NRL Preview: Roosters v Dragons

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NRL Preview
Sydney Roosters v St George Illawarra Dragons

Sunday, August 21, 4pm (AEST), Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Best Bet: Under 39.5 ($1.90) 
Other: Sydney Roosters -6.5 ($1.90)
Sydney Roosters/Under 39.5 ($2.80)

The Roosters and Dragons hit this Sunday off their most impressive performances of the season. The Roosters have nothing left to play for though while the Dragons have just slim finals hopes.

Selection Notes
The Sydney Roosters are unchanged with Aidan Guerra again 18th man. Tariq Sims is out for the Dragons with Leeson Ah Mau returning from suspension.

History
St George Illawarra have won 19 of 35 against the Sydney Roosters and won 20-18 this year in the traditional Anzac Day clash. The Roosters have won 6 of the last 8 though with the last three not breaking 38 points. The Chooks hold a 13-11 all-time at the SFS. The Dragons’ last non-Anzac Day win against the Roosters was the 2010 Grand Final. Gareth Widdop has scored in his last two against the Roosters.

NRL betting odds database

Form
The Sydney Roosters are 15th on the ladder with a 5-16 record with their -134 differential 14th. They hit this off their best win of the season, a 22-10 win over North Queensland. The Chooks have played just five matches against non-eight teams since Anzac Day with a 2-3 record. St George Illawarra are 11th but have the second worst differential. The Saints lost five straight before rolling the Sharks last week. Since Round 11 the Roosters rate 11th in attack and 14th in defence while the Dragons rank last in attack but are 11th in defence.

Round 24 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Mitchell Pearce v Benji Marshall. It has become apparent that the Roosters’ most important player is Pearce. He organises everything, produces all their key kicks and creates space for his outside men. Marshall has been widely maligned this year but there is no question he was better with a more open game plan against the Sharks. Pearce has won 4 of 6 battles when the two have worn the No.7 jersey.

Stats That Matter
The Sydney Roosters are 10-11 ATS with a 13-8 over record while St George Illawarra are 12-9 ATS with a 14-7 under record. The Roosters have covered 6 of their last 8 home games while they have covered 6 of their last 9 home games when favoured by more than a converted try. The Roosters are 9-4 ATS when favoured by 6.5 or more after conceding 10 points or fewer. The Dragons have covered just 3 of their last 9 road games while they are 18-8 under getting a converted try or more on the road. The Saints have covered just 2 of their last 7 road day games.

In-Play Stat
The Saints are a perfect 8-0 when leading at halftime this year while the Roosters are 0-11 when trailing at the break.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
The Roosters looked really good against the Cowboys last week and with a team that is nearing full strength look the bet. The top play in the match though is the under. Both the teams have worked hard recently on their defence and there are some strong under angles at play in this one.

How It’s Shaping Up
Sydney Roosters by 10

Best Bet
Under 39.5 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
Sydney Roosters/Under 39.5 ($2.80)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Boyd Cordner ($31.00)

Other Recommended Bets
Sydney Roosters -6.5 ($1.90)

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