THE dreaded Origin week bye round is back, which means punters only have four games to choose from, but luckily we have some quality matches on offer.
Top-four aspirants Canberra and North Queensland clash in the nation’s capital, the Panthers play host to the Sharks, and the Eels and the Roosters can always be relied upon to put on a classic match.
Our loyal readers are hoping we can guide them back on track after a disappointing result last week, and we feel very confident we will get the job done this weekend.
All odds this week are provided by Sportsbet.com.au, which continues to provide a fantastic inducement for those looking to open a new account.
Parramatta vs. Sydney Roosters
Where: Pirtek Stadium, Sydney
When: 8pm, Friday 8th July
The first match of the four-game round kicks off on Friday as the Parramatta Eels host the Sydney Roosters at Pirtek Stadium.
Both sides are looking to get their name on the winner’s sheet, despite harbouring very slim finals hopes.
The Roosters are in triple figures just to make the finals at WilliamHill.com.au, while the Eels do not even have a quote next to their name.
Sydney have dominated this fixture in recent times.
They have lost just twice to the blue and golds since 2008, but their team will be a much different one to the squad that runs out on Friday night.
The Roosters have Blake Ferguson and Aidan Guerra on Origin duty, which robs them of their best duo.
We are backing the Eels to record a win this week and continue to salvage some pride from a season that has been one horror after a next.
Parramatta Eels to win – $1.72
Canterbury vs. Wests Tigers
Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
When: 7:35pm, Saturday 9th July
The sole Saturday match of the round sees the Bulldogs, fighting for their position in the finals, hosting a a Tigers side that may already be out of commission.
Canterbury have recorded three straight wins, and the relative anonymity of their season to date has been well and truly exposed.
They are on the fifth line of premiership betting ($8) at Sportsbet.com.au.
Wests Tigers are now playing for pride after a string of disappointing performances throughout 2016.
To compound the lack of form, Tigers have a trio of players missing this week due to Origin.
Playmaker James Tedesco, muscleman Aaron Woods and shot-caller Robbie Farrah will leave a gaping hole in the Wests’ line up that almost any team would find difficult to fill.
The Bulldogs should win easily to entrench themselves in the finals positions.
Canterbury Bulldogs to win – $1.72
Penrith vs. Cronulla
Where: Pepper Stadium, Penrith
When: 4:05pm, Sunday 10th July
Sunday sees the league-leading Cronulla Sharks travel across town to face the in-form Panthers at Pepper Stadium.
Penrith have won two of their last three matches, but their record is nothing compared to that of their opponents.
Cronulla have an unbelievable 12-game win streak going, but never has their fantastic run been in more doubt given the lack of playing stocks at their disposal this weekend.
Sharks’ Skipper Paul Gallen, five-eighth James Maloney, forwards Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham, and young gun Jack Bird are all unavailable this week due to Origin selection.
The lack of those five superstars swings the pendulum in favour of the Panthers, who should keep their winning run going on Sunday afternoon.
Penrith Panthers to win – $1.55
Canberra vs. North Queensland
Where: GIO Stadium, Canberra
When: 7pm, Monday 11th July
The Raiders and the Cowboys clash at GIO Stadium to end the shortened round of NRL action.
Canberra are fresh off a last-gasp victory over cellar dwellers Newcastle Knights.
The Knights looked like they were going to cause one of the upsets of the year, but the Raiders rallied late to take the game to extra time and ultimately win to insert themselves into the top-four frame.
The Cowboys put together a consummately professional performance against the Rabbitohs in Cairns, keeping South Sydney scoreless.
The Cowboys are on the second line of betting in the premiership market at $4.50 at Sportsbet.
The team that defeated the Rabbits will be a vastly different line up to the one that will run out on Monday.
The Cowboys squad has been absolutely eviscerated by Origin duty, leaving the reigning premiers bereft of top-line talent.
The lack of playing stock should be too tough to overcome for North Queensland, and we are backing the Raiders to keep their top-four push running.
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Canberra Raiders to win – $1.26
Round 18 NRL multi selections
- Parramatta to defeat Sydney Roosters ($1.72)
- Canterbury to beat Wests Tigers ($1.22)
- Penrith to defeat Cronulla ($1.55)
- Canberra to beat North Queensland ($1.26)
Multi value: $4.09 at Sportsbet
William Hill multi bonus
Feel like making a bit of bonus cash on your multi this weekend? William Hill has the promo for you.
Place at least a four-leg multi on any sport this weekend and if you miss out by one leg, you get your cash back up to $50.
In addition, you can pocket a tiered bonus on winning multis where the more legs you pick, the more bonus cash you get.
The minimum four-leg win earns you a 2.5% bonus, while 12 legs or more will net you a massive 40% extra.
For more details, check out the ‘Promotions’ page at William Hill.