NRL Preview: Eels v Dragons

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NRL Preview
Parramatta Eels v St George Illawarra Dragons
Monday, August 29, 7pm (AEST), Parramatta Stadium, Sydney
Best Bet: Under 38.5 ($1.85)
Other: 21-30 Points ($3.20)
Joel Thompson First Try ($26.00)

The final Monday night game until at least the next television deal features the Eels and the Dragons in a disappointing end to what has become an institution for many.

Selection Notes
Parramatta welcome back Beau Scott, Brad Takairangi and Tepai Moeroa with Rory O’Brien, David Gower and Vai Toutai out. Bevan French shifts to fullback with Michael Gordon to wrap up his Eels career on the wing. St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has dropped Benji Marshall while Russell Packer and Taane Milne miss through injury and suspension. Drew Hutchison starts at halfback, Tim Lafai is back in the centres and Jacob Host joins the bench.

History
Parramatta and St George Illawarra have played 30 times with 14 wins apiece to go with two draws. The Eels have won the last three including a 16-12 win at home in the only meeting last season. Parramatta have not lost at Parramatta Stadium since 2010 with three wins and a draw in their last four at the ground. Low-scoring matches have been the norm with 10 of the last 12 failing to break 37. Semi Radradra has five tries in three games against the Dragons. Eels forwards Beau Scott and Danny Wicks are former Dragons.

NRL betting odds database

Form
Parramatta have an 11-11 record though sit 15th on the ladder because of their salary cap penalty. The Eels have won just 1 of their last 6 and have conceded at least 22 in those five losses. Since Round 11, the Eels rank 11th in defence and 13th in attack. The Dragons sit 11th on the NRL ladder though their -187 differential is a clear second worst in the premiership. The Saints have won just 1 of their last 7 and have been held to 12 points or less in those six losses. Since Round 11, the Dragons rank 15th in attack and 13th in defence.

Round 25 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Bevan French v Josh Dugan. French has enjoyed an electric back half to the season and will get a chance at his preferred fullback. A big performance from him could make him the Eels No.1 of the future. Dugan has had an injury ravaged season but with the Saints in crisis mode they will be expecting something big from the Origin player.

Stats That Matter
Parramatta are 12-10 ATS with a 14-8 under number while St George Illawarra are 12-10 ATS with a 14-8 under record. The Eels are 5-9 ATS with a 9-5 over record in Monday matches since 2013 while the Dragons are 7-10 ATS with a 10-7 under record. The Eels have covered just 1 of their last 7 as a favourite at Parramatta Stadium. Since ’13, the under is 19-12 when a road underdog conceded 40 points the start prior.

In-Play Stat
The Eels are a poor 6-4 when leading at halftime while the Dragons are 8-0 when ahead at the break.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
With both teams out of the running this game seems incredibly difficult to find the winner of. The value is with the Dragons and the points but there is zero confidence. The top play in this one is the under. There is a history of unders matches when these two meet and this shapes as being an incredibly ugly affair.

How It’s Shaping Up
St George Illawarra by 1

Best Bet
Under 38.5 ($1.85)

Best Exotic
21-30 Points ($3.20)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Joel Thompson ($26.00)

Other Recommended Bets
Nil

Discuss