Newcastle vs Penrith
Newcastle will be out to make it four straight when they host the equally impressive Penrith Panthers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights have won 8 of the past 13 clashes at this ground against the Panthers, as well as winning their past 6 straight home matches against all opponents.
Despite going down to the Roosters in a very physical encounter, Penrith impressed me with their never say die attitude and no doubt they will bring more of the same to this contest.
At the time of writing there are significant injury concerns over 3 key Newcastle forwards, so should these players be unavailable there will be a significant shift towards the Panthers from the current market.
For this reason I think it’s worth taking a punt that one or two of these players may be out, so I’ll lock in the odds for a Penrith victory as that may well prove to be the value play.
Verdict: Penrith Win at $2.02 with
Sharks vs Gold Coast
In what looms as a very low affair, both sides will be desperate to open their 2015 season account when they do battle in the Shire on Saturday evening.
Cronulla have won 5 of the past 7 clashes here against the Titans, however that’s about where the positives end.
The Sharks have lost their past 9 home matches against all opponents and have failed to cover the line in all of these encounters.
Equally as dire is the Titans away form, having lost their past 5 on the road and having managed to score double figures in just one of those games.
The past 4 clashes here have tallied 36pts or less, and combined with 8 of the past 11 overall failing to surpass 40pts, it’s difficult to see where points will come from so the Total match Points Under has to be the play here.
Verdict: Total Match Points Under 38.5 at $1.91 with with
St George vs Manly
St George opened their account last week with a come from behind victory against the Raiders, and will be looking for back to back victories when they host the Sea Eagles.
Despite winning the past 2 clashes, Manly generally struggle against the Dragons having won just 3 of the past 13 encounters at St George and just 1 of the past 5 at this venue.
The Sea Eagles have also lost 6 of their past 7 away games, so they will be desperate for the return of key players Jamie Lyon and Kieran Foran.
Only 2 of the past 8 clashes at all venues between the two have surpassed 33pts, so with both teams struggling in attack a repeat of this may well be on the cards.
Despite their victory last week, the Dragons still look diabolical to me and I’m keen to oppose them here provided Lyon and Foran return for the visitors.
Verdict: Manly Win at $1.65 with