With 6 weeks remaining in the 2022 regular season, we are starting to see more and more matches that are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of meaning. With several teams all but assured of missing the finals, we will start to see matches like the first of our Sunday double header, where the 14th placed Knights host the 12th placed Bulldogs.
On the opposite end of said spectrum, game two will see a team that is trying to secure an all important top 4 spot, taking on one of the 4 sides fighting for the final place in the top 8, when the Cowboys travel to Kogarah to face the Dragons.
Below we will try and make sense of both matches and look for value to make a bet.
NRL Round 20 Sunday Betting Tips
Newcastle Knights vs Canterbury Bulldogs
McDonald Jones Stadium, Sunday 31st July, 2:00pm (AEST)
1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Brodie Jones. INTERCHANGE: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker. RESERVES: 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Jack Johns 20. Jake Clifford 21. Dominic Young 22. Kurt Mann
1. Jake Averillo 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jackson Topine
12. Corey Waddell 13. Josh Jackson. INTERCHANGE: 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Tevita Pangai Junior 16. Joe Stimson 17. Chris Patolo. RESERVES: 19. Declan Casey 20. Kurtis Morrin 21. Bailey Biondi-Odo 22. Harrison Edwards 23. Tuipulotu Katoa
The Bulldogs are finishing the season with a product their fans can be excited about. They have won 3 of their past 5, scoring 28 points per game in the process. With Matt Burton looking every bit the superstar and a host of exciting young talent in the outside backs, the Bulldogs will surely go into season 2023 with the belief they can make the finals.
The Knights, on the other hand, are struggling to find their identity. With their inability to attract a quality half since the loss of Mitchell Pearce, a lot has been expected of fullback Kalyn Ponga. But after his 3rd concussion in 6 weeks, serious long term question marks must be asked of Ponga’s standing in the game. He is likely to miss the rest of the 2022 season, and who knows how long this issue will affect him moving forward.
Over the course of the season, it is uncanny how close these sides match up statistically. Over most metrics, from running metres, post contact metres, line breaks, passes, to defensive statistics like tackles, missed tackles and more, these two sides are remarkably similar. The issue for the Knights is, the Bulldogs have been far better over the second half of this season. They are the far better team in terms of form, and home field advantage can’t really be considered, given the Knights have only beaten the Tigers and Titans at home this season. I like the Bulldogs to win, more than likely covering the spread, however Bulldogs overs and overs in general is where I will be putting my money this week.
Props: Bulldogs (-5.5) - $1.90 @ Palmerbet
Over 45.5 - $1.91 @ Bet365
Bulldogs (TT over 25.5)
$1.83 (2.5 Units)
St George Illawarra Dragons vs North Queensland Cowboys
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sunday 31st July, 4:05pm (AEST)
St George Illawarra Dragons
1. Moses Mbye 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Jack de Belin 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Billy Burns 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Tariq Sims. INTERCHANGE: 14. Tyrell Sloan 15. Aaron Woods 16. Francis Molo 17. Josh Mcguire. RESERVES: 18. Michael Molo 19. Mathew Feagai 20. Jaiyden Hunt 21. Tyrell Fuimaono 22. Jackson Ford
North Queensland Cowboys
1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Coen Hess 9. Reece Robson 10. Luciano Leilua 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo. INTERCHANGE: 14. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 15. Jake Granville 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame. RESERVES: 18. Connelly Lemuelu 19. Ben Hampton 20. Reuben Cotter 21. Brendan Elliot 22. Ben Condon
In a slightly bizarre statistic, the Cowboys have conceded 26 points in each of their previous 4 matches. And in this statistic, the concern for the Cowboys form can be found. Leading into the Origin / bye round period of the season, the Cowboys defence was close to the best in the competition. However, as can be seen, they are now conceding points at a concerning rate, and given their excellent attack, this is where we focus our bets this week.
The Dragons haven’t been horrible over the Origin period; however, they have been quite unpredictable to bet. Over the past 6 weeks, they have upset wins over the Rabbitohs, Raiders and Sea Eagles, whilst losing to the Baby Broncos and getting destroyed by the Roosters. It’s a tough run of games, and with two further tests over the next fortnight (Sharks A, Raiders A), a win here is critical for the Dragons.
To use a tennis term, I believe the ball is on the racquet of the Cowboys in this clash, and as such both sides could score big points. I get the sense the Dragons could cause a massive upset here; however, I don’t see them able to take advantage of the Cowboys defence well enough. The Cowboys should score 24+, and the question is whether the Dragons have more than 4 tries in them.
Props: Val Holmes (Anytime try scorer) - $2.90 @ Bet365
Over 41.5 points - $1.90 @ Palmerbet
Cowboys (TT Over 24.5)
$2 (2 Units)