NRL PreviewCanberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights
Friday, August 25, 6pm (AEST) at GIO Stadium, Canberra

The Raiders will need to win their remaining two matches and hope that other results go their way if they’re to play finals football this season. The Knights have been very gallant of late but did come crashing back down to earth last week against the Storm. Unfortunately for the Knights, exciting young half Brock Lamb has been ruled out for the season due to a knee injury suffered in last week’s loss to the Storm.
HistoryThe Raiders have lost just one of their last five matches against Newcastle but the Knights have played them extremely well over the last two years with a win, a draw and a golden point loss. Nathan Brown’s men won this corresponding clash in Newcastle earlier in the year by 34-20, with skipper Sione Mata’utia scoring a double.
FormCanberra’s finals hopes were all but snuffed out last Sunday in a 26-22 loss to Penrith. They are 10th on the ladder with a 10-12 record. The Raiders have won four of their last six but enter this off their worst defensive performance since Round 17. Newcastle had won three straight before being hammered at home by minor premiers Melbourne. They remain last on the ladder with a 5-17 record. In their last five road matches, the Knights have lost just one by more than four points.
Key MatchupElliott Whitehead v Mitchell Barnett: Whitehead has been excellent since the move from the edge into the No.13 jersey. A player of his calibre needs to be involved in the game more and it’s happened, with Whitehead making 40+ tackles in his past two matches when playing lock. Barnett started out his career at the Raiders and would love a big performance when he returns to the nation’s capital. Barnett’s minutes have been down over the past month, but he’s been one of the Knights unsung heroes this year and is a player they can build around moving forward. He had 14 runs for 101 metres in his 50 minute stint against the Storm and is an 80 minute player in the eyes of The Wolf.
Stats That Matter– Canberra are 11-11 ATS with a 12-10 over record while Newcastle are 11-11 ATS with a 13-9 under record.
– Canberra have lost just one of their last five matches against Newcastle but the Knights have played them extremely well over the last two years with a win, a draw and a golden point loss.
– The last five matches have all topped 48 points.
– The Knights are 10-13 ATS getting 12.5 or more on the road since 2014 but have covered two of their last three.
– The Knights are 7-14 ATS at night on the road as an underdog since 2014 with the under hitting in five of the last six.
– The under is 16-6 at night when a road underdog conceded 40-plus the start prior.
– The Knights have covered four straight on the road after conceding 40 points.
– The Raiders are 20-29 ATS at home since 2014, covering just one of their last seven.
– When favoured by more than a converted try at home they are 3-7 ATS in their last 10.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf has had headaches all year when it comes to the Knights and these big lines. They’ve been very good over the past month before last week’s capitulation to the Storm. There’s no doubt that the loss of Brock Lamb is a massive blow, but the Raiders might be flat after playing their grand final against the Panthers last week. The Knights won by 14 points over the Green Machine earlier in the year and the 14.5 line should be too big for the Raiders to cover.
How It’s Shaping UpCanberra by 10
Best Bet
Newcastle +14.5 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
Under 44.5 ($1.88)

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