NRL Preview: Bulldogs v Dragons

NRL Preview
Canterbury Bulldogs v St George Illawarra Dragons

Friday, July 29, 8pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Best Bet: Canterbury -14 ($1.90)  
Other: Over 39.5 ($1.90)
Canterbury -14/Over 39.5 ($3.60)

Off being schooled against North Queensland in Townsville, a battered Canterbury return home and will no doubt be pleased to be squaring up with a St George Illawarra team that looks to be in free-fall following a series of embarrassing defeats.

Selection Notes
Canterbury have no changes despite being hammered 36-0 by the Cowboys. Lloyd Perrett and Tyrone Phillips have been added to an extended bench. Leeson Ah Mau is out through suspension for the Dragons with Jacob Host and Will Matthews onto an extended bench.

Round 20 Team of the Week

Canterbury have won 20 of 31 all-time against St George Illawarra including a 34-16 win in Round 14 this year. The Bulldogs have now 8 of their last 9 against the Saints including an 11-10 finals win at ANZ last year. The Bulldogs have won 6 of the last 7 between the teams at ANZ. Five of the last six matches between the teams have topped 37 points with Canterbury scoring 28-plus in 6 of the last 9. The Bulldogs have former Saints starts Brett and Josh Morris with Josh scoring 9 tries in 11 games against his former team.

NRL betting odds database

Canterbury have fallen to fifth on the ladder following their 36-0 loss to North Queensland. Their +73 differential is sixth in the NRL while they have the sixth best attack and fifth best defence. The Bulldogs won four straight before the Cowboys embarrassment and are 10-3 against teams outside the Top 4 this year. St George Illawarra are 11th on the ladder but their -158 differential is clear second worst. They have the second worst attack in the premiership with the 10th ranked defence. The Saints have dropped their last three and have averaged just 10 points a match over that run while conceding 25-plus in each match.

Round 21 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Moses Mbye v Benji Marshall. Both have really struggled of late. Mbye’s running game is just fine but his kicking game has bordered on appalling of late. It is an area that could cost the Dogs at the business end of the season. Marshall has been cold all year and the Dragons attack has been horrendous with him leading the ship. If he can’t find something then the Saints have none here.

Stats That Matter
Canterbury are 8-10 ATS with a 10-8 over record while St George Illawarra are 9-9 ATS with a 12-6 under number. The Saints are riding a three-game non-cover streak while the Bulldogs have also failed to cover their last three. Canterbury have gone over in 7 of their last 8. Away teams that conceded at 20-plus have covered at just a clip of 46% at the backend of the season since 2013. Since 2011 the over is 21-16 R20-26 when a home team is favoured by 13-plus, including 9-4 over when that home favourite loss the start prior. Overall home favourites of 13-plus off a loss are 18-11 over. The Bulldogs have won 6 of 7 when favoured by 13-plus but have covered just four, failing to cover their last two. The Saints are 2-2 ATS getting a 13-plus start with a 4-0 under record. The Saints have covered just 1 of their last 6 at ANZ while the Bulldogs have covered 5 of their last 6. Since 2008 favourites of 13-plus coming off a 13-plus loss are 13-8 ATS with a 13-8 over number.

In-Play Stat
The Bulldogs are 8-4 when leading at halftime this year while the Dragons are a perfect 8-0.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
Canterbury should win this and win it easily. They were awful against the Cowboys but up to that their form was good with the best attack. The Dragons cannot score points with their predictable attack the easiest to stop in the NRL. The angles here are strong for a Bulldogs cover while there is plenty to say the over is a bet. St George Illawarra may not win another game again this year.

How It’s Shaping Up
Canterbury by 24

Best Bet
Canterbury -14 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
Canterbury -14/Over 39.5 ($3.60)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Brett Morris ($9.00)

Other Recommended Bets
Over 39.5 ($1.90)