The first month of the 2021 NRL season is almost in the books as we look ahead to a bumper Round 4 starting on Thursday night.
The first three games feature three short-priced favourites in the Panthers, Rabbitohs and Storm taking on three of the wooden spoon favourites in Manly, Canterbury and Brisbane respectively.
The action heats up on Saturday with a huge top-eight clash on the Gold Coast between the Titans and Raiders, followed by an important showdown at the SCG on Sunday as the Roosters look to bounce-back against the Warriors.
If you’re looking for analysis on all eight games, we’ve got you covered in our NRL Round 4 Preview right here!
Manly Sea Eagles
Thursday April 1, 7:05pm, Brookvale Oval
The odds paint a pretty grim picture for the 0-3 Sea Eagles as they prepare for the toughest test in rugby league on Thursday night: the Penrith Panthers.
After battling his way through injuries to start the year, Manly head coach Des Hasler now needs to come up with a game plan to combat a defence that has allowed only 10 points in three games so far.
To be fair, the Panthers did it tough last week in the Grand Final rematch against the Storm, but the way they came from behind to snatch a win on a last-minute Kurt Capewell try tells you all you need to know about the belief in Penrith right now.
The Sea Eagles do have the added luxury of home-field advantage this week, but that really doesn’t count for much when you consider the Panthers won 42-12 during their visits to Brookvale last year.
On a more positive note, Tom Trbojevic could potentially return to the lineup next week, while the Manly defence does have a little less to worry about with Dylan Edwards out for a month with a hand injury, and Brent Naden serving the last game of his suspension.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact this is nothing more than a battle between first and last on the ladder.
With Nathan Cleary returning, the Panthers still have enough class and depth to keep on rolling.
Tip: Back the Panthers 13+ & Over 40.5 Total Points @ $2.25
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday April 2, 3:05pm, Stadium Australia
After failing to score a single point last week in Brisbane for the second game in a row, the Dogs now prepare for a red-hot Rabbitohs side riding the highs of another blowout win over the rival Roosters.
The Bunnies stumbled at this hurdle last year losing 26-12 to Canterbury two weeks out from the finals, but based on everything we’ve seen from Wayne Bennett’s new-look roster, another upset seems very unlikely.
Souths head into this game as heavy -21.5 point favourites in betting after carving up the Roosters from the opening whistle last week.
Latrell Mitchell turned in a five-star performance against his former side, and it wouldn’t be surprising if one of the Dally M favourites earns himself top votes again on Friday night.
The Dogs do have something to feel good about with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak returning from suspension this week, but they’re going to need more than a big game from their star winger to come close to scoring an upset.
Souths have played to a 6-2 record in their last eight games as the away favourite, and with the entire team firing at all cylinders, this should be nothing short of another blowout.
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs to Cover the Line (-21.5 Total Points) @ $2.00
Friday April 2, 8:05pm, AAMI Park
Kevin Walters picked up his first win as an NRL head coach last week as he now prepares to face his former mentor for the first time on Friday night.
Brisbane really clicked into gear following a scoreless first half, but it’s hard to get too excited about a shutout win over a Bulldogs side that is heavily favoured for the spoon.
The Storm, on the other hand, have some work to do if they hold any hope of rejoining the top four.
After fading away in the second half against the Eels two weeks ago, the Storm suffered the same fate last week in a narrow, and somewhat controversial loss to the Panthers in Penrith.
Fortunately, Ryan Papenhuyzen’s return to the squad couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Storm were missing their star fullback dearly in the dying stages last week, and his inclusion alone is sure to provide plenty of problems for a young and inexperienced Broncos back line.
Brisbane also grows stronger with Payne Haas and Matt Lodge set to return, but the chances of the Broncos pulling off their first win over the Storm in Melbourne since 2016 still appear slim.
It’s wild to think Brisbane currently sits one spot above the Storm on the ladder.
Considering Melbourne hasn’t lost three-straight since 2018 though, this still shapes as nothing more than a harsh lesson for the baby Broncs.
Tip: Back the Storm to Cover the Line (-20.5 Points) @ $2.00
North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday April 3, 4:30pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium
Things have gone from bad to worse in a hurry for new Cowboys coach Todd Payten.
Last week’s embarrassing loss at the hands of the rival Titans left Josh Maguire with plenty to say in his post-game interview, and it appears things aren’t about to get any easier with a trip to the Sunshine Coast to play the Sharks up next.
After suffering their own blowout loss last week against the Eels, Cronulla will be equally as hungry to get back to business.
Unfortunately, the Sharks will have to go about things without Wade Graham, Will Kennedy and Briton Nikora, while there’s still some doubt surrounding star winger Sione Katoa’s status.
Kyle Feldt is a week away from returning from suspension, but if the Cowboys can exploit some of Cronulla’s weak areas on Saturday, there’s a chance they might just pick up their first win of the season.
While last week’s game was forgettable, there was a lot to like about North Queensland’s efforts the week before against St George – a game that saw them complete over 75% of their sets and run for over 1600m.
With plenty of supporters likely to show up on the Coast, the Cowboys to at least keep it close is worth a play.
Tip: Back the Cowboys to Cover the Line (+8.5 Points) @ $1.90
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday April 3, 6:35pm, CBUS Super Stadium
Another top-eight battle headlines Saturday’s slate when the Titans play host to the Raiders on the Gold Coast.
Now winners of two straight, the Titans will be looking to carry over some of the momentum they gained from last week’s 44-8 annihilation over the Cowboys, while the Green Machine has likely spent the week reflecting on what went wrong during last week’s meltdown against the Warriors.
The Raiders have enjoyed the spoils from this fixture in recent times winning each of the last four meetings by 12 points or more, but a blowout looks unlikely this time around with Canberra nursing a long list of injuries.
Like the Sharks, Sebastian Kris and Ryan James are both hoping to pass concussion protocols.
Meanwhile, there are much bigger concerns for Joe Tapine (ankle) and Curtis Scott (ribs).
The Titans are one of the few sides to have avoided the injury bug so far, although that doesn’t seem to have swayed the bookies in their favour.
A slow start like the one that cost them against the Warriors in Round 1 won’t fly against a classy Canberra team that typically bounces back from a previous loss.
So long as the Titans keep their composure though, they should give their home fans something to cheer about.
Tip: Back the Titans to Cover the Line (+4 Points) @ $1.90
St George-Illawarra Dragons
Sunday April 4, 4:05pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
A potential top four spot is up for grabs on Sunday when the Knights host the Dragons from Newcastle.
Adam O’Brien’s side suffered one of the biggest upsets of the season last week in their loss to the Tigers, but that may have been the wake-up call the Knights needed as they look to secure a finals spot for the second year in a row.
That isn’t to say this week’s game will come easy against the Dragons, though.
After opening the year with a double-digit loss to the rival Sharks, the Dragons have steadied the ship to rattle off back-to-back wins over the Cowboys and Sea Eagles.
Now sitting fifth, the Dragons will be full of confidence heading into Newcastle, but they won’t hold particularly fond memories of this ground after losing 42-18 to the Knights last September.
To make matters worse, Kalyn Ponga is a chance at playing this week, while the Dragons have also suffered a serious blow of their own after Ben Hunt fractured his fibula last week.
St George fans have reason to feel optimistic this year, but it is difficult to read too much into a pair of victories over two winless sides.
Factoring in Newcastle’s 8-1 record at the line following a previous loss, the Knights really should be bouncing back here.
Tip: Back the Knights to Cover the Line (-7.5 Points) @ $1.90
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday April 4, 6:15pm, SCG
The Roosters play host to the Warriors at the SCG on Sunday in what is easily one of the most intriguing games of the weekend.
Although the scoreline didn’t reflect it, the tri-colours were no match last week for the Rabbitohs from start to finish – a performance Trent Robinson will be hoping his side can bounce-back from against an injury-riddled Warriors lineup.
Speaking of injuries, the Roosters have also been dealt a blow of their own with reports confirming Luke Keary has suffered a torn ACL.
Fortunately, there is some good news on the Victor Radley front with the star hooker set to return from a shoulder injury, but things aren’t as positive for the Warriors with Peta Hiku now ruled out with a knee injury.
The wear and tear following a short preseason has impacted just about every club in the league, but it’s of particular concern for the Warriors with troops already wearing thin.
Winning back-to-back games has proven a problem for New Zealand over the last three years, and their recent three-game losing streak to the Roosters really doesn’t favour an upset.
Sydney will no doubt be tested with several key playmakers on the sidelines for the coming weeks, but they can still rest easy knowing leading try scorers James Tedesco and Brett Morris remain fit.
The Roosters have to have this one with the Sharks and Storm coming up over the next fortnight, and it’s likely going to take much more than some Roger Tuivasa-Sheck heroics to keep Tedesco and Morris from scoring.
Tip: Back the Roosters 1-12 @ $2.80
Monday April 5, 4:00pm, Stadium Australia
The Tigers played the role of spoilers last week in their gutsy 24-20 win over the Knights in Newcastle – a performance that has likely left Michael Maguire’s side beaming with confidence leading into Sunday’s first derby of the year against Parramatta.
While Wests did well to win plenty of the ball and simultaneously force the Knights into 18 errors, there’s no question this a much tougher task against an Eels side looking to extend their unbeaten start to 4-0.
After a couple of half-hearted wins over the Broncos and Storm, the Eels left nothing to chance last week piling on five unanswered tries against the Sharks.
That performance alone explains why the Eels have opened as -10 point favourites this week, not to mention the fact the Tigers have lost five straight to Parramatta dating back to 2018.
On the injury front, there is some concern for Mitchell Moses as he goes through the HIA protocol, but there is good news with Ryan Matterson set to return from a concussion.
Beating a half-strength Newcastle side is one thing, but downing a runaway Eels team that is only getting better each week is an entirely different story.
Parramatta does need to be careful not to underestimate the Tigers, but if they can find plenty of open space like they did last week against Cronulla, they should be winning this comfortably.
Tip: Back the Eels 13+ @ $2.15
On the heels of a jam-packed weekend of upsets, storylines, and even draws, we quickly turn our attention to Round 4 on Thursday night as the Broncos and the Roosters meet in a heavyweight duel at Suncorp Stadium.
Friday’s double-header is of equal importance with the Storm and the Rabbitohs looking to bounce-back from a pair of losses, while Saturday afternoons showdown between the Eels and Manly already holds a finals-like feel.
Sunday the undefeated Green Machine are back in action against the Knights, followed by a race to avoid the wooden spoon on Monday night between the winless Bulldogs and Dragons.
Following a successful weekend of tipping last week, we’re back with everything you need to know in our complete 2020 NRL Round 4 Preview below!
Thursday June 4, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
Where to now for the Broncos?
Last week’s no-show against Parramatta was a firm reminder that this team is still as fickle as they come.
With a chance to improve to 3-0 on the season, Brisbane failed to show up at home against the Eels as they were belted 34-6 in similar fashion to last year’s elimination final.
The Roosters were on the opposite end, reversing their hideous 0-2 start with a comfortable 28-12 victory over the Rabbitohs.
Sydney looked in fine form following the two month break as Daniel Tupou scored two minutes in.
The Chooks have received a nice little trim in our NRL Grand Final futures market, and are also the odds-on favourites to hand Brisbane a second-straight loss on Thursday night.
On the injury front, things look pretty bleak for Brisbane.
Alex Glenn and Katoni Staggs have already been ruled out for the clash, while the Roosters remain unchanged at time of publish with Victor Radley escaping suspension on Tuesday.
Of course, the trends do paint a slightly different picture.
These two sides met twice last year and won one game apiece, while the Broncos also hold a very cheeky 5-0 record as the home underdog at the line against Sydney.
This potentially has trap game written all over it, and the bookies are clearly trying to suck you in with the 8.5-point line following Brisbane’s lacklustre performance last week.
Instead, maybe the inclusion of talented 18-year-old Tesi Niu and Staggs’ replacement, Herbie Farnsworth, is the change Anthony Seibold’s team needs.
Throw in the fact the Broncos have won six straight against the Chooks at Suncorp, and you have the makings of a typical Broncos upset.
Tip: Back the Broncos to Cover the Line (+8.5 Points) @ $1.90
New Zealand Warriors
Friday June 5, 6:00pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The Panthers will feel hard done by at 2-1-0 following last week’s thrilling 18-18 draw against Newcastle.
Not only that, the Panthers also find themselves behind the Knights on the ladder, adding further salt to the wound, but perhaps also, some added motivation ahead of Friday night’s clash.
The Warriors have plenty to build upon themselves following their turnaround performance against the Dragons last week.
New Zealand’s attacking play was nothing short of superb in their shutout victory, but it does beg the question: are the Warriors back to their best, or were the Dragons just that bad?
This is obviously a much tougher test for Stephen Kearney’s side, and the visitors will have to go about their business with Peta Hiku and Agnatius Paasi on the sidelines.
Penrith, meanwhile, remains relatively unchanged, but on the heels of last week’s draw, don’t forget the last time the Panthers and Warriors got together the game went to extra time.
It’s also worth noting that Penrith’s last five home games against New Zealand have all gone Over the Total.
It’s certainly tough to fault the Warriors right now on the back of last week’s effort, but with a few key injuries and a much tougher opponent, the Panthers look the team to beat here.
Tip: Same Game Multi – Panthers to Win/Over 37.5 Total Points @ $2.57
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday June 5,7:55pm, AAMI Park
We wouldn’t usually call a Round 4 clash a must-win, but a victory on Friday night could go a long way to shaping the rest of the season for both these clubs.
To say the Storm were run off their feet last week against the Raiders would be putting it lightly.
Melbourne were caught off-guard by Canberra’s new-look, fast-pace attack, and while they seemingly had endless chances to put up points, the Storm, in the end, turned out to be their own worst enemy with mistakes getting in the way.
A lot less could be said of the understrength Rabbitohs, who went down without so much as a whimper against the reigning premiers.
The off-field Cody Walker saga and the absence of James Roberts saw the Bunnies muster only 12-points in the end, leaving them in a precarious position sitting 11th on the ladder at 1-2.
As far as ins and outs go, the Storm carry on without Nelson Asofa-Solomona (suspension), while the James Roberts still looks doubtful to return for Souths.
Trends wise, the Storm have won four of their last five against the Bunnies, but all you really need to know is this: Craig Bellamy’s side almost never loses back-to-back games.
With Cameron Smith, Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu all performing below their best last week, we should see the Storm bounce-back in convincing fashion.
Tip: Back the Storm to Cover the Line (-7.5 Points) @ $1.90
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday June 6, 5:30pm, Bankwest Stadium
Is it too early to call this a Grand Final preview?
The Eels were standout performers last week following yet another demolition over the Broncos.
Manly, too, were big winners on Sunday where they picked apart a wounded Bulldogs outfit in the early goings to win by 26-points.
Sitting atop the ladder, Parramatta will sense the importance of a win here with a red-hot Canberra breathing down their neck.
The Eels haven’t started a season 4-0 since 1989, so there’s also plenty of history on the line.
Likewise, Des Hasler’s team has plenty to play for with a chance to move inside the top four should results go their way.
These two sides know each other well having played in many famous Grand Final games during the ‘80s, but the one constant (over the last decade at least) has been the Eels getting the upper-hand against their rivals.
Parramatta has won eight of their last 10 against Manly, including a 32-16 victory at home last September.
The other constant has been high-scoring games.
Each of the last four meetings between these two clubs have gone Over the Total, so again, it’s worth combining the two for a little value.
Tip: Same Game Multi – Back the Eels to Win & Over 40.5 Total Points @ $2.92
North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday June 6, 7:35pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium
The Cowboys are now looking to accomplish something they haven’t done since last August – win two consecutive games.
North Queensland were enormous last week at home against the Titans were they piled on 36-points, in large part, thanks to Reece Robson’s double.
A much tougher test comes on Saturday however, as the Cowboys face a winless Sharks side hungry to make up for last week’s missed opportunity against the Tigers.
In what was a tough week for the club off the field, the Sharks made things even more difficult for themselves by surrendering a 16-10 halftime lead thanks to a handful of embarrassing mental errors that allowed the Tigers to win comfortably.
If you’re a Cronulla fan though, the good news is your club has defeated the Cowboys in each of their last three games, with the added motivation of Valentine Holmes lining up on the opposite side this week.
The other piece of good news is Jason Taumalolo has already been ruled out with bruising on his knee, while the Sharks are welcoming Matt Moylan back into the side to replace the injured Chad Townsend.
North Queensland does represent some value at the $1.60 quote, but this is the one game that could result in an upset.
The Sharks have won four of their last five up North, and considering they haven’t started a season 0-4 since 2015, it’s worth backing them at the line for added insurance.
Tip: Back the Sharks to Cover the Line (+3.5 Points) @ $1.90
Sunday June 7, 4:05pm, Campbelltown Stadium
Second and third kick off Sunday afternoon footy in what is shaping up to be a cracker thanks to the inclusion of Kalyn Ponga.
The Raiders really look to be the team to beat right now if their performance last week against Melbourne continues into Round 4.
Canberra completely ran the Storm off their feet in the early stages, while the Raiders’ defensive efforts in the final half hour was nothing short of extraordinary.
The Knights weren’t quite as impressive, but there were plenty of positives to take away from their draw against the Panthers.
Newcastle took the field minus Kalyn Ponga and Andrew McCullough, but still managed to battle their way into a stalemate to remain in the top four.
As far as this week’s game goes, Ponga’s inclusion really makes Newcastle an interesting team to consider head-to-head, but it’s difficult to see them matching the Raiders for a full 80-minutes on either side of the ball.
The Green Machine are welcoming Bailey Simonsson back to the wing, which means last week’s danger man Jordan Rapana can be used in short bursts off the bench.
That, and the fact the Raiders are searching for their first 4-0 start to the season since 2005, makes them a good bet to win big.
Tip: Back the Raiders 13+ @ $2.50
Gold Coast Titans
Sunday June 7, 6:30pm, Suncorp Stadium
This could easily turn out to be the worst game of the round, if not the season. But if the Tigers play anything like they did last week, we could be in for a surprisingly entertaining game.
Wests mixed things up last week against the Sharks in Moses Mbye’s return.
Adam Doueihi’s move to fullback turned out to be a revelation, and it quickly paid dividends as new hooker Harry Grant scored five-minutes in.
Benji Marshall was also at his absolute best pinning the Sharks deep inside their own territory on numerous occasions, which kept Cronulla scoreless in the second half as the Tigers won big.
For the Titans, there wasn’t a whole lot to take away from their blowout loss to the Cowboys.
On the other hand, Gold Coast has won three of their last five against the Tigers.
The fact Tyrone Roberts returns to the side is also a slight plus.
Tip: Back the Titans to Cover the Line (+7.5 Points) @ $1.90
St George Illawarra Dragons
Monday June 8, 4:05pm, Bankwest Stadium
This probably isn’t the Monday night blockbuster the NRL envisioned when they re-invented the schedule, but hey, look at the positive: at least one of these teams will finally get a win on the board.
The Dragons are the talk of the town right now following their shutout defeat at the hands of the Warriors.
Coach Paul McGregor is on a serious hot seat, and if the Red V fail to get the job done again this week, it’s safe to say he might be sent packing.
Things aren’t quite as dire at Canterbury, especially with the Bulldogs fielding a less than full strength squad.
The Dogs lost convincingly on the Central Coast to Manly last week, but keep in mind, they did put up a pair of competitive performances before the season was paused, and there is reason to believe they can do that again.
The Bulldogs have played to a 5-2 record as the home underdog at the line over the last 12 months, so just keep an eye on which way the betting swings.
If you include the fact Canterbury hasn’t started a season 0-4 since 1971, don’t be surprised if the Dogs get the job done.
Tip: Back the Bulldogs to Cover the Line
A month into the season and already the race towards the premiership is starting to take shape.
This week, the undefeated Storm return home to face the Bulldogs, while the equally impressive Rabbitohs look to keep in touch as they square off against the Sea Eagles in Manly.
As we prepare for what should be another huge round full of upsets, we’ve previewed every game in our complete 2019 NRL Round 4 Preview below.
Thursday 4 April, 7:50pm, SCG
If Thursday night’s game is anything like last year’s Round 11 affair, NRL fans should be in for a treat.
The Broncos won twice over the Roosters last year, but their clash in mid-May saw a whopping 50-points up on the board. You’d be forgiven for doubting Brisbane’s scoring abilities after a complete meltdown against St. George last Thursday night, but keep in mind, the Broncos tend to save some of their best performances for the road.
Having now strung together two-straight wins, the Roosters are flying high on confidence. Sydney’s attack proved too much for the Eels during last week’s 32-18 victory, a performance that has seen the Roosters jump out as five-point favourites ahead of this week’s game.
As the home favourite Sydney are 5-3 against the Broncos, although at this price, it’s worth noting the Roosters are only 1-4 when it comes to covering the line.
Brisbane’s biggest problem last week was not only lack of possession but also sloppy play on both sides of the ball. The Broncos missed 40 tackles against the Dragons, while their 14 handling errors and seven penalties cost them dearly.
With all that in mind, it’s hard to back the Broncos straight-up, but considering they lost back-to-back games only twice last year, stick with Brisbane to at least keep it close.
[matchmodule matchid="76907122" no="1"]
Tip: Back the Broncos to Cover the Line (+4.5 Points) @ $1.90
New Zealand Warriors
Gold Coast Titans
Friday 5 April, 6:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Never has a Round 4 game felt so important.
As far as finals are concerned, this is a huge match up for both the Titans and Warriors, both of which look headed towards a wooden spoon before a premiership this season.
The Titans weren’t embarrassed by the Rabbitohs last week, but Garth Brennan’s side are still facing an 0-3 hole with no end in sight. Gold Coast’s Brian Kelly was the standout bagging two tries, but the defence ultimately struggled as the Bunnies controlled possession.
After a promising start to the season, the Warriors were also a complete no-show against Manly, falling 46-12 in front of their hometown fans. The worrying sign for New Zealand comes on defence, as missed tackles have become a common theme each week.
Despite all their worries, the Warriors do start as the favourite this week at home. New Zealand are 7-3 in this scenario against the Titans, although Gold Coast could pose a few problems if Anthony Don receives the ball in plenty of space.
If that is the case, the Titans and their 4-2 record as the line underdog could turn into a great bet.
[matchmodule matchid="76907481" no="2"]
Tip: Back the Titans to Cover the Line (+5.5 Points) @ $1.90
Friday 5 April, 7:55pm, Panthers Stadium
Two sides eager to bounce-back from complete no-shows could provide the perfect backdrop to a lively affair.
The Panthers were always against the odds facing the Storm, but nobody expected Ivan Cleary’s side to lay a complete goose egg in the try column. Penrith’s only points of the night came on a James Maloney penalty goal, while the defence endured a long night against Dale Finucane and Josh Addo-Carr.
The Tigers also came undone in a surprise blowout against the Bulldogs. A slow start in the fist half saw the Bulldogs run away with a 22-8 victory, but if it wasn’t for sloppy errors, Wests certainly could have kept the game close.
These two sides met once last year in a 16-2 Panthers victory. With home-field advantage again this week, Penrith have opened as the favourites – a role they are 5-3 in against the Tigers.
Wests didn’t do a whole lot wrong last week, but the fact they’ve lost four straight to the Panthers raises a few concerns. After horrible conditions in Bathurst last week, the Panthers should be able to clean up their play and get back to winning ways.
[matchmodule matchid="76907586" no="3"]
Tip: Back the Panthers to Cover the Line (-4.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Saturday April 6, 3:00pm, Brookvale Oval
Manly’s old stalwarts did the talking last week against the Warriors as both Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans scored two tries each in a 46-12 rout against the Warriors.
The Rabbitohs kept things a little closer against the Titans but remain undefeated alongside the Storm on the top of the table. Campbell Graham was at his best last Sunday, but the Bunnies will need to play a full 80-minutes if they wish to dispose of this dangerous Manly side.
The Sea Eagles won’t hold fond memories of recent games against Souths. Manly were blown out 34-6 on the road last year, while they’ve managed to win only two of their last five meetings against the Bunnies.
South Sydney rightfully enter Saturday’s game as the favourite at Brookvale. The Bunnies are 7-3 as the away favourite over the last 12 months, compared to the Sea Eagles who are just 2-5 as the home underdog.
Manly will fancy themselves this weekend, but the defence is in for a huge test against one of the league’s most explosive offences. Even without Greg Inglis, South Sydney should prove a point on Saturday by stringing together two halves of flawless football.
[matchmodule matchid="76907844" no="4"]
Tip: Back the Rabbitohs 13+ @ $2.63
North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday April 6, 5:30pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
Nothing went right for the Cowboys at home last week, falling by 26-points to an overpowering Sharks side.
Cronulla got right down to business early with a 15th minute try by Chad Townsend, before the floodgates opened in the second half behind Josh Morris and Josh Dugan’s brilliant runs.
The Raiders were back in the winners circle last week, albeit narrowly over the Knights. Canberra dominated possession at home to walk away with a 17-10 victory, but perhaps the most encouraging sign was Jordan Rapana’s huge day on attack.
Against an injury ravaged Cowboys outfit, the Raiders will certainly fancy themselves on the road this week. Canberra have won two-straight over North Queensland, including last year’s blowout 38-12 win at home.
The biggest key to this game will be defence. Canberra can rest a little easier knowing the Cowboys are without some of their top scoring threats, while North Queensland need to find a way to silence not only Rapana, but also John Bateman and John Sutton.
It’s a small sample size, but the Raiders are 2-0 as the away favourite over the last 12 months. With these kind of odds on offer, take Canberra to potentially edge themselves into the Top 4.
[matchmodule matchid="76909491" no="5"]
Tip: Back the Raiders To Win @ $1.90
Saturday April 6, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium
Third plays sixth on Saturday night in what is shaping up to be the biggest blockbuster of Round 4.
Both the Sharks and the Eels have earned two wins apiece, but its Cronulla who enter this game as the narrow favourite on the road.
Last week’s dominant win over the Cowboys showed the Sharks mean business, particularly on defence. After trailing at halftime, the Sharks went into lockdown mode in the second half allowing a lone try to Gavin Cooper in the 66th minute.
For the Eels, last week was a learning curve for Brad Arthur’s young side. Parramatta looked to give the Roosters a run for their money by opening the scoring inside the first 10-minutes, but the Eels’ hot/cold spurts on attack cost them while the Roosters dominated possession.
Given Parra’s fall from grace in recent years, it’s not surprising to learn the Sharks have won five-straight over the Eels dating back to 2014. Even so, this game has upset written all over it if the Eels can tighten up around their own line – something they failed to do against the Roosters.
The Sharks defence will keep this game close, but it’s worth noting Cronulla lead the league in errors and penalties conceded. If the Eels learned their lesson last week, these are great odds for a bounce-back win.
[matchmodule matchid="76908025" no="6"]
Tip: Back the Eels To Win @ $1.97
Sunday April 7, 4:05pm, AAMI Park
Canterbury already know there’s no shame in losing to the Storm, but after last week’s huge win over the Tigers, do the Bulldogs stand a chance?
The Storm were at their best last week in Bathurst picking apart the Panthers for a 32-2 win. Melbourne’s moved through their phases with ease, but their defence also looked on point as they forced a handful of errors against Penrith in horrid conditions.
The Dogs also forced some mistakes of their own against Wests last week, but Canterbury will need to tidy up on defence enormously if they wish to upset the Storm in Melbourne. The Bulldogs committed eight penalties against the Tigers, also missing 36 tackles in the 22-8 win.
Since the Storm at such a short price this week, you’ll have to look elsewhere for some value. Despite Melbourne’s razor-sharp attack, it’s worth noting four of the last five games between these two have seen well under 40-points. The Storm are conceding eight points to opponents this year, so back the Under.
[matchmodule matchid="76908181" no="7"]
Tip: Back Under 41.5 Total Points @ $1.88
St George-Illawarra Dragons
Sunday April 7, 6:10pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
The NRL has saved the best ‘till last this week as the Knights host the Dragons on Sunday afternoon. These two sides put on a thriller last September, but surprisingly, it’s Newcastle who hold the edge this week despite having lost two-straight against St. George.
The Dragons survived by the skin of their teeth last week, nailing a last-minute drop goal to defeat the Broncos by a point at Suncorp. The Knights also found themselves in a close one against Canberra, but ultimately slipped to their second loss on the season as the offence stalled in the second half.
St. George are an impressive 3-1 as the away underdog against the Knights, while Newcastle are only 2-2 as the overall favourite at home over the last 12 months. Much of this game will come down to who can make the most of their opportunities – particularly the Dragons, who now look to continue without Gareth Widdop.
Kalyn Ponga is back at fullback for the Knights, but will that be enough to stop a Dragons defence that was brilliant in the final 10-minutes against the Broncos? With a few unknowns, this might be a market you’re best off avoiding.
[matchmodule matchid="76908637" no="8"]
Tip: No Bet
There is plenty of Rugby League set to take place over the Easter Weekend and there are games every day from Thursday right through to Monday.
The St George Illawarra Dragons and New Zealand Warriors currently sit on top of the NRL Ladder with three wins apiece, while the Canberra Raiders and Parramatta Eels are still looking for their first wins of the season.
We have analysed every game set to take place in the NRL this weekend and our complete 2018 NRL Round 4 tips can be found below.
North Queensland Cowboys
Thursday 29 March, 8:05pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys have lost two games on the trot, but they will still go into this clash as dominant favourites.
A lack of composure inside their own attacking 20 metres let the Cowboys down badly against the Melbourne Storm last Thursday night and the likes of Michael Morgan can’t possibly play as badly as did in that clash.
North Queensland have won five of their past seven games as home favourites for a clear profit and they have covered the line in each of these wins.
The Penrith Panthers had their winning start to the season ended by the Canterbury Bulldogs last Friday night and even worse was the fact that they will now be without Nathan Cleary for ten weeks after he suffered a grade three medial ligament tear to his knee.
Penrith have been significantly better at home than on the road in the past 12 months and they have covered the line in only four of their past 13 games away from home.
The Cowboys really should be able to return to winning form and cover the line in the process.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51387182" no="1"]
Back North Queensland To Cover The Line (-10.5 Points)
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 30 March, 4:10pm, ANZ Stadium
The market can’t split the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bulldogs ahead of their traditional Good Friday showdown.
South Sydney have improved each time that they have played this season and they were able to record their first win of the season with a comprehensive victory over the Manly Sea Eagles last weekend.
There was plenty to like about that performance and a replica of that effort would make the Rabbitohs very tough to beat in this clash.
Canterbury were also able to score their first win of the season with a fighting victory over the Penrith Panthers and their defence was very tough – especially when it needed to be in the final stages of the game.
I am still yet to be convinced that the Bulldogs have actually made any real improvement in 2018 and the Rabbitohs are unlikely to be as slow out of the blocks as the Panthers were last weekend.
This should be an excellent game and it is the Rabbitohs that really do offer value at their current price.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51387547" no="2"]
Back South Sydney To Win @ $1.92
Friday 30 March, 8:05pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Melbourne Storm returned to winning form against the North Queensland Cowboys last Thursday night and they will go into this clash with the Cronulla Sharks as clear favourites.
Melbourne were ill-disciplined against the Cowboys and definitely did not play at their best, but they were still able to record a comfortable win and they really ran away from North Queensland late.
The Storm have been incredibly impressive away from home over the past 12 months and they have won their past eight matches as home favourites, while they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
Cronulla recorded their first win of the season with a grinding 14-4 win over the Parramatta Eels, but their attack is still yet to really click this season.
The Sharks were extremely poor at home last season and they have won just five of their past 12 games at Southern Cross Group Stadium, while they are an awful 2-10 against the line at home over the past 12 months.
Melbourne can make it two wins on the trot and the line of 3.5 points does not look like enough.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51387871" no="3"]
Back Melbourne To Cover The Line (-3.5 Points)
New Zealand Warriors
Saturday 31 March, 5:30pm, Allianz Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors have started the season 3-0 for the first time in their history, but they will still go into this clash with the Sydney Roosters as clear underdogs.
The Roosters produced their best performance of the season to date to dismantle the Newcastle Knights in Round 3 and they really have clicked into gear following their opening round aberration against the Warriors.
Sydney have won 11 of their past 13 games as home favourites for a clear profit, but they are only 5-8 against the line in this scenario.
What a start to the season it has been for the Warriors!
They looked down and out against the Canberra Raiders last Saturday, but they were able to find a way to win and there is a sense of self-belief around the club that has clearly been lacking for a number of seasons.
The Warriors have now won two games away from home this season, but their overall poor record on the road can’t be ignored and they have still won only three of their past 12 games as away underdogs.
This is a game that the market does look to have just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting standpoint.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51414349" no="4"]
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday 31 March, 7:35pm, Brookvale Oval
The pressure is on Ricky Stuart and the Canberra Raiders in a big way.
Canberra could very well be taking a 3-0 record into this clash, but they have lost games from what looked like unloseable positions against the Gold Coast Titans and the New Zealand Warriors, while they were unable to close out their clash with the Newcastle Knights.
These two teams played out two golden point games last season – both of which were won by the Sea Eagles – and the Raiders ability to win close games will likely be tested once again.
The Raiders have won two of their past four games as away underdogs and it should not be forgotten that they have been in a position to win all three of their games so far this season.
Manly went in their clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs full of confidence following their dominant 54-0 win over the Parramatta Eels, but they were played off the park by the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
A repeat of that performance will not be enough to beat the Raiders and they will need to become more consistent if they are going to be genuine premiership contenders in 2018.
Manly have won six of their past eight games as home favourites, but they are only 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
Canberra will be able to sort out their mental demons at some point and they are great value to record an upset win over Manly.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51388138" no="5"]
Back Canberra To Win @ $2.60
St George Illawarra Dragons
Sunday 1 April, 5:10pm, WIN Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons are 3-0 and they have been the big market-movers in our NRL Premiership betting market.
St George backed-up their wins over the Brisbane Broncos and Cronulla Sharks with a domination of the Gold Coast Titans and their is plenty to like about the type of football they have produced to start the season.
The Dragons have now won six of their eight games as home favourites, but they are only 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
The Newcastle Knights suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Sydney Roosters last weekend, but there is no doubt that this is a team that has taken massive strides in 2018 to date.
Newcastle were able to beat the Dragons last season, but the Dragons have won nine of the past 11 games between the two sides.
The betting play that does standout in this clash is the Over in the Total Points betting market.
The Over has saluted in the past six games played by the Dragons at home as well as the past three games played by the Knights on the road.
This should be an expansive clash and it would surprise if they didn’t cover the Total Points line of 41.5 points.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51416318" no="6"]
Back Over (41.5 Points)
Gold Coast Titans
Sunday 1 April, 7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos are the shortest-priced favourites in the NRL this weekend.
Brisbane may have taken the two points against the Wests Tigers last Friday night, but they were incredibly lucky and their overall performance was nothing short of putrid.
The Broncos have generally saved their best performances for Suncorp Stadium in recent seasons – Anthony Milford in particular plays much better at home – and it would not surprise to see the Broncos bounce back in a big way.
Brisbane have won nine of their past ten games as home favourites and they are 6-1-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Gold Coast Titans were comprehensively beaten by the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend and there is a massive amount of problems with their defence.
They have conceded an average of over 30 points in their three games to date this season and it is impossible to win many games of football when you concede that many points on a regular basis.
Winning away from home has been an issue for the Titans – they have won only two of their past 11 games as away underdogs and they have not beaten the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium since their first ever meeting in 2007.
Brisbane should prove too strong for the Titans and they can cover the big line of 12.5 points.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51401334" no="7"]
Back Brisbane To Beat The Line (-12.5 Points)
Monday 2 April, 5:00pm, ANZ Stadium
This is another game where there is nothing between the two sides in betting.
It has been a horror start for the season for the Parramatta Eels and they backed-up their humiliation at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles with another very poor performance against the Cronulla Sharks.
The Eels have scored only 18 points so far this season and there are plenty of rumours that the return of Jarryd Hayne has led to a big amount of internal issues at the club.
Parramatta did beat the Tigers 12 last season, but it is incredibly tough to trust the side on the back of their recent form.
The Wests Tigers had their winning start to the season ended by the Brisbane Broncos, but it is fair to say that they were very unlucky and a draw would have been a fitting result.
The defence of the Tigers continues to be outstanding and it should come as no surprise that I am very keen on the Under in this clash.
The Under has saluted in the past six games played by the Tigers and has been a winning betting play in 16 of the past 24 games played by the Eels.
[matchmodule matchid=" 51388403" no="8"]
Back Under 37.5 Points
We head into another weekend of NRL action off the back of a round that was packed full of upsets.
The round begins on Thursday night with a clash between old rivals South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters before there are two intriguing games on Friday night.
Manly and Canterbury both recorded their first wins of the season last weekend and they face-off on Saturday, while both Parramatta and Cronulla will be keen to bounce back from what were poor performances.
There is betting interest in every single game this weekend and below you can find our thoughts for all eight NRL fixtures.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday 23 March, 8:05pm, ANZ Stadium
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 - Sydney Roosters 20
The Sydney Roosters scored a controversial win over the Penrith Panthers last weekend and they will go into this clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs as clear favourites.
The Rooosters have made an almost flawless start to the NRL season and there is now very little doubt that they will be the big improvers in 2017.
They have won six of their past nine games as favourites for a narrow profit, but they are only 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
South Sydney did it the hard way, but they were still able to come away with win against the Newcastle Knights last weekend.
The Roosters are a much tougher challenge and South Sydney will really need to improve to have any chance of accounting for their rivals this weekend.
South Sydney have lost six of their past seven games as home underdogs for a clear loss and their record against the line in this scenario is just as poor.
It would not surprise to see the Roosters blow the Rabbitohs off the park this weekend and the line of eight points is unlikely to be enough.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29993642" no="1"]
Back Sydney To Beat The Line (-8 Points)
Friday 24 March, 6:00pm, Pepper Stadium
Penrith Panthers 40 - Newcastle Knights 0
The Penrith Panthers are the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend in the NRL.
Penrith went down to the Sydney Roosters last Saturday, but they lost no admirers and it is fair to say that they were a touch unlucky.
The Panthers have proven very tough to beat at Pepper Stadium over the past 12 months and they have won eight of their past 10 games as home favourites, but they are only 5-5 against the line in this scenario.
There is no doubt that Newcastle have improved significantly in 2017 and they were only narrowly denied by South Sydney.
The Knights have not won a game away from home in over 12 months and they are 4-7 against the line as away underdogs.
The line is big, but the Knights are due for a regression and the Panthers past four wins over the Knights have come by margins of more than 20 points.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29993834" no="2"]
Back Penrith To Beat The Line (-14.5 Points)
Friday 24 March, 8:05pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Broncos 13 - Canberra Raiders 12
This is set to be one of the most intriguing games of the weekend.
The Brisbane Broncos go into this clash as favourites on the back of two heart-breaking losses against the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm.
Brisbane were excellent in both those games and the only concern is just how much those two brutal games of rugby league have taken out of them.
The Broncos have won nine of their past 13 games as home favourites for a narrow loss and they are 6-7 against the line in this scenario.
Canberra returned to their best with a dominant performance against the Wests Tigers last Sunday, but this is obviously a much stiffer challenge.
The Raiders have only won three of their past eight games as away underdogs, but they are 7-1 against the line in this scenario for a huge profit.
It has been a while since the Raiders beat the Broncos, but there really has not been a great deal between the two teams and I am keen to back the Raiders to cover the line with a start of 3.5 points.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29994785" no="3"]
Back Canberra To Beat The Line (+3.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday 25 March, 4:30pm, Brookvale Oval
Manly Sea Eagles 36 - Canterbury Bulldogs 0
Manly scored a big upset win over North Queensland last weekend, but it is the Canterbury Bulldogs that will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
Canterbury produced their best performance of the season to date to beat the New Zealand Warriors and a similar performance would likely be enough to see off Manly.
The Bulldogs are a reliable betting outfit as favourites and they have won four of their past five games as home favourites, while they are 4-1 against the line in this scenario.
Manly showed a great deal of defensive toughness to take the two points from their clash with North Queensland and it will be interesting to see whether they can reproduce that sort of effort this weekend.
Brookvale Oval has really not been a happy hunting ground for Manly in recent years and they have won just one of their past nine games as home underdogs for a clear loss.
Their record against the line is just as bad and I am more than happy to take them on this record.
Des Hasler will be keen to get a win over his old club and Canterbury should be able to make it two wins on the trot.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29995051" no="4"]
Back Canterbury To Beat The Line (-2.5 Points)
Saturday 25 March, 7:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Parramatta Eels 6 - Cronulla Sharks 20
There is no doubt that this will be one of the games of the weekend and the market can’t split these two sides.
Parramatta could hardly have been more disappointing last weekend.
They absolutely dominated in the first half and still managed to go into half-time even before they fell away in the second half.
Parramatta continue to be a tough team to trust from a betting standpoint, but they have won their past four games at ANZ Stadium.
Cronulla produced their worst performance of the season to date against the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend and they were very flat with the ball in hand.
The Sharks have won nine of their past 13 games away from home for a clear profit, but they could not have been more inconsistent over the past three weeks.
The betting market that does really stand out in this clash is the Total Points betting market.
The Over has saluted in five of the past six games played between these sides and recent history suggests that the total points of 38.5 will not be anywhere near enough in this clash.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29995265" no="5"]
Back Over 38.5 Points
Gold Coast Titans
North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 25 March, 6:50pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Gold Coast Titans 26 - North Queensland Cowboys 32
The North Queensland Cowboys head into this clash off the back of a shock loss against the Manly Sea Eagles, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
There is a genuine injury crisis at the Cowboys, but they can’t blame that for their defeat at the hands of the Sea Eagles – they were ill-disciplined, made too many errors and missed too many tackles.
North Queensland struggled away from home last season and they have won only four of their past nine games as away favourites for a clear loss.
The Gold Coast always seem to produce their best football when they have been written off and that is exactly what happened last weekend.
They were under pressure and had a number of players injured in the first half of their clash with the Parramatta Eels, but they toughed it out and ran away with the game in the second half.
The Titans have now won two of their past seven games as home underdogs for a narrow profit, while they are 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
North Queensland will go into this clash with another under-strength outfit and the Titans are a great bet to cover the line with a start of 5.5 points.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29995347" no="6"]
Back The Gold Coast To Cover The Line (+5.5 Points)
Sunday 26 March, 4:00pm, Leichhardt Oval
Wests Tigers 14 - Melbourne Storm 22
Melbourne are yet to taste defeat in 2017 and they head into this clash with the Wests Tigers as clear favourites.
The Storm took the two points from their clash with the Brisbane Broncos last Friday night, but they lost Cameron Munster to injury in the process and that puts the pressure on Billy Slater, who started on the bench in his return to rugby league.
Melbourne are one of the most reliable betting teams in the NRL and their record away from home is particularly strong – they have won nine of their past 10 games as home favourites and they are 7-3 against the line in this scenario.
The Tigers were awful against the Canberra Raiders and that performance has cost Jason Taylor his job less than a month into the season.
Sides can often fire following the sacking of a coach, but this is still a very tough assignment for the Tigers.
There is a thought out there that the Tigers save their best form for Leichhardt Oval, but they have won only three of their past eight games at the venue and they are 4-4 against the line.
Melbourne should really prove far too strong for the Tigers and the line of six points will not be enough.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29995544" no="7"]
Back Melbourne To Beat The Line (-6 Points)
St George Dragons
New Zealand Warriors
Sunday 26 March, 6:30pm, Jubilee Oval
St George Illawarra Dragons 26 - New Zealand Warriors 12
This is another game in which the market can’t separate the two teams.
St George Illawarra have made a very positive start to the season and there was a lot to like about the way that they toughed out a win over the Cronulla Sharks last Sunday.
The Dragons have won eight of their past 13 games at home for a clear profit and last year was the first time they have suffered defeat at the hands of the New Zealand Warriors for several seasons.
We may only be three rounds into the NRL season, but the Stephen Kearney era at the Warriors has not gotten off to a very positive start.
The Warriors are at their best when they are creating second-phase play and they went into last weekend’s clash with the instructions to not off-load the ball.
It cost them the game.
An improved game plan is desperately needed for the Warriors this weekend and even that may not be enough.
The Warriors have won just four of their past 11 games in Australia and their overall record against the Dragons is extremely poor.
[matchmodule matchid=" 29995868" no="8"]
Back St George Illawarra To Win @ $1.90
Easter weekend is always a big one in the NRL and 2016 is no exception. The weekend gets underway with the traditional Good Friday afternoon fixture between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bulldogs before the Brisbane Broncos host the North Queensland Cowboys in the highly anticipated Grand Final rematch.
The rivalry between the Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles has been one of the fiercest in the NRL in recent years and they renew acquaintances in the pick of the games on Easter Saturday.
The St George Illawarra Dragons Penrith Panthers clash is the only game of Sunday, but that leaves three games for what is set to be a massive afternoon of rugby league on Monday afternoon.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 25 March, 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 - Canterbury Bulldogs 42
The South Sydney Rabbitohs came crashing back to earth with a very sloppy performance against the St George Illawarra Dragons last Sunday, while the Canterbury Bulldogs were outplayed by the Parramatta Eels.
The Rabbitohs were very unorganized against the Dragons and it is clear that they are sorely missing Adam Reynolds, so it is easy to see why the Bulldogs are such clear favourites here.
Canterbury rarely produced back-to-back poor performances and they are 4-1 as favourites in head to head betting in the past 12 months, while the Rabbitohs have won just one of their past six games as underdogs.
The Bulldogs should be able to grind out a tough win tomorrow afternoon and I am happy to support the Des Hasler-coached side at their current quote of $1.55.
[matchmodule matchid="15612799" no="1"]
Recommended Bet: Back The Canterbury Bulldogs To Win @ $1.55
North Queensland Cowboys
Friday 25 March, 7:05pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Broncos 21 - North Queensland Cowboys 20
This is one of the most anticipated games of the 2016 NRL season.
The Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys did battle in one of the greatest Grand Finals in the history of Rugby League last year and if this game is half the game that was then it is set to be an absolute ripper.
The Broncos suffered a shock defeat at the hands of the Penrith Panthers last weekend after giving up a big second-half lead, but are still set to start this game as clear favourites.
Brisbane are 9-3 as home favourites in the past 12 months and even more impressively they are 8-4 against the line in this scenario.
North Queensland were far too good for a hapless Sydney Roosters side last weekend and they will take plenty of confidence from the improved performance.
The Cowboys have an excellent record as away underdogs both in head to head betting and against the line, with the Premiers winning six of their eight games as away underdogs in the past 12 months.
The NRL Grand Final showed that there is very little between these two sides and there is no way that the Broncos should be such clear favourites.
[matchmodule matchid="15612823" no="2"]
Recommended Bet: North Queensland Cowboys To Win @ $2.30
Gold Coast Titans
Saturday 26 March, 4:30pm, GIO Stadium
Canberra Raiders 20 - Gold Coast Titans 24
I didn’t think that I would be saying this at the start of the season, but this is one of the most intriguing games of the round.
The Canberra Raiders were excellent in their first two games and they had a strong start against the Knights, but they well away in the second half and they missed out on a golden opportunity to make it three wins on the trot.
The Raiders are clear favourites here and this is a position in which they have struggled in the past 12 months – they are 5-5 and they are only 4-6 against the line.
Gold Coast have been one of the biggest surprise packages of the NRL season to date and they were good against the Wests Tigers last weekend, but they are still set to start this game as clear outsiders.
The Titans are 8-10 against the line as underdogs in the past 12 months and that record does not get any better away from home.
The one betting market that does stand out in this match is the Over/Under.
Ricky Stuart-coached sides are typically Over teams and the Over has saluted in 14 of the Raiders last 25 games, while the Over is 8-3 in Gold Coast Titans away games in the past 12 months.
[matchmodule matchid="15612894" no="3"]
Recommended Bet: Back The Over (46.5 Points)
Manly Sea Eagles
Saturday 26 March, 6:30pm, Pepper Stadium
Sydney Roosters 20 - Manly Sea Eagles 22
The Manly Sea Eagles finally scored their first win of the Trent Barrett era against the Cronulla Sharks last weekend, while the Sydney Roosters suffered another humiliating defeat at the hands of the North Queensland Cowboys.
Manly have really struggled as favourites in the last 12 months and they are just 1-3 as away favourites in this time period.
The Roosters are 3-1 against the line as underdogs, but it is fair to say that this is a completely different Roosters side and I am not willing to back them until we see some drastic improvement.
I expect these teams to improve as the seasons continues and this will an interesting clash, but it is not one I a keen to get involved in from a betting perspective.
[matchmodule matchid="15612909" no="4"]
Recommended Bet: No Bet
St George Dragons
Sunday 27 March, 3:00pm, Win Stadium
St George Illawarra Dragons 14 - Penrith Panthers 12
The St George Illawarra Dragons and Penrith Panthers both come into this game on the back of narrow upset victories.
The Dragons showed their defensive resilience to stifle a South Sydney Rabbitohs side and on the back of that performance they are set to start this game as narrow favourites.
St George Illawarra have been a very safe bet as favourites in the past 12 months and they are 6-1 as home favourites in head to head betting as well as 4-3 against the line.
The Panthers won as underdogs last weekend, but they have won just two of their past nine games as underdogs and are 5-6 against the line in this scenario.
I expect this to be a low-scoring affair and the Dragons should be able to grind out another narrow win.
[matchmodule matchid="15612928" no="5"]
Recommended Bet: Back The St George Illawarra Dragons To Win @ $1.80
New Zealand Warriors
Monday 28 March, 1:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
New Zealand Warriors 40 - Newcastle Knights 18
Both these sides are still chasing their first win of the NRL season, although the Newcastle Knights were able to claim one point against the Canberra Raiders last weekend.
The New Zealand Warriors have been the biggest disappointment of the NRL season to date and a fourth straight victory could spell the end of Andrew McFadden’s coaching career.
The market is giving the Warriors another chance here and they are very clear favourites, but you couldn’t possibly back them at that price and they are 3-6 against the line as home favourites,
It is tough to get excited about the Newcastle Knights either. They were better against the Raiders, but there are still plenty of issues with this side and their record as underdogs in the past 12 months is very poor.
While you can’t count of either of these teams to win football games, they are generally capable of scoring plenty of points and I expect this to be a very high-scoring affair.
Backing the over in games involving these sides has been a very profitable play in the past 12 months and I expect over 44.5 points to be scored on Monday afternoon.
[matchmodule matchid="15612985" no="6"]
Recommended Bet: Back The Over (44.5 Points)
Monday 28 March, 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium
Wests Tigers 0 - Parramatta Eels 8
Both the Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels were tipped to be big improvers this season and they both head into this fixture with two wins apiece.
There was plenty of hype surrounding the Tigers after two impressive wins in the first two games of the season, but they were poor against the Titans last weekend and are clear underdogs this weekend.
The Tigers are 4-2 as home underdogs in the past 12 months, but these wins were generally recorded at Campbelltown Stadium or Leichhardt Oval.
The Eels could not have been more impressive against the Bulldogs last weekend and this will be just the third time in the past 12 months that they have started a game away from home as favourites.
Parramatta have a strong record against the line away from home and, although it is a very small sample size, they are 2-0 as away underdogs.
I really like what I have seen from the Eels this season and I am confident they can back up their win over the Bulldogs with another impressive performance against the Tigers.
[matchmodule matchid="15612994" no="7"]
Recommended Bet: Back The Eels To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)
Monday 28 March, 6:00pm, Shark Park
Cronulla Sharks 14 - Melbourne Storm 6
The Melbourne Storm sit on top of the NRL ladder after three games, but they face a tricky Monday night assignment against the Cronulla Sharks.
The Storm have been a bit scratchy in each of their three wins, but they have still been able to get the job done and I’m not really sure how the market has them as underdogs.
Melbourne are 3-4 against the line in head to head betting in the past 12 months although that record is better against the line and they are 6-5 in this scenario.
The Sharks were only middling against Manly last weekend, but they have been a much better team in front of their home fans in recent seasons and they have eight of their last 11 fixtures at Shark Park.
Cronulla are 6-4 against line as favourites and that record is just as good at Shark Park.
I fancy both these teams from a betting perspective going forward, but the market appears to have gotten this game just about right.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
[matchmodule matchid="15613077" no="8"]