The final week of the 2018 NRL season is upon us as the top teams scramble for positions in the top eight, while the bottom teams will be playing for pride as they look to finish on a high note.
The action kicks off on Thursday night with the Rabbitohs hosting the Tigers! Let’s take a look at Round 25 with our preview and betting tips for every match.
The first game of the round kicks off at ANZ Stadium with the Rabbitohs facing the Tigers. Souths head into this game on the back of a three-game losing streak and should be keen to break that before Week 1 of the finals. Meanwhile the season is officially over for the Tigers, which should make them dangerous in this matchup. They upset the Rabbitohs in the last clash back in Round 19 with a comfortable 22-6 victory at this venue. They’ve also won 4 of the last 5 meetings, which have all been at ANZ.
Wests also have a 2-0 record against top 8 sides at ANZ in 2018. So I quite like the Tigers at the line here. The key should be their defence keeping the Rabbitohs’ attack quiet. Souths are scoring just 14 points per game in this losing streak, while the Tigers are the 4th best defensive team in the NRL.
The Warriors are back in action at Mt Smart after a 36-16 thrashing of the Panthers, while the Raiders are looking for a third straight victory after two impressive performances.
In back-to-back home games, the Raiders have knocked off the Roosters and Rabbitohs with strong defence the key, which does make you wonder where it’s been all season. The two sides met in Round 3 with the Warriors earning a comeback win, 20-19. So this should be another close one, but high scoring. The Raiders average 28 points against away from Canberra this season and also average about the same at Mt Smart since 2010. With the Warriors coming off 36 points, their attack should enjoy more of the same. The total has hit 50 or more in their last 2 games and also went 50+ in the last Raiders game across the Tasman.
Melbourne will look to secure the Minor Premiership with a home game against the struggling Panthers. There’s also extra motivation in Billy Slater’s last regular season game at AAMI Park. So the Panthers woeful form at the moment couldn’t be worse for this matchup. They’ve been dominated in back-to-back weeks by the Warriors and Knights. To make matters worse, they’re 1-12 against the Storm since 2010. They’ve also never won at this venue and haven’t earned points in Melbourne since 2005! So I don’t see that changing.
The last three meetings at AAMI Park have an average winning margin of 27 points so the Storm should run riot on the Panthers defence. They’ve won all 7 games at this venue by 13+ this season and I like them at the line.
St. George return to the park after a shocking display at Jubilee last week. They were shut out by the Bulldogs in a 38-0 scoreline, which made it 6 losses in their last 8 matches. So it’s highly doubtful they’ll go past the second round of the finals.
The Knights are also finishing off this season poorly. They were no match for the Sharks last week in a 38-12 defeat and they’ve now lost 3 of their last 4. The Dragons do have the wood over the Knights with a 12-3 record since 2010, but the Knights did get the job done last year at this venue 21-14. I’m not confident in any side winning this clash and makes this probably the easiest no bet of the season.
TIP: No Bet
The JT finale fittingly ends in Queensland as the Cowboys head to the Gold Coast. North Queensland turned it on last round in Thurston’s last home game with a huge 44-6 win over the Eels. Meanwhile, the Titans were gallant in a 10-8 defeat to the Storm at this venue. In the head to head, the Cowboys have won the last six meetings, but I think this should be high scoring and a close affair. The Cowboys have found their attack lately with 30+ points scored in their last two games in Queensland. Gold Coast can leak points, especially with this type of game.
Both sides are out of the finals so they should throw the ball around. The Over is also 2-0 when the Titans play a bottom 8 side in Robina this season. At this venue since 2010 and with the Cowboys involved, the total has reached 40+ in 4 of 6 as well.
Super Saturday ends at ANZ Stadium with the Roosters and Eels both looking to break a two-game losing streak. With a top 2 finish on the line, the Roosters will have more to play for and that should see them back on the winners’ list against the disappointing Eels. In back-to-back interstate games, the Eels were outscored 64-10. They also lost 48-10 against the Roosters in their last meeting, which occurred all the way back in Round 10, 2017.
However I think 43.5 points for a night game at ANZ is high. The Under is 3-0 when the Roosters play here this season and the Eels are coming off two games where they scored under 10. The Roosters attack isn’t on fire either with 20 total points scored in their last two losses.
Sunday’s NRL action kicks off with an interesting clash between the Bulldogs and Sharks. Canterbury is coming off a massive 38-0 win over the Dragons and they’ve also won 4 of their last 5 including three straight wins at ANZ. So they’re finishing off the season with a bang.
Cronulla are hitting peak form before the finals with three straight wins and they’ll be keen to finish top 4 with another victory. They do enjoy playing the Bulldogs with four straight wins since 2015. However, when these two sides meet, the Unders is usually a good play. The total hasn’t reached 40 points in the last four meetings and overall, it’s 1-9 since 2010. The Sharks’ two games at ANZ in 2018 have both gone Unders. Furthermore, the Bulldogs are 8-3 against the Under at ANZ this season.
The regular season ends at Suncorp as the Broncos face the Sea Eagles. Brisbane have played in two impressive wins lately and will be looking to continue that form into this clash. Last week, they dominated the Roosters in Sydney with a 22-8 win. Previously, they beat the Rabbitohs 38-18 at this venue. Manly has lost two straight and they’ll be happy this awful season is almost over. But I think their attack should have some success, which should turn this into a high scoring affair.
The two sides met at Suncorp in Round 10 with the Sea Eagles winning 38-24, which totaled 62 points. The Broncos attack is on fire at the moment and I expect that to continue against a Manly defence that can be easy to score against at times, particularly down the middle of the park.
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