NRL Preview: Sea Eagles v Knights


NRL Preview
Manly Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights

Sunday, July 31, 4pm (AEST), Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Best Bet:  Over 48.5 ($1.90)
Other: Manly -18.5 ($1.90)
Time of First Try: 8th Minute or Earlier ($1.70)

Manly’s flickering finals hopes should be given greater air when they host a Newcastle team with the wooden spoon all but secured.

Selection Notes
Manly are unchanged after their win against South Sydney on Monday. Newcastle have lost Jarrod Mullen to injury and Mitch Barnett to suspension which sees Jack Cogger and David Bhana recalled. Jake Mamo also starts at fullback seeing Dane Gagai move into the centres and Pat Mata’utia to an extended bench. Daniel Safiti also returns to the bench.

Round 20 Team of the Week

Manly have won 29 of 46 all-time against Newcastle including a 26-10 win at Hunter Stadium when the teams met in Round 8. The Sea Eagles have won five straight and 9 of the last 11 against the Knights with four of their last five wins by margins of 16-plus. The Sea Eagles have won all five matches against the Knights played at Brookvale over the last decade by an average of 17.9 points. Jorge Taufua has scored seven tries in his last five games against Newcastle.

NRL betting odds database

Manly are 12th on the premiership ladder with a 7-11 record and just a win outside the Top 8. Their -60 differential is 11th in the NRL based on a 13th ranking in attack and an 11th rating in defence. The Sea Eagles have won three straight and conceded an average of just 10.7ppg over that streak having conceded 30-plus in 6 of their previous 7. Newcastle are last in the NRL with just a single win and have a historically poor differential, the worst attack and worst defence in the premiership. They have dropped 12 straight with four of their last six road games being decided by margins of greater than 30.

Round 21 NRL Odds

Key Matchup
Jamie Lyon v Jack Cogger. These are two players at very different points in their career with Lyon calling time at the end of the season and Cogger just kicking off his NRL life. Lyon’s move into the No.6 jersey has reaped some rewards for Manly with the Sea Eagles 3-2 with Lyon in the halves this season. Cogger has endured a tough start to his NRL career but will need to be at his best to contain the wily old veteran and make a stamp himself with the ball in hand.

Stats That Matter
Manly are 9-9 ATS this year with a 10-8 under record while Newcastle are 7-11 ATS with a 10-8 over number. The Sea Eagles have covered four straight while the Knights have covered 2 of their last 3. Day games R20-26 go over at a clip of 59% since 2011 while home favourites of 16+ over the same time see their cover rate increase to 59% from 44% for the rest of the season. The over is 19-8 since 2013 when a match involves a favourite of 18-plus including 6-4 in day games and 6-3 when the total has been 48-plus. Manly have been favoured by more than 13 just once across the last four seasons, losing outright to Parramatta in 2015. Newcastle are 3-6 ATS this year when getting a start of more than two converted tries including 2-5 ATS on the road. The Knights are 3-7 ATS on the road this year with an average losing margin of 25.1 points. Since 2013 road underdogs of 13-plus kept to single digits the game prior are 6-9 ATS and have failed to cover seven straight.

In-Play Stat
Manly are 5-1 when leading at halftime this year. Newcastle have been terrible starters leading after 20 minutes just twice all year.

Behind The Curtains

Final Thoughts
Manly should win this and win it comfortably. They are spotting a big start but history tells us big favourites cover more often than not. The best bet in the match though is the over. Day games go over this time of year. Matches with big home favourites go over.  Expect plenty of points if the weather holds.

How It’s Shaping Up
Manly by 28

Best Bet
Over 48.5 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
Time of First Try: 8th Minute or Earlier ($1.70)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Jorge Taufua ($8.00)

Other Recommended Bets
Manly -18.5 ($1.90)