NRL Betting: Sharks on the slide
Admittedly, Penrith have lost six-straight away but look over the odds against a struggling Sharks outfit
James Sweeney has concerns about a Sharks side on the slide as they go into their next NRL match-up against the Panthers.
St George Illawarra v Melbourne
0.5 units on Total Tries 0-5 @ Betfair odds of (3.80) or better
These two dreadfully out-of-form teams must go back to what they know on Friday night - defence.
The Storm have consistently rated in the top-two defensive teams for the last half-decade, while the Dragons joined them at that elite level for the three seasons under the guidance of Wayne Bennett.
Under Steve Price, however, they have gone backwards with ball in hand, but despite that and their 13th-placed ladder position, they rank fourth defensively, allowing only 18.11 points per game in 2012.
The Storm rank a clear second defensively, averaging 15.06 points allowed per game.
When these two sides have met in the past, the games have traditionally been tight and low-scoring with only two of the last nine games producing more than 34 points. In four of the last five games, five or fewer tries have been scored, so that's where my money is going.
Expect another grinding affair on Friday night as both teams rely on the one pillar that has brought success in recent times: hard-nosed defence.
Cronulla v Penrith
1 unit on Penrith @Betfair Odds of (2.20) or better
The Sharks are on the slide and if they lose to Penrith, the club is officially in free-fall.
It's been an uninspiring three weeks for Cronulla: they drew with a hapless Roosters outfit, lost to the Dragons and were humiliated at home by the Raiders. Both losses came without Paul Gallen, who could return this week but will face a fitness test on Friday.
The Panthers last Sunday saw a turnaround in fortunes somewhat as they recorded a win over the Roosters to regain some much needed confidence.
Admittedly, Penrith have lost six-straight away but look over the odds against a struggling Sharks outfit, who have lost their last two by an average of 20 points.
Canberra v Newcastle
2 units on Newcastle @ Betfair Odds of (1.90) or better
One of the worst bets in rugby league is Canberra as a favourite.
If you take one bit of my advice this weekend, let it be the following: steer well clear of Canberra this weekend. They are a shocking 6-18 against the line since 2010 when entering a match as a favourite and just 5-15 as a home favourite.
The Raiders are the most wildly inconsistent team in the NRL and are as likely to turn in a shocker on Sunday as they are to turn in a beauty. They are just 8-20 against the line in day matches over the last three seasons, and the Knights have won four of their last five and won over in Auckland, one of the toughest road trips in the NRL.
Yes, the Knights have lost four of five at Canberra Stadium, but they do have the firepower to take down a Raiders outfit that doesn't enjoy the weight of expectation.