Only nine teams have a realistic chance of making the playoffs and the Wests Tigers are the team looking in. The Warriors, Broncos and Sharks are all within choking distance but the top eight looks secure for the time being.
The beauty about the NRL is that top eight positions could change every week and that makes every game important. Round 22 should provide plenty of entertainment for punters and we have form and free tips for every game.
7:50pm North Queensland Cowboys vs. Brisbane Broncos @ 1300SMILES Stadium
This would usually be a blockbuster game between the two Queensland sides but the Cowboys have been anything but a headline this season.
In Johnathan Thurston’s final year, the Cowboys have shown little resilience and although they took the Roosters close last week, chalk it down as another loss.
We’re surprised that bookmakers have this game so close in the betting, with the Broncos paying $1.60, but that could more reflect the Broncos’ loss to the Bulldogs last week. It wasn’t pretty, but with a win needed this week, a better performance is expected.
Betting tip: Broncos to win @ $1.60 (BET NOW)
Broncos by 10
6:00pm New Zealand Warriors vs. Newcastle Knights @ Mt Smart Stadium
The Warriors pulled out a win for the ages against the Dragons last week, scoring a 18-12 win to record their first win at that venue. Despite paying $3.05 with bookmakers, the Warriors showed punters that they turn up against teams they shouldn’t beat.
That being said, they don’t play well against the easier teams and they welcome the struggling Knights into town.
On paper and on form, the Warriors should put 20 points on the Knights but that’s not how the Warriors operate. They will make tough work of this and will likely just edge out a rare Friday night win.
Betting tip: Knights +8 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Warriors by 4
7:55pm South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Sydney Roosters @ ANZ Stadium
This is going to be a great game and we think there’s great value with the Rabbitohs here at $1.85.
The Rabbitohs were impressive when coming from 10 points down to beat the Melbourne Storm last week and although the Roosters are in good form, their wins haven’t been coming as easily as the Rabbitohs.
Cracks have started to show in the Roosters but that’s what makes them tough to back against. They have a team which could pile the points on their opposition but also the mental lapses which can’t be explained.
The Rabbitohs appear to be going to the Grand Final and the odds on offer are value.
Betting tip: Rabbitohs to win @ $1.85 (BET NOW)
Rabbitohs by 10
3:00pm Gold Coast Titans vs. Penrith Panthers @ Cbus Super Stadium
After beating the Warriors, the Titans could have built on that momentum but they came crashing back down to earth against the hapless Parramatta Eels last week.
They face the Panthers this week, which scored an incredible come-from-behind victory against the Raiders last week in what can only be described as a controversial and massive choke from the Raiders.
Down by a significant margin at the half, the Panthers looked well-held for most of the game but scored three tries in the final 10 minutes to snatch victory from jaws of defeat.
Titans should struggle here and the Panthers should come away with the victory.
Betting tip: Panthers –7.5 @ $1.90 (BET NOW)
Panthers by 13
5:30pm Manly Sea Eagles vs. Canterbury Bulldogs @ McGrath Foundation Stadium
Both teams are coming off shock wins in Round 21 and that sets up for a great clash here.
The Sea Eagles were upset winners over the Sharks on Sunday night and the Bulldogs were convincing winners over the Broncos to open Round 21. Both wins were solid in their own right, but we’ll give the edge and momentum to the Sharks.
They won’t have had as much time to recover from the win like the Bulldogs but they have confidence and they could be worth following over the final few weeks.
Betting tip: Sea Eagles to win @ $1.65 (BET NOW)
Sea Eagles by 8
7:35pm Parramatta Eels vs. St George Dragons @ ANZ Stadium
The Eels showed a glimpse of form when beating the Titans last week but the opposition was inferior and they face a much stiffer test here.
The Dragons had their chance to beat the Warriors and they played relatively disappointingly, but they still possess a solid defence and the Eels don’t exactly boast an attack which has teams shaking in their boots.
Bookmakers have the Dragons on top but they’re offering good head-to-head odds considering their respective positions on the ladder.
Betting tip: Dragons to win @ $1.45 (BET NOW)
Dragons by 14
2:00pm Canberra Raiders vs. Wests Tigers @ GIO Stadium
The Raiders blew a big chance to score a rare win on Sunday and they can’t be in a good frame of mind heading into this game.
Making matters worse, they face a Tigers team which is still in the hunt for the playoffs and will be throwing everything at the Raiders. The Tigers scored a tough win on Friday night and we’re not sure why bookmakers are giving them no respect.
Tigers are $2.50 in the betting and we’ll happily take that value on offer.
Betting tip: Tigers to win @ $2.50 (BET NOW)
Tigers by 6
4:10pm Melbourne Storm vs. Cronulla Sharks @ AAMI Park
The Storm’s chances this week could depend on how serious Cameron Smith’s injury is, but they should be too tough for the Sharks here.
Cronulla is coming off a tough loss to the Sea Eagles last week and that might have them in a negative mindset and this is 2nd vs. 6th on the ladder, which won’t make easy here.
We’re expecting the Storm to bounce back here, despite the Smith injury and the head-to-head odds are juicy.
Betting tip: Storm to win @ $1.50 (BET NOW)
Storm by 4