Round 18 in the NRL offers a fantastic 8 game slate which gets underway this Thrusday night with the Broncos taking on the Bulldogs! We have a full preview and betting tips for all of the Round 18 matchups below!
After an 18-18 draw, the 13th placed Broncos face a must-win game against the improving Bulldogs on Thursday. In recent weeks, the Dogs have knocked off the Sharks by 2 and the Knights by 6 in Newcastle. So they’ll head to Brisbane with confidence and definitely need to overturn a poor 2-9 SU record at this venue. In the last 3 meetings on Thursday, they’ve all past 40 total points and the 38 point total looks good value at this stage.
This will be an interesting clash between the Warriors and Sharks at Westpac Stadium. It will mainly be headlined by Shaun Johnson against his former side. But Cronulla are in the midst of a 4 game losing streak and that has put them out of the top 8. Meanwhile, the Warriors are coming off a draw against the Broncos and will be looking for better form in NZ after 5 straight losses at Mt Smart. The trend in this matchup has been in the Sharks favour as they’ve won the last 4 clashes. But in 3 of those games, the margin has fallen under 5 points. So either team under 10.5 looks the play as the odds are very close at the moment with no clear favourite.
Penrith are certainly on fire at the moment and they’ll look for an 7th straight win this Friday against the Dragons. The Panthers form also sees them into the top 8 and they’ll love to stay there. For the Dragons, it’s almost season over after 2 straight losses at WIN Stadium. They were particularly bad last week as the Raiders scored easy tries. In other bad news, the Dragons have won just 1 of their last 17 Friday away games. The other nice trend is the fact that the Dragons are 21-3 against the Under on Friday and the Under has saluted in 4 of the last 5 meetings between the two sides in Penrith.
NRL action returns to the SCG as the Roosters meet the Knights on Saturday afternoon. Both sides will be after rebounding results from last week. The Roosters couldn’t get past the Cowboys and the Knights fell to the Bulldogs. In the earlier season meeting, it was all the Knights as they smashed them 38-12 in Newcastle. But the Roosters are a different side at the SCG on the fast track. They’re last 4 games here have resulted in an average winning margin of 24 points and a 4-0 SU record. While for the Knights, the return of Ponga helps their attack and they’ll need to throw the ball around if the Roosters come to play. In the end, the Over is 4-1 at this venue in 2019 and that looks the best play.
The Raiders will be back at GIO Stadium for the first time in a month as they tackle the Tigers on Saturday. Canberra now sits 3rd on the ladder after 4 wins in their last 5 and a 36-14 crushing win over the Dragons on the road. On the other hand, the Tigers have lost back to back games and sit 11th. The two sides did meet in early June and it was all the Raiders in a 28-0 result. But the Tigers should have a bit more success considering they won the last matchup in Canberra, 22-20. So with that mind, it looks like both sides can clear 13+ points. The Tigers are 3-1 against this bet in their last 4 and the Raiders are 3-0. In Canberra, this bet has saluted in the last 2 games as well.
The Cowboys pulled off a huge upset last week against the Roosters so they’ll look for a similar result on Saturday night. Both sides have injury concerns with Morgan likely out for the home side and Burgess for Souths. In North QLD, the Cowboys have been playing in close finishes lately and after their 3 point win over Sydney, this looks like another close one. In fact, the last time Souths played here, the two sides were separated by just a field goal. So in the end, take either team by under 10.5 points.
It’s a new era on the Gold Coast as Garth Brennan has been sacked after a 4-12 season thus far. So they could be playing with a bit more freedom on Sunday. Interestingly, Melbourne have decided to rest most of their Origin stars for this clash and if they’re going to have a let down after 8 straight wins, this could be it. But with Cameron Smith fresh off his 400 game milestone and with a coach like Craig Bellamy, they won’t be taking the last-placed Titans easily. Gold Coast pushed the Storm all the way last season in a 10-8 result and that will be in the back of their minds. In terms of the best bet, this is easily the most unpredictable game of the Round as both sides are making wholesale lineup changes.
This should be an intriguing clash between the 9-7 Sea Eagles and 9-7 Eels. A top 4 spot is well on the line for either team and that just adds extra spice to this matchup. The last time the Eels played in Manly, they were smashed 54-0. But coming into this game with 3 straight wins, they’ll be up for this one. Manly lost by a field goal last week against Souths and this figures to be another close affair between two sides in the top 6. The trend does look to be the Overs as the last 2 meetings have finished with exactly 54 total points and both results have been massive blowouts.
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