NRL Preview: Bulldogs v Cowboys


NRL Preview
Canterbury Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys

Thursday, August 25, 8pm (AEST), Belmore Stadium, Sydney
Best Bet: Under 36.5 ($1.90) 
Other: Canterbury +2.5 ($1.90)
Total Points 21-30 ($3.20)

There will be no bigger clash in Round 25 than when North Queensland travel to Belmore to take on Canterbury with fourth spot and a double chance in the finals on the line. The Bulldogs have been in a major slump while the Cowboys finally hit some form against the Warriors last Saturday.

Selection Notes
Canterbury have lost Sam Kasiano to suspension with Danny Fualalo replacing him on the bench. North Queensland have Matt Scott back with Ben Spina dropping out.

Canterbury have won 21 of 35 all-time matches against North Queensland though the Cowboys have won the last three including a 36-0 hammering in Townsville just five weeks ago. The Cowboys have scored 20-plus in five straight against the Bulldogs while Canterbury have surpassed 16 just once. North Queensland’s greatest ever loss came against Canterbury at Belmore, a 66-4 defeat in 1995. The clubs have not met at the ground since 1997. Antonio Winterstein has six tries in his last six games against the Bulldogs. Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston is a Bulldogs premiership winner.

NRL betting odds database

Canterbury enter this in fourth place with a 14-8 record but they have the sixth rated differential and have been in ordinary form despite winning three of their last five. The Bulldogs sandwiched unimpressive wins against the Dragons, Knights and Sea Eagles with bad losses to the Cowboys and Broncos. They have averaged 14.2ppg over the last five weeks. The Bulldogs have won just 1 of their last 5 against Top 8 opposition. Since Round 11 the Bulldogs have ranked 5th in attack and 6th in defence. North Queensland are 13-9 and fifth on the ladder though their +205 differential rates second. The Cowboys have won just 2 of their last 6 with both victories comfortable at home. North Queensland have kept teams to single digits in 3 of their last 7. They have won just 1 of their last 4 against Top 8 teams. Since Round 11, the Cowboys have ranked second in defence but have been a poor 9th in attack.

Round 25 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Josh Reynolds v Michael Morgan. There is no question at all that Reynolds is one of the great triers in the game. He gives his all each and every week and has proven a matchwinner for the Bulldogs on more than one occasion. He can overplay his hand though and needs to show more poise. Morgan is the opposite with his game perfectly complementing star Johnathan Thurston. If he runs straight and provides edge punch the Cowboys will be in good stead to win.

Stats That Matter
Canterbury are 8-14 ATS and 12-10 under this year while North Queensland are 11-11 ATS with a 14-8 under number. Canterbury have failed to cover their last seven and have gone under in their last five while the Cowboys have covered just 3 of their last 9 and gone under in seven straight. Away teams that scored 20-plus last start cover at 55% over the final seven rounds of the year. Since 2013, the Cowboys are 14-8 ATS after scoring 30 at home with a 13-9 under record but road teams who won by 25-plus last start cover at just 40% with a 56% under rate. Canterbury have lost their last two at Belmore. Home underdogs who scored 10 points or fewer are 43-30 ATS since ’13 with home underdogs of 4 or less 21-12 ATS with a 19-14 under record. The Bulldogs are 1-5 ATS as a home underdog since 2013 with a 4-2 under record. The Cowboys have covered just 1 of their last 6 interstate.

In-Play Stat
The Bulldogs have blown 4 halftime leads this year while the Cowboys are a perfect 12-0 when up at halftime.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
The under looks close to a good thing in the opening match of Round 25 with wet weather adding to two teams riding long under streaks and two teams who traditionally base their success around defence. Belmore also happens to be an under ground while road teams off a big win go under at a big clip. Canterbury also look over the odds here. They are hard to take on recent form but home underdogs off a poor attacking performance have a strong cover rate.

How It’s Shaping Up
Canterbury by 2

Best Bet
Under 36.5 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
Total Points 21-30 ($3.20)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Josh Reynolds ($26.00)

Other Recommended Bets
Canterbury +2.5 ($1.90)