What a start it has been to the NRL season!
There have been a string of upsets in the first month of the season and it is a big surprise that the St George Illawarra Dragons and the New Zealand Warriors are the only two unbeaten teams left in the competition.
Our NRL Early Payout special has also proven to be a hit for punters as we have paid out on both teams in at least one game in every round of the season to date and it continues this weekend – if your selection scores the first 2 tries, we will pay you out as a winner early even if they go on to lose the game.
We have analysed every game set to take place in the NRL this weekend and our complete 2018 NRL Round 5 tips can be found below.
Canberra Raiders Vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Thursday 5 April, 7:50pm, GIO Stadium
It has been a shocking start to the NRL season for the Canberra Raiders, but they will still go into this clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs as narrow favourites.
The Raiders slumped to 0-4 with another poor performance against the Manly Sea Eagles last weekend and this has been their worst start to a season since they entered the competition in 1982.
Canberra have won only four of their past ten games as home favourites for a clear loss and they are a woeful 2-8 against the line in this scenario.
The Canterbury Bulldogs flew out of the gates against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but they ran out of legs in the final 10 minutes and their inability to close out games has become an issue.
Winning away from home has been an issue for the Bulldogs over the past 12 months an they have won only two of their past ten games as away underdogs, while they are 4-6 against the line in this scenario.
It is impossible to trust either of these teams from a betting standpoint and this is a clash that I am more than happy to stay out of.
Cronulla Sharks Vs Sydney Roosters
Friday 6 April, 6:00pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
This is arguably the highlight of the round and a big test for both these sides at this stage of the season.
The Sydney Roosters were flogged by the New Zealand Warriors last weekend, but they will still go into this clash with the Cronulla Sharks as favourites.
The Roosters have suffered back-to-back defeats only twice over the past 12 months, but their record on the road is not particularly strong and they have won only four of their six games as away favourites.
Cronulla have shown plenty of defensive toughness to record back-to-back wins over the Parramatta Eels and the Melbourne Storm and their recent record against the Roosters is outstanding – they have won six of the past seven games played between the two sides.
The Sharks have won one of their past two games at Southern Cross Group Stadium as underdogs and they are 2-0 against the line in this scenario.
The Under in the Total Points betting has saluted in the past seven games played by the Sharks and has also been a profitable betting play in Roosters matches over the past 12 months.
This should be another fairly dour, low-scoring affair and the Under is an excellent bet.
Back Under 36.5 Points
St George Illawarra Dragons Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 6 April, 7:50pm, Jubilee Oval
The St George Illawarra Dragons taken an unbeaten record into this clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and it is no surprise that they are clear favourites.
St George Illawarra have been dominant over the past fortnight and a win over the Rabbitohs will make this their best start to a season since 1993.
The Dragons have now won seven of their past nine games as home favourites, but they are still only 4-5 against the line in this scenario.
South Sydney came from behind to beat the Canterbury Bulldogs on Good Friday and there has been plenty to like about the way that the Rabbitohs have played in recent weeks.
The Rabbitohs have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs, but they are 5-2 against the line and they have won six of their past seven games against the Dragons.
This is a game that should be closer than the current market suggests and the Rabbitohs are a great bet to beat the line with a start of 8.5 points.
Back South Sydney To Cover The Line (+8.5 Points)
Wests Tigers Vs Melbourne Storm
Saturday 7 April, 3:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
This will be the second meeting between these two sides this season and the first leg of a double-header at Mt Smart Stadium.
The Wests Tigers stunned the Melbourne Storm in the second round of the NRL season and they take a 3-1 record into this clash following their big win over the Parramatta Eels on Easter Monday.
Wests have now won seven of their past 21 games as underdogs for a clear profit and they are an impressive 13-1-7 against the line in this scenario.
The Storm produced an unusually flat effort to go down to the Cronulla Sharks last Friday and they definitely aren’t as dominant a side as they were 12 months.
In saying that, they have still not suffered back-to-back defeats since 2015 and it would take a brave man to bet against them.
Melbourne have won 19 of their past 23 games as favourites and they are a profitable betting play against the line when giving away a start.
A strong defence has been the hallmark of the Tiger’s revival this season and this is another clash in which the Under in Total Points betting does appeal.
The Under has saluted in six of the past eight games played between these two sides and there is every chance that this will be another low-scoring affair.
Back Under 38.5 Points
New Zealand Warriors Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 7 April, 5:30pm, Mt Smart Stadium
What a start to the season it has been for the New Zealand Warriors!
They are 4-0 – their best start to the season in their history – and they were able to record a dominant win over the Sydney Roosters without Shaun Johnson.
The Warriors are showing a maturity that has been missing from their side for a very long time and they have not won five games in a row since 2013.
New Zealand have won only five of their past ten games at Mt Smart Stadium for a loss, but they are 6-4 against the line in this scenario.
It has been a shocking start to the NRL season for the much-hyped North Queensland Cowboys and they were nothing short of disgraceful against the Penrith Panthers.
A number of their key players simply aren’t performing at the level they are capable of and coach Paul Green hasn’t had any answers.
The Cowboys will take confidence from the fact that they have won their past four games against the Warriors and winning away from home – even in New Zealand – has not been an issue.
Backing the Cowboys on the road over the past 12 months has been a highly profitable play and if they can return to their best they do have a quality edge over the Warriors.
It is tough to back the Cowboys off their performance last weekend, but their record against the Warriors can’t be ignored and they are capable of bouncing back.
Back North Queensland To Win @ $1.91
Newcastle Knights Vs Brisbane Broncos
Saturday 7 April, 7:35pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
This is another game where the market is unable to split the two sides.
The Brisbane Broncos take a 2-2 record into this clash, but there are still plenty of questions being asked about Wayne Bennett’s men following their disastrous loss against the Gold Coast Titans last weekend.
Brisbane were simply out-enthused against the Titans and another loss to the Knights would really put the pressure on this Broncos outfit.
The Broncos have won their past five games against the Knights and they are 6-2 on the back of a loss over the past 12 months.
The Newcastle Knights were no match for either the Sydney Roosters or the St George Illawarra Dragons over the past fortnight, but there is still no doubt that they are an improved side in 2018.
Whether they can turn around their poor record against the Broncos is a genuine question mark and I am surprised that the Knights are in the battle for favourtism for this clash.
I expect a response from the Broncos – Wayne Bennett is too good a coach for them not to – and they can maintain their dominance over the Knights.
Back Brisbane To Win @ $1.91
Gold Coast Titans Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday 8 April, 2:00pm, Marley Brown Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans have taken this game to Gladstone as they continue their tour of Queensland while the Commonwealth Games take place on the Gold Coast.
The Manly Sea Eagles returned to winning form with a strong performance against the Canberra Raiders and they have won four of their past five games against the Titans.
Manly have now won nine of their past 13 games as favourites for a profit, but they are only 5-8 against the line in this scenario.
The Titans produced their best performance of the season to date to beat the Brisbane Broncos and they played some excellent rugby league in the process.
Whether they can replicate that two weeks in a row is a genuine query and they are always a tough team to trust from a betting perspective.
This is a game that the market looks to have just about right and I will be staying out.
Parramatta Eels Vs Penrith Panthers
Sunday 8 April, 4:10pm, ANZ Stadium
This is the second game of the season between these two sides following the opening round comeback win of the Penrith Panthers.
Penrith have improved their record to 3-1 since that victory and they were particularly impressive against the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend.
The Panthers have won ten of their past 16 games as favourites and they are 8-8 against the line in this scenario, while they have won three of their past four games against the Eels.
The Parramatta Eels have made a shocking start to the season and they are still chasing their first win after going down to the Wests Tigers last weekend.
Coach Brad Arthur has been disgusted with the performances of his side – especially their lack of discipline – and he is likely to make wholesales changes ahead of this clash.
Parramatta have won five of their past 12 games as underdogs for a profit and they are 6-6 against the line in this scenario.
I still think that Parramatta are a better side than their form this season suggests and I am willing to give them one more opportunity to return to winning form.
Back Parramatta To Win @ $2.20
It has been an exciting start to the 2017 NRL season and we are back to bring you our NRL round 5 tips for this weekend.
The Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm are the only unbeaten teams left in the competition and they both face tough assignments this week.
Sydney host the in-form Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night before the Storm and the Penrith Panthers do battle in a Saturday night blockbuster!
There is betting interesting in every single NRL game this weekend and you can find our thoughts for every single game below.
Canterbury Bulldogs Vs Brisbane Broncos
Thursday 30 March, 8:05pm, ANZ Stadium
The Canterbury Bulldogs are a club in crisis and it would not surprise if Des Hasler has been replaced as head coach before this clash on Thursday.
Canterbury could hardly have been worse against Manly last weekend and they will go into this clash with the Brisbane Broncos as clear outsiders.
The Bulldogs have won only one of their past five games as home underdogs for a clear loss and they are 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
It has been a tough start to the season for the Brisbane Broncos and they secured a vital win thanks to a late field goal from Jordan Kahu against the Canberra Raiders.
Brisbane have not been particularly convincing away from home over the past 12 months and they have won only five of their past eight games as away favourites for a clear loss, while they are 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right, but there is one price that does stand out.
The Brisbane Broncos have scored first in all four of their games this season and 18 of their 24 regular season games last season – mainly due to the fact that they are keen to take the two points when it is on offer.
There is still $1.65 available for the Broncos to score the first points in this clash and that really does look like excellent value.
Back Brisbane To Score First @ $1.65
Sydney Roosters Vs Manly Sea Eagles
Friday 31 March, 6:00pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles are two of the form teams of the competition and this is set to be one of the games of the weekend.
The Roosters have made an almost flawless start to the NRL season and they go into this clash as deserving favourites.
Sydney never looked in trouble against the South Sydney Rabbitohs last weekend and it really would not surprise if they were able to control this game from the outset.
They have now won their past four games as home favourites and they are 3-1 against the line in this scenario.
A number of experts were quick to write Manly off following their poor start to the season – myself included – and they have responded with two outstanding performances against the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Manly have won only two of their past eight games as away underdogs for a clear loss, but they are 5-3 against the line in this scenario.
It would not surprise if Manly are in this match for a long way, but I expect the class of the Roosters to prevail and there is an edge at the $1.80 for the Roosters/Roosters half-time/full-time double.
Back Roosters/Roosters @ $1.80 In Half-Time/Full-Time Betting
North Queensland Cowboys Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Friday 31 March, 8:05pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys returned to winning form against the Gold Coast Titans last weekend and they will go into this clash with South Sydney as dominant favourites.
North Queensland were far from flawless against the Titans, but they did enough to get the job done and they will be buoyed by the return of Jason Taumalolo.
The Cowboys suffered a rare loss to Manly at 1300Smiles Stadium, but they have still won 11 of their past 12 games as home favourites and they are 7-1-4 against the line in this situation.
South Sydney were fairly flat against the Sydney Roosters last weekend and it is fair to say that they haven’t really impressed to start the season.
The Rabbitohs have been a tough team to trust from a betting perspective, but one metric in which they have thrived is as away underdogs and they have won four of their past eight games in this scenario, while they are 6-2 against the line.
In saying that, the Cowboys really have had the edge over South Sydney in recent years and they have won seven of the past eight games played between the two sides.
North Queensland have won seven of their past 13 games at 1300Smiles Stadium by over 12 points and they should be far too good for South Sydney this weekend.
Back North Queensland To Win 13+ @ $2
Cronulla Sharks Vs Newcastle Knights
Saturday 1 April, 3:00pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Cronulla are the shortest-priced favourites in the NRL this weekend and have an excellent chance to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
The Sharks were far from impressive against Parramatta last weekend, but they still did enough to get the job done and the likes of James Segeryaro should improve having spent a week training with the side.
Cronulla have won seven of their past nine games as favourites at Southern Cross Group Stadium for a clear profit, but they are only 3-6 against the line as home favourites.
The Newcastle Knights made a promising start to the season, but they took a big step backwards last Friday night when they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Penrith Panthers.
Winning away from home has proven very difficult for the Knights and they haven’t won away from home in the past 12 months, while they are 4-7 against the line in this scenario.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Canberra Raiders Vs Parramatta Eels
Saturday 1 April, 5:30pm, GIO Stadium
This is a crucial game for both the Canberra Raiders and the Parramatta Eels.
Canberra were a touch disappointing in their narrow defeat at the hands of the Brisbane Broncos and they have started the season with just one win from their four games.
The Raiders have won nine of their past 11 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 6-5 against the line in this scenario.
Organisation in offence continues to be a big problem for the Parramatta Eels and they really were fairly putrid against the Cronulla Sharks last weekend.
Parramatta have proven to be a tough team to trust as underdogs over the past 12 months and they have won just one of their past seven games as away underdogs, while they are 3-4 against the line in this scenario.
This really is a game that the Raiders should be able to win comfortably and I am backing them to cover the line.
Back Canberra To Beat The Line (-8.5 Points)
Melbourne Storm Vs Penrith Panthers
Saturday 1 April, 7:30pm, AAMI Park
This is easily the game of the weekend between two sides that are genuine premiership contenders.
The Melbourne Storm came from behind against the Wests Tigers to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and they will go into this clash as favourites.
Melbourne have won 10 of their past 13 games as home favourites for a clear profit, but they are 5-8 against the line in this scenario.
Penrith bounced back from their narrow loss at the hands of the Sydney Roosters to put a score on the Newcastle Knights and they are sure to take a fair amount of confidence from that clash.
The Panthers have won three of their past seven games as away underdogs and they have covered the line in five of those clashes.
Penrith have not beaten the Storm since 2013, but there is very little between these two teams and the Panthers are a good bet to beat the line with a start of 4.5 points.
Back Penrith To Beat The Line (+4.5 Points)
New Zealand Warriors Vs Gold Coast Titans
Sunday 2 April, 3:00pm, Mt. Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors have made a very disappointing start to the 2017 NRL season, but they will still go into this clash with the Gold Coast Titans as clear favourites.
New Zealand were expected to be buoyed by the NRL return of Kieran Foran last weekend, but he suffered a hamstring injury just minutes before kick-off against the St George Illawarra Dragons and he could miss this clash.
The Warriors have now won just one of their past eight games and their record as home favourites is extremely poor – they have won just four of their past nine games in this scenario and have failed to cover the line in any of these games.
Gold Coast went down to the North Queensland Cowboys last weekend, but there were still plenty of positives to take out of the performance and a repeat of that effort would likely be enough to beat the Warriors.
The Titans have won only two of their past seven games as away underdogs, but they are 5-2 against the line in this scenario.
Taking on the New Zealand Warriors continues to be a profitable betting play and the Titans to beat the line with a start of 5.5 points is one of the best betting plays of the weekend.
Back Gold Coast To Beat The Line (+6.5 Points)
Wests Tigers Vs St George Dragons
Sunday 2 April, 5:00pm, ANZ Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons have been the big surprise packages of the early stages of the NRL season and they will start this clash with the Wests Tigers as clear favourites.
St George Illawarra have scored back-to-back wins over both the Cronulla Sharks and the New Zealand Warriors and their is no reason that they can’t make it three wins on the trot.
The Dragons have won five of their past six games as favourites for a clear profit and they are a side that continue to defy market expectations.
Wests played well in their first game since sacking Jason Taylor, but defensive lapses in the second half let them down badly and cost them victory against the Melbourne Storm.
The Tigers don’t have the best record at ANZ Stadium and they have now scored just over 20 points in their past three games.
St George can grind out a win over the Wests Tigers and they are good value to do just that.
Back St George To Win @ $1.78
It is a big week of local derbies in round 5 of the 2016 NRL season.
The Gold Coast Titans have struggled against the Brisbane Broncos in recent years, but they have the chance to record an upset win over their ‘big brother’ when they host them at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday night.
The Wests Tigers host the Cronulla Sharks in what could be a fiery affair on Saturday night before the Western Derby between the Parramatta Eels and the Penrith Panthers headlines Sunday’s fixtures.
Manly Sea Eagles Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday 31 March, 7:05pm, Brookvale Oval
Neither Manly or South Sydney bring particularly strong form lines into this Thursday Night clash.
Manly managed to get the job done against the Sydney Roosters, but they were far from convincing in doing so, while South Sydney were embarrassed against the Canterbury Bulldogs on Easter Thursday.
South Sydney are set to start this game as clear favourites – despite the fact they will still be without the likes of Sam Burgess and Adam Reynolds – and they are a very poor 3-5 as away favourites in the past 12 months and have beaten the line just once in seven games in this scenario.
In contrast, Manly are undefeated as home underdogs in the past 12 months and have been a winning betting plan as underdogs in all scenarios.
The Rabbitohs look like a rabble without Reynolds and Burgess leading the charge, while Manly will only continue to get better under Trent Barrett.
Recommended Bet: Back Manly Sea Eagles To Win @ $2.55
Gold Coast Titans Vs Brisbane Broncos
Friday 1 April, 7:05pm, Cbus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans have been the surprise packets of the 2016 NRL season to date and they will go into this clash with the Brisbane Broncos full of confidence following their fighting win over the Canberra Raiders.
The Brisbane Broncos bounced back from their shock defeat at the hands of the Penrith Panthers to beat the North Queensland Cowboys in controversial fashion last weekend and they are dominant favourite to record back-to-back wins over their Queensland rivals.
The Wayne Bennett-coached side have been a narrow winning betting proposition as home favourites, but they are only 3-4 against the line as away favourites.
Over the past 12 months they Titans are only 8-10 against the line as underdogs and that record improves slightly in front of their home fans.
The Broncos should prove too strong for their rivals here, but there is no value at their current odds and I am happy to stay out of this game from a betting perspective.
Recommended Bet: No Bet
Melbourne Storm Vs Newcastle Knights
Saturday 2 April, 2:00pm, AAMI Park
The Melbourne Storm suffered their first loss of the season when they went down to the Cronulla Sharks on Easter Monday, but they are dominant favourites to return to winning form against the Newcastle Knights this weekend.
The Knights are still yet to record their first win of the season and they were badly beaten against a previously winless New Zealand Warriors last weekend.
Their is no luxury in the current price of the Storm and they will win comfortably, but whether they can cover the line of 18.5 points is the real question.
The Storm are 10-5 against the line as favourites in the past 12 months and 6-4 as home favourites, while the Knights are a dismal 3-8 as away underdogs.
Add in the fact that they have covered the line each time it has been over 16.5 points in the past three seasons and all the signs point to a big Melbourne win this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back The Melbourne Storm To Beat The Line (-16.5 Points)
Wests Tigers Vs Cronulla Sharks
Saturday 2 April, 4:30pm, Campbelltown Stadium
The shine has come off the Wests Tigers somewhat in the past three weeks, while the Cronulla Sharks recorded their biggest win of the season to date against the Melbourne Storm.
The Tigers were lauded for their attacking style of football in the first three weeks of the season, but the return of Robbie Farah has stifled that somewhat and Jason Taylor insists on playing a bench packed full of hookers.
Cronulla are clear favourites here and they are 7-4 in this position in the past 12 months and that record is the same against the line.
The Tigers are a losing proposition in just about every metric, but their record at both Campbelltown Stadium and Leichhardt Oval is very good and I don’t like to oppose them at these venues.
The prices on offer for both these teams look just about right and I am happy to stay out of this game from a betting perspective.
North Queensland Cowboys Vs St George Dragons
Saturday 2 April, 6:30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys considered themselves robbed by The Bunker last weekend against the Brisbane Broncos and that might not be a good thing for the St George Illawarra Dragons this weekend.
Paul McGregor has not changed his game plan with the Dragons in 2016 and they continue to struggle to score points, but you can’t knock their toughness and they have grinded out gutsy wins against both the Rabbitohs and the Panthers.
The Cowboys have won ten of their past 12 games as favourites at 1300 Smiles Stadium, but they are a poor 5-7 against the line in this scenario.
Unfortunately, the Dragons aren’t any better as underdogs or away underdogs and this is another game where the market has got the prices for both teams just about right.
The $6 for a St George Illawarra Dragons/North Queensland Cowboys Half-Time/Full-Time double might be worth a dabble as the Cowboys are noted slow starters, while I always like Gavin Cooper at $21 for first try scorer.
Recommended Bet: Check Out The Prop Betting Markets On Offer
Sydney Roosters Vs New Zealand Warriors
Sunday 3 April, 2:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
The Sydney Roosters produced an improved performance against the Manly Sea Eagles last weekend, but they were still unable to record their first win of the season.
In contrast, the New Zealand Warriors proved far too good for the Newcastle Knights to score their own maiden win of the season and they go into this game as clear favourites.
The Warriors have been a losing betting proposition in just above everything metric in the past 12 months and it should come as no surprise that they don’t have a great record as favourites.
I said that I wouldn’t back the Roosters again until I saw substantial signs of improvement, but I did like what I saw last weekend and they are 4-1 against the line as underdogs in the past 12 months.
At this stage of the season I am still keen to back against the Warriors and I am happy to support the Roosters with a head start of 2.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Sydney Roosters To Beat The Line (+2.5 Points)
Parramatta Eels Vs Penrith Panthers
Sunday 3 April, 4:00pm, Pirtek Stadium
The Western Sydney Derby is always a hard fought affair and their should be close to a capacity crowd at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon to support the in-form Parramatta Eels.
I suggested last week that the Eels might be the real deal this season and although they struggled with the ball in hand they showed a defensive toughness that has been missing for many, many years.
In saying that, the data does not speak well for the Eels as they have lost their past three games as home favourites and their record against the line at Pirtek Stadium is very poor.
The Panthers were fairly sluggish against the Dragons last weekend, but they produced another strong defensive showing and they are another side that is playing tough football.
They have a positive record against the line as underdogs, but the market that stands out for me here is the Over/Under 38.5 points.
The under has saluted in 14 of the last 23 games played by the Panthers, while the under is 7-4 in the past 11 games at Pirtek Stadium.
Recommended Bet: Back The Under (38.5 Points)
Canterbury Bulldogs Vs Canberra Raiders
Monday 4 April, 7:00pm, Belmore Sports Ground
This is another game with a clear favourite following the Bulldogs demolition job over the South Sydney Rabbitohs last weekend.
While the Rabbitohs were poor, the Bulldogs took advantage of their opportunities and they are deserving of their position as dominant favourites here.
The Raiders were all over the Gold Coast Titans for the majority of their clash last weekend, but for the second weekend in a row they found a way to throw away what looked like a certain two points.
It would not surprise me to see the Raiders bounce back against the Bulldogs this weekend and they have an excellent record as underdogs in the past 12 months – they have won four of their seven games as underdogs and they are 5-2 against the line as away underdogs.
The Bulldogs have been a losing proposition as favourites over the same period and they are just 5-6 as home favourites, which suggests that the Raiders are a good bet to cover the line with a start of 5.5 points.
Recommended Bet: Back The Raiders To Beat The Line (+7.5 Points)