The Early Line: Round 23

Filed in NRL, The Early Line by on August 10, 2011

Penrith have opened up 6.5 to 7.5 point home underdogs in their clash with the rejuvenated Wests Tigers on Friday night.

The Tigers have won the last two against the Panthers but prior to that, Penrith won five straight and 11 of 13. Moving Michael Jennings to fullback is interesting too. The Tigers have hit form well the last few weeks but may suffer a letdown here. Penrith are also a much better team at home. Don't get too excited with no Luke Lewis but 1 unit with 7.5 start is a bet.

No total play. This looks an under game but the two tend to combine for big scores.

COVER FORM: Penrith 12-8 (LLWLL), Wests Tigers 8-12 (LWLWW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Penrith 9-11 (OOUOU), Wests Tigers 7-13 (UOUUU)

In Darren Lockyer's record breaking 350th game, Brisbane have opened up pick 'em to 3.5 point favourites against North Queensland in Townsville.

Brisbane aren't going to lose on such an historic night for such a true icon of the game. The Broncos have won seven of eight against the Cowboys and even with a host of Cows returning, the Broncos are going to prove too strong. Bet 1.5 units on Brisbane.

No total interest.

COVER FORM: North Qld 14-6 (WLWWL), Brisbane 12-8 (WWLWL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: North Qld 11-9 (UOOOU), Brisbane 9-11 (UUUOO)

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New Zealand will jump 6 to 6.5 point favourites in their clash with Newcastle and I could not be keener on the Warriors.

The Warriors are the hot betting team in the NRL at moment, having covered their last five. The Knights have been firing but wins over Gold Coast and Canberra make their efforts tough to gauge. The Warriors have beaten only a similar bunch but it was their losing effort against Brisbane which signalled them as the real deal. The Warriors have won 11 of 13 against Newcastle and the Knights have not won in New Zealand since 2005. Bet 3 units New Zealand giving 6.

Both of these teams are 13-7 under this year and their last two at Mt Smart have totalled 32 and 13. Bet 1.5 units under if the line is 38 or bigger.

COVER FORM: New Zealand 12-8 (WWWWW), Newcastle 10-10 (LLWWW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: New Zealand 7-13 (UOOUO), Newcastle 7-13 (UOUOO)

Parramatta will get 10 to 10.5 point in their rivalry match with Manly this Saturday night, five days after the club was humiliated by South Sydney.

The Eels have thrown the towel in and they are not a team who will react with backbone when the going gets tough. Manly have won six of eight against the Eels and have won all 12 matches played in Sydney this year. Expect the Eels to cop another hiding at the hands of the ruthless Eagles. Bet 2 units on Manly spotting 10 points.

These matches tend to play out in the 36-44 range so no total play.

COVER FORM: Parramatta 9-11 (WWLWL), Manly 12-8 (WWLLW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Parramatta 10-10 (UOUOO), Manly 8-12 (OOUUO)

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Gold Coast, the worst team in the NRL, host the premiership favourites Melbourne on Saturday night and a bloodbath is expected with the Titans getting 16 to 17.5 points.

It has been six years since a wooden spooner has rolled the minor premier and with the Titans missing three and potentially four of their five best players, it is not looking good for the Gold Coast. And this is before we look at comparative cover records with the Titans 5-15 against the number and the Storm 15-5. When these two met in round two, the Storm led 28-0 at half-time before cruising to the line 40-12.

Melbourne should cover the big number in this one. They are in a ruthless frame of mind at present and the Titans will struggle to break the Storm's line. Bet 1.5 units on the Storm giving up 16.

No total play here.

COVER FORM: Gold Coast 5-15 (LLLLW), Melbourne 15-5 (WWWLW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Gold Coast 10-10 (UOOOU), Melbourne 7-13 (OUUOU)

Bookmakers have opened South Sydney as 2 to 3.5 point road favourites in their clash with Canberra on Sunday.

These two are the second and third worst cover teams in the NRL, combining for a 13-27 ATS record in 2011. I expected a record like that from the Bunnies but not from the Raiders, who continue to disappoint.

After Monday's decimation of the Eels and Canberra's similar attitude towards defence at present, the smart money will come for the Bunnies. Souths won here last week and have been mighty impressive in their last three halves of football. Play 1 unit laying 2 points.

There is a definite over play here for 2 units. The last four between these two have surpassed 48, both are over teams this year, the Bunnies need to run in big scores and the Bunnies have returned to being a strong over outfit. Play if the total is 44 or less.

COVER FORM: Canberra 6-14 (LLWLL), South Sydney 7-13 (LLLWW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Canberra 11-9 (UUOUO), South Sydney 11-9 (OUOOO)

At writing, St George-Illawarra are 16 to 18 point favourites against a Sydney Roosters team who this week suspended internationals Todd Carney, Nate Myles and Frank-Paul Nuuausala this week for breaking team rules. All three face the sack.

It is hard to picture the Roosters being competitive in this one. They are a team in turmoil who have managed only six wins all season and they meet their conqueror in last year's decider. The Dragons have won their last six against the Roosters and seven of their last 13 and have held the Roosters to a total of 12 tries in their last eight showings. The Roosters haven't scored more than two tries in a game.

Four of the Dragons' last six wins against the Roosters have been by in excess of 22 points and though the Dragons have been a betting nightmare of late, we will play the big minus for 1 unit.

No total play with the under the obvious selection but the team changes at the Roosters could lead to the Dragons running in a big score.

COVER FORM: St George-Ill. 10-10 (LWLLL), Roosters 9-11 (WWWWL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: St George-Ill. 7-13 (UOOOU), Roosters 6-14 (OUUOO)

Cronulla have opened up 4 to 6 point outsiders in their Monday night clash with Canterbury.

The Bulldogs' small finals hopes are reliant on a big win over the fading Sharks here. If Paul Gallen is suspended, it is a possibility that the Dogs could run in a score but you wouldn't be on it with Ben Roberts back in the halves. Cronulla are on a big slide but Canterbury are too risky to be laying big points. No play.

No total play appeals.

COVER FORM: Cronulla 9-11 (WLLLL), Canterbury 10-10 (LLWLW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Cronulla 12-8 (OOUOU), Canterbury 8-12 (OUUOU)

Tipping: Wests Tigers, Brisbane, New Zealand, Manly, Melbourne, South Sydney, St George-Illawarra, Canterbury

Weekly Specials – Up to $1,200 in Bonus Bets

1 unit on Penrith +7.5 at $1.92 at Sports Alive
1.5 units on Brisbane at $1.90 at Luxbet
3 units on New Zealand -6 at S1.92 at Luxbet
1.5 units on Under (Warriors-Knights) if line is 38 or higher
2 units on Manly -10 at $1.92 at Luxbet
1.5 units on Melbourne -16 at $1.91 at Sportingbet
1 unit on South Sydney -2 at $1.92 at Sports Alive

2 units on Over (Raiders-Rabbitohs) if line is 44 or lower
1 unit on St George-Illawarra -16 at $1.91 at Centrebet

Remember, a standing 2 unit under bet exists on any game when the rains have come

Round    Bets     Units Bet       Units Returned         +/-
1                   3         1.5                 0.95                            -0.45
2                   6          6                   0.92                            -5.08
3                   7         11                  7.38                            -3.62
4                   8         13                 16.51                           +3.51
5                  10       16                  13.15                           -2.85
6                   8         14.5              19.60                           +5.10
7                   8         15                 11.66                           -3.34    
8                   9         18.5              27.74                           +9.24   
9                   4         6.5                 9.64                            +3.14
10                 7         14                 15.29                           +1.29
11                 5          11                 4.78                             -6.22
12                 9         18                 15.38                           -2.62
13                 7         14.5              13.38                           -1.12
14                 6         10.5              15.32                           +4.82
15                 6         11                 18.19                           +7.19
16                 9         16.5              23.89                           +7.39
17                 7         13                 20.13                           +7.13
18                10        18.5              12.43                            -6.07
19                11        20.5              13.40                            -7.10
20                 9         16                 22.94                           +6.94
21                 7         13.5              3.84                             -9.66
22                10        15                 12.27                           -2.73                

Total      Bets     Units Bet    Units Returned          +/-

                166         294               298.89                         +4.89

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