The Early Line: Round 4

Filed in NRL, The Early Line by on March 30, 2011

No bet in the BrisbanePenrith game. I forecast both teams to struggle this year and nothing has changed here though Anthony Griffin is clearly a better coach than Ivan Henjak so they perhaps deserve to be bumped up somewhat.

With the line opening between 8 and 8 ½, my natural inclination is to play the plus. I simply cannot lay that number with a team I don’t rate missing a key cog in fullback Josh Hoffman.

I also expect Penrith, under a ton of pressure, to bounce back as they did in round two against Parramatta. The question mark hanging over Luke Lewis and the lack of class down the spine is too concerning however.

Penrith have won only one of the last six clashes between the two teams.

No side bet.

This is the biggest start Brisbane have spotted since 2009. Brisbane were 9-6 against the spread (ATS) off a 7-day backup in 2010 but were only fair at home, at night and as a favourite. Penrith were 5-8 ATS away from home and struggled as a dog, going 4-5 ATS.

Look to bet 1 unit the over if the line is 45.5 or lower. Brisbane were 7-2 over as a home favourite while Penrith were 9-4 over on the road.

Cover Form: Brisbane LWW, Penrith LWL

Over-Under Form: Brisbane UUU, Penrith OUO


Manly have opened 2 ½ to 3 ½ point favourites against South Sydneyin their Friday night clash from Gosford.

Manly have not lost in six matches from Bluetongue and have won 8 of 11 against the Bunnies.

Both get big pushes from 2010 betting data. Souths were 9-3 ATS in home games, 11-4 ATS as an underdog, 8-2 ATS as an underdog of less than six points and 10-5 ATS in night matches. Manly were 4-1 ATS as a road favourite and 6-3 ATS as a favourite of less than six points.

South Sydney have been decimated by injury with Sam Burgess and Rhys Wesser now out. Manly are also short, particularly in the forwards.

Manly should win the match but after a disappointing attacking performance against Newcastle, they cannot be played with confidence.

Cover Form: South SydneyLLW, Manly LWW

Over-Under Form: South Sydney OOO, Manly UOU


I am clearly a masochist as, for the fourth consecutive week, I am on the Gold Coast Titans, who this week travel to Canberra to take on the Raiders.

The Titans have not been good this year. Competent in week one against the Dragons, they were embarrassing against the Storm and disappointing against Brisbane at home.

Canberra were brilliant first-up but are following a tradition of slow starts, losing to Brisbane and the Tigers in Matt Orford’s first two games, the Dally M Medal winner struggling to adapt to the Raiders style.

Canberra have opened up 7 ½ to 8 ½ point favourites and a 1 unit play on the Titans is my recommendation. The line is just a touch big.

The last two times the Titans have gone to Canberra, the margins have been 4 and 6 though Canberra have won all four matches in the Nation’s capital. Since 2010, the Titans are 8-1 ATS going interstate and they did seem a much improved defensive unit last week. Canberra’s attack looks a little disjointed at the moment and they may struggle to breakdown a Titans team with their mind on the jobs.

No confidence here but I’ll be taking the plus 8 ½ and hoping for the best.

These two have put on 50 in every game they have played at Canberra Stadium but both were under teams at night last year so no over-under play.

Cover Form: Canberra WLL, Gold Coast LLL

Over-Under Form: CanberraOUO, Gold Coast OOU


Parramatta have opened up between 1 ½ and 3 ½ point favourites against North Queensland.

Only a mad man would play this extraordinarily horrible match between two of the bottom three sides in the NRL. I would take the points if I was an addict of the worst description and will be taking the Cowboys in priced-based tipping competitions.

Parramatta have won 5 of 6 between the two.

Cover Form: Parramatta WLL, North Queensland WLW

Over-Under Form: Parramatta UUO, North Queensland UOO


New Zealand take on Cronulla in Taupo, the first NRL match played in the New Zealand provincial city of 34,000.

Cronulla have been on fire the last fortnight but they have been flattered in both wins with refereeing decisions and weather assisting them against the Dragons and a gutless Penrith team allowing the score to be blown out last week. The Sharks also happen to be a horrible day team, going 0-6 ATS in day matches since the start of 2010.

This week is crunch time for the Warriors. Ivan Cleary has wielded the axe and I am anticipating a stronger effort. The Warriors backline defence will certainly be more solid with the reshuffle. The Warriors were 9-4 ATS away from home last year and were 9-7 ATS off a 10-day backup.

The Warriors have won four of the last six against Cronulla.

Laying only 2 points at Luxbet, I will be betting the Warriors for 2 units.

There may be a play for the over if conditions are dry. Both of these teams are day-time and road over teams though both have an identity of being dour battlers. If the line is 42 or less, play the over for 1 unit.

Cover Form: Cronulla LWW, New Zealand LLL

Over-Under Form: Cronulla OUO, New Zealand UUU


St George-Illawarra are 14-8 all-time against  Newcastle with the Dragons incredibly winning the last six played in Newcastle.

Newcastle should be jacked up for their first home game of the season and may be on a high if Nathan Tinkler’s purchase comes through. They have been playing with great heart this year and they are a team that is incredibly well coached. They opened the year with two big wins and under trying circumstances, were so courageous against Manly last week.

If the team wasn’t so ravaged by injury, I would look to play them. I like Kurt Gidley playing in the halves but there are major worries up front.

The 4 ½ to 6 points on offer just isn’t enough, particularly in a day game where the Knights are 4-7 ATS since 2010 and with the Knights off a long backup, which did not serve them well in 2010.

Expect the Knights to come out firing but the class of the Dragons and Jamie Soward’s kicking game should see the Dragons get home.

A 2 unit bet on the Dragons at better than $1.45 is my only play.

Cover Form: NewcastleWWL, St George-Illawarra WLW

Over-Under Form: NewcastleOOU, St George-Illawarra OUU


This marquee matchup between the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers has been downgraded thanks to an injury crisis at the Tigers that has Tim Sheens’ team playing without seven of their strongest thirteen.

The Tigers have a debutant at halfback, an unrecognisable three-quarter line and a pack missing much of its firepower.

A classic was expected after the semi-final these two played out in 2010, the undisputed game of the year, but it is hard to see the Tigers staying with the Chooks here.

The Roosters have been fair this year. They put in a good showing against Canterbury and they rolled Souths on opening night. Their effort against Manly was a worry. I am concerned about their discipline and drive but they really should roll the Tigers.

If the weather is dry, I’ll consider the Roosters minus but at this stage, there is no play.

Both sides are under teams and with the Tigers trying a new halves combination, this should be a defensive battle. Play 2 units on the under if the line is 40.5.

Cover Form: Wests Tigers LWW, Sydney Roosters WLL

Over-Under Form: Wests Tigers UUO, Sydney Roosters OUU


Melbourne host Canterburyin the game of the round on Monday night with the undefeated Bulldogs taking on a Melbourne team who are 59-8-1 at home over the last six seasons.

The Storm have won 6 of their last 8 against Canterbury including four straight in Melbourne.

Melbourne have opened up 2 to 2 ½ point favourites and are a 1 unit play spotting two points.

The Storm were 8-3 ATS as a home favourite last year and are 2-0 ATS this season. Craig Bellamy will put a rocket up his team after last week’s disgrace against North Queensland.

Canterbury are flying results wise and have put together some impressive periods but they have hit flat spots in all three games and you can’t afford to do that against the Storm. Outsiders have a great Monday night record in recent times though and are 3-0 straight up this season.

The big play in this match is the under. Two good teams usually leads to a low score. Melbourne are defensive leaders and the Bulldogs have been tough off the ball. A 3 unit play on the under if the total is 38 or less. Any rain and you can have the bank on the under.

Cover Form: Melbourne WWL, Canterbury WWW

Over-Under Form: MelbourneUOO, Canterbury UOU


1 unit on over (Brisbane-Penrith) if line is 45 ½ or lower

1 unit on Gold Coast + 8 ½ at Sportingbet, Sports Alive at $1.92

2 units on New Zealand -2 at Luxbet at $1.91

1 unit on over (Cronulla-New Zealand) if line is 42 or lower

2 units on St George-Illawarra at Pinnacle at $1.56

2 units on under (Wests Tigers-Roosters) if line is 40 ½ or larger

1 unit on Melbourne -2 at Centrebet at $1.92

3 units on under (Melbourne-Canterbury) if line is 38 or under


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

Total             Bets     Units Bet       Units Returned              +/-

                        16         18.5                9.25                              -9.25







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