ROUND 3 of the NRL had all the excitement we’ve come to expect from the glorious competition and Round 4 is a redemption round for many of the teams coming off losses last week.
Friday night kicks off with two teams looking to rebound as the Eels take on the undefeated Rabbitohs, followed by the Tigers vs. Bulldogs clash, which promises to be a bruising encounter.
The always-exciting game between the Warriors and the Broncos kicks off on Sunday and after two impressive victories last week, cue the fireworks for this one.
Monday night ends the week with an important game involving the North Queensland Cowboys, which are seeking their first win of the season, but will be up against a tough Storm outfit.
Eels vs. Rabbitohs
Friday, March 27, 7:35pm, Pirtek Stadium.
Eels – $3.10 (+8.5)
Rabbitohs – $1.33 (-8.5)
There has been plenty of support for the Eels with the points start at CrownBet but they are expecting money to come for the unbeaten Rabbitohs closer to the game.
The Rabbitohs have looked like defending champions in their three games to date, winning all three in impressive fashion but they will be without Dylan Walker for the next month. Many bookmakers are even opening an option in which you can bet on whether or not the Rabbitohs will win 16 straight games to open their season.
That’s how confident some people are and they haven’t done anything to suggest they won’t dominate most teams. The Eels on the other hand will be without Semi Radradra and their team looks more like an emergency ward. We’re expecting them to struggle in this game but aren’t confident enough about the points start so opt for the head-to-head option for the Souths in your multi-bets.
Tip: Rabbitohs to win ($1.33) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Alex Johnston to score first – $7.50
Tigers vs. Bulldogs
Friday, March 27, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium.
Tigers – $2.70 (+6.5)
Bulldogs – $1.42 (-6.5)
The Tigers are coming off a last start loss to the Rabbitohs which might not seem all that bad, but they led 6-0 after 30 minutes and they had plenty of chances to get back into the game, but failed to capitalise on their opportunities.
The Bulldogs scored a gritty win at Brookvale last week which is no easy task and money has come piling in for the Canterbury-Bankstown side. The Bulldogs opened at $1.57 with CrownBet and have since tumbled into $1.42 with two days till kickoff.
The Tigers are on the quick backup after playing last Sunday and against a well-rested Bulldogs team, we’re expecting the hot-and-cold Tigers to be lukewarm in this contest.
Tip: Bulldogs to win ($1.42) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Draw at halftime/fulltime – $8
Knights vs. Panthers
Saturday, March 28, 3:00pm, Hunter Stadium.
Knights – $1.90 (+1.5)
Panthers – $1.85 (-1.5)
This game promises to be one of the best this round as the unbeaten Knights take on the Panthers which will be looking to rebound after losing on Monday night to the Roosters.
With little separating these two sides in the market it’s no surprise that there has been little action in the betting. The Panthers are expecting Soward to return but his status is still undetermined and the Knights have started their season with three consecutive wins, their best start in many years.
With this game being played during day hours, expect a high intensity pace with plenty of points in store. Big Jamal Idris is due a massive game and we think the rangy Panther will cross the line at some stage.
In terms of which team wins this game, we’re not sure, but we are leaning towards the Panthers because they are more likely to contest at finals time.
Tip: Panthers to win ($1.85)
Exotic: Idris to score ($2.88) at WilliamHill.com.au
Sharks vs. Titans
Saturday, March 28, 5:30pm, Remondis Stadium.
Sharks – $1.50 (-5.5)
Titans – $2.45 (+5.5)
Excuse me for not getting excited about this game, but there isn’t much to get excited about. Both teams have struggled to kick off their 2015 campaign and with on and off-field complications, losing this game could start the snowball effect.
The Sharks have scored 40 points and have given up 70, which is slightly better than the Titans margin of -43 but the good news is that one of these teams will get a win on the board and the punters think the home team will get the job done.
The Sharks team on paper isn’t all that bad, especially with quality players like Paul Gallen. The Titans on the other hand welcomed back their suspended players but were greeted with a controversial loss at the hands of the Newcastle Knights.
Both teams want this game badly, but that could affect the quality of the game itself. We see the Sharks winning this, but we wouldn’t mortgage the house.
Tip: Sharks to win ($1.50) at Bet365.com.au
Exotic: Gallen to score – $4.50
Dragons vs. Sea Eagles
Saturday, March 28, 7:30pm, WIN Stadium.
Dragons – $2.20 (+3.5)
Sea Eagles – $1.62 (-3.5)
Both teams have 1-2 records but perhaps it’s the Dragons that have more to play for in this game as the Manly Sea Eagles are only a couple of losses away from implosion.
The Dragons are coming off a come-from-behind victory against the Raiders where they trailed by 18 points during the first half, but stayed in the game and eventually took the lead with five minutes to go.
Despite that win, punters have climbed into the Sea Eagles with their opening price of $1.75 dropping all the way down to $1.62. Coming off a home loss to the Bulldogs, Manly will be looking for a quick rebound and if they’re to be playoff contenders this year they will need to beat the Dragons.
Off-field dramas have been the dominant news story regarding the Sea Eagles and if they continue to lose it will only compound those issues. We expect both teams to come out firing but we’re giving the home team the narrow edge.
Tip: Dragons +3.5 ($1.91)
Exotic: Dragons 1-12 ($3.40) at CrownBet.com.au
Warriors vs. Broncos
Sunday, March 29, 12:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors – $1.62 (-2.5)
Broncos – $2.20 (+2.5)
It’s hard to pick the Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland as the Warriors lift to another gear whenever the men from Brisbane come to visit, but after a dominating win against the Cowboys, it makes this decision extremely tough.
The Broncos simply dismantled the struggling Cowboys team last Friday night in what became a one-sided affair very early in the game. After a rough start to the season, the Broncos quickly found their top gear but they face their prime nemesis in the Warriors here.
The Warriors returned home last week and scored a solid win against the Eels, with chief play-maker Shaun Johnson stepping up his game after a poor start to the season. The Warriors love playing the Broncos as it suits their attacking nature and this game should provide plenty of points.
The Warriors are favoured for a reason, and that’s because winning at Mt Smart has become a traditional for the home-town side. They have won their last four at home against the Broncos and they welcome back Konrad Hurrell to the side.
The Broncos will need to be on top of their game to stop Big Manu and the Warriors.
Tip: Warriors to win ($1.62)
Exotic: Warriors HTFT – $2.30 at WilliamHill.com.au
Roosters vs. Raiders
Sunday, March 29, 2:00pm, Allianz Stadium.
Roosters – $1.16 (-14.5)
Raiders – $4.75 (+14.5)
The Roosters opened up at $1.18 and -12.5 but has firmed into $1.16 and -14.5 and it’s hard to argue with that market.
The Roosters have looked impressive in winning two from three this season, with their only loss coming to the Rabbitohs, but they led late in that game and could easily be unbeaten in 2015.
The Raiders on the other hand continue the struggles of coach Ricky Stuart in the NRL and after their shocking loss to the Dragons last week, it’s hard to see them winning this game.
Don’t be put off by the big points start number, the Roosters could cover that by halftime as the Raiders simply don’t have enough muscle or skill to overcome the might of the Roosters.
Tip: Roosters -14.5 ($1.91) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Sydney by 25-30 – $7.50
Cowboys vs. Storm
Monday, March 30, 7:00pm, 1300Smiles Stadium.
Cowboys – $1.85
Storm – $1.90
There hasn’t been much for the North Queensland Cowboys to smile about this season, but don’t tell the bookmakers that. Surprisingly, the win-less Cowboys are slight favourites to win this game which is purely based on that fact that they are due for a win.
The Storm have been steady this season with a few slip ups but whenever you have the star trio of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, you’re always going to have a chance of winning.
Johnathan Thurston has admitted that he is down on confidence and what more than a win against the Storm to get the juices flowing again, but the Storm have firmed in from $2 to $1.90 and they will likely continue to firm in.
The Cowboys have failed to get any positive metres from their forward pack which has given their back line limited chances with the ball. They will need to improve ten-fold to beat the Storm but a rowdy Monday night crowd is what they’re looking for.
We simply can’t split these two teams, so the $26 draw option is a long shot chance, but a chance none-the-less.
Tip: Draw at fulltime – $26 with Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Linnett first try scorer – $14