It's not exactly a Thursday night blockbuster to finish the season, but there will be some pride on the line in the Queensland derby as the Broncos take on the Cowboys. Check out the preview and NRL betting tips for the match from Scooby below!
Suncorp Stadium, 7:50pm Thursday
For the final time this season, fans will have to sit through a Broncos match. You can almost hear the collective cheer from rugby league fans. This time, it's a Queensland derby and given the respective standings of each team, it is hardly anything to be excited about. The Broncos were never really in the contest last week against the Eels, with a 20-6 HT lead in favour of their opponents almost deciding the contest. While they were satisfactory with the ball completion rate (79%), they were never really given a chance to do anything with it (40% possession). They only managed 1,315m with the ball, just 459pcm and 3 linebreaks over 80 minutes. On the other side of the ball, they missed 28 tackles and made 12 total errors.
The Cowboys are ahead of the Broncos on the ladder but their recent execution is just as poor. They were comprehensively outclassed 32-12 by the Panthers at home. Having to wait 61 minutes for their first points of the match gives some indication of how one sided this contest was. The statistics back this up. The Cowboys completed at 70%, made 1,401m with the ball and had only 2 linebreaks, while also committing 14 errors and missing 33 tackles. The end of the year cannot come soon enough for both teams and with pride on the line, maybe we will see the best of what each team has to offer.
Scoring points and stopping their opponents has been an issue all year for the Broncos with the worse points difference in the league. They score an average of 13.3ppg (16th) and concede an average of 31.2ppg (16th), leaving them with a -340 points difference. The Cowboys difference is far better (-168) but they still concede an average of 26.6ppg (15th), while scoring 17.7ppg (12th). Given the lack of points, it is no surprise to see the average metres made each week. The Broncos are in 16th with just 1,442.7m made per game (almost 100m per week less than 15th), while the Cowboys are slightly better with 1,613.9m per week (11th). When it comes to post contact metres, the Cowboys are in 8th with 579.8pcm each week, but majority of this would have to be put down to one individual (Jason Taumalolo). The Broncos are ranked 14th in this area, making just 524.8pcm each week, further reflecting how poor the attitude within this team is. The Broncos have an edge recently over the Cowboys, winning 5 out of the past 6 meetings dating back to Round 26, 2017. Of those matches played, the home side has just a 50% winning record, and this is further supported by the Broncos 7-point win on the road in Round 1. In those 6 matches, the average margin of victory sits at 8 points, with just one blowout victory to the Broncos (19 points in Round 2, 2019).
The Broncos are a drifting outsider in this match and a host of changes to the backline will hardly confirm confidence in them. Much has been made about the retiring stars from both sides, as well as the Broncos sitting last on the competition ladder. The fact that it has never occurred is surely motivation enough for this team, let alone winning to reward their long suffering fans at home and sending out one of their longest serving players on a high note. Nevertheless, the Broncos have proven at numerous stages this season that motivation may not be their only issue. The Cowboys will have high hopes also. They have their own retiring star and would love nothing more to confirm the wooden spoon for their Queensland rival. This is an ugly game to get involved in to say the least and for that reason alone, the suggestion will be to invest only on the total points for the match. For what it’s worth, a slight recommendation goes towards the Cowboys because they’ve been able to score/stop more/less points than the Broncos, not only over the season but in recent weeks. As for the line, the offer from most bookmakers is 45.5 points but expect both teams to ‘free themselves’ and throw the ball around. Given that, go for a high scoring match at the very least.
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