THERE are only four NRL matches on this week, with game one of the State of Origin being played next Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
The Titans, Warriors, Sharks, Dragons, Sea Eagles, Storm and Roosters all get a cheap two points this week, but there are still some marquee matchups which will kick off when the South Sydney Rabbitohs go without their star player when facing the Parramatta Eels on Friday night.
The other games feature the Tigers vs. Cowboys and Raiders vs. Bulldogs, while the Knights will take on the Broncos next Monday night at Hunter Stadium.
Despite only having a few games on this weekend, there looks to be plenty of enticing betting opportunities which we have detailed below. If you fancy a bet, William Hill are giving readers of Cupsbetting.com.au up to $700 in bonus bets to place on a match of their choice.
Rabbitohs vs. Eels
Friday, May 22, 7:45pm, ANZ Stadium
Rabbitohs – $1.48 (-6)
Eels – $2.65 (+6)
The Rabbitohs will lose Greg Inglis, which is a major loss, but they will keep the likes of Alex Johnson, Luke Keary and the Burgess brothers.
The Rabbitohs haven’t exactly been in crazy hot form after losing again to the Melbourne Storm last week. The defending premiers are struggling to keep up at the moment, but they will be taking on a reeling Eels team here.
The Eels have opted to keep Chris Sandow in the reserve grade, despite the playmaker impressing in that grade last week.
After suffering a golden-point loss against the Warriors, the Eels will be keen to find some consistency and they could cause an upset if they’re on their best form.
Bet: Eels to win ($2.65) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Radradra to score first at $10
Tigers vs. Cowboys
Saturday, May 23, 7:30pm, Campbelltown Stadium
Tigers – $1.55 (-4.5)
Cowboys – $2.45 (+4.5)
The Tigers lose captain Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods which is concerning considering they are still the favourites in this game.
The Cowboys will obviously lose their playmaker Johnathan Thurston, but also big hitting forwards James Tamou and Matt Scott.
That is likely why the bookmakers have sided with the home team and they are due for a win.
Playing against a weakened Cowboys team helps their overall premiership chances, but don’t discount a Cowboys team that still features the likes of Lachlan Coote, Kane Linnett and Ben Hannant.
The Cowboys bench looks better than the Tigers, with Rory Kostjasyn and Glenn Hall more than capable of providing good bench play.
We think the value is with the Cowboys as the Tigers will miss the leadership of Farah.
Bet: Cowboys to win ($2.45) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Cowboys HTFT at $3.40
Raiders vs. Bulldogs
Sunday, May 24, 4:05pm, GIO Stadium
Raiders – $1.65 (-3.5)
Bulldogs – $2.25 (+3.5)
The Raiders look like specials in Round 11 after their team remains unchanged from last week against the Dragons.
The Bulldogs on the other hand lose Josh Morris, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer. This will have a big impact, but the bookmakers aren’t letting them get too long in the betting as Josh Reynolds can produce magic at any time.
Coming off a loss, we’re expecting the Raiders to be tough to beat at home and they could run rings around the struggling Bulldogs team.
We don’t usually get excited about the Canberra-based side, but this week is a good betting opportunity.
Bet: Raiders to win ($1.65)
Exotic: Raiders 13+ ($3.20) at Sportsbet.com.au
Knights vs. Broncos
Monday, May 25, 7:00pm, Hunter Stadium
Knights – $1.50 (-6)
Broncos – $2.60 (+6)
The Knights are coming off a last game win over the Tigers which should boost their confidence after a rocky few weeks.
The only change for the Knights is the loss of Beau Scott, but their team still includes plenty of strike players and the home advantage should play into their hands nicely.
As usual, the Broncos lose a stack of talent due to Origin. This week they lose Darius Boyd, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett and Corey Parker.
With Ben Hunt as the playmaker, they still possess a threat and outside backs Jack Reed and Anthony Milford can provide that spark.
However, the Knights should come away with the victory here, as the odds would suggest.
Bet: Knights to win ($1.50) at WilliamHill.com.au
Exotic: Gagai to score at $2.35