It’s Round 18, the byes are over and we have a full compliment of matches to run our eye over.
BetDeluxe takes a look at each game, with the Storm and Panthers doing battle in a top four blockbuster.
game of the week: Storm vs. Panthers
30th June 8:00pm
Top spot on the NRL ladder is up for grabs when the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers face off at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
While it is away from the Aami Park fortress that played host to the Storm’s 18-point demolition of the Sea Eagles on Saturday, Craig Bellamy’s men will still enter the game as $1.85 favourites with BetDeluxe.
Xavier Coates made a big impact in his return from Origin II with a double, and the Storm will be hoping for more of the same when they welcome Cameron Munster back into the team after being rested last week.
The Panthers won’t be deterred about travelling to Melbourne to take on the in-form Storm after they got through the Origin period with another victory, this time taking down the Knights 20-12. Origin representatives Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo are all back in the side this week as they try to hit back following their 16-0 loss the last time they met.
Clearly, the game of the week, we’ve got the Storm holding off the Panthers in a Marvel thriller.
Suggested Bet: Storm to win @ $1.83
Sharks vs. Dragons
29th June 7:50pm
It should be an easy kill for the Sharks post-bye after they most recently decimated the Bulldogs by 38 points in Round 15. The Dragons will be licking their wounds following a 30-point home loss to the Warriors, and their 0-8 away record gives us no confidence in this one.
Suggested Bet: Sharks 13+ @ $1.47
Warriors vs. Rabbitohs
30th June 6:00pm
The Warriors are well and truly passed their mid-season slump, having worked their way to the fifth spot on the ladder via a string of three consecutive wins. Their 30-point victory over the Dragons was as dominant as it gets as they drove home nine tries, including four from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. The Bunnies have been far less convincing, with three losses from their past four.
Suggested Bet: A. Johnston anytime try scorer @ $1.96
Raiders vs. Titans
1st July 3:00PM
Two sides are coming off two crucial wins, with the sixth-placed Raiders taking on the ninth-placed Titans. While the Raiders will be happy with their two-point conquest over the Roosters, the Titans took the honours in Round 17 with an upset victory over the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. The loss of Josh Papali’I hurts the Raiders, but we’re still backing them at $1.67.
Suggested Bet: Raiders to win @ $1.67
Cowboys vs. Tigers
1st July 5:30PM
Yeehaw, those Cowboys are coming. After a less-than-impressive start to the season, Todd Payten’s side is pushing for the top eight following three wins in a row against the Storm, Panthers and now the Rabbitohs. Three huge scalps. Despite welcoming back Daine Laurie, Wests will provide little opposition as the Cowboys hunt four straight.
Suggested Bet: Cowboys (-13.5) @ $1.80
Broncos vs. Dolphins
1st July 7:35PM
If the Dolphins are going to get one over their crosstown rivals, this is the time to go all-out. The Broncos will be ruing their 12-18 loss to the Titans over the weekend, but much worse is the suspension of Origin star Reece Walsh combined with injuries to Thomas Flegler and Jordan Riki. However, the Dolphins’ bubble has well and truly burst following their 28-point loss to the Eels, but the return of Tesi Niu and Jeremy Marshall-King will buoy them. Big outs, but Broncos should still have the firepower.
Suggested Bet: Broncos 1-12 @ $3.10
Bulldogs vs. Knights
2nd July 2:00PM
Two teams wildly out of form, this isn’t a match-up to take lightly from a betting perspective. While the Bulldogs recovered from their disappointing loss to the Sharks with a well-timed bye, the Knights’ season continued to spiral with their eight-point loss to the Panthers, their third in a row. Matt Burton and Josh Addo-Carr could be the difference.
Suggested Bet: Bulldogs (+2.5) @ $1.87
Sea Eagles vs. Roosters
2nd July 4:05PM
As for these two teams’ inconsistencies continue to plague punters in 2023. After destroying the Dolphins by 40 points three weeks ago, the Sea Eagles have suffered losses to the Eels (34-4) and Storm (24-6). Their ins should make all the difference with Jake Trbojevic, Jason Saab, Kelma Tuilagi, Brad Parker and Ben Trbojevic returning to the side. Joseph Suaalii and Fletcher Baker are back for the Roosters, but we can’t go anywhere near them here.
Suggested Bet: J. Saab anytime try scorer @ $2.08