Just the four games in the NRL this weekend due to State of Origin Game 1 being played next week! We are back with a full preview and betting tips for all four games, getting underway on Thursday night with the Panthers taking on the Sea Eagles from 7.50pm.
Thursday night football features the Penrith Panthers at home as they look to build on last week's win over Parramatta. While it wasn't a pretty affair, the Panthers will take the 2 points after a horror season thus far. There's good and bad news on the team lineup front as Maloney returns but Cleary is out with Origin duty. Similarly, Manly are without Cherry Evans but that has been the case over the last few weeks. Des Hasler will surely have them fired up for this clash after a terrible display at Brookvale Oval last week. In the end, Gold Coast secured a 36-18 victory as Dale Copley ran riot with 3 tries. But in this matchup, it's hard to see the Panthers already struggling attack improve without Cleary. They've won just 1 of 4 at home and that includes a 9-8 golden point victory. In those 5 games, they average just 10 ppg while conceding 112 total points. On the flip side, Manly are missing a number of attacking stars and they're an average scoring team in away games (16.5 ppg in 4 games). So in night football at Penrith, this shapes as a low scoring contest between two sides missing key players. The total also has a nice 6-0 Unders record at Panthers Stadium when the Sea Eagles travel here.
On Friday night, the Parramatta Eels will be warm favourites over Souths obviously due to the Origin factor. The Rabbitohs are flying with a 10-1 record but will be without star players such as Cook, Walker, Gagai and Murray. But can you confidently back the Eels at the moment? They were absolutely woeful against the Panthers last week at this venue, going down 16-10 on Thursday night. They've now scored 10 points in all of their last 3 losses and Brad Arthur has made some wholesale team changes. He's dropped the likes of Mannah, Takairangi, Alvaro and Jennings. Meanwhile, Ferguson will be out to prove a point on the wing after missing selection for NSW. This matchup will likely come down to the halfback battle between Mitchell Moses and Adam Reynolds. Moses does enjoy playing at Bankwest but it's questionable whether his forward pack can gain metres against the Burgess brothers. Reynolds was pretty unlucky to not be selected for NSW so I think if his knee is fine, he should be able to control this game. So it's hard to go past the Rabbitohs at the line. They're 9-3 ATS as an underdog and coming off a win. They've also won all 7 night games this season and have beaten the Eels in the last 2 meetings. Meanwhile, Parramatta are just 1-5 in night games this season and after last week, their attack just doesn't look up to a clash against the Rabbitohs usually strong goal line defence.
The NRL action continues to ANZ Stadium on Saturday night with the 3-8 Bulldogs against the 6-5 Raiders. Looking at Origin lineups, the Bulldogs are just missing Dylan Napa. While for the Raiders, there good early season form sees them missing 4 players in Wighton, Papalii and Cotric. But another big loss will be hooker Josh Hodgson with a broken thumb. Which hurt them in their 3rd straight loss last week, going down to the Cowboys 22-16 in Canberra. However, they have played the likes of Souths and the Roosters in that losing streak. Canterbury are really not in great form for this clash. They've lost 3 of their last 4 and the one victory was a comeback win over the Gold Coast. As such, they're the worst scoring team in the NRL with just 12.9 points per game. With that in mind and the Raiders missing some key players, this total should go Unders. Canberra have been an impressive defensive team in 2019 with just 15 points allowed per game and that should help them keep the Bulldogs woeful attack at bay. In the Under stats, the Bulldogs have a 67% Unders record at ANZ as an underdog since 2011. Overall in the last 9 night meetings, the Under is also 8-1.
The feature game on Sunday will be a derby matchup between the Titans and Cowboys on the Gold Coast. They met recently this month and the Cowboys easily accounted for the Titans 28-14 in Townsville. Despite that fact, Gold Coast are favourites in this home game and with the Cowboys missing players due to Origin or injury. Which mainly involves the important Michael Morgan. So Jake Clifford will wear the number 7 and be partnered by John Asiata. The Cowboys will be coming off a confidence-building road win in Canberra last week and they have won 3 of their last 4. Meanwhile, the Titans got their season back on track with a surprising 36-18 win at Brookvale Oval over the Sea Eagles. However, their record over the Cowboys is very poor at 4-11 since 2011 and despite Morgan missing, the beast that is Jason Taumalolo is still on the field for the away side. So the Cowboys are a pretty good bet at the line but the Over total does look the best bet. The Over is 4-1 when these two sides play on the Gold Coast and day football should bring out points.
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