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Cowboys vs Sea Eagles Preview & Betting Tips: NRL Round 18 2024

July 5th 2024, 7:04pm, By: Scooby

NRL Betting Tips

NRL Super Saturday will conclude in Townsville this week with the Cowboys hosting the Sea Eagles. Things are bound to heat up both on and off the field for both teams, with each needing another victory to keep contact with the Top 8. There are several factors impacting their respective chances too; Before You Bet is here to take a thorough look at the hopes of both sides and assess who is best placed to win this crucial match. 

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2024 NRL Round 18 Preview & Betting Tips

North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Queensland Country Bank Stadium – Saturday 6th July – 7:35pm (AEST)

Match Preview

The Cowboys opted to rest their Origin stars for a crucial match against the Panthers on the road last week. It was a risky move but with their opponents just about doing the same, it gave them an outside chance of performing well. In a tight, grinding match, the Cowboys outlasted their opponents over 80 minutes. Posting 2 tries inside 15 minutes, they managed to hold onto their lead for the duration of the match, proving that there is resilience in this squad. The win was established on the back of positive ball control; with 51% possession they completed at 86% and averaged 8.6m per carry. Such was their toughness, they made fewer total metres, fewer PCM’s and missed 44 tackles. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but it will go a long way to lifting their confidence. 

The Sea Eagles had a week off with the Bye, a timely break as they battle a horror injury toll and a 14-nil loss to the Rabbitohs in Round 16. Down on quality players, the Sea Eagles remained a chance in the match a lot longer than most would’ve given them credit for. It could’ve been closer had they completed higher (71%) or missed fewer than 31 tackles. There were positives in that game too, as they averaged 10.5m per carry and made 717 PCM’s. Much like the Cowboys, they will take confidence from that performance, and it makes for interesting viewing with so many quality players returning for both sides. 

Match Prediction

Most will see the venue for this fixture an immediately think that the Cowboys are better placed than their opponents to win this contest. While they have a 53% winning record here, the Sea Eagles are undefeated in their two trips to this ground. Furthermore, the home team has only won once in the past 8 games between these two sides (dating back to 2017). This isn’t reflected in betting markets, with the Cowboys listed as favourites ($1.74 vs $2.10). They are boosted by 6 Origin stars returning but the big inclusion for the Sea Eagles (and greatest talking points ahead of this game) is Tommy Turbo returning at centre. They too have 3 Origin players returning and will be a vastly different team to the one which took the field in their last outing. They are not without a chance, and this is mainly due to the performance of the Cowboys so far this season. Despite having one more victory than the Sea Eagles, their points difference (-8) highlights their shortcomings. They are a team which routinely makes mistakes too. 

The Sea Eagles are not perfect by any measure either and will give chances away to their opponents over 80 minutes. There is a slight lean towards them in Head-to-Head markets, but it is not worth the trouble of investing on them. The preferred option is to capitalise on this game being a high scoring contest. Of the past 5 matches between these two sides, the average total points is 49.8. The season average in attack (Cowboys 24ppg vs Sea Eagles 23ppg) and defence (Cowboys 24ppg vs Sea Eagles 21ppg) supports the fact that it should go above the baseline offered by most betting agents. 

Total Points Over 50.5

$1.90 (2 Units)


Same Game Multi

Such is the uncertainty of this game, selecting either team to win this match appears the way to go; 3 of the past 5 matches have been decided by 12 or fewer points too. Nanai is the leading try scorer for the Cowboys this season (11) and can pop up anywhere on the field. With his position in the Maroons team in jeopardy, expect a bold showing. The shift of Tommy Turbo to centre has seen the unusual odds of $2.15 on offer for an anytime scorer; you cannot forget how damaging he is altogether, let alone some of the impressive displays he has produced in this position at representative level. He is also the Sea Eagles second leading try scorer this season (7) despite missing a large chunk of the season. 

Either team by 12 points or less

Nanai & T. Trbojevic to Score 

SGM Odds: $8.50 at Ladbrokes (0.5 Units)


Scooby is our NRL guru with over ten years experience writing about rugby league with Before You Bet and previously at The Profits. His background is in playing and coaching but he's enjoyed the switch to share his knowledge through his articles, as well as sharing his thoughts on Twitter.

Scooby's strength is assessing the overall team - what they offer across the field in a match and how the ethos of a club contributes to their success. Momentum also has a major impact on sports, and Scooby likes to explore this, while underpinning his judgement against a solid basis of statistical analysis. When combined with the aforementioned points, it combines for a holistic approach towards betting on rugby league.

Other sports he enjoys include Cricket, Horse Racing and NFL. There is a reason why Scooby ‘clicked’ with BYB from Day 1 - he loves his sport as much as we do.

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