The Early Line: Round 26

Filed in The Early Line by on August 31, 2011

Betting in the Newcastle-South Sydney playoff has opened pick 'em though some early money for the Knights has seen them firm to 1.5 point favourites with some books.

There is a play with the Knights here. The Rabbitohs three-quarter line looks as bad as any I have ever seen and surprisingly, in what could be his final match, Adam MacDougall looms as a key player. If he is on song, him and Akuila Uate will have a field day. The Knights have won 10 of 11 against Souths at Ausgrid Stadium and should extend that. Bet 1.5 units on Newcastle at $1.87 at Centrebet.

No total.

COVER FORM: Newcastle 10-13 (WWLLL), South Sydney 8-15 (WWWLL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Newcastle 8-15 (OOUUO), South Sydney 13-10 (OOOOU)

St George-Illawarra are 13.5 to 15.5 point favourites in their clash with Penrith on Friday.

The Dragons should win and win well with a slight possibility of a top-four berth and Petero Civoniceva and Trent Waterhouse hurt for their Panthers farewells but the Panthers have been an honest team and the Dragons certainly aren't firing on all cylinders.

There is a 1 unit under play here if the line is bigger than 40. The Dragons are 15-8 under while the Panthers are 14-9 under and five of their last eight head-to-head totalled 31 or less.

COVER FORM: Dragons 11-12 (LLLWL), Penrith 13-10 (LLLLW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Dragons 8-15 (OUUUO), Penrith 9-14 (OUOUU)

The red-hot cover team New Zealand, having covered eight straight, enter their last home game of the season as 6 to 6.5 point favourites against North Queensland.

The Cowboys have a great record against the Warriors, winning 10 of the last 14 between the two and with a top four spot on the line, they can upset New Zealand. The Warriors are flying and the Cowboys have won only one of their last five against the Cowboys but they can keep it close enough to cover the number with the three-quarter match-up the biggest advantage the Cows have. Bet 1.5 units with 6.5 start.

No total play.

COVER FORM: New Zealand 15-8 (WWWWW), Cowboys 15-8 (WLLWL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: New Zealand 8-15 (UOUUO), Cowboys 14-9 (OUOOU)

Cronulla go into their final match of the season as 10.5 to 12.5 point home underdogs against the Wests Tigers.

The Tigers may well need to win this by a margin to get into the top four, pending on the results of the Dragons and Cowboys matches, so this is every chance of being a blowout. The Tigers have covered five straight and have won 11 of 12 against Cronulla. Bet 2 units laying 10.5 points though be careful if the result of this becomes meaningless.

Bet 1 unit the over if the total is 40.5 or lower. The Tigers have gone over three straight, the Sharks are an over team and the last five between these two have totalled 38 or more.

COVER FORM: Cronulla 10-13 (LLLLW), Wests Tigers 11-12 (WWWWW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Cronulla 14-9 (OUUOO), Wests Tigers 10-13 (UUOOO)

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This wooden spoon decider could not be more uninteresting with Gold Coast 1.5 point home underdogs against Parramatta.

The Titans probably deserve the spoon, having both the worst attack and defence in the NRL, but the Eels have not won away from home since round one. No side bet and no total either though I have a slight lean towards the Eels.

COVER FORM: Gold Coast 6-17 (LWLWL), Parramatta 10-13 (WLWLL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Gold Coast 13-12 (OUOOO), Parramatta 12-11 (OOOOU)

Canterbury may need a record win against Canberra on Sunday if South Sydney win, somewhere in the vicinity of 65-plus. The Bulldogs, in need of a miracle, may well throw the ball around and if it stuck, the 8.5-10 on offer could be in big danger.

The Raiders are a rabble this season and the likes of Ben Barba and Josh Morris are a very good chance of running up a score. The Dogs won't be playing finals football but they will want to go out on a high. Very keen on the minus here for 2.5 units.

No total.

COVER FORM: Canterbury 12-11 (LWWLW), Canberra 6-17 (LLLLL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Canterbury 10-13 (OUUOO), Canberra 13-10 (UOOOU)

Brisbane go into Darren Lockyer's farewell regular season game as 11.5 to 12.5 point favourites against Manly.

Suspensions and injury have decimated Manly and this is a big occasion for the Broncos but I can't recommend laying such a big number, particularly with the judiciary washup not completed as of writing.

No total.

COVER FORM: Brisbane 15-8 (WLWWW), Manly 14-9 (LWLWW)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Brisbane 10-13 (OOOUU), Manly 10-13 (UOOOU)

Melbourne enter the match that could determine their minor premiership fate with the Sydney Roosters 8.5 to 10.5 point favourites.

The Roosters have been a very good cover team of late, making the number in four of their last five while the Storm have failed to cover in their last two. Cooper Cronk returns and the Storm have a history of thumping teams in the final round, winning by an average of nearly 30 point over the last five seasons in final round encounters. I expect the Storm to clear out but I'm not confident enough to recommend a play.

This should be a big under play and would be if there wasn't a possibility the match could be meaningless. We will still say 1 unit if the line is 38 or bigger but be wary of this match's context.

COVER FORM: Roosters 12-11 (WLWWW), Melbourne 16-7 (LWWLL)
OVER-UNDER FORM: Roosters 7-16 (OOUOU), Melbourne 8-15 (OUOUU)

Tipping: Newcastle, St George-Illawarra, North Queensland, Wests Tigers, Parramatta. Canterbury, Brisbane, Melbourne

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1.5 units on Newcastle at $1.87 at Centrebet
1 unit Under (Dragons-Panthers) if line is 40 or bigger
1.5 units on North Queensland +6.5 at BetEzy at $1.91
2 units on Wests Tigers -10.5 at IAS at $1.90
1 unit on Over (Sharks-Tigers) if line is 40.5 or smaller
2.5 units on Canterbury -8.5 at Sportingbet at $1.91
1unit Under (Roosters-Storm) if line is 38 or bigger

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    
23                 8         12.5              16.23                          +3.73
24                 9         17                 17.64                          +0.64
25                 8         14.5              15.36                          +0.86

Total      Bets     Units Bet    Units Returned          +/-

                191         338               348.12                   +10.12



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