Venue: ANZ Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 30, Bulldogs 17, Cowboys 13
- The Bulldogs have won 58% of matches at ANZ Stadium
- The Cowboys have won only 38% of matches at ANZ Stadium
- The Cowboys have lost 4 of their last 5 matches
Betting Trends: Punters have come very strongly for the Bulldogs to open the round, 70% of bets so far have been for the home side.
Final thoughts: For all their undoubted talent, 2017 is shaping as “one of those years” for the Cowboys. Their last month has been woeful, with only a home win against the lowly Knights bringing home two points. Jake Granville and Lachlan Coote are very good ins, but captain Jonathan Thurston is again absent. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have struck a bit of a purple patch of form lately. Their win over the Raiders in round 9 really stamped their top eight credentials, and they seem to have found the Cowboys at the perfect time.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Bulldogs -4 @ $1.90
Venue: UOW Jubilee Oval
History (since 1998): Played 39, Dragons 20, Sharks 18
- The Dragons have won 64% of matches at Jubilee Oval
- The Sharks have won only 3 of their last 10 matches at Jubilee Oval
- The Dragons won the first meeting between these sides this season 16-10
Betting Trends: The Dragons have been the biggest go of the round so far, they are already into $1.85 at the 8 point line.
Final thoughts: The Dragon’s dream run to start the year was always going to come to an end, but their last two losses to the Roosters and Storm have come as much due to injury as a loss in form. The Red V were brave in both battles but do now look to have slightly lost touch with the best of the competition. Speaking of the best, the premiers have been simply outstanding away from home this season, rattling off wins against the Raiders, Storm, and Panthers. And underdone Dragons is well below that class, so expect them to win the big derby.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Sharks -8 @ $1.95
Venue: ANZ Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 29, Tigers 14, Rabbitohs 15
- Both sides are 3-6 this season
- The Tigers have won only 44% of matches at ANZ Stadium
- The Tigers opened 2017 with a 34-18 win over the Rabbitohs
Betting Trends: Punters are slightly leaning towards a Souths win, with 55% of money for the away side playing at their regular home ground.
Final thoughts: Even without captain Aaron Woods, there is a lot to like about the way the Tigers have performed since Ivan Cleary took over as coach. A 2-2 record doesn’t seem like anything to write home about, but that includes wins over the Cowboys and Bulldogs and close losses to the Eels and Sharks. That form is infinitely better than Souths, who enter this match on the back of three losses, and an annihilation at the hands of Manly last round. Something really looks off with the Bunnies at the moment, and with all the upside on the Tigers they look great value.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Tigers win @ $2.00
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 33, Panthers 18, Warriors 14
- The Panthers have lost their last 5 matches
- The Warriors have no won away from home in 2017
- The Panthers have won 53% of matches a Cbus Super Stadium
Betting Trends: Punters are expecting the Panthers to finally break through, with the home side currently 2 point favourites.
Final thoughts: The Panthers once again start favourite despite their woeful form of late. With only two wins so far this season, they look a shadow of their 2016 side and also don’t seem to be improving as the season progresses. The Warriors have found their mojo of late since the inclusion of Kieran Foran, winning their last three home matches, including one win over the Roosters. They are yet to translate that form across the ditch, but if they are to ever notch up a win in Australia, it could be here against the struggling Panthers.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Warriors win @ $2.10
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 16, Storm 11, Titans 5
- The Storm have won 80% of matches at Suncorp
- The Titans have won only 3 times at Suncorp
- The last meeting between these sides was a 38-0 victory to the Storm
Betting Trends: The massive line isn’t scaring punters one bit, the Storm have all the money in early betting.
Final thoughts: The Titans have finally notched up two wins after bravely making their way through the start of the season with an impossibly long injury list. But they couldn’t have found a more difficult opponent to try and reach the hat trick in the clinical Storm. The Melbourne side has easily been the class of 2017, and very professionally work their way through opponent after opponent. And if the Titans were feeling better about not having to travel to AAMI Park, things aren’t any easier at Suncorp where the Storm have an amazing 80% winning record. The Storm should once again win, but the Titans are brave enough to keep close to the line.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Titans +8 @ $1.90
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 25, Sea Eagles 14, Broncos 10
- The Broncos have won their last 4 matches
- Manly have won 50% of matches at Suncorp Stadium
- Brisbane won the last meeting between these sides 30-6
Betting Trends: Brisbane are strong early favourites, holding 60% of line bets so far.
Final thoughts: What a great game to end the double header! Both of these sides are in fantastic form at the moment, and look as though they could do some real damage come finals time. The Broncos have strung together four wins in a row now although their last three haven’t been the most convincing. Manly’s last two wins over Souths and the Raiders, on the other hand, were fantastic and really showed their class at the moment. It’s never easy to beat the Broncos in Brisbane, but you’re getting a great price to find out if they can.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Manly win @ $2.24
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 34, Knights 15, Raiders 17
- The Raiders have only won 27% of matches in Newcastle
- The Knights have only won once in 2017
- The Raiders won the last meeting between these sides 25-29
Betting Trends: We can’t write a ticket in this one, the Raiders are the shortest-priced favourites of the round.
Final thoughts: For all their pre-season hype, the Raiders have gone off the boil a little of late. They really should have beaten Manly at home in round 8 before putting in a very ordinary performance against the Bulldogs last round. This week against the Knights is a terrific chance for them to build some form in what should be an easy win. But the Knights are a far better side at home than they are away, and are always a bet at a double digital line in the Hunter.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Knights +14 @ $1.90
Venue: Allianz Stadium
History (since 1998): Played 31, Roosters 18, Eels 12
- The Eels have won their last 3 matches
- The Roosters have won 63% of matches at Allianz Stadium
- The Eels won the last meeting between these sides 22-18
Betting Trends: Punters aren’t expecting the Eel’s run to continue, all money so far is for the Roosters.
Final thoughts: I’m really struggling to line up the Roosters at the moment. For all their moments of brilliance, they can also turn in a shocker and really looked lost in the closing moments of their loss to the Warriors in round 9. The Eels have found some form over the last month, notching up three wins. Those wins were against pretty ordinary opposition, however, and this does look a bit of a step up in class. But you sense that at the moment these sides are heading in opposite directions, and the line for the Eels is very tempting.
The Early Crow’s Top Tip: Eels +5.5 @ $1.90