NRL Preview: Cowboys v Titans


NRL Preview
North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans

Saturday, September 3, 5.30pm (AEST), 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
Best Bet: Gold Coast +8.5 ($1.90) 
Other: Either Team Under 6.5 ($3.00)
Gold Coast/North Queensland HT/FT ($7.50)

A match with significant finals implications, North Queensland need a win to secure a Top 4 berth while the Titans can only lock in an unlikely finals spot with a victory in Townsville or a loss by the Wests Tigers the following day.

Selection Notes
North Queensland have lost Matt Scott with Ben Hannant replacing him. The Titans are unchanged.

North Queensland and Gold Coast have played 16 matches with each team winning eight. The teams met just once last year with the Cowboys winning 42-12 in Round 26 last year. The Cowboys have won 5 of the last 6 in Townsville with all five wins by double digits. Five of the last seven matches have tallied less than 40 points. Titans coach Neil Henry is a former Cowboys mentor. Kane Linnett has scored three tries in his last two against the Titans.

NRL betting odds database

North Queensland are back in the Top 4 following their 24-16 win over Canterbury. They have a 14-9 record with a +213 differential, second best in the premiership. The Cowboys have won their last two. Since Round 11 the Cowboys rank second in defence while they are ninth in attack. Gold Coast are in eighth position with an 11-11-1 record and a +27 differential. The Titans have won just 2 of their last 5 and have just a draw from their last three against Top 8 teams. Since Round 11, the Titans rate fifth in defence and fourth in attack.

Round 26 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Jason Taumalolo v Greg Bird. Taumalolo is playing in rare form with three straight efforts over 190m. His running game has been devastating and if he can win the middle for the Cowboys then the rest of the field opens up. It will be on Bird to not only limit Taumalolo but to get in the face of Johnathan Thurston. Bird needs to be as physical as he has ever been.

Stats That Matter
North Queensland are 12-11 ATS with a 14-9 under record while Gold Coast are 16-7 ATS with a 12-11 under number. The Cowboys have gone under in 7 of their last 8 games while the Titans have gone under in their last five. The Titans have covered 6 of their last 8. The Titans are 30-17 ATS on the road since 2013 while they are 19-13 ATS getting a start of more than a converted try, covering their last four. The Titans have gone over in 7 of their last 8 as a big road underdog. The Cowboys are 21-12 ATS at home laying 6.5 or more, covering 9 of their last 11. North Queensland are 7-4 ATS at home spotting 6.5 after a win of 7 or more with an average win of 18.6. Big road underdogs off a close loss are 20-32 ATS since 2013 but big road underdogs cover at 54% when being kept to 14 or less the week prior. The Titans are 19-9 ATS on the road off a loss with five straight covers.

In-Play Stat
North Queensland have trailed after 20 minutes in just six matches this season. The Titans are 8-0 when up at the break.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
This should be a cracking game between two quality teams who both have plenty to play for. There are strong angles for both teams in this one but the Titans are the bet with the big start considering their long history of being severely underestimated on the road. They are particularly strong away from home off a loss and with their season on the line they will be ready for this.

How It’s Shaping Up
North Queensland by 4

Best Bet
Gold Coast +8.5 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
Either Team Under 6.5 ($3.00)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Zeb Taia ($26.00)

Other Recommended Bets
Gold Coast/North Queensland HT/FT ($7.50)