Let’s hope the Guru is barking up the right tree this week, declaring the bottom of the ladder Bulldogs as his Round 18 moral. “They would love to beat Des Hasler and will be ready to teach an old Dog some new tricks!” Well, our man will either be in the doghouse come Friday night or enjoying a dog day afternoon on Saturday depending on the result. And with Ladbrokes generous $2 lines, there is more than enough meat on the bone to bet.
3 units Canterbury Bulldogs +6.0 @2.00
2 units Souths/Penrith Win @1.95
2 units Gold Coast Win @1.70
NRL Round 18 Match Previews
Wests Tigers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Assessed Line: Tigers +8.0
Ladbrokes: Tigers +7.5
After dominating early, gallant Souths had their winning streak ended by a “clinical” (what else can you say) Melbourne Storm. On the flip side, the Tigers produced a miracle comeback to keep their slim finals hopes alive – well, at least for another week. It’s hard to see an upset here and the Tigers look headed for 9th again whilst the Bunnies will be playing finals footy in October.
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Manly Sea Eagles
Assessed Line: Bulldogs +2.0
Ladbrokes: Bulldogs +6.0
Not quite the Friday night classic but an intriguing match nonetheless. Two teams who have lost 6 in a row, are well and truly out of finals contention and further decimated by injuries. The Dogs have been gritty without winning but losing by smaller margins than a Sea Eagles side who have copped a few floggings lately. With a spoon to avoid the Dogs have more to play for and despite struggling to win matches they will ensure this goes down to the wire. A grandstand finish likely and Bulldogs at the plus is the BEST BET OF THE ROUND.
Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels
Assessed Line: Panthers -8.5
Ladbrokes: Panthers -8.0
A cracking match between two top 4 teams, one who is riding a huge winning streak, the other clinging on for dear life. Plenty of incentive for Penrith here – they will be keen to exact revenge on the only team that has beaten them this year and a victory will likely avoid a clash with the Roosters in week 1 of the finals. At home and clearly in better form they will simply just win again.
StGeorge/Ill Dragons vs Canberra Raiders
Assessed Line: Dragons +6.5
Ladbrokes: Dragons +7.5
A potential trap match for the Raiders who must play away against a Saints side now out of finals contention who can relax and just play footy. For that reason I’m expecting an entertaining affair but Canberra have more to play for and should have a little too much class for their opponents. Predicting a Raiders win but no significant edge in the market to bet.
Gold Coast Titans vs Brisbane Broncos
Assessed Line: Titans -4.0
Ladbrokes: Titans -2.5
The new rising kings of Queensland footy against the fading former stars. The hype around the Titans for next year is huge and it’s not often they start favourites against their more accomplished rivals. The Broncos won’t want to be losing again to their little brother and this has Grand Final intensity written all over it. Fifita up against his new club just adds to the intrigue. Expecting history to be made with Gold Coast beating the Broncos twice in a season for the first time ever.
Sydney Roosters vs Newcastle Knights
Assessed Line: Roosters -18.0
Ladbrokes: Roosters -19.5
With troops returning in recent weeks the Roosters have clicked into gear and their finals campaign is definitely back on track. And it’s difficult to see that momentum stopping at the SCG on Saturday. They have won 7 of their past 8 against the Knights and by big margins. With Ponga rested, it’s almost an admission of defeat by the Knights, and the Roosters will run out comfortable victors. No confidence to get involved at the current prices.
Melbourne Storm vs North Qld Cowboys
Assessed Line: Storm -18.5
Ladbrokes: Storm -18.5
The Cowboys snapped their 9 game losing streak last round but they had to do it the tough way! It was great to see them get a victory for interim coach Hannay but it’s back to reality this week against the Storm. Away from home, without Taumalolo and Morgan and facing class opposition this is a whole different ball game. Melbourne will want to secure a top 2 spot and having won their past 10 against the Cowboys that trend is set to continue.
Cronulla Sharks vs New Zealand Warriors
Assessed Line: Sharks -4.0
Ladbrokes: Sharks -4.0
This is potentially the match that decides the top 8 for 2020 and it promises to be a cracker. The Sharks will be without Townsend and Graham but most importantly welcome back key playmaker Shaun Johnson, and doesn’t he love to beat his old club. Cronulla have won 6 of their past 7 against the Warriors, including a 46-10 romp earlier this year. However, New Zealand are currently in fine form and welcome back their loan players making this a competitive match and the bookies have got the market spot on.
Good luck and great punting,
Punt Club NRL Guru