There are just three more weeks until the NRL finals begin and we have a couple more top 8 battles in Round 18 action this weekend. The team at All Free Bets are back with their betting tips for the round ahead.
Wests Tigers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday September 10 | Bankwest Stadium | 7:50pm
So you’re telling me there’s a chance? The Tigers can still make the finals?
After a huge comeback victory over the Sea Eagles 34-32, Wests are in with a chance of a top 8 position if they can beat Souths.
The Rabbitohs battled hard against the Storm last week in a high-quality clash that’ll give them confidence for the finals.
It’s a rare sight in team news as the Tigers are finally unchanged. Meanwhile, it looks like Gagai will return this week. Tatola is out in the front row and Knight comes into the starting side.
Let’s not get too excited about the Tigers win last week. Their leaky defence will be an issue against the Rabbitohs in what should be a comfortable win for South Sydney, especially with a full week’s rest.
Prediction: Souths -7.5 @ $1.90
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Friday September 11 | ANZ Stadium | 6:00pm
Who will snap a six-game losing streak? One team must win as the Bulldogs clash with the Sea Eagles on Friday night.
The Bulldogs continued their run of close losses after an 18-14 defeat against Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, Manly’s defence collapsed in the second half as they conceded a 34-32 defeat to the Tigers.
There are more injury troubles for the Dogs. Foran, Napa, Holland and Montoya are all out with injury. For Manly, Schuster and Taufau are out for the season after injuries last week.
This should be a close game between two struggling sides. We like the chances of the Bulldogs keeping the margin under a converted try.
Prediction: Bulldogs +6 @ $1.90
Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels
Friday September 11 | Panthers Stadium | 7:55pm
It’s the battle of the West as the Panthers take on the Eels.
Penrith continued their winning streak with a comfortable 25-12 victory over the Broncos in Brisbane.
The Eels rebounded from a 38-0 loss by outlasting the Warriors on Sunday, 24-18.
In team selections, the Panthers get Isaah Yeo back from injury. The Eels will monitor Mahoney before kick-off and Niukore has been dropped.
Parramatta have a good record against the Panthers and they’re also the only team to beat them this season. Take the underdog Eels to cover.
Prediction: Eels +8 @ $1.85
St. George Illawarra Dragons vs Canberra Raiders
Saturday September 12 | WIN Stadium | 3:00pm
The Raiders will look to shore up a home final as they clash with the Dragons.
The Dragons were upset by the struggling Cowboys in golden point last week in a disappointing defeat.
Canberra were outclassed by the Roosters and James Tedesco in their 18-6 loss. So they’ll be keen to bounce back here.
In team news, the Dragons have lost Ravalawa on the wing but regain the services of Vaughan. Canberra is unchanged at this stage.
Canberra have exposed bad teams in recent weeks and we expect more of the same against the struggling Dragons. In day conditions, we do like the points overs, with the Raiders scoring the majority of this 42.5 total.
Prediction: Over 42.5 Points @ $1.90
Gold Coast Titans vs Brisbane Broncos
Saturday September 12 | Cbus Super Stadium | 5:30pm
Our twilight Saturday match is the XXXX Derby on the Gold Coast with the Titans tackling the Broncos.
The Titans will be looking for a 3rd straight win after knocking off the Bulldogs and Dragons in recent weeks.
Brisbane lost their 8th straight on Friday night as they were outmatched by the Panthers 25-12.
In team selections, the Titans have lost Kelly and Jolliffe to injury. Brisbane will get Alex Glenn back and Xavier Coates is back on the bench.
Gold Coast have won 2 of the last 3 against Brisbane and we just can’t see how the Broncos can stop the Titans forward pack rolling up the field all game.
Prediction: Titans WIN @ $1.68
Sydney Roosters vs Newcastle Knights
Saturday September 12 | SCG | 7:35pm
Our Saturday night match will be a beauty with a top 8 battle at the SCG.
The Roosters made a statement last week with an 18-6 win over Canberra as Sonny Bill made his return to the NRL.
Newcastle returned to form with a 38-10 thrashing of the Sharks as Ponga scored a brilliant hat-trick.
Unfortunately, Kalyn Ponga is out and he’ll miss his battle with Tedesco. The Knights have also lost Barnett/Hunt. Meanwhile, the Roosters get stronger with Friend returning at hooker.
The Knights will likely struggle to score points without Ponga and this points total looks a tad too high for a night game at the SCG.
Prediction: Under 46 Points @ $1.90
Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday September 13 | Sunshine Coast Stadium | 4:05pm
Melbourne looks to seal up 2nd position on the ladder against the lowly Cowboys.
The Storm warmed up for the finals with an impressive 22-16 victory over Souths at ANZ last Friday.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys winless streak is finally over after they beat the Dragons in golden-point at home last Sunday.
In team selections, Ryan Papenhuyzen is out for the Storm along with the suspended Welch. But they do get Vunivalu and Asofa-Solomona back from injury. Cowboys are unchanged at this stage.
Melbourne love playing on the Sunny Coast and we fear for the Cowboys leaking edge defence. This should be a high scoring affair, with the Storm scoring most of the points.
Prediction: Over 46.5 Points @ $1.90
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs New Zealand Warriors
Sunday September 13 | Netstrata Jubilee Stadium | 6:30pm
A top 8 spot is on the line, with the loser at risk of missing finals, as the Sharks take on the Warriors on Sunday night.
The Sharks will look to bounce back from another disappointing defensive display as the Knights piled on 38 points last week.
New Zealand almost produced another upset last week but fell short of the Eels by a converted try.
In team news, the Sharks will regain Shaun Johnson for Townsend. Graham is out with suspension. Sione Katoa returns on the wing. For the Warriors, they regain the Eels loan pair of Jennings/Alvaro.
The Sharks have scored 40+ in 2 straight games against the Warriors so we do like the chances of the points overs saluting. Especially with Johnson returning against his former side.
Prediction: Over 44 Points @ $1.90
For more free sports betting tips head to www.allfreebets.com.au where you’ll also find an independent PlayUp review.