It's that time of year for smart Betfair NRL punters to take some time, give it some thought, and pick up some cash, and Betfair NRL InFormer Matt Adamson is here with some ideas as to how to do it.
Let's start with the feature game this week between the Bunnies and the Dragons.
Basically, you need to take a long, and hard, look at the facts.
For example, ask yourself these kinds of questions:
(1) Has the side come off a loss?
(2) Do the players replacing the Origin stars give the team the same punch and mentality?
(3) How big a loss is a player of major influence such as Gallen?
(4) Will South's miss Dave Taylor and Greg Inglis more than the Dragons will miss Ben Creagh?
To this last question in particular, my answer is yes, but with Merritt still at fullback, and their pack still strong with Burgess and Crocker, there is a feeling that the sides' steely mentality will hold strong.
Their form is good, they seemed to have lost that 'South's mentality' and their seven has cemented himself as a real top-class worker and organiser.
With a one-point loss last week to the Panthers and the loss of stars Weyman and Fien, I feel this will become a major hurdle for the Dragons, so it's Souths for me @Betfair match odds of 1.95.
Dogs to get back their BITE
The Bulldogs form of late has been less than poor. For a side that has generated so much press with the signing of Des Hasler they have been the under-achievers at this stage of the season.
But rest assured this week's fixture is a Dogs' win for sure@ Betfair Odds of (1.55): I'll even put my kid's money on this one!!
And it's the above examples that will justify my thoughts: no Carney and no Gallen...enough said.
This side has not had a game this year without these two influential craftsmen in their starting line-up. The mental impact this will have on the rest of the side is massive, and with their emotional win last week over the storm, it may just be all too much.
I have to say I don't believe you're a true Aussie if you don't look forward to Origin, but I'm afraid the writing is on the wall for the Blues.
And yes, the paint has dried already.
This team is poor, but it's the best we have to pick from. Other than a few injuries and a couple of players who have missed selection, the Blues look to be up against it big time.
The problem for me goes a long way back, and someone at the NRL needs to take some responsibility. We have lost a large portion of growth in our game at the grass roots level - the bush - and taking into consideration the growth of Soccer, AFL and Union in the City, we've lost numbers playing our great game.
Will things change?
Will there be a chunk of cash from the new TV rights deal passed into the clutches of a ailing country Rugby League?
And in time the NSW team will become weaker than it is today.