragons finished last season 6-6 on the road, and already this year the struggles away from home are evident. St. George’s biggest problem last week was errors, and if they can’t clean up their act, they’ll pay the full price this week against a Rabbitohs side that dominated possession against the Roosters.
For the Bunnies, it’s all about sucking the life out. Even last year, Souths were great at forcing set after set to tire out the opposing defence, and considering the Cowboys managed to score two tries within 10-minutes twice last week, don’t be surprised if St. George are run off their feet again.
Tip: Back South Sydney To Win 1-12 @ $2.90
NRL Same Game Multi
Canberra Raiders Vs Melbourne Storm
Friday 22 March, 6:00pm, GIO Stadium
Two sides coming off convincing wins. Friday night blockbuster, anyone?
Canberra made short work of the Titans on a rain-soaked Gold Coast track last week, heading home 21-0 winners thanks to a dominant attacking performance.
The Storm had their hands full with the Broncos last week, for all of five minutes. Melbourne pounced on Brisbane in the opening half to lead 10-0 at the break, leaving the Bromwich brothers to do the rest in the second half.
So how do these two contenders stack up this week?
The Storm have won four-straight over the Raiders, including last year’s 44-10 beatdown at home. It’s worth nothing Melbourne haven’t traveled to Canberra since 2017 though, and after last week’s success, expect the Green Machine to be fired up for this clash.
Canberra might look a little over the odds to some, but beware, this could be a trap game. The Raiders are 3-6 as the away underdog straight-up against the Storm, but a much tidier 3-2 as the underdog against the line.
Overall, Canberra’s defence could keep this close. Their line play was superb last week, and the battle between Cameron Smith and Josh Hodgson should provide fireworks. The likes of Cameron Munster and elusive Josh Addo-Carr should see Melbourne over the line narrowly, however.
Tip: Back the Raiders to Cover the Line (+4.5 Points)
NRL Same Game Multi
Brisbane Broncos Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Friday 22 March, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Broncos enter their first of two QLD derby’s following a loss to the Storm last week. There’s plenty of learning curves ahead for new coach Anthony Seibold, but it appears the same old problem is plaguing Brisbane for the second season in a row.
After falling behind by 10-points, Brisbane once again got off to a slow start. It falls not only on Seibold, but also Kodi Nikorima, as the Broncos looked completely disorganized during various stages of the first half last week.
For the Cowboys, things were much more composed. Even after falling behind early, North Queensland didn’t panic as Jason Taumalolo went to work in the early goings. Paul Green’s side saw equal effort from Coen Hess on the defensive side, all of which leaves the Cowboys looking a little over the odds this week as they head to Suncorp.
Last season North Queensland nearly got the better of the Broncos on the road. Once again, the Broncos fell behind early, scraping home by four-points in a 24-20 win. Fast forward five months, the Cowboys then got one-up on Brisbane in North Queensland, winning by the same margin.
As the away underdog, the Cowboys finished 2-5 last year, while Brisbane’s struggles at home were evident in their 4-5 record against the line. Considering four of the last five meetings between these two have been decided by six-points or less, the line looks to be the play.
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Cover the Line (+4.5 Points) @ $1.85
NRL Same Game Multi
Cronulla Sharks Vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday March 23, 3:00pm, Shark Park
It’s only fitting that these two sides meet following their Round 1 disappointments.
In what turned out to be a stalemate between the Sharks and the Knights, Cronulla allowed a crucial last minute try to Edrick Lee in Newcastle, going on to lose 14-8.
Things were much more dour for the Titans, mind you. Gold Coast failed to even crack the scoreboard in their 21-0 loss to the Raiders at home, and considering the Titans won just four of their 12-games on the road last season, it’s not surprising to see them listed as the underdog.
On the flip side, the last time the Titans traveled to Shark Park they won 16-12 way back in 2017. Cronilla have won only two of their last five games against Gold Coast, including last year’s narrow 10-9 victory.
This game will likely be just as close. The Sharks finished 7-2 as the home favourite last year, while the Titans went 4-7 as the away underdog. Take the Sharks and their stingy defence in another nail-biter.
Tip: Back the Sharks To Win 1-12 @ $2.63
NRL Same Game Multi
Newcastle Knights Vs Penrith Panthers
Saturday March 23, 5:30pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
It’s only a small sample size, but you have to like what we saw from the Knights last week.
Newcastle toughed out a hard-fought win over the Sharks at home, one that has Nathan Brown’s side heading in as the favourite against the Panthers on Saturday. That was hardly the biggest upset of the round though, as Penrith, who are still caught up in off-field problems, looked lost against the Eels in a 20-12 loss.
The Panthers are typically slow starters, but they’ll need to find some spark on the road this week. Their first half efforts left a lot to be desired against Parramatta, but if they can win the forward battle and silence Mitchell Pearce, Penrith can easily turn their fortunes around.
Being favoured at home is unfamiliar territory for the Knights in recent memory – they are just 2-1 as the home favourite over the last 12-months. Last week’s win was huge, but was it the Sharks’ inability to score, or Newcastle’s attack that got the job done?
Either way, the Panthers hold a strong 2-1 record as the line underdog against Newcastle, which looks to be the safest play this week.
Tip: Back the Panthers to Cover the Line (+2.5 Points)
NRL Same Game Multi
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Sydney Roosters
Saturday March 23, 7:35pm, Brookvale Oval
What can we take away from the Roosters loss to Souths last week?
Sydney were dominated in the possession count, while they also looked flat on defence missing 27 tackles and committing 15 errors. In sum, it was a very uninspiring performance after a very strong preseason. But surely the Roosters are worthy of a mulligan, right?
There’s probably only one word to sum up Manly’s blowout loss to the Tigers last week: flat. The Sea Eagles were held scoreless right up until the 79th minute, a performance that left little to the imagination aside from Addin Fonua-Blake’s impressive numbers.
With all that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn the Roosters have dominated this match up recently. Sydney piled on 56-points against Manly last year, making it hard to back against their 6-2 record as the away favourite last year.
Tip: Back the Roosters To Cover the Line (-8.5 Points) @ $1.90
NRL Same Game Multi
Canterbury Bulldogs Vs Parramatta Eels
Sunday March 24, 4:05pm, ANZ Stadium
Last year’s cellar dwellers find themselves at opposite ends of the ladder after Round 1.
As expected, the Bulldogs were no match for the Warriors in Auckland last week, falling by 34-points. The Eels, on the other hand, were perhaps the most encouraging side to emerge from the opening round, storming home to defeat the Panthers 20-12 on the road.
Recent meetings between these two haven’t exactly been exciting. The Eels have won four of their last five games against Canterbury, but it’s worth keeping in mind the pair split their two-game series one win apiece last season.
The Eels find themselves as favorites on the road this week, a rare circumstance for last year’s wooden spooners. Parramatta finished 0-2 at the short price on the road last year, but it’s not like the Dogs’ 4-5 record as the home underdog is anymore convincing.
It’s tough to back a winner straight-up, or at the line for that matter. That said, there might be some value in the Total Match Points market. The Total has gone Over 30-points just once in the last five meetings between the Eels and the Dogs.
Tip: Under 37.5 Total Match Points @ $1.88
NRL Same Game Multi
Wests Tigers Vs New Zealand Warriors
Sunday March 24, 6:10pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The NRL might have saved the best ‘till last.
The Warriors and the Tigers won in convincing fashion last week, setting up what could be a fiery clash between two sides that know how to score.
Despite last week’s large scoreline, try not to get too carried away with expectations just yet. The Tigers made short work of a lethargic Manly side, but there’s still plenty of areas to work on for coach Michael Maguire.
The same also goes for the Warriors, who have become dependent on Blake Green. The 32-year-old will have his hands full this week with the Tigers’ attack, and in particular Benji Marshall, who played a big role in the win over Manly.
As the odds suggest, it’s tough to separate these two. New Zealand finished 8-4 on the road last year, while the Tigers won only seven of their 12 games at home. Wests were also 4-3 as the home favourite, while the Warriors were a much more impressive 4-2 as the away underdog.
There’s still plenty to work on for the Warriors, but if Green can back up his impressive performance last week, it might be a harsh reality check for Wests in front of their home faithful.
Tip: Back the Warriors To Win @ $2.00
NRL Same Game Multi
It was a thrilling weekend of action for the opening round of the NRL season and round two is set to be just as exciting.
The action is headlined by a genuine Friday Night Blockbuster between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys – there has been no greater rivalry in the NRL over the past five years.
We have analysed every game set to take place this weekend and our complete 2018 NRL Round 2 tips can be found below.
Cronulla Sharks Vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Thursday 15 March, 8:05pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons were one of the most impressive sides in the opening round of the NRL season, but it is the Cronulla Sharks that will start this clash as favourites.
Cronulla were a touch disappointing in their season opener against the North Queensland Cowboys – the score may have gotten close in the end, but the Sharks were never really in the contest.
Winning at home was a big issue for the Sharks last season and they won only five of their 11 games as home favourites, while they were an awful 1-10 against the line in this scenario.
Ben Hunt could not have made a better start to his time with the Dragons and they were nothing short of dominant against the Brisbane Broncos in round 1.
Winning away from home was not an issue for the Dragons last season and they won four of their eight games as away underdogs for a clear profit, while they were 6-1-1 against the line in this scenario.
The Dragons beat the Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium last season and there is no reason that they can’t do the same on Thursday night.
Back St George Illawarra Dragons To Win @ $2.10
Sydney Roosters Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Friday 16 March, 6:00pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters suffered a shock loss at the hands of the Wests Tigers last weekend, but they will still start this clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs as dominant favourites.
The Roosters new-look backline simply didn’t click in their season opener and the likes of Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco were unable to make an impact.
Sydney have won 15 of their past 20 games as favourites for a profit, but they are a very poor 6-14 against the line in this scenario.
The Bulldogs were no match for the Melbourne Storm in round 1, but there were definitely some positive signs in their defeat and they didn’t play as badly as the final scoreline suggests.
They did lost to the Roosters twice last season, but both games were very close affairs and they were a profitable play against the line as underdogs last season.
This game will likely be much closer than the current betting market suggests and the Bulldogs are a good bet to cover the line with a healthy start.
Back Canterbury Bulldogs To Beat The Line (+9.5 Points)
Brisbane Broncos Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Friday 16 March, 8:05pm, Suncorp Stadium
Games between these two teams just continue to be outstanding contests and we could be in for another classic at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The North Queensland Cowboys will start this clash as clear favourites and this is one of the shortest prices that they have ever been against the Brisbane Broncos.
North Queensland were a touch scrappy in the second half against the Cronulla Sharks in their season opener and they didn’t put the game away like they should have, but their forward pack looks extremely fit and could prove very tough for the Broncos to handle.
The Cowboys won all four of their games as away favourites last season and they covered the line in each of those wins.
Brisbane were right up there with the biggest disappointments of the opening round of the season and this could get ugly if they replicate the performance they produced against the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Broncos had so many issues against the Dragons it is tough to know where to start – the halves went missing, their kicking game was awful, Darius Boyd is clearly lacking fitness and their forwards were soundly beaten.
Brisbane have won only one of their past seven games as underdogs and they have lost four of their past six games against the Cowboys.
It is impossible to back the Broncos off last weekend’s effort and the Cowboys can record a comfortable win.
Back North Queensland Cowboys To Beat The Line (-4.5 Points)
New Zealand Warriors Vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 17 March, 3:05pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors were one of the biggest surprise packages of round one and they will start this clash with the Gold Coast Titans as clear favourites.
New recruit Blake Green clearly had a calming effect at the Warriors and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck finally showed what he is capable of with his best performance in Warriors colours.
It is always tough to back the Warriors with any real confidence, but they have won 11 of their past 12 games against the Titans for a big profit.
The Titans showed plenty of character to come from 18-0 down to beat the Canberra Raiders last weekend and they are sure to take plenty of confidence from that performance.
There is still a big question mark over their defence and they can’t afford to give up 28 points every week.
Gold Coast won only two of their ten games as away underdogs last season and they were a middling 5-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Warriors deserve to go into this clash as favourites, but it is tough to have any faith in a side that has burnt punters so badly over the years.
Penrith Panthers Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday 17 March, 5:35pm, Panthers Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will go into this clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs as clear favourites.
Penrith were slow out of the gates against the Parramatta Eels, but they were able to finish over the top of their rivals and they played some excellent rugby league in the second half.
They continue to be tough to beat at Panthers Stadium and they have won eight of their past 11 games as home favourites, while beating the line in each of these wins.
It was hard not to be disappointed with the performance that South Sydney produced in the opening round of the season and they were simply out-enthused by the New Zealand Warriors outfit.
South Sydney have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs – although they have won their past two games against the Panthers.
The market that does appeal in this clash is the Under in total points betting.
The Under has saluted in eight of the past 12 games played at Pepper Stadium as well as seven of the last 11 fixtures played by South Sydney on the road.
Back Under 42.5 Points
Melbourne Storm Vs Wests Tigers
Saturday 17 March, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm are the shortest-priced favourites in the NRL this weekend.
The start of the post-Cooper Cronk era could hardly have gotten off to a better start for the Storm and they were outstanding against the Canterbury Bulldogs in their season opener – Cameron Munster was particularly impressive filling in for Billy Slater at full-back.
Melbourne have not lost a game since they were beaten by the Parramatta Eels during the State Of Origin period last year and they have won their past three games against the Tigers.
They have won 11 of their past 13 games as home favourites and it is just about impossible to bet against them.
The Wests Tigers stunned the NRL with their round one upset win over the Sydney Roosters and the question is whether they can replicate that performance – they recorded back-to-back wins only once last season.
Wests have won three of their past 11 games as away underdogs, but they are an impressive 7-1-3 against the line in that scenario.
This is a game that Melbourne really should win, but the line of 14.5 points does seem excessive and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Parramatta Eels
Sunday 18 March, 4:10pm, Brookvale Oval
Both these teams were beaten in disappointing fashion last weekend.
It is the Manly Eagles that will go into this clash as favourites following their dramatic golden point loss at the hands of the Newcastle Knights last weekend, but their record against the Eels does not inspire confidence – Parramatta have won the past six games played between the two sides.
Manly won six of their eight games as home favourites last season, but they were a poor 3-5 against the line in that scenario.
Parramatta were excellent in the opening stages of their round 1 clash against the Penrith Panthers, but the way they gave up the game in the second half was very disappointing.
The Eels were able to win three of their seven games as away underdogs last season for a profit and they were 4-3 against the line in that situation.
The market has overreacted to the round 1 performance of the Eels and they can score their first win of the season over the Sea Eagles this weekend.
Back Parramatta Eels To Win @ $2.05
Canberra Raiders Vs Newcastle Knights
Sunday 18 March, 6:30pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders capitulated last weekend against the Gold Coast Titans, but they will still go into this clash as clear favourites.
Canberra looked like they had the game won in the first 20 minutes when they raced out to a 18-0 lead and a big win was on the cards, but they ran out of steam badly in the second half and threw away what looked like a guaranteed two points.
The Raiders were a losing betting play across just about every metric last season and they won only six of their ten games as home favourites for a loss.
The new recruits stood up for the Newcastle Knights in a big win during their win over the Manly Sea Eagles – Kalyn Ponga was particularly impressive – and that win is sure to give them plenty of confidence.
What the Knights will need to improve if they are going to be a genuine force this season is their record on the road – they have won only one of their past 11 games as underdogs and they are 5-6 against the line in this situation.
This is a game that the market looks to have just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
There is no greater rivalry in modern rugby league than that between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys and they will square-off again at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night in one of the NRL Round 2 highlights.
Manly and South Sydney are both looking to bounce back after poor seasons in 2016 and their meeting on Saturday afternoon will be extremely interesting before the Canberra Raiders host the Cronulla Sharks in a repeat of last year’s preliminary final.
The round concludes on Sunday night when St George Illawarra Dragons take on the Parramatta Eels and you can find out thoughts on every single game below.
Sydney Roosters Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday 9 March, 8:05pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters could hardly have made a more impressive start to the 2017 NRL season and they will go into this clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs as clear favourites.
The Roosters were ruthless in their opening round against the Gold Coast Titans and showed why many experts believe they will be the big improvers this season.
Home favourtism was the position in which the Sydney Roosters thrived last season and they won all three of their games in this scenario, while they were 3-0 against the line for a tidy profit.
Canterbury were arguably one of the biggest disappointments of the opening round of the competition.
They had plenty of chances to beat the Melbourne Storm in conditions that did suit their game, but both their kicking game and their attacking plays inside their own 20 metres were nothing short of disgraceful.
The Bulldogs are clearly a side that is short of confidence at the moment and this is another touch clash for them.
Canterbury struggled badly as underdogs last season and they won just one of their five games as away underdogs, while they had the same record against the line.
The Roosters should prove far too good for their rivals and they can cover the line of 6.5 points.
Back Sydney To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points)
New Zealand Warriors Vs Melbourne Storm
Friday 10 March, 6:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm head into this clash on the back of round 1 wins, but it is fair to say that both were lucky to come away with the victory.
New Zealand were the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend in the opening round of the competition and they made very tough work of their clash with the Newcastle Knights.
There is no doubt that the Warriors will improve from that performance, but they are going to have to if they are any chance against the Storm on Friday night.
The Warriors will go into this clash as underdogs and they did win two of their three games as home underdogs last season, while they were 2-1 against the line.
Melbourne showed their usual toughness to come away with a round 1 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs, but they will be look to improve the lack of discipline and handling errors that allowed the Bulldogs back into the game.
Winning away from home was not an issue for the Storm last season and they have won nine of their past ten games as away favourites as well as four of their past five games in New Zealand.
The market definitely appears to have inflated the chances of the Warriors and the Storm are once again excellent value to come away with the win.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-2.5 Points)
Brisbane Broncos Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Friday 10 March, 8:05pm, Suncorp Stadium
This is easily the highlight of the round and we are set for another thriller between these two rivals.
It should really come as no surprise that the market can not split these two teams.
The Brisbane Broncos do have the home ground advantage and they come into this clash off the back of a solid victory over the Cronulla Sharks.
Anthony Milford was simply outstanding in that clash and the Broncos require another big game from their star five-eight if they are going to come away with the win.
Brisbane won 10 of their 13 games at Suncorp Stadium last season and they have won seven of their past ten games against the Cowboys at the home of rugby league.
North Queensland started their season with a victory over the Canberra Raiders, but it wasn’t without the usual drama that has become part and parcel everytime that the Cowboys are in action
The Raiders looked to have secured victory with a Jordan Rapana try in golden-try, but it was called back due to a forward price and Johnathan Thurston and Gavin Cooper were able to take advantage of their second chance.
One area in which the Cowboys did struggle last season was winning away from home and they were only able to win four of their 14 games on the road last season – including their thrilling golden point loss at the hands of the Broncos.
Home-ground advantage has proven key in games between these two teams and the fact that the game is being played at Suncorp Stadium does give the Broncos the minor edge in what should be a very tight game of football.
Back Brisbane To Win @ $1.90
Newcastle Knights Vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 11 March, 3:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Not a great deal was expected of the Newcastle Knights heading into the 2017 NRL season, but there was a fair bit to like about their opening run effort against the New Zealand Warriors and their is some optimism heading into this clash.
It is still tough to get a bit carried away if you are a Knights fan.
They have only won one of their past 12 games as home underdogs and they are 4-8 against the line in this scenario.
It should be noted that the Knights did make a fair start to the season in 2016 before they quickly fell away.
Gold Coast started the season with a poor performance against the Sydney Roosters and there is a great deal of speculation that Jarryd Hayne is already unhappy on the glitter strip.
That was not evident on the field last Saturday night – Hayne was arguably their best player – but it is not ideal heading into the season.
The Gold Coast were actually a reliable betting option as away favourites last season – they won three of their four games in this scenario and had the same record against the line.
The market has overreacted to the round 1 performance of both sides and the Titans should be able to claim a comfortable win.
Back Gold Coast To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday 11 March, 5:30pm, Brookvale Oval
This is a crucial game for both these sides that are coming off disappointing round one losses.
Manly will go into this clash as clear favourites, but it is tough to have any faith in the side following their lacklustre effort against the Parramatta Eels.
This is a side that simply lacks quality right across the park and the final margin really should have been a lot more than it was.
The Sea Eagles have won their past three games as home favourites, but it is impossible to get them as short as their current price.
South Sydney went into their opening round clash with the Wests Tigers as clear favourites and it was a double disaster – not only did they lose, but they also Greg Inglis for the season.
The Rabbitohs are absolutely directionless without Adam Reynolds and that was definitely the case against the Tigers.
South Sydney did win three of their seven games as away underdogs last season for a clear profit and they do look value, but I am not willing to back them without Reynolds in the side.
Neither of these teams can be trusted from a betting perspective and I am more than happy to stay out of this clash.
Canberra Raiders Vs Cronulla Sharks
Saturday 11 March, 7:30pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders and Cronulla Sharks did battle in an epic during the 2017 NRL Finals Series and this will be one of the most interesting games of the round.
It is fair to say that the Raiders were unlucky not to come away with the win against the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend and they will start this clash as favourites.
The Raiders were able to turn GIO Stadium into a fortress last season and they won nine of 11 games as home favourites, but they were only 5-6 against the line in this scenario.
Cronulla were not disgraced against the Brisbane Broncos in round 1, but they clearly missed Valentine Holmes and they have elected to rest their star full-back for another weekend.
The Sharks did win three of their five games as away underdogs last season and the away team has actually been successful in seven of the past eight games played between these two sides.
This should be another fairly close encounter and I am happy to back the Sharks with a start of 4.5 points.
Back Cronulla To Beat The Line (+4.5 Points)
Wests Tigers Vs Penrith Panthers
Sunday 12 March, 4:00pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The Penrith Panthers were one of the biggest disappointments in the opening round of the NRL season, but they will still go into this clash with the Wests Tigers as clear favourites.
The Panthers simply didn’t turn up against the St George Illawarra Dragons on Saturday afternoon and it really is tough to know what to take out of a performance that bad.
There is no doubt that they are a much better side than that performance suggests and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back this weekend.
Penrith were not particularly impressive away from home last season and they won just three of their six games as away favourites for a clear loss, but they were 7-3 on the back of a loss.
Wests showed just what they are capable of with an excellent round 1 performance against South Sydney, but consistency has long been an issue for the Tigers.
They were 4-7 on the back of a win last season and the likes of Mitchell Moses are prone to following up a strong performance with a stinker.
The Tigers did win four of their ten games as home underdogs and they did win two of their four games at Campbelltown Stadium last season for a minor profit.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
St George Dragons Vs Parramatta Eels
Sunday 12 March, 6:30pm, WIN Stadium
Both the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Parramatta Eels impressed in the opening round of the season and it is the Parramatta Eels that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
Parramatta were nothing short of outstanding against Manly and with a touch more execution inside their attacking 20 they could have put a massive score on their rivals.
There is plenty to suggest that the Eels will be able to make it two wins on the trot to start the season.
They have won their past four games against the Dragons and they won all five of their games as home favourites last season for a clear profit.
There was no bigger surprise in NRL round 1 than the performance of the Dragons.
What has been one of the most pedestrian attacking sides in the competition for the last couple of seasons put on an absolute clinic against the Penrith Panthers.
Whether they can replicate that performance is the big question mark and the Dragons were only able to win back-to-back games on four occasions last season.
The Eels are a team that simply has more upside than the Dragons and they are genuine value at their current price of $1.80.
Back Parramatta To Win @ $1.80
Round 2 of the 2016 NRL season begins with what is normally a hard-fought clash between the Penrith Panthers and the Canterbury Bulldogs before the Brisbane Broncos take on the New Zealand Warriors in their first of many Friday night games this season.
The game of the round is between local rivals Cronulla and St George Illawarra on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides played finals football in 2015 and will be keen to get their season off to a strong start with a win over their biggest rivals.
Penrith Panthers Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday 10 March, 7:05pm, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers curse has continued into 2016 and they will go into this game without hooker James Segeyaro after he broke his arm in their opening round clash with the Canberra Raiders.
The Panthers were not horrible against the Raiders and there were some promising signs, but they face a sterner test against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
I expected big things from the Canterbury Bulldogs and I thought they would get the job done against Manly in round one, but the emphatic nature of their victory was extremely impressive and they continue to be a profitable betting side.
The Bulldogs should be able to get the job done here and they are 12-4 as favourites in the past 12 months, but their is not a great deal of value at their current quotes and they are a poor 1-4 as away favourites against the line.
The one betting play that stands out here is the under – games involving the Panthers have finished under the points total on 14 occasions in the last 12 months, while the under has always been a profitable betting play in Bulldogs games.
Recommended Bets: Back The Bulldogs To Win @ $1.60 and Under (39.5 points)
Brisbane Broncos Vs New Zealand Warriors
Friday 11 March, 7:05pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos were their usual consistent selves in the opening round of the season against the Parramatta Eels and they got our opening bet of the season without any problems.
They loss Jordan Kahu due to injury, but Alex Glenn is a more than capable replacement and they have plenty of depth in their forward ranks.
The pressure is already on Andrew McFadden in a massive way after the New Zealand Warriors produced a putrid first-half effort against the Wests Tigers last weekend.
The Warriors played much better in the second half and got themselves back into the game, but their poor start is a sign of a bad attitude and that is something that needs to be fixed if they are going to develop into genuine premiership contenders.
The Broncos have been one of the best betting teams in the NRL in the past 12 months and they have an outstanding 19-8 record against the line, while they are 7-4 as home favourites.
In contrast, the New Zealand Warriors are 4-7 against the line as underdogs and they have won just two of their 11 games as underdogs.
The Broncos should prove too strong for their rivals here and it could get ugly if the Warriors don’t do something about their attitude.
Recommended Bets: Back The Broncos To Beat The Line (-9.5 points)
Canberra Raiders Vs Sydney Roosters
Saturday 12 March, 2:00pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders have been fairly poor starters in recent seasons, but they produced a professional performance to beat the Panthers in round one.
They loss Aidan Sezer in the progress and the Gold Coast Titans recruit is a loss although there is plenty of hype surrounding his replacement Lachlan Croker – who is the nephew of Raiders great Jason Croker.
The Sydney Roosters’ off-season from hell caught up to them against South Sydney in round one and they were absolutely played off the park in the first half.
That performance may say more about the Rabbitohs than the Roosters and you don’t want to overreact after one performance.
The Raiders start this game as narrow underdogs and that is a position in which they have struggled with from a betting perspective – they did not win a single game as home underdogs last season and their record against the line at home was 1-2.
In contrast, the Roosters have been 13-10 against the line as favourites in the past 12 months and that record does not change a great deal when they play away from home.
I believe that their has been an overreaction to the round 1 performances of both teams and I am confident that the Roosters can return to winning form at good odds this weekend.
Recommended Bets: Back The Roosters To Win @ $1.80
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Newcastle Knights
Saturday 12 March, 4:30pm, ANZ Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs were easily the most impressive team in the opening round of the season and their NRL Premiership odds shortened significantly following their dominant win over their rivals.
The victory did not come without a price and they are set to be without both John Sutton and Adam Reynolds for an extended period.
I predicted that the Newcastle Knights would be false favourites against the Gold Coast Titans last weekend and that was exactly the case.
The Knights were out enthused by the Titans, which is really not something that you want to see from a young team that is playing for a new coach for the first time.
The Rabbitohs were a very poor betting team in 2015 and they were 6-11 against the line as favourites, but their record did improve in front of their home fans at ANZ Stadium.
The Knights were not any better than their rivals and they are 6-8 against the line as underdogs in the past 12 months, while they have won just three of their past 13 games as underdogs.
Their growing injury list is a concern, but if the Rabbitohs are able to replicate their round 1 performance they will easily be able to cover the line of 10.5 points.
Recommended Bets: Back The Rabbitohs To Beat The Line (+10.5)
Parramatta Eels Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 12 March, 6:30pm, Pirtek Stadium
The Parramatta Eels were no match for the Brisbane Broncos last weekend, but they had genuine excuses as they left their organisation following the neck injury to Corey Norman.
Norman is not expected to miss any action and in a big boost for the Eels, star recruit Kieran Foran is set to make his debut for his new club this weekend.
The North Queensland Cowboys started their premiership defense with a victory over the Cronulla Sharks, but it was not without a scare and they went to sleep for a good half an hour.
In saying that, the Cowboys showed their amazing ability to find a way to win football games and they had the softest pre-season of any team in the entire NRL.
This is expected to be a new Eels side in 2016, but they have been a very poor betting team for a number of seasons and they are 8-11 against the line as underdogs in recent season, while that record is even worse in front of their home fans at Pirtek Stadium.
The Cowboys have a surprisingly poor record as favourites against the line in the past 12 months and they are just 8-12, but that record does improve to 4-3 as home favourites and they have won ten out of their past 15 games away from home.
I still think that it will be a few weeks before we really see the best of the Eels and I expect the Cowboys to grind out a narrow victory.
Recommended Bets: Back The Cowboys To Win @ $1.60
Cronulla Sharks Vs St George Dragons
Sunday 13 March, 3:00pm, Shark Park
There were promising signs for both the Cronulla Sharks and the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend, but neither side was able to come away with the win.
The Sharks bounced back from a slow start to really test the Cowboys in Townsville, while the Dragons gave the Melbourne Storm a hell of scare.
There is always plenty of feeling between these two teams and you can often throw the form guide out the window when it comes to these sort of Derbies, but their are a number of stats that still come into consideration.
The Sharks have generally been a good betting side in the past 12 months and they are 16-9 against the line in the past 12 months, but that record does not stack up as favourites and they are just 5-5.
The Dragons are basically neutral when it comes to the line away from home, but the stat that does standout is their record in total points betting markets.
The Under has saluted in 11 of the past 14 Dragons home games and with a defensively minded team like the Dragons, the under is always a profitable betting play.
Recommended Bets: Back The Under (39.5 points)
Melbourne Storm Vs Gold Coast Titans
Sunday 13 March, 5:30pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm continued their excellent round one record with a victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons, but they suffered a few scares and were not overly impressive.
Not a great deal is expected of the Gold Coast Titans in 2016, but they just their supporters a reason to be optimistic with their convincing round 1 victory over the Newcastle Knights – a result that we predicted last wee.
The Storm are the shortest priced favourites of the week and it is very easy to see why, but their is very little value at their current quote.
The Cameron Smith-led side were 6-4 against the line as home favourites last season, while the Titans were 5-7 as underdogs away from home and suffered a big defeat at the hands of the Storm last season.
The stats say that we should back the Storm to beat the line, but the line of 16.5 points is extremely large for this stage of the season and I am happy to sit out of this game from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Wests Tigers Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Monday 14 March, 6:00pm, Leichhardt Oval
The West Tigers shrugged off a controversial off-season to start their season with an upset win over the New Zealand Warriors and they are sure to take plenty of confidence into this game.
There was plenty of late money for the Manly Sea Eagles – despite the withdrawal of Brett Stewart – but they were played off the park by the Canterbury Bulldogs in a very poor NRL coaching debut by Trent Barrett.
The Tigers are typically an inconsistent betting outside and they are 10-14 against the line in the past 12 months, but their record as home underdogs is a strong 4-2.
Manly have been nothing short of dreadful against the line in the same time period and they are a particularly poor 4-8 as favourites.
It is tough to trust the Tigers following the first-up win, but I am happy to throw my support behind them with a start of 5.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Tigers To Beat The Line (+5.5)