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Canberra Raiders v Nth Qld Cowboys
Saturday, July 1, 7:30pm (AEST) at GIO Stadium

The Cowboys have been rocked by the fact that Thurston has been ruled out for the season but they showed plenty of grit and determination to beat the Panthers on the siren last week. The Raiders on the other hand are looking to end a three game losing streak in order to keep their finals hopes alive. With both teams battling for a spot in the 8 this is a four point game!

Canberra may have won 3 of the last 4 meetings in the nation’s capital between the two sides but their overall record against the Cowboys is abysmal. The Cowboys have won 9 of the last 12 encounters dating back to 2011 with the sides combining for 41 or more points in 10 of the last 13 clashes. Historically they have been very open encounters with the half time margin being 8 or more points in 12 of the last 16 meetings.

Canberra have been struggling with just two wins in their last eight matches and enter this off a very disappointing loss to the Broncos on home turf. The Raiders have conceded at least 21 in three straight. North Queensland showed plenty of resilience to knock off Penrith 14-12 on home turf following news Johnathan Thurston would miss the rest of the season. North Queensland are now seventh on the ladder with a 9-6 record.

Key Matchup
Josh Papalii v Jason Taumalolo: They are two of the most devastating ball runner in the NRL and once they get going there really is no stopping them. Taumalolo leads the competition in run metres and it comes as no surprise as he has gone for 200+ metres in 4 of his last 5 and a total of 8 times this year. Paul Green was cautious with him minutes earlier in the year but he has gone closer to 70 minutes in recent weeks. He is one of the league leaders in tackle bust and holds the key to the Cowboys getting a roll on. Big Papa is the closest thin there is to Taumalolo. A wrecking ball on the left edge for the Raiders he has a huge motor and is basically playing 80 minutes this season. We have seen him cross the white line several times this year and has laid on a handful after bursting straight through. Look for him to be running lines looking for that short ball from Sezer.

Stats That Matter
– Canberra are 7-8 ATS with an 8-7 under record while North Queensland are 11-4 ATS with a 10-5 under number.
– North Queensland have won 9 of the last 12 against Canberra though the Raiders have won three of the last four in Canberra.
– The Raiders are 19-25 ATS at home since 2014.
– As a favourite of less than a try at home, the Raiders are a poor 1-6 ATS.
– The Cowboys have covered seven straight road games.
– Interstate teams of 3.5 or less cover at 71% since 2014.
– The Cowboys are 11-7 ATS when a road underdog of a converted try or less.
– North Queensland are riding a five-game cover streak.
– Canberra have covered just 1 of their last 7 games.

Final Thoughts
The Raiders continue to lose close encounters after putting themselves in a position to win. The Cowboys on the other hand are riding a 5 game cover streak and are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 road games. They continue to find a way to win games even without Thurston thanks to some gallant defending. The Cowboys have conceded 20 or more in just 1 of their last 8 and that was a fortnight ago with all of their Origin stars on the sidelines. Canberra have covered just 1 of their last 7 overall and have lost 9 of their last 12 against the Cowboys. The Wolf cannot trust the Raiders at the moment. They are lacking a definitive leader on the field and have continuously lost their way late in matches. Cowboys with the start.

How It’s Shaping Up
Cowboys by 2

Best Bet
Cowboys +4 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
1st Half Margin Cowboys 9+ ($5.00) 

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