Round 23 of the NRL season gets underway on Thursday night with the Eels taking on the Bulldogs from 7.50pm! We have a full preview and betting tips for all eight games over the weekend below.
The backbone of the Bulldogs 3 game winning streak has been their defence and they'll look to cause the Eels some pain at Bankwest on Thursday night. Last week, Canterbury kept the Rabbitohs to just 3 penalty goals and they've now conceded just 30 points in their last 3 games. Meanwhile, Parramatta are getting the job done in this 4 game winning streak and now have a real shot at finishing in the top four, thanks to Souths poor form. While the Eels did thrash the Bulldogs 36-16 in late March, Canterbury are a different side at this stage and we'll be looking for the Unders trend with them involved continuing. They currently hold a 9-0 Unders record in night games and the Eels also enjoy low scoring contests at night as the favourite (13-4 Under).
Penrith plays in Queensland for the second straight week and this is an important two points. They slipped out of the 8 on the weekend after a close battle with the Broncos. So they'll need to regain their mid-season form, which saw them bolt up the ladder. The Cowboys' frustrating season is almost over as they sit 15th and they'll be keen to get back on the park after a 42-6 crushing loss in Newcastle. They obviously miss the go forward of Taumalolo and that'll be a problem against the Panthers big pack. So in the end, Penrith really needs to win this and we see them as good value in the head to head.
Suncorp Stadium features an expected fierce battle between the Broncos and Rabbitohs. The storyline is the re-match between Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold. Souths dominated the earlier season matchup in Sydney, smashing them 38-6. However, the Rabbitohs are well out of touch at the moment. They've fallen out of the top 4 after a 14-6 loss to the Bulldogs, where they failed to score a try. Meanwhile, the Broncos have been hit hard by suspensions to Pangai and Turpin after their important home victory over the Panthers. In the history between these two sides, the Over is trending with all of the last 5 games finishing over the total. Despite Souths performance last week, they should improve their attack against the Broncos edge defence, especially with James Roberts against his former teammates. The Broncos are looking better each week with Milford at fullback and their forward pack will be hard to stop.
The Sharks will take on the Warriors on Saturday afternoon with an important 2 points on offer. Cronulla is sitting 8th as it stands and the Warriors are 3 points behind them and need to win this. Last week, NZ were humbled by the Roosters at the SCG by 36 points and they don't have a great record at Shark Park (1-4). The Sharks weren't overly great against the Dragons last week, but they'll take the 2 points. Traditionally, meetings between these two sides have been close contests. The Warriors won by a field goal in mid-July and 6 of the last 7 meetings have been decided by under a converted try.
A pair of 9-12 teams face off on Saturday evening as the Tigers host the Knights at Campbelltown. Newcastle has already decided to let Nathan Brown leave at the end of the season, which was interesting timing as they look for a finals spot. They thrashed the Cowboys last week at home as Pearce and Ponga both scored doubles. The Tigers have lost back to back games and have another new hooker in Josh Reynolds. But they will have confidence considering they won a close meeting in July, 28-26. So with the Knights coming off 42 points and the Tigers good scoring form against the Knights, this should see both sides clear 13 points. This bet is 3-0 in the last 3 meetings.
Traditional rivals meet on Saturday night as the Dragons face the Roosters. Sydney has the wood over the Dragons at the moment with 4 wins in the last 5 meetings. The Roosters are fresh from a 42-6 hammering of the Warriors and this could get ugly as well if the Dragons are in holiday mode. St. George is playing for pride at the moment and while they would love to upset the Roosters, we don't see it happening. Ultimately, there's not much value in 10+ lines and the total is set fairly high for a night game. So we'll be passing on this game.
The 2019 Titans season has been one to forget and Sunday's matchup against the Storm at AAMI Park has the potential to be embarrassing. Melbourne let a 18-0 lead slip for the first time in their history last week against the Raiders. So there's no doubt Craig Bellamy will have his side fired up, despite only facing the lowly Titans. Obviously, the total is set very high for a day game and Melbourne can easily score 40+ points on their day. They've belted the Titans 34-16 and 36-14 in the last 2 at AAMI Park and the Over has saluted in 5 of the 6 meetings here. Look for a high scoring game as Melbourne rebounds with a comfortable win.
One of the best games of the round has to wait until Sunday afternoon in the nation's capital as the Raiders tackle the Sea Eagles. What a win it was last Saturday for Canberra as they came back from an 18-0 deficit against the Storm in Melbourne no less. Manly are also playing great footy at the moment and they've now jumped into the top 4. So they would love to stay there! The two sides met back in late April and it was a close contest that went to the Sea Eagles 24-20. In Canberra, the last 2 meetings have been decided by 1 point and 2 points in golden point. It's hard to see a blowout result between these two sides that value defence and they are both desperate to stay inside the top 4 come finals.
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