ROUND 9 kicked off with an unusual 8-5 scoreline in the favour of the Brisbane Broncos and they will start Round 10 with an all-Queensland clash with the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Canberra Raiders continued their early season stretch will a demolition job of the Gold Coast Titans – we couldn’t believe the price for the Raiders at Sportsbet.com.au – and they duly obliged with a 56-16 smashing.
They are up against it this week, however, as they take on the Dragons which will be looking to rebound after their Monday night loss to the Rabbitohs.
The other highlight clash involves those same Rabbitohs when they take on the Melbourne Storm which currently sit in second spot on the NRL ladder.
There are plenty of great betting opportunities in the league this week, which starts with the double-header of Broncos vs. Cowboys and the Bulldogs vs Roosters.
Bulldogs vs. Roosters
Friday, May 15, 9:35pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs – $2.45 (+4.5)
Roosters – $1.55 (-4.5)
The Bulldogs are struggling in 11th position on the NRL ladder after another loss to the Cowboys last week.
With a record of four wins and five losses under coach Des Hasler, they are under-performing and changes will need to come if they are to topple the Roosters in this clash.
Even though the Roosters have the same win/loss record, they have looked better in patches and their points for and against is significantly better than the Bulldogs (+69 compared to -26).
The Roosters hit back at their doubters last week with an easy 36-4 win over the Tigers and they could well have kicked-started their season.
We’re expecting that form to continue through the middle stages of the competition and the $1.55 available is a good multi-bet inclusion.
Pick: Roosters to win ($1.55) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Roosters -4.5
Cowboys vs. Broncos
Friday, May 15, 9:35pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium
Cowboys – $1.65 (-2.5)
Broncos – $2.25 (+2.5)
The all-Queensland clash is expected to be a titanic battle between two teams that are heading in the right direction.
The Cowboys started their season in awful form, but after stringing six wins together they have found themselves as joint-premiership favourites.
They were able to put away a pesky Bulldogs team last week, scoring a seven-point win, which put them in fourth position on the ladder with six wins and three losses so far this season.
The Broncos are outsiders here at $2.25 despite sitting atop the pile on 14 premiership points. The Brisbane-based side out-toughed the Penrith Panthers last Friday and their equal mix of offense and defense is making them tough to beat.
Winning up at North Queensland has never been easy, but the Broncos have the weapons to cause what the bookmakers would call an upset.
Pick: Broncos to win ($2.25) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Broncos (+3.5)
Eels vs. Warriors
Saturday, May 16, 3:05pm, Pirtek Stadium
Eels – $1.98 (+1.5)
Warriors – $1.83 (-1.5)
With a hard-fought 20-16 win against the Sharks last weekend, the New Zealand Warriors got their season into gear, but they are facing another tough home team in the Parramatta Eels this Saturday.
The Eels provided some opposition for the Storm last week, but ultimately couldn’t play out the full 80 minutes, losing by 18 points.
As the bookmakers are suggesting, this game should be close as the Eels are awfully tough to beat at home and the Warriors simply can’t be trusted.
That being said, the Warriors possess more weapons and Shaun Johnson has played himself into form on the back of a great Kiwis performance.
We’ll take the Warriors to edge the Eels in what should be an exciting game.
Pick: Warriors to win ($1.83)
Exotic: Warriors 1-12 ($3.40) at WilliamHill.com.au
Titans vs. Sharks
Saturday, May 16, 5:35pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Titans – $1.65 (-1.5)
Sharks – $2.25 (+1.5)
Both the Gold Coast Titans and the Cronulla Sharks are coming off losses, but at least the Sharks were competitive against the Warriors.
The Titans on the other hand were dreadful in losing by 40 points to the Raiders and they appeared to miss the leadership of the suspended Greg Bird.
The Titans sit in 13th position on the ladder, one spot ahead of the Sharks, but the premiership odds tell the full story here. The Sharks are $41 to win the NRL and the Titans are $81, so bookmakers are expecting a better season from the Sydney-based side.
We’re not entirely sure how the Titans can be favourites for this game, but we are happy to take the value with the Sharks.
Pick: Sharks to win ($2.25) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Sharks HTFT at $2.95
Storm vs. Rabbitohs
Saturday, May 16, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
Storm – $1.45 (-7.5)
Rabbitohs – $2.75 (+7.5)
This game should be the most exciting of the round as two of the best attacking teams go head-to-head.
The Storm scored a tidy win against the Eels last start and the Rabbitohs scraped past the Dragons, but the Rabbitohs line up has been changed for this game, hence the $2.75 available with bookmakers.
Rabbitohs’ playmaker Adam Reynolds will be missing which makes way for Luke Keary and winger Aaron Gray will fill in the open spot.
The Storm still have their core players available ahead of the first State of Origin game as Slater, Cronk and Smith are all lining up here.
The Rabbitohs still have the potent backline which can wake up at any moment, but the Storm appear to have them covered across the park.
Take the shorts with the Storm at $1.45.
Pick: Storm -7.5 ($1.91)
Exotic: Slater to score ($2.50) at WilliamHill.com.au
Dragons vs. Raiders
Sunday, May 17, 2:05pm, Win Stadium
Dragons – $1.53 (-5.5)
Raiders – $2.50 (+5.5)
This is easily the toughest game to pick of the week as we see the defensively-minded Dragons looking to rebound against the Raiders which just put 56 points on the Titans.
The Dragons sit third on the ladder with six wins and three losses, but they are coming off a disappointing loss to the Rabbitohs.
Their offense is struggling to find their best form and Benji Marshall wasn’t able to show his usual flair. The defense on the other hand is great, but the Raiders are in that try-scoring mood.
The Raiders have scored a total of 211 points and the Dragons only 122, but there is a 82-point differential in the defensive points scoring tally in favour of the Dragons.
The Raiders are hard to stop when they’re on a roll, so we’re tipping an upset.
Pick: Raiders to win ($2.50) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Lee to score first at $12
Knights vs. Tigers
Sunday, May 17, 4:05pm, Hunter Stadium
Knights – $1.75 (-1.5)
Tigers – $2.08 (+1.5)
It’s hard to say which team was worse last week, the Knights which lost by 20 to the struggling Sea Eagles, or the Tigers which lost by 32 points at the hands of the Roosters.
The market suggests this game will be very close and the bookmakers are only slightly favouring the Knights at Hunter Stadium.
Either team could win this, but don’t expect the best league to be played.
Pick: Draw at fulltime ($23) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Under 40.5 points
Sea Eagles vs. Panthers
Monday, May 18, 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles – $1.73 (-1.5)
Panthers – $2.12 (+1.5)
We predicted that Manly would fire up at Brookvale Oval last week and they certainly did that with a 30-10 win over the Knights.
Manly have been struggling all season with on the field and off-field troubles, but they looked to have turned a corner last week and their star players are stepping up.
The Panthers promised plenty at the start of the season when they were $9 to win the NRL premiership, but those odds have drifted out to $17 and they need to return to their best form.
They are 4-1 at home, but have yet to win away from home so we’re leaning towards the Sea Eagles once again.
Pick: Sea Eagles to win ($1.73) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Sea Eagles -1.5