By Troy Whittaker (@troywhittaker98)
We’re nearing the halfway mark of the season and, slowly but surely, the results are becoming more predictable and easier to punt on. Punter Problems is excited for the back end of what’s been a great year of NRL thus far and are primed to bring in some profit.
Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels
Brisbane was mighty last weekend to overcome a multitude of injuries and upset the Sydney Roosters. At home and with Origin selection around the corner, the Broncos have every reason to be up for this one. Meanwhile, Parramatta is still dead last and have lost three games on the trot. The Broncos should win comfortably.
Tip: Brisbane Broncos – 5.5 @ $1.79 (Sportsbet)
Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles
Canberra has been disappointing in the last two weeks, fading at the back end of games and they could and should have won. Manly is back in form after a tumultuous period, scoring back-to-back wins including a boil-over against the Storm. Both sides are amongst the bottom-ranked defensive teams and have allowed some soft tries this season. For that reason, we’re banking on a high-scoring match. Go the Overs.
Tip: Over 42.5 points @ $1.95 (Bet365)
North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm
Last year’s Grand Finalists go head to head, but look a shadow of the teams there were in 2017. Without Cameron Smith last weekend, the Storm weren’t even able to post a try, while the Cowboys have struggled with attacking fluency all year. But the Cowboys will be desperate and we expect them to keep within touch in a dogged match on their home turf. We think only a few points will decide this one. The Cowboys should do enough with the +4.5 start.
Tip: North Queensland Cowboys +4.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast Titans
On paper, this seems like an easy victory for the Roosters. But then again, we thought that last week against the Broncos – and look what happened there. Sydney has been wildly inconsistent but they have shown an ability to bounce back strongly from losses. However, the Titans will be buoyed after a tough victory against Newcastle. The Roosters might win, but based on their erratic nature in 2018, we’ll take the Titans with a 10-point start.
Tip: Gold Coast Titans + 10 @ $2 (Bet365)
New Zealand Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs
What a mouth-watering clash this is. The Warriors and Rabbitohs are two of the best teams in the competition to watch and we expect this to be an exhilarating match played at full speed. Souths are probably in the better form, but the Warriors will be out to avenge their last loss at home two weeks ago. It’s hard to split these teams, but after a confidence-boosting win last weekend, we’re tipping New Zealand in a tight one.
Tip: New Zealand Warriors @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Penrith Panthers v St George Illawarra Dragons
The table-topping Dragons head out west to take on the second-placed Panthers in what is their biggest test yet. Penrith have a fantastic home record and will look to draw level on competition points with a Dragons side that has been down on form in the last fortnight. Both sides are amongst the best ranked defensive teams and this will be very tight. We don’t expect to see any easy tries. The last match played between these teams at this venue was a dour 16-14 win to the Dragons in 2017. We think we’ll see a similar close scoreline.
Tip: Under 37.5 points @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Newcastle Knights v Cronulla Sharks
The Sharks are the NRL’s form side after winning five straight matches, but this trip to Newcastle will be no cakewalk. The Knights will scrap as hard as they can and always put in a solid effort in front of their loyal fans. Again, this might well be a game decided by only a few points. The total of 45.5 is considerably high, especially for these two teams who pride themselves on defence. We’re very confident of the Unders here.
Tip: Under 45.5 points @ $1.90 (Palmer Bet)
Wests Tigers v Canterbury Bulldogs
After a brilliant start to the year, the Tigers are at risk of falling out of the top eight if they don’t recapture winning form. For the Dogs, the top eight is a million miles away right now, but they are beginning to show some promise. Their effort against the Sharks last weekend was much improved, only going down by six. Dean Pay’s men are slowly coming together and will be very keen to get back in the winner’s circle. They might just jag this one with a +4 start.
Tip: Canterbury Bulldogs +4 @ $1.91 (Bet365)