NRL Preview Round 2: Broncos v Cowboys

NRL Betting
Match Preview Recommended Bets
Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys
Friday, March 16, 8:05pm (AEDT)
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Best: North Queensland ($1.60)
Value: North Queensland 1-12 ($3)
First Tryscorer: Justin O’Neill

These two sides have played some absolute thrillers in recent years, but none bigger than the Cowboys 17-16 victory in the 2015 Grand Final. The Broncos were extremely disappointing in Round 1 and will be hoping a return to Suncorp Stadium brings about a change in fortunes. The loss of Ben Hunt to the Dragons was extremely noticeable in Round 1, as the Broncos halves of Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima struggled to generate anything in attack. Broncos interchange forward, Jaydn Su’A will miss the clash due to a one-week suspension for a shoulder charge on Dragons forward, Paul Vaughan. The Cowboys made sure Johnathan Thurston’s 300th NRL match was a memorable one, with a 20-14 win over the Sharks. They also got the job done minus Michael Morgan and Lachlan Coote, and will be hoping both are fit to take on the Broncos this week.

Brisbane were terrible in their season opener when beaten 34-12 by the Dragons. They failed to cover the 3.5 start and the game went well over. The Broncos were the worst performers of Round 1. North Queensland ground out a 20-14 win over Cronulla, covering the 4-point line while the match went under. The Cowboys played without fullback Lachlan Coote or five-eighth Michael Morgan.

Key Matchup
Kodi Nikorima v Johnathan Thurston: It looks a mismatch on paper and it will be a mismatch on the field. Nikorima struggled against the Dragons in Round 1 and doesn’t look to be the organising halfback that the Broncos need to compliment Anthony Milford. Both he and Milford are both good ball runners before organisers, and it’s hurting the Broncos attack. The pressure will be on Nikorima to make the No.7 jersey his own, otherwise he is best suited as a utility coming off the bench. Thurston marked his 300th NRL match in style, with a strong performance against the Sharks. He set up two tries in the win and will be happy that his shoulder stood up to the test.

Stats That Matter
– Brisbane hold a 31-15-2 all-time head-to-head lead over North Queensland but the Cowboys have certainly had the best of it lately with eight wins in the last 12 meetings.
– Six of the last seven matches have been decided by a score or less.
– The Broncos have won five of the last six meetings at Suncorp against the Cowboys.
– Only one of the last seven matches have topped 41 points.
– Home underdogs of 4 or more in the opening four rounds of the year are 40-13 ATS with  26-27 head-to-head record for a 43% POT.
– The Broncos are 24-18 ATS with a 26-16 over record at Suncorp over the last four years.
– As an underdog at the ground the over is 4-0.
– The Broncos have covered just 1 of their last 5 at Suncorp after conceding 30 or more.
– The Cowboys are 27-18 ATS as a road team since 2015, including a 12-7 ATS record as a road favourite.
– North Queensland are 6-1 ATS as a road favourite after conceding 14 or fewer points.
– Brisbane have covered 8 of their last 12 getting a start of 4 or more.

NRL Betting Stats

Final Thoughts
The Wolf recommends ignoring what the Broncos did against the Dragons in Round 1 and focusing solely on the statistics in recent years. Six of the last seven matches have been decided by a score or less, and The Wolf is expecting nothing different at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. The Cowboys have won 4 of the last 6 matches against the Broncos and should be too strong again. There’s a whisper Darius Boyd could be under an injury cloud, while Nikorima and Milford need more from their forward pack, and need to do more with the ball if they are to challenge the Cowboys here. Take the Cowboys to win by 1-12.

How It’s Shaping Up
North Queensland by 2

Recommended Bets
Best: North Queensland ($1.60)
Value: North Queensland 1-12 ($3)
First Tryscorer: Justin O’Neill