It’s almost impossible to fathom, but we are now at the halfway stage of the 2020 NRL season.
At one time they defied the odds to keep the competition alive, then it was shaky as to whether it would even get back on the field this year.
By some miracle we’ve been exposed to 10 exciting weeks of footy with plenty of twists and turns, and the latest round threw a few cats amongst the pigeons.
Roosters 2024 Raiders
Did anyone back the Canberra Raiders at $5? If you held your nerve and took ‘The Milk’, then spend your winnings wisely. If you went the Chooks, no one will begrudge you for doing so.
But how about this multi? Brett Morris, Jarrod Croker, Matt Ikuvalu, Josh Papalii to score and a Raiders win. A $50 investment saw a return of $20,050. Scenes.
Canberra were missing six of their 2019 NRL Grand Final team and eight players in total. They were looking to avoid becoming the 12th straight team to lose to the Roosters at the SCG and produced an enormous effort to win 24-20 against the title favourites.
We suggested maybe taking the Raiders at the line would be a way to get better value than taking the Roosters straight up, but absolutely no one saw this result coming.
What it does do is solidify Canberra’s hopes for the remainder of the season without Josh Hodgson, as just seven days ago there was a universe that existed where they were a sneaky chance to miss the eight. A big reminder to never count out Ricky’s Raiders.
Storm 426 Titans
Death, taxes and the Melbourne Storm beating the tripe out of inferior opposition. They were an absolute lock to win this game and the Titans were never close.
The $1.50 for a Storm 13+ win was maybe the easiest money of the season for the punters, while the 46.5 line was also covered with a Josh Addo-Carr try four minutes from time. One punter even put $20,000 on at $1.46 for Storm 13+ victory and walked walked away $9,200 in the black.
We knew a lot of what was going to happen in this game, so there isn’t a great deal to learn. The Storm move on to play the Broncos and will absolutely do something similar. They have a 14-3 record against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
Tigers 480 Broncos
Did the Brisbane Broncos attempt to lose this one on purpose? In all seriousness, at times you had to be convinced they were trying to. They were nothing short of deplorable in this game. A 48-0 hiding is a long way from the 1-12 Tigers win we thought it might be.
It’s a shame Dally M Medal betting markets have been suspended for this season, as we could be seeing one of the great runs at the award with Harry Grant. Having played just two games before getting to the Wests Tigers on loan, Grant is on his way to winning the game’s highest individual honour as a 22-year-old with just 20 games experience.
Dragons 2822 Bulldogs
We learnt that sometimes when you expect nothing, you get thrilling games like this. It ended up being a lot of fun, but how do the Canterbury Bulldogs get off the canvas for next week after losing in such harrowing fashion?
The Saints shot out to a 10-point lead quickly and our 13+ prediction looked a certainty. Then the Bulldogs suddenly decided they could score points, taking a 20-10 lead into half-time. They had control of the match until a late surge from the Dragons secured them an amazing win.
The St George Illawarra Dragons are now just two points outside the eight having won four of their last six games. They will provide big nuisance value in the back half of this season. Beware.
Rabbitohs 1820 Knights
Similar to Penrith vs Parramatta a few weeks back, which part of the game do you put all your stock into for the Newcastle Knights – the first 60 minutes or the final 20?
The numbers from this season tell us they usually defend well in the final quarter of games, so last night looked to be an anomaly. The Knights controlled the game for three quarters and looked every bit a top-four team with a 20-0 lead before a sudden Souths revival flipped the match on its head.
The points line of 37.5 scraped home by the thinnest of margins, while having faith in Newcastle’s record in Sydney this year also proved to be wise. They are now four wins and one draw when they venture down the M1. Souths losing this has put a big dent in their top four hopes, while the odds for Newcastle to remain there will firm.
Sea Eagles 2218 Eels
A week really is a long time in the NRL. The Manly Sea Eagles were flogged by the Dragons six days prior, while the Eels ground out a gritty win in Newcastle. The form line suggested Parramatta should get the two points, but we did note they could show some vulnerability and it came to the surface.
A game like this was a great reminder in Des Hasler’s ability to rally his troops and inspire a big performance when most needed. It’s why they can’t be ignored as finals contenders even though they sit outside the top eight at the moment.
We did think they were worth looking at missing the eight, and there is still a chance that could happen. However, with the Bulldogs, Titans and Warriors in the closing weeks of the regular season, it will go down to the wire for Manly.
Warriors 1046 Sharks
The Warriors finally lost at their home away from home on the Central Coast, while the Cronulla Sharks avoided a huge banana peel to move back into the top eight with a 46-10 win. And Braden Hamlin-Uele crossed the stripe first, just like we thought he might. Well done if you had him at a cool $41.
With several New Zealand Warriors players set to go home after their next game, their competitive spirit might finally be waning. The Sharks proved they can beat up on the little guys, which is great for them with the Dragons and Broncos next up on their schedule.
Panthers 2210 Cowboys
One punter placed $100k on the Penrith Panthers at $1.14 in the lead-up to kickoff and they are now laughing their way to the bank with an extra $14,000 in hand. However, that doesn’t really give a true reflection of what transpired in this game.
The North Queensland Cowboys, absolutely friendless with the punters, were ahead just after half-time and the idea of an upset had to be entertained. They showed a lot of courage to take the game to the death, but the class of Penrith shone through in the end for a 22-10 win.
The Panthers are now the league leaders and should shorten in price for the premiership. The Cowboys showed us they have enough talent to upset one team’s run into the finals but not enough consistency to mount a genuine challenge for a top-eight berth.
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