With no origin stars in action this weekend, following our NRL expert's tips is more vital than ever.
BRISBANE V WESTS TIGERS Friday night, Suncorp Stadium
The Broncos look set to break back into the winners circle when they host Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium for Friday Night Football.
Last year’s beaten Grand Finalists have been one of the standouts so far of 2016 but head into this one off the back of two losses in their past three matches. Those losses have been to premiership heavyweights Cronulla (30-28) and North Queensland (19-18).
In fact all three of Brisbane’s losses so far this season have been on the road, however, the average margin in those defeats is a measly 1.3 points.
Heading back to Suncorp is a big bonus for the Queenslanders as they are a perfect six-from-six at the venue that includes one ‘away’ game against the Sea Eagles a fortnight ago.
The Tigers face a huge battle to even stay within touching distance here as they have a terrible record against the Broncos. Wests Tigers have lost 10 of their last 11 matches against Brisbane including the last six on end. Their last win against the Broncos was back in 2010. Overall the merged entity has a horrific record against them with just four wins in 24 outings (with one Draw).
Although State Of Origin usually culls the talent out of the Brisbane side, their halves pairing of Ben Hunt and the exciting Anthony Milford has remained in tact. While they are missing Corey Oates, Corey Parker, Darius Boyd, Josh Maguire, Matt Gillett and Sam Thaiday, they still appear to be better off than the Tigers who are missing their lead forward in Aaron Woods and the inspirational Robbie Farah.
With James Tedesco still out of action for the visitors and two of their stars unavailable, we can’t see them getting the money against a Broncos outfit that is averaging 26.7 points per game.
Take the Broncos to win here 1-12 ($3.15 LuxBet)
Broncos 1-12 - 1pt @ 3.15
STGEORGE ILLAWARRA V NORTH QUEENSLAND Saturday night, WIN Stadium
State Of Origin commitments have leveled the playing field here as the Dragons look half a chance of beating the Cowboys on Saturday. With the defending NRL champions missing Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou, Justin Oneill, Matt Scott and Michael Morgan, it will be a shell of the side that knocked off the Brisbane Broncos last week.
This gives the Dragons a chance, especially by playing at home, even though they are missing Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell for Origin. It has to be remembered though that these teams played in similar circumstances at this very venue last season, with the Cowboys getting away with an 18-12 win. The Dragons were not only missing some key players for Origin on that day but were riddled with injuries too. Still, the Cowboys are winners of their past three at WIN Stadium.
The Dragons have struggled to score points all season but last week’s 24-point haul was their highest of 2016. It meant little though as they conceded 34 to the Rabbits. One big factor tipping the scales in favour of Stgeorge Illawarra is eight wins from their past 11 starts at WIN Stadium. Generally, games here have been tight contests with the average margin during this span of matches being just over 10 points per game.
All five of the Dragons wins this season have been by narrow margins while the Cowboys three losses have all been on the road. Those three losses have been by four points or less. These teams met earlier in the year with the Cowboys winning 36-0 in Townsville.
We are tipping the Dragons to win a tight one here. If you are looking to play the margins, take the Red V 1-12 (3.05 Palmerbet).
Dragons 1-12 - 1pt @ 3.05
CANBERRA V CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN Sunday afternoon, GIO Stadium
This will be arguably the hardest game of the round to pick as the Raiders host the Bulldogs in Sunday afternoon footy. Canberra got back to winning ways by smashing the Warriors in New Zealand last week and will be looking to build on that momentum, however, if you thought playing at home would give them an advantage then you would be wrong.
The Raiders have an abysmal recent record at GIO Stadium despite winning four of their last six there. Prior to that there was just two wins from their previous 11 games! Making things that little bit harder for the Raiders this week will be the fact that the Dogs have been outstanding on the road in 2016. Despite being inconsistent for the most part, Canterbury has won five of their six away games – a feat they last achieved back in 2002.
The Bulldogs have also won five of their last seven at GIO Stadium and will be revving to get some revenge on the Raiders, who spanked them 22-8 earlier this season at Belmore. Points will be a key issue for the Raiders if they are to win here. They have won all five games in 2016 when scoring over 20 points, however, have lost all five when scoring less than that.
The Bulldogs defence is one of the best in the competition and concedes 16 points per game and while scoring has been somewhat of an issue for them through the first nine rounds, they have registered 36 and 32 points respectively in the last fortnight.
Canberra will be without Josh Papalii due to Origin while key forwards Josh Jackson and Dave Klemmer will be unavailable for the visitors.
The loss of those two big men for the Dogs may swing things in favour of Canberra slightly, who themselves have a pretty big forward pack.
It’s a tough one but we are leaning towards Canberra to take the points…….but only just! Back them 1-12 (3.25 LuxBet)
Raiders 1-12 - 1pt @ 3.25
NEWCASTLE V PARRAMATTA Monday night, Hunter Stadium
Parramatta will be hoping to put a tumultuous few weeks behind them when they travel to Newcastle for Monday Night Football. Winless in their two outings since the announcement of the salary cap scandal, they’ve been embroiled in further turmoil throughout the week but are capable of getting an important two points here.
Missing only Michael Jennings due to Origin commitments, Parramatta is nearly at full strength and with Kieran Foran better for last week’s outing after missing a few games they will be hard to beat here. Their forwards have paved the way for victory in six triumphs so far this season and will go a long way to doing so again here. The case for the Eels will be pushed by the fact they take on a Newcastle side that has the worst defence in the completion, leaking over 34 points per game. The Knights are also last in attack too.
That said, Parramatta has been hit psychologically of late and the Knights could fancy themselves at a price to beat the visitors. Having been hammered by the Sharks and Roosters in recent weeks, Newcastle showed plenty of fight to only go down narrowly to the Tigers at Campbelltown in Round 11.
Although losing their last match against the Eels, back in Round 7 2015, prior to that they owned the Eels by winning seven straight. It is hard to see Newcastle doing enough to contain this Eels side that is packed with plenty of talent. Stranger things have happen though but we are tipping the Blue and Golds to get a much needed two points.
Looking for value? Take Semi Radradra ($5.80 LuxBet) in 1st Tryscorer markets or consider taking the Eels to win 13+ ($2.35 UNIBET).
Radradra - 1pt @ 5.80