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NRL Tips | Round 11

Titans v Sharks

Ground: Robina

+6.5 market line

41.5 total points (market position)

Titans have covered the line 6 of their last 8 games at home

Sharks have lost 4 of last 6 games at Gold Coast

Sharks have just the 1 away win from 5 games and to date have lost all 3 interstate travel games and not covered the line in all 3

I think there are a number of angles wrapped around how we look at this game, and in digging a little deeper the Titans are a decent chance here. 

Firstly for the Titans. They have been back to back away and now return to a home game, a factor I like. Next, two of their 3 wins have come at home and they come off a late golden point break through win last week and so so likely up side in confidence. Next, there record of playing better and above market expectation at home is the case, with them covering the line at 6 of their last 8 home games. Lastly, and importantly this is probably their strongest team list season to date where the balance looks right, but most importantly they have Campbell playing at #1 with him returning last week. The kid is just a natural freak, very gifted with some rare skills, but what he then does is add a new dimension (and much needed) to both sparking their attack, line breaks, freakish game turning moments and importantly points which through prior weeks they have been so desperately short of. So, in short back at home with a positive plus line position and Campbell playing they are in a good position.

Then we have the Sharks. Firstly their team list, they now have 5 key outs, all of them key start and or top team list players in Kennedy, Ramien, Finucane, Hamlin-Ule and Williams. Kennedy has a similar attack and spark impact on the Sharks as Campbell on the Titans, couple his out with Ramien and we then have dislocation of positions across their back 5 and now means a new debut at #1. Finucane and Hamlin-Ule were near their best two forwards through their early run of good form, they are big outs (and now each for many weeks) while Williams has been a very handy bench forward and so they are now 3 quality forwards down and a rearranged middle 6 and bench all of which is certainly far weaker than 4 weeks ago. Next, their away travel form has been really poor and is now starting to stand out as a key issue, they have had 5 away games and lost 4 of them (the win was v Dragons), of this they have also had 3 distant / interstate travel games and now lost all 3, and then their recent record coming to the Gold Coast has also been poor losing 4 of the last 6 here. So while a likely longer term top 8 and maybe top 4 aspirant with 5 quality wins at home right now they look to be going through a tough period, down on key troops and into an unwelcomed distant away game.

So I mark the game 3.5 between them (market opened 7.5). 

The Sharks last 3 somewhat mixed. 6 all mid first half v Broncos to then be swamped through the last 50 minutes by a lifting and strong run home Broncos 16-7 result. Then at home a backs against the wall high quality effort to beat the Warriors with 12 for most of the game, all be it a very weak Warriors when the going got tough, but a quality win. Then last week again into Brisbane and from the outset completely jumped by a very committed Raiders attitude and offering and then never really in the contest for a poor 30-10 loss. 

Titans have been hard to like for many weeks and come off a very scrappy late win against the Dragons in very wet conditions, but winning helps. But I think with Wallace playing for a contract and so lifting in his starting middle role has strengthened their middle offering some what and now means they have 4 or 5 big bodies that can work hard through the middle, Kelly likely returns on the left edge and with Campbell back and up and about they have some strike to make things happen and help Brimson.

I give the Titans a big show here, back at home off that last start win they can further improve and play well. They also strike an opponent that they can put some questions to. The Sharks clearly have some issues, 5 short of their best list into a distant travel away game, on to a dry track game and an opponent with some strength through the middle to take them on. Happy to be with the Titans as a winning chance (back them to win) and also at the longer plus line position (double the win bet outlay at the plus line position).

Tip: Titans

Bets: Titans to win x 1 unit, Titans +6.5 x 2 units

Game Time: Sunday 4pm




NRL Tips | Round 4

Cowboys v Roosters

Ground: Townsville

+6.5 market line

40.5 total points (market position)

Cowboys have only won 1 of last 7 games at Home (Townsville)

Roosters have won 6 of the last 10 in Townsville

Roosters have won 7 of last 10 when away interstate, but have a poor cover record of just 47% when away

Cowboys: Name an unchanged top 17 but Hess remains in some doubt with shoulder injury.

Roosters: One change with Daniel Suluka-Fifita on to the bench in place of Fletcher Baker.

I am keen to have a good look at both teams here for differing reasons. Roosters I have a major overall question mark on at present as to if they really are a top 4 contender? Did last seasons rule changes and open style of near touch footy game style paper over the key outs that they have now had, allowing them to stay in game and over achieve because the game contest had lost the physical contest, and now this season they have fallen back to the pack? Friend, Cordner Liu and the two Morris brothers clearly are big outs, and they now look to have issue up front, depth at #9, issues on an edge with back rowers form and then with a center and winger. And realistically we have seen all but all of their list so far so its not as if we have much more to come back to change or strengthen them up, so now its a matter of what difference the coach makes in coaching change and performance of of their players. In short, with hindsight they might well be a bit short of the required mark for this season.

They now travel here off a poor showing and loss last week, we would expect an improved offering but this is also not straight forward.

The other issue now being exposed for the Roosters, and lets see if its a trend (the wrong way) is the number of penalties they are now conceding. 12.5 penalties per game off three games this season, last year ran at an average of 5.5. We are seeing more penalties over all in the game this year due to the rule tweaks, but for this one team this is a big big jump and putting them at major disadvantage in field position and time with the ball (and in defence). Gerard Sutton is the ref here and he also doesn’t mind blowing his whistle, so interesting watch if this trend continues. 

Cowboys, my hesitation at present is what depth there is behind the form. I was very disappointed with game one offering, wet track, likely first game of season pressure and nerves. They were very good against Raiders game two and offered something similar last week, in both offerings I liked their attitude and positive approach. Much better through the middle, they earn yards and then defend very strongly, edges much better balance, skill and attack at the back. I thought they had a lot of ball last week that they didn’t execute well with and this was down to some poor at times execution from their halves, but as the defensive and game and scoreboard pressure built on the Broncos into the last 30 minutes they then got more result. This needs to improve and be better against the better defending teams. But they should have taken a lot of confidence out of the last two weeks.

The more I slice this game the more I come back to the Cowboys being in this up to their ears. I have been watching to see what the weather might end up doing here through recent days, as there was a possibility of rain into Saturday, but that has now cleared and we have a very hot and humid Friday 32 degree day into a 30 for Saturday, so a dry track but also very warm and humid conditions which should further suit the home team. An observation by some a few weeks ago was that the Roosters had been under done into the opening weeks due to a number of players coming back from injury and no trail games, well week 4 is also then going to be a nice test in hot humid Nth Qld conditions. I have marked the game with a one try handicap margin to the Roosters, but with some caution as outlined above. Given the likely game conditions and that Home underdogs of +4.0 or more also have a very good record (68%) through these opening weeks want to be with the plus start.

A few Key Stats for this weeks NRL – Round 4

Sharks have won 5 of last 6 at Shark Park
Knights have lost 8 of their last 11 away games

Panthers have won their last 18 games at Penrith
Rabbits have covered 9 of last 12 as an underdog

Warriors have lost 7 of last 11 v Broncos (all venues)
Broncos have lost 14 of their last 16 away games

Eagles have covered just 3 of last 13 when away from home
Raiders have lost 7 of their last 11 away games, but have covered the line at 13 of last 17 when an away underdog of 6.5 or more

Eels have won 7 of last 11 at home
Dragons have lost 8 of their last 10 away games and only won 1 of their last 11 games (all venues)

Rd 4 NRL MarketWatch Podcast this week


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NRL Tips | Round 3

Broncos v Cowboys

Ground: Brisbane

-5.5 market line

38.5 total points (market position)

Team News.

Broncos: No changes expected to an unchanged squad as the Broncos go in search of three straight wins for the first time since round 9-11, 2019.

Cowboys: Reuben Cotter joins the bench in place of Mitchell Dunn, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Raiders. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has been named among the reserves as he targets a return from a knee injury suffered in round one.

Market opened at 5.5 and has sat at the 5.5 to 6.0 mark all week.

Off just two games into the season another hard to read. What do the Cowboys bring, rd 1 version or rd 2 version? Do they travel and win away from home? Broncos 2/2 but how scratchy is that formline, Rabbits and then Bulldogs?

Normally a great derby match up, Broncos should be advantaged back here at home, have won 8 of their last 10 at the ground and 6 of the last 9 v Cowboys at the ground. While they have won the last two they have been either matched or beaten at yardage and had some poor ball error, and I thought were there to be beat by a hapless / hopeless Bulldogs. But they are staying in games and finding some fight  and parts of their game last week were so much better having Reynolds back. I also think Capewell has been a stand out buy. Broncos need to be very careful here that off two wins that they don’t drop their guard.

As I said above very hard to make of what the Cowboys bring here. Last week was much more like some of the positive stuff they offered in their last trial, and they have some capability to play some running attack and get teams uncomfortable. Holding the Raiders to 6 last week also a positive. Their travel record tho through the last two seasons has been very poor.

Both on trust, small lean to Broncos to win at home, but 6.5 looks too generous.

3pm Brisbane time game Sunday in warm and humid conditions, week 3 of the season expect both teams can play some attack ball shift and both can offer plenty of defensive holes, expect we see plenty of points here and like the over 38.5

Rd 3 NRL MarketWatch Podcast this week


Link Here


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NRL Tips | Round 2

Titans v Warriors

Ground: Robina

-7.5 market line

47.5 total points (market position)

Titans – Brimson key in

Warriors – Walsh and Lodge key ins, Johnson out

The Warriors injuries and the Brimson in has seen the market move from 6.5 to 8.5, for mine too big a shift remembering the Warriors also get Walsh and Lodge back and have a very good longer term record at the ground. A dry track and sunny day would suggest points with these two sides matching up but they were near opposites through last year, Titans games produced points and weak defence going over 17-7 while the normal free flowing and high points games Warriors went under 9-15. With Brimson and Walsh back this does look and model now for me as a points and likely over game.

Titans should be advantaged returning home here BUT have a longer term poor record v Warriors at this ground losing 9 of the last 12 and all up 17 of the last 21 head to head, there is also normally a large Kiwi crowd in attendance in support of the visitors. Warriors over all recent record as an away underdog is poor covering the line at just 2 of their last 13.

A few positives for the Titans last week including Sexton looked ok at #7 (but early days) and I liked the way the Titans looked to play in attack, less formal structure than last yr and a preparedness to both play their halves together and also look to run passing and spread plays on early tackles. But. A really soft right edge in defence and overall leaking 32 points just mean we were back where they left off last year. For all the positives they might be able to do with the ball they just can’t keep chasing the scoreboard, or have the pressure and scoreboard easily turned on them. 

Warriors in and out as well and now lose Johnson and have some slightly surprising changes to their team, one has to ask is Brown going to chop and change his line up and combinations almost every week like last year? If the start as named we have a new halves combination? Walsh and Lodge back are key ins and positives, but their over all error rate and travel record is not flash.

Brimson back for the Titans a key in, this has to be close to their best team, back at home off an away loss I’d expect they will be fired up and very keen for a win here. But the numbers and overall scenario makes this a game I’m happy to stay away from, the Titans should be advantaged being back at home but have a very poor record against the Warriors here and a week 2 game certainly sets up some advantage at the line to the away team if we at 6.5 or better. Given all of this I am at 5.5 to 6.0 and happy to leave well alone – but if you are looking for an interest then the long term stats and model certainly suggests the Warriors with the plus start is the way to play.  

Round 2 no confident or formal bets for me here but the two angles that did look the options to play were Warriors with the plus start and game total points over.

Rd 2 NRL MarketWatch Podcast this week


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NRL Tips | Round 1

Eels v Titans

Ground: Parramatta Stadium

-8.5 market line

47.5 total points (market position)


Ins: Bailey Simonsson (Raiders), Mitch Rein (Titans)

Outs: Joey Lussick (St. Helens), Blake Ferguson (rugby union), Will Smith (Titans), Michael Oldfield (released), Sam Hughes (released), Keegan Hipgrave (retired)


Ins: Aaron Booth (Storm), Isaac Liu (Roosters), Will Smith (Eels), Paul Turner (Warriors)

Outs: Jamal Fogarty (Raiders), Tyrone Peachey (Tigers), Jonus Pearson (released), Mitch Rein (released), Sam Stone (Centurions), Ash Taylor (Warriors), Jai Whitbread (Centurions)

Eels have won last 5 straight v Titans, have won 5 of last 7 at ground. Titans have lost the only game (1) they have had at the ground

Key watch here is how the Titans are named and who is where. They missed their second trial and there has been some reports on the final fitness of a few key players. Eels Have Sivo and Nukore out.

Eels at this ground a very good record, they are normally early fast starters and well prepared and looked forward and fit and ready and good to go in their second trial. They also look to have some forward depth here. Moses looks the key, his best form last year was when allowed to play far more of a roving role on both sides of the ruck, and take a more dominate running and ball in hand offering. I’d also love to see him play more direct more often, he is quick and can trouble big tired forwards and or broken up defensive lines.

Titans look strong up front and good forward depth, key watch on them now is how they work off the back of this and if the #9 is in any way creative, what the direction and kicking game is like form the #7, how Brimson comes up at #6 and what and fi he and Campbell at #1 can create and influence in attack. At this stage I have penalised the Titans number on the 9, 7 and 6 and want to wait and see what the offer and how they combine. The latest update (Thursday pm) suggesting Brimson not in significant doubt looks to make a mess of the Titans chances, I’d expect that Will Smith now plays in the halves. A lot of pressure now on the 7 and 1 for where their line breaks and points might come from – hard to now see the Titans breaking 14 to 16 points.

I could be anywhere from 8.5 to 11.5 between them and settled on 10.5 (prior to the Brimson news). Eels now look well advantaged, if they start well and quickly they can rattle some points up at home and take the sting out of this game. Lots to watch and learn out of this game, how the Eels play and combine and more importantly what do the Titans offer behind their big men up front in attack?

Eels have covered 12 of last 16 as favs, Titans record as an underdog is good overall, but not so when interstate covering the line at just 7 of their last 22. First round of a new season but keen on the Eels.

Rd 1 NRL MarketWatch Podcast this week


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