There are now only three weeks left in the NRL regular season and the jostling for positions in the top eight continues this weekend.
The Melbourne Storm secured the minor premiership with their win over the Sydney Roosters last weekend, but the battle for second is now on in earnest and there are only four points seperating the Brisbane Broncos in second and the North Queensland Cowboys in eighth.
We have had plenty of success with our NRL betting previews over the past month and our complete 2017 NRL Round 24 tips can be found below.
Parramatta Eels Vs Gold Coast Titans
Thursday 17 August, 7.50pm, ANZ Stadium
The Parramatta Eels head into this clash on the back of a shock loss at the hands of the Newcastle Knights, but they will still start as clear favourites.
Parramatta were the form team in the NRL before they produced an absolute stinker against the Knights and they need to return to winning form quickly to have any chance of finishing in the top four.
The Eels have won five of their past seven games as home favourites, but they are only 3-1-3 against the line in this scenario and they lost to the Gold Coast Titans earlier this season.
There has been plenty of off-field drama with the Titans in recent weeks – headlined by a feud between Neil Henry and Jarryd Hayne – and it has shown on the field.
They have forgotten how to defend and they once again conceded plenty of points against the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend.
The Titans have won only two of their past ten games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they are 4-6 against the line in this scenario.
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.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs New Zealand Warriors
Friday 18 August, 6.00pm, ANZ Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have won two games on the trot and they will go into this clash with the New Zealand Warriors as clear favourites.
Favourtism is a position in which they have struggled this season and they have won only two of their past five games as the punter’s elect at home for a clear loss.
The New Zealand Warriors have now lost six games on the trot and they really do look increasingly likely not to win another game this season.
New Zealand have won only one of their past ten games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they are 3-7 against the line in this scenario.
South Sydney have found a semblance of their best form in the second half of the season and they really should be too strong for a Warriors outfit that has clearly had enough in 2017.
Back South Sydney To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points)
Brisbane Broncos Vs St George Dragons
Friday 18 August, 7.50pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos moved into second with their win over the Cronulla Sharks and they will start this clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons as clear favourites.
Brisbane have shown in recent weeks that they can overcome the loss of Andrew McCullough and they were particularly impressive against the Sharks.
The Broncos have now won ten of their past 11 games as home favourites and they are 6-5 against the line in this scenario.
St George Illawarra kept their season alive with a win over the Gold Coast Titans, but they obviously face a much tougher challenge against the Broncos this weekend.
The Dragons have actually won three of their past eight games as away underdogs for a profit and they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario, but they have lost seven of their past eight games against the Broncos.
The betting play that does stand out in this clash is the Over in the Total Points betting market.
Backing the Over has been a profitable betting play in nine of the past 12 Broncos games played at Suncorp Stadium and backing the Over in Dragons games in 2017 has also been a winning play.
Back Over 40.5 Points
Newcastle Knights Vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday 19 August, 3.00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Melbourne Storm have secured the minor premiership and they are clear favourites to continue their winning ways.
Melbourne were not at their best against the Sydney Roosters last weekend, but they still came away with the two points and they are a side that simply finds a way to win.
The Storm have won their past ten games as away favourites and they are 7-3 against the line in that scenario.
Newcastle have been an absolute revelation in recent weeks and they stunned the Parramatta Eels to record their third straight win last Friday night.
Extending that winning streak is not going to be easy.
The Knights have now won three of their past ten games as home underdogs for a profit, but they are 4-6 against the line in this scenario.
It is tough to envision a scenario where the Melbourne Storm don’t beat the Newcastle Knights and the line of 12.5 points is unlikely to be enough.
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
Sydney Roosters Vs Wests Tigers
Saturday 19 August, 5.30pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters have lost two games on the trot, but they will still go into this clash with the Wests Tigers as clear favourites.
Sydney were gutsy against the Melbourne Storm and they were perhaps a touch unlucky not to come away with the two points.
This is a game that the Roosters should really win and they desperately need to do so if they are any chance to finish in the top eight.
They have won 14 of their past 17 games as favourites for a clear profit, but they are only 8-9 against the line in this scenario.
Wests produced one of their best performances of the season to date to beat the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon and they are a side that is capable of producing some quality football on their day.
The Tigers have won five of their past 12 games as away underdogs for a clear profit and they are 8-1-3 against the line in this situation.
This is a clash that the market looks to have got just about right and I this is a game that I am happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
North Queensland Cowboys Vs Cronulla Sharks
Saturday 19 August, 7.30pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
A horror injury toll has had an effect on the North Queensland Cowboys and there is a chance that they could go into this clash without Michael Morgan and Lachlan Coote as well as Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Gavin Cooper and Antonio Winterstein.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the Cowboys will start this game as underdogs and there is an outside chance that they could finish the weekend outside of the top eight.
The Cowboys have won one of their two games as home underdogs this season, but it is tough to back them without knowing exactly who will take the field this weekend.
The Cronulla Sharks produced their second lacklustre performance in a row when they were beaten by the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night and they are taking fairly average form into the NRL Finals.
Cronulla have won only three of their past five games as away favourites for a loss and they are only 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
It is tough to get a grasp on this game until the full-scale of the Cowboys injury crisis is known and at this stage I will not be offering a recommended bet.
Canberra Raiders Vs Penrith Panthers
Sunday 20 August, 2.00pm, GIO Stadium
This is a huge game for both the Canberra Raiders and the Penrith Panthers.
Penrith have won six games in a row, but it is the Raiders that will go into this clash as clear favourites.
Canberra simply need to keep winning to have any chance of qualifying for the NRL Finals and the Panthers represent a very tough test.
The Raiders have won only seven of their past 12 games as home favourites for a clear loss and they are 4-8 against the line in this scenario.
Penrith moved further into the top eight with their win over the North Queensland Cowboys, but one loss could easily see them slip out of the top eight once again.
The Panthers have won only two of their past five games as away underdogs and their record against the line is no better.
This should prove to be a fairly tense affair and the Under in Total Points betting markets really does appeal.
The Under has saluted in eight of the past 13 home games played by the Canberra Raiders and has also been a profitable betting play in Panthers games this season.
Back Under 40.5 Points
Canterbury Bulldogs Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday 20 August, 4.00pm, ANZ Stadium
The Manly Sea Eagles suffered a shock loss at the hands of the Wests Tigers last weekend, but they are still clear favourites to account for the Canterbury Bulldogs this weekend.
Manly continue to struggle for consistency and their loss to the Tigers means that it will now be very tough for them to finish inside the top four.
The Sea Eagles have won six of their nine games as favourites this season, but they are only 3-6 against the line in this scenario.
Canterbury produced another flat effort to lose to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Thursday night and they have now lost six of their past seven games.
It really is tough to have any faith whatsoever in the Bulldogs and the speculation that Des Hasler will not coach the team next season will not slow down.
The Bulldogs have played in some of the worst games of the NRL in recent weeks and this could be another fairly dull clash.
Backing the Under has been a very profitable play in Bulldogs games this season and has also been the way to bet in fixtures involving the Manly Sea Eagles.
Back Under 41.5 Points
There are only three rounds left in the 2016 NRL season and the fight for positions in the top eight will be on in earnest.
The marquee clash between the Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs will start the round on Thursday night and will have key finals consequences as will the Friday night football clash between the Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers.
There has been no NRL rivalry in the last decade bigger than that between the Melbourne Storm and Manly Sea Eagles and they will do battle on Saturday night before North Queensland host the New Zealand Warriors in what shapes as a must-win clash.
Brisbane Broncos Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday 18 August, 7.50pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos made it two wins on the trot with their victory over Parramatta and they will start this game as clear favourites.
The Broncos may have won their past two games, but they haven’t looked particularly impressive and they are just 8-5 as home favourites in the past 12 months.
On top of this they are 6-7 against the line as home favourites and they suffered a big defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs earlier this season.
Canterbury did it tough before they eventually claimed the two points in golden point against Manly and they have now won seven of their past eight matches.
The Bulldogs have won three of their six games as away underdogs this season and have proven to be a profitable betting play in this scenario.
There is no way that the Broncos should be as short as their current price and the Bulldogs are big overs at their odds.
Recommended Bet: Back The Canterbury Bulldogs To Win @ $2.60
Penrith Panthers Vs Wests Tigers
Friday 19 August, 7.50pm, Pepper Stadium
The Penrith Panthers will go into this clash as clear favourites after they recorded convincing victories over both the Sydney Roosters and the Newcastle Knights.
The Panthers have finally started to put away their rivals after losing a number of close games at the start of the season and they could prove dangerous if they make the finals.
Penrith have now improved their record as home favourites to 5-2 for a narrow profit, but they are still 2-5 against the line in this scenario.
Wests suffered a narrow loss to the Gold Coast Titans last weekend and in doing so lost their best player in the form of James Tedesco.
The Tigers have struggled without Tedesco in the side this season and their record as away underdogs is far from convincing – they have won just two of their past nine games in this scenario.
In saying that, the Tigers have beaten the line in five of their past nine games as away underdogs and the line of 10.5 points does seem a touch excessive – even without Tedesco in the Tigers outfit.
Recommended Bet: Back Wests Tigers To Beat The Line (+10.5 Points)
Newcastle Knights Vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 20 August, 3.00pm, Hunter Stadium
The Newcastle Knights have dominated the Gold Coast Titans in recent seasons and have won four of the past five games between the two sides, but it is the Titans that will go into this clash as dominant favourites.
The Titans recorded their first win of the Jarryd Hayne era in dramatic fashion against the Wests Tigers and they are now in the box seat to qualify for the NRL finals.
This will be just the third game that the Titans have started as away favourites in the past 12 months, but they have proven to be a profitable betting team as the punter’s elect this season.
The Newcastle Knights look set to finish the season with just a single victory and it is tough to see them winning this fixture.
The line is where the betting action will be in this clash and the Knights have proven to be an unconvincing 5-6 as home underdogs.
However, the Knights have given away a start of more than 14.50 points in eight games this season and they have covered in just two of them.
Gold Coast have the firepower to put up a big score and should be able to cover the line without any real issues.
Recommended Bet: Back The Gold Coast Titans To Cover The Line (-14 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday 20 August, 5.30pm, Brookvale Oval
The rivalry between the Manly Sea Eagles and Melbourne Storm reached fever pitch in the late 2000s and it will be interesting to see if Manly put up much of a fight.
Melbourne lost to the Canberra Raiders on Monday night, but they will still start this clash as dominant favourites.
The Storm have had no problems winning away from home this season and they are 7-1 as home favourites, while they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
Manly lost their second close game in as many weeks last Thursday night, but there is still no doubt that they have shown some more promising signs in the second half of the season.
Brookvale Oval is no longer the fortress that it once was and Manly have won just one of their past six games as home favourites, while they are 1-1-4 against the line in this situation.
Melbourne should be able to bounce back to their best form and they are a good bet to cover the line of 10.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back Melbourne Storm To Beat The Line (-10.5 Points)
North Queensland Cowboys Vs New Zealand Warriors
Saturday 20 August, 7.30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys have hit something of a form slump in the past two weeks, but will still start this clash as clear favourites.
The Cowboys produced their worst performance in several seasons against the Wests Tigers a fortnight ago and following it up with an equally poor effort against the Sydney Roosters.
They really need to stop the rot to have any chance of winning back-to-back NRL Premierships and the good news is that they have won their past 11 games as home favourites, while they are 8-3 against the line in this scenario.
The New Zealand Warriors were blown off the park by the South Sydney Rabbitohs and they will need to turn around their extremely poor record away from home to get themselves back into finals contention.
The data does not read well for the Warriors – they have won just one of their past eight games as away underdogs and they are 4-4 against the line in this scenario.
I am willing to give the Cowboys one more chance to return to their best form and if Johnathan Thurston’s men bring their best form they will prove far too strong for this Warriors outfit.
Recommended Bet: Back The North Queensland Cowboys To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
Canberra Raiders Vs Parramatta Eels
Sunday 21 August, 2.00pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders are the form team in the NRL and are clear favourites to continue their winning streak when they face Parramatta on Sunday afternoon.
The Raiders stamped themselves as genuine premiership contenders with a tough win over the Melbourne Storm and that level of performance is good enough to beat any side in the NRL.
Canberra have turned GIO Stadium into a fortress and they have won nine of their past ten games at the venue as home favourites, while they are 6-4 against the line in this scenario.
Parramatta were in their clash with the Brisbane Broncos for a long way and have not been disgraced in the second half of the season.
The Eels have won two of their past seven games as away underdogs for a small profit, but they are 3-4 against the line and have struggled to match it with the best teams in the competition in recent weeks.
Canberra have momentum on their side heading into the finals and they will not want that to halt, so it really would not surprise to see them put the Eels to the sword this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Canberra Raiders To Beat The Line (-13.5 Points)
Sydney Roosters Vs St George Dragons
Sunday 21 August, 4.00pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters have an excellent record against the St George Illawarra Dragons in recent years and they will start this clash as clear favourites.
The Roosters produced one of their best performances of the season to date to beat the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend and a repeat of that effort would be more than enough to account for the Dragons.
Sydney have actually been a surprising safe betting option as home favourites this season – they are 5-1 in head-to-head betting and 4-2 against the line.
St George Illawarra ended their losing streak to record their biggest win of the season over the Cronulla Sharks and it will be interesting to see whether they can back-up that performance this weekend.
The Dragons have won just one of their past nine games as away underdogs and they are a non-profitable 4-5 against the line in this situation.
The Roosters have struggled to string together quality performances, but they have definitely looked like a better side with Mitchell Pearce at half-back and they are a great bet to cover the line this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sydney Roosters To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points)
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Cronulla Sharks
Monday 22 August, 7.00pm, ANZ Stadium
The Cronulla Sharks are another club that has hit a form slump and they face a tricky assignment to return to winning form against South Sydney.
Cronulla had their unbeaten streak ended by the Canberra Raiders and last weekend produced their worst performance of the season to date against St George – leaving them at somewhat of a crossroads.
In saying that, the Sharks have proven to be a strong betting proposition on the road this season and they have lost just one game as away favourites this season, while they are 5-3 against the line in this situation.
South Sydney saved their best performance of the season for their round 23 clash with the New Zealand Warriors and if they had played that level of football all season they would be genuine premiership contenders.
The Rabbitohs have struggled to string together back-to-back wins this season and they have lost all seven of their game as home underdogs this season.
Even more amazingly, they have failed to beat the line in each of these clashes and there is plenty of data to suggest that Cronulla should have no problems returning to their winning way this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back Cronulla Sharks To Beat The Line (-10.5 Points)