Punters dread tough NRL tipping season - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Punters dread tough NRL tipping season

By Todd Balym 11/03/2007 11:02:02 PM Comments (0)

Forget form, recruitment and injuries. Sometimes when picking a NRL round one winner it is best to look at a club's history.

With the NRL season just five days from kick off, punters across the country are bracing for what could be the toughest tipping season yet.

TAB Sportsbet have already decided who their round one favourites are, but looking at past performances in season openers reveals some hidden value bets.

Canberra have been virtually written off as no chance at $4.50 to beat Manly ($1.18) at Brookvale on Saturday, but the Raiders outstanding round one record has been clearly overlooked.

The Raiders are close to the NRL's best starters winning six of their eight round one games since 1998, including last year's 27-14 victory over the Sea Eagles at the same ground.

The Sea Eagles meanwhile only have a 50-50 record in first up games, with an average winning margin of 5.5 points but a losing margin average of 19.5 points.

Raiders coach Neil Henry said his side had been written off for 2007 because they'd lost so many experienced players, but he remained confident in his team.

"People are always entitled to their opinions but most of those are formed by the fact that they look at our playing roster and no-one stands out," said Henry.

"People tend to focus on the players who have left the club but they're gone and that's out of our control.

"I'd rather focus on who we've got here and who is coming through.

"I'm confident we have enough creative players to test sides."

Another game representing strong value is across the Tasman where Parramatta ($2.25) travel to play the New Zealand Warriors ($1.60).

The Warriors have not won a first round clash since 2000 and are considered among the NRL's bottom five starters along with St George Illawarra, Penrith, North Queensland and South Sydney.

Parramatta have a 5-4 record at the start of the season which ranks them in the top half of the NRL.

Sydney Roosters are the league's best bolters out of the gates, winning a remarkable eight of their nine round one games with their only loss back in 1999.

More devastatingly for their Monday night football opponents South Sydney next week, the Rabbitohs haven't started their year with a win since being reinstated into the NRL in 2002.

The Dragons are the biggest round one anomaly and the worst performed in the NRL, winning just once (2001) since their 1999 merger.

St George Illawarra ($2.35) face NRL debutants Gold Coast Titans ($1.55) at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Newcastle ($2.00) are slight outsiders at home to the Bulldogs ($1.75) on Sunday, and have a better record in round one.

The Knights sneak into the NRL's top five teams with a 6-3 record while the Dogs, after losing last year, have a 5-4 history.

Cronulla (4-4) hold the advantage against Penrith (2-7) when it comes to first round success, the Sharks also benefiting from a three-year streak of teams winning after having the bye the previous season.

Melbourne ($1.25) starts overwhelming favourites against Wests Tigers ($3.75) at Olympic Park on Friday, and rightfully so given the Storm have a 75 per cent success rate in opening encounters.

Brisbane hold a massive round one advantage over North Queensland, even though the Cowboys triumphed last year.

The Broncos have six wins and a draw from nine games, while the Cowboys have just two wins from eight games.

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