Luke Slater @Luke_Slats
Cover Club @CoverTheClub
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Canterbury Bulldogs | 5:50am EST Thursday |Sydney
Rabbitohs -16.5 (-110) Bulldogs +16.5 (-120)
Souths were 10.5 point favorites against a struggling Tigers team last week and managed to walk away with only a two point win. Expectations this year for Souths have been high, yet they have definitely failed to live up to them. With only two games left before finals, Rabbitohs should be finding their form, yet they are 2-3-0 ATS in the last five games. They did, however, beat Parramatta Eels 38-0 but that also came with a season injury to their best player, Latrell Mitchell.
Meanwhile Bulldogs have continued their losing ways, with last week’s loss to Manly brings them to seven consecutive losses. Of these, five games were within 12 points – so they aren’t getting blown away too often.
Tip: Bulldogs +16.5 and under 44.5
North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers | 4:00am EST Friday | North Queensland
Cowboys +15.5 (-115) Panthers -15.5 (-110)
Last week Cowboys were under the pump early against 2nd on the ladder, Melbourne Storm. Half time, the score was 24-4 with Storm leaving plenty of points on the table. Cowboys did fight back slightly, finishing the game 36-20, and outscoring Storm 16-12 for the final 40 minutes.
Panthers continue to set the benchmark, recording their 13th consecutive win. Last week’s win over Parramatta, 20-2, sent a message that Panthers defense is the real deal, currently second best in the competition. They will be hungry this week to secure the minor premiership and ensure home ground advantage for the finals.
Tip: Keen on under 42.5 and Panthers -15.5
Parramatta Eels vs Brisbane Broncos | 5:55am EST Friday | Sydney
Eels -14.5 (-110) Broncos +14.5 (-115)
Eels attacking woes continued last week, failing to score even one try against league leaders, Panthers. Over the last seven games, Eels are averaging 12 points per game – well below their 18.8 points per game season average, and even below league worst Broncos 13.3 ppg. They will have their best chance to regain scoring form, with Broncos recording the worst defense in the league by far, allowing 31.4 points per game. Eels average 46 points in attack against Broncos over the last two games between the two.
Broncos recorded their best defensive effort in nine games, keeping the Titans to 18 points. However, they only managed to score six points in ninth consecutive loss. I took a chance on Broncos to upset the Titans, and they showed they cannot be trusted. Over the nine game losing streak they are 2-7-0 ATS.
Tip: Eels to put some points on and cover -14.5
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Gold Coast Titans | 1:00am EST Saturday | Manly
Sea Eagles -5.5 (-115) Titan +5.5 (-115)
Manly finally stopped the losing streak, with a 12 point win over Canterbury last week. It has been a rough run with injuries for the side, however they still managed to lose games they should have won and have gone 2-5-0 ATS in the previous seven matches. Some relief on the injury front is the pending return of all star fullback Tom Trbojevic, who is expected to return this week.
Titans have been impressive since the signing of new coach, Justin Holbrook. Since the signing, Titans are 6-2-0 ATS while conceding an average of 17 points per game, well below their season average of 24 points per game.
Tip: Titans +170 in an upset.
Melbourne Storm vs Wests Tigers| 3:30am EST Saturday | Sunshine Coast
Storm -17.5 (-115) Tiger +17.5 (-115)
Storm had a comfortable 36-20 point victory over Cowboys, although they will be disappointed in allowing four tries, including three in the second half. They will be keen to improve on this defensive effort leading into the finals, where defense is key to winning.
Tigers were officially eliminated from finals football with their loss last week to South Sydney Rabbitohs. It’s been another season of mediocrity for the side, who look to finish ninth on the ladder for the seventh time since 2004 and fourth time in five seasons. This week they will be without their halfback, Luke Brooks, due to suspension.
Tip: Under 44.5
Sydney Roosters vs Cronulla Sharks| 5:35am EST Saturday | Sydney
Roosters -17.5 (-115) Sharks +17.5 (-115)
Roosters are finding their form at the right time, not surprising for a team that has won the competition the past two years in a row. They are now 5-1-0 ATS in the past six matches, scoring an average of 34 points over this period. Prior to this, they had a three game stretch averaging 18 points per game, failing the cover the spread in all three games. Sharks should be nervous. Sharks’ win over Warriors last week secures their spot in the finals. However, they have not beaten a top eight team once this season. They average over 22 points per game in defense, well above any other team in the top eight.
Tip: High scoring affair, over 44.5
Canberra Raiders vs New Zealand Warriors | 2:05am EST Sunday |Canberra
Raiders -14.5 (-115) Warriors +14.5 (-115)
Last week, Canberra Raiders were impressive in their 37-8 point win over Dragons, easily covering the -8.5 start. In the previous two games, Raiders were unable to cover the spread. Despite a season of injuries for Raiders, they have continued to play good football and will likely finish fifth on the ladder ahead of finals.
New Zealand Warriors were officially eliminated from finals footy last week with their loss to the Sharks. They have really outperformed throughout the year, under very difficult circumstances. Last week’s loss was also the end to seven matches in a row in which Warriors covered the spread. With any chance of finals football, it will be hard to predict how hard this team will play, but going off this season, Warriors will want to finish off strong.
Tip: Warriors +14.5, under 42.5
Newcastle Knights vs Saint George Illawarra Dragons |4:05am EST Sunday | Newcastle
Knights -8.5 (-110) Dragons +8.5 (-115)
Knights will be keen to finish the regular season strong and secure a home ground finals game. They will need to win both games, and count on teams above them on the ladder to also lose. This week, they have every chance to get a win against a struggling Dragons side. Knights were demolished last week against Roosters, 42-12. This week they will be looking to bounce back and prove they are contenders in the finals.
Dragons meanwhile continue their poor finish to the season, losing by 29 to Raiders. Over the last nine games, Dragons are 1-8-0 ATS. They are hoping for two key forwards to make their return from injury however seems unlikely Dragons will force a return considering the season is all but over.
Tip: Knights -8.5
Luke Slater @Luke_Slats
Cover Club @CoverTheClub