The Big Marn is aching for finals footy. However, there are still a number of important games left in the regular season!
COWBOYS minus the line
SEA EAGLES plus the line
ROOSTERS straight out
TIGERS plus the line
BEST ODDS: Bet365 ($17.54)
CANTERBURY V NORTH QUEENSLAND Thursday night, Belmore Sports Ground
The Dogs also enter this game without the services of their Big Marn – Sam Kasiano. He has been giving them their go forward of late and is their only forward who seems to be dangerous with the ball in hand. As such, I am going to go with North QLD ($1.74 UNIBET) to win. I know things change day-to-day in football but they beat the Bulldogs 36-0 a month ago and the line looks like it can be easily covered so have some of that too – Cowboys minus the 2.5 start ($1.96 LuxBet).
I do expect the Dogs to come out of the blocks in front of their raucous home crowd, let’s support Brett Morris ($9.50 Sportsbet) to be First Try Scorer and get a good game off to a flyer.
MELBOURNE V BRISBANE Friday night, AAMI Park
The line betting is interesting, being set around 6 points. I don’t think this is enough of an advantage for the away side, so I am on the Storm minus the 6.5 start ($1.91 Sportsbet) as well.
As for First Try Scorer: It is so hard to go against the Storm’s flying Fijian – Vunivalu ($8 LuxBet). He bagged 4 meat pies last week and expect more ‘Bula’ as he scores the first try on Friday night in Melbourne.
MANLY v CANBERRA Saturday afternoon, Brookvale Oval
Off the bat, I expect the Raiders to win. But I do think the line is big enough to keep Manly in it with the +6.5 start ($1.91 Sportsbet). It looks a good punting option. Manly tend to start well before dropping off (remember the lead they blew against the Panthers at home?) so I suggest a lazy few bob on the Eagles / Raiders HT/FT Double ($7.60 LuxBet). Juicy odds.
As I expect Manly to come flying out of the blocks we will look to a Manly player to score the First Try. I expect that player to be none other than Tom Trbojevic ($15 Sportsbet) who has had a fabulous season and has cemented himself as a superstar of the future.
GOLD COAST V PENRITH Saturday afternoon, Cbus Super Stadium
The Titans toppled the Panthers away earlier this season with a late rally and often there isn’t much between these sides. Panthers though seem to have their heads in the right space now as their decimation of the Tigers showed. I have real trouble seeing the Panthers ($2.20 UNIBET) as outsiders here, I think they should be favourites and many other teams will be looking over their shoulder at both these sides as they will have some real KO power come semi-final time.
I am going to play a Titans / Panthers HT/FT Double ($9.50 luxBet) as well. It does create some value as I see the Panthers coming away with the two points.
First Try Scorer: He has copped a fair bit from all angles recently but you know what? This bloke knows how to score a try. Ryan James ($26 Sportsbet). He loves to barge his way over from close range. It is a vastly under-utilized play where teams try to caress their way across the line – you have boppers – use them! Head down, arse up - straight and hard at the line. That’s proper Rugby League!
CRONULLA V SYDNEY ROOSTERS Saturday night, Southern Cross Group Stadium
I am tipping the Roosters ($2.60 UNIBET) in an upset. I am not convinced Val Holmes will play. There are a lot of pointers towards an upset and that’s the way we are going. It will by no means be easy for the Roosters and as such, the value is with the Roosters 1-12 ($4.05 William Hill).
First Try Scorer: Shaun Kenny-Dowall ($15 Bet365). Knows the way to the line and looks decent odds as well.
NEW ZEALAND V WESTS TIGERS Sunday afternoon, Mt Smart Stadium
I am going to side with the Tigers to start well too – Josh Addo-Carr ($12.50 LuxBet) to grab the first four-pointer, as the Warriors lament their season and how in reality they should be playing finals footy.
NEWCASTLE V SOUTH SYDNEY Sunday afternoon, Hunter Stadium
As I have been saying for the last 2-3 months, the Knights just aren’t good enough. They try hard but don’t have the cattle to match it with most teams. Not too sure how Nathan Brown will get over this hurdle in the foreseeable future. You just have to tip Souths but no point taking the very short odds, we look to the line betting, and 13.5 doesn’t look enough for the Knights against the resurgent bunnies. Take Souths minus the 13.5 line ($1.92 LuxBet).
I have given him a plug the last few weeks as he has been playing well for the Bunnies and has been the catalyst for their strong performances. Damien Cook ($34 Bet365) is a big price so let’s get him across the line first on Sunday arvo.
PARRAMATTA V STGEORGE ILLAWARRA Monday night, Pirtek Stadium
I expect the Dragons to give them a good run for their money, so let’s take some of the Dragons / Eels HT/FT Double ($8 LuxBet). The Dragons will hold their own early and it boils down to how much the Eels want it in the end.
As we are going the Dragons to start well, it makes sense to look to a Dragon to score first and with this in mind, Kurt Mann ($11.50 LuxBet) looks a stand out bet to light up the scoreboard early doors.