North Queensland Cowboys Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday August 29, 7:50pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
New Zealand Warriors Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday August 30, 6:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Brisbane Broncos Vs Paramatta Eels
Friday August 30, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium
Newcastle Knights Vs Gold Coast Titans
Saturday August 31, 3:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday August 31, 5:30pm, Brookvale Oval
Sydney Roosters Vs Penrith Panthers
Saturday August 31, 7:35pm, SCG
Cronulla Sharks Vs Canberra Raiders
Sunday September 1, 2:00pm, Shark Park
St George-Illawarra Dragons Vs Wests Tigers
Sunday September 1, 4:05pm, SCG
Would you believe just four points separate first and eighth on the NRL ladder?
Things have never been this tight, and with only two weeks left in the home/away season, it’s another big round with plenty of ladder ramifications on the line.
We have analysed all eight games set to take place this weekend and our complete 2018 NRL Round 24 tips can be found below.
Wests Tigers Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Thursday 23 August, 7.50pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The curtains haven’t closed for the Tigers just yet, but it’s another ‘win or go home’ situation in Campbelltown this week.
Ivan Cleary’s side once again let the Leichardt faithful down last week against the Dragons.
It was a big game atmosphere tailor made for a Tigers win, and although Wests put up a gallant effort in the first half, sloppy tackling ultimately let them down.
Meanwhile at Brookvale, the Sea Eagles were equally as unimpressive.
The Titans pounced on Manly within the opening 10-minutes, but the Sea Eagles, or should we say the Trbojevic brothers, did well to hold their nerve for the rest of the first half.
By the main break, Manly led 22-10, but what unfolded next was nothing short of stunning.
The Titans once again opened the half with a quick try thanks to some Ash Taylor brilliance, and moments later, the game was tied.
Manly’s sloppy line defence allowed three more tries, handing Gold Coast a cruisy 42-34 win while also cementing the Sea Eagles at 14th on the ladder.
Both of these sides showed plenty of struggles defending their own line, and with so many missed tackles, this one is tough to call.
So what kind of disasters should we expect this week?
The Tigers might have everything to play for, but as their 3-3 record as the home favourite suggests, they aren’t always a sure-thing.
Manly, on the other hand, don’t fare much better as the underdog, but compared to the Tigers, they showed much more spark on attack last week.
The Trbojevic brothers and Daly Cherry-Evans all looked switched on, but it’s also hard to look past their lackluster efforts on defence in the second half.
The Tigers really need their play makers to stand up here, and it starts with Moses Mbye and Robbie Farrah.
Esan Marsters had a quiet one against the Dragons, but if Wests are to somehow sneak into the finals, it will take a team effort.
That’s exactly what we should expect this week.
Tip: Back Wests Tigers 1-12 @ $2.88
Same Game Multi:
New Zealand Warriors Vs Penrith Panthers
Friday 24 August, 6.00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
It’s actually quite fitting that these two sides should meet up this week.
Both the Warriors and the Panthers were equally disappointing last week, failing to record victories in what many experts considered to be ‘easy-beat’ games.
The main problem for the Panthers came in defence.
Penrith struggled to keep up with Newcastle’s aggressive play, looking slow on their feet as Kalyn Ponga dictated play at fullback.
Plenty of mistakes certainly did help the Panthers’ cause either, a problem the Warriors can also relate to.
Short speedy passes proved New Zealand’s undoing against the Bulldogs, but realistically, the Warriors were unlucky not to leave Sydney with the points last week.
Looking ahead, it will take more than just a last minute drop goal to beat New Zealand at home this week.
David Fusitu’a was again the star for the Warriors last week, scoring two crucial tries in the opening stages of the second half.
If the Panthers give up plenty of big runs like they did against Newcastle, this one could turn ugly.
Head-to-head, the Panthers have won four of the last five meetings between these two teams, but they enter as the underdog this week.
Fortunately for punters, Penrith are 4-3 as the away underdog vs. the Warriors, and with the threat of potentially slipping out of the eight still at risk, this is a game the Panthers should win on the road.
Tip: Back Penrith Panthers To Win @ $2.25
Same Game Multi:
North Queensland Cowboys Vs Parramatta Eels
Friday 24 August, 7.55pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
The wooden spoon race is just as fascinating as the Top 8, and after both of these sides copped their 16th loss of the season last week, this game is huge.
Sitting tied on points at 14 apiece, it’s tough to predict the winner of this one.
The Eels had so many chances last week to give the Storm a run for their money at AAMI Park, but even with Cameron Munster in the sin-bin, Parramatta still failed to convert opportunity into points.
The Cowboys, well they showed plenty of heart at Shark Park, but unfortunately a lack of first half scoring saw the Cowboys leave with a 12-point loss.
Not for the first time, 38 missed tackles gave the Sharks plenty of chances to crack the scoreboard, and as we all know, those are valuable opportunities you just can’t allow against a talented Cronulla lineup.
The last time Parra and North Queensland met, the Eels walked away with a cracking 20-14 win back in Round 14.
Jarryd Hayne was the star of the night, scoring two tries in both halves while the Cowboys left the majority of their scoring to the 78th and 79th minute.
Again, this is a bit of a coin flip, but the Cowboys 3-1 record as the home favourite against the Eels is just about all we can ride on.
That, plus the fact this is Johnathan Thurston’s last home game should see North Queensland hopefully send him off in style in front of the Cowboys faithful.
Tip: Back North Queensland Cowboys 1-12 @ $2.88
Same Game Multi:
Canberra Raiders Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday 25 August, 3.00pm, GIO Stadium
It wasn’t pretty, but the Raiders upset over the Roosters last week came as a big shock.
In equally stunning fashion, the Rabbitohs lackluster efforts up in Brisbane at Suncorp last Friday Thursday night were also less than impressive.
South Sydney entered as the favourites, but even after a late first half fight back, the Bunnies still managed to let the game slip out of control once again in the second half.
Although the Raiders pulled off the unthinkable at home, it’s hard to trust a side that scored only one try.
Canberra hardly won the game against Sydney, more like the Roosters lost it.
Penalties gave the Raiders eight of their 14-points, and if it wasn’t for Jordan Rapana’s lone try, the result may have turned out differently.
Now sitting third on the ladder, this is a big chance for the Rabbitohs to bounce back this week.
South Sydney are 6-2 as the away favourites this season, and their 42-22 drubbing over the Raiders back in Round 7 sees them enter at pretty short odds.
If the Rabbitohs are to go on and win this, they need to revert back to that same kind of electrifying ball movement that saw them record a big victory over the Storm less than a month ago.
Last week against the Broncos, plenty of that creativity was missing, despite earning a higher share of the possession.
You don’t have to tell coach Anthony Seibold it’s all about quality, not quantity, and that’s exactly what we should see on the road this week.
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs 13+ @ $3.25
Same Game Multi:
Gold Coast Titans Vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday 25 August, 5.30pm, Cbus Super Stadium
All is said and done for the Titans this season, but after last weeks come-from-behind win over Manly, who knows what the future might hold.
It’s clear that there are some signs of promise on the Gold Coast, and there’s no bigger test than the Storm right now.
Melbourne were too good for the Eels at home last week, scoring three tries behind some great play from Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
In the second half, things got interesting for the Storm though, mainly due to some ill-discipline and inability to get the ball out of their own half.
So does that leave the door open for a Titans upset?
Gold Coast’s 4-6 record at home is hardly pretty, but if they can rely on some more Ash Taylor brilliance, nothing is off the table.
The biggest takeaway from last week, though, was the Titans struggles early on.
The Trbojevic brothers torched Gold Coast on some big fast-break runs, which shouldn’t exactly convince punters that the Titans can contain the likes of Josh Adoo-Carr and Billy Slater.
The Storm are 3-1 as the away favourite vs. the Titans, and have won four of their last five encounters against the Gold Coast.
This one could be surprisingly close, so best to stick with Melbourne at the line.
Tip: Back Melbourne Storm To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points) @ $1.91
Same Game Multi:
Sydney Roosters Vs Brisbane Broncos
Saturday 25 August, 7.35pm, Allianz Stadium
Two things: Roosters and penalties.
Last week simply shouldn’t have happened.
Sydney had every chance to leave Canberra with a win, but three crucial errors in front of their own line padded the Raiders lead in the first half, a margin that proved too tough to come back from.
Meanwhile, the Broncos did some padding of their own against the Rabbitohs in the second half last week.
Things were looking a little nervy at half time, but Brisbane came out ready to win in the second term, scoring three tries thanks to some Corey Oates and David Fifita brilliance.
The points were no doubt valuable to the Broncos, but their lack of composure defensively is worrying as we head toward September.
The Bunnies had no right to make it a contest last week, but Brisbane’s brain-fade saw South Sydney bounce back from 16-0 down to give the Broncos a real scare.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen Brisbane come undone like that, and against a punishing team like the Roosters, the Broncos need to show some resilience on the defensive side of the ball.
And can they do that?
We’re yet to see it this season, especially on the road.
The Broncos were particularly poor three weeks ago against a lowly team like the Bulldogs, missing plenty of tackles and committing plenty of errors.
With the Roosters looking to prove a point and reclaim their top spot on the ladder, expect the Broncos to feel the pressure again this week.
Tip: Back Sydney Roosters To Beat The Line (-6.5 Points) @ $1.91
Cronulla Sharks Vs Newcastle Knights
Sunday 26 August, 2.00pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
It was tight up until half time for the Sharks against the Cowboys last week, but Cronulla really kicked it into gear in the second term to run away with a comfy 30-16 victory.
Chad Townsend was the star of the day, but defensively, Cronulla has plenty to feel good about.
The Sharks look like the complete package now, and with a chance of finishing Top 4, this game against Newcastle is huge for Shane Flanagan’s side moving forward.
The Knights were equally as impressive last week against the Tigers, as they have been during patches this season.
Kalyn Ponga’s playmaking ability was again on full display, but it will take more of the same this week if Newcastle are to trump Cronulla at Shark Park.
Try not to read too much into it, but Cronulla have won seven straight against the Knights, dating all the way back to 2015.
On the flip side, Newcastle have won back-to-back games three times this season, and are 4-3 as the away underdog vs. the Sharks.
With plenty of Cronulla’s players visiting the team doctor during last weeks game, including Valentine Holmes, this one might have potential upset written all over it.
The Knights might not have anything to play for, but don’t forget they rank tied for first in set completion this season.
If you’re game, back Newcastle head-to-head, or at the line.
Tip: Back Newcastle Knights To Win @ $3.10
Same Game Multi:
St. George Dragons Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Sunday 26 August, 4.10pm, Jubilee Oval
The Dragons might be playing finals, but they aren’t out of the woods just yet.
Last weeks win over the Tigers was no doubt impressive, but there’s still plenty of areas head coach Paul McGregor needs to clean up before his team prepares for September.
One of them, would of course be Ben Hunt.
The Dragons star fullback again had a game to forget last week, dropping the opening second half kick off, and also committing a crucial penalty right in front of the Dragons line which resulted in a sin-bin.
Those crucial errors are costly from a teams No.1 leader, and although the Bulldogs are playing for bragging rights, Canterbury have shown plenty of resiliency, and more importantly, upset capability over recent weeks.
The Dogs win over the Warriors last week has to go down as Canterbury’s highlight of the season.
Lachlan Lewis slotting the game-winning drop goal with under 1:30 remaining was huge for his teams confidence, and after a big season of player departures, suddenly the future doesn’t look quite so bleak for the Dogs.
So can they upset St. George this week?
Absolutely, and in fact, it would almost be silly to bet against them.
The Dragons may have won Round 14’s encounter, but keep in mind, it was only a narrow two-point victory.
Prior to that, Canterbury had also won six straight over St. George, and although the odds favour the Dragons, there’s every chance we see an upset this week.
St. George are 9-3 as the home favourite on the season, but as we’ve seen in the last six weeks, that doesn’t mean much.
If the Tigers were able to muster up some attack and stick their tackles last week, that game may have turned out a little differently.
With the Dogs up and about and looking to end their season on a high note, they are worth a look at the line.
Tip: Back Canterbury Bulldogs To Beat The Line (+4.5 Points) @ $1.91
Same Game Multi:
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)