NRL Battle For The 8

There are four rounds left in the regular season and there’s plenty still up for grabs. In particular the last spots in the top 8 look like going down to the wire.

This week we will look at the run home of the Warriors, Tigers, Titans and Panthers, as we think 3 of the 4 will make it. But which 3?

Season to date

Only one point separates the 4 teams after 22 rounds.

At the start of the season we had the following thoughts on each team:

WarriorsOne to watch and premier contenders

“The acquisition of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (who starts the season rated as the 2nd highest rated player in the league by TipBetPro) pushes 2015 strugglers New Zealand well and truly into premiership contention with the best elite talent (number 1 ranked Top 5 players) and strong depth.”

Panthers, Tigers and Wests – Unlikely to contend in 2016

“Gold Coast, Wests and Newcastle are the clear three lowest rated squads by the TipBetPro model at the start of the 2016 campaign. Penrith, whilst not as poorly rated, are considered below average in every facet of squad development and it is hard to see the Panthers making a serious challenge for finals action in 2016.”

So it would be fair to say our long term predictions were, well, wrong. Just as well our approach is based on the latest teams each week!

Over the course of the season we rank the team each week, and the graph below shows how each team has progressed:

So the Warriors (NZ - blue line) started the season the highest ranked of the four teams and are now 2nd. It took nearly 8 rounds for our model to pick up the Warriors were struggling (we also changed our algorithm around this time which impacted attacking teams more and advantaged defensive teams). Since then they have steadily, if not spectacularly seen their rankings increase

The Titans (TI – Grey line) started the 3rd ranked of the 4 teams but have consistently improved week on week, with a dramatic improvement in the past 3 to 4 weeks (before the loss to the Warriors) to be the highest ranked of the four teams. This is all pre Hayne, so it’s anyone’s guess where their line goes now.

The Wests (WT – Orange line) started the year easily the lowest ranked of the four teams and have bounced around a bit, but are now ranked in line with the Warriors, narrowly being pipped into 3rd spot.

The Panthers (PN – Yellow line) started the season the 2nd ranked team of the 4, and have actually trended down over the year to now be ranked 4th of the 4 teams.

Upcoming fixtures

The run in couldn’t be any better – all four teams play one of the other contenders at least once, and the Wests unbelievably have to play all 3!

Predictions

As we saw at the start of this article, our long range predictions are average at best! The run home for these 4 teams throws up some mouthwatering games and “4 pointers” everywhere, especially for the Wests.

We think the Warriors and Titans should make it (unless Hayne derails the Titans). So it comes down to the Wests and Panthers in our opinion. We really like both teams and love the Wests, they have done us so proud this year. It’s a tough one and in looks like the Wests will miss out, but then again if they beat the Titans or Warriors….maybe not.

Loving the run home!

To see our betting recommendations, including our Bet of The Week, and to read more about our approach, and to compare our performance with your own, please visit www.tipbetpro.com or follow us (abuse us) on Twitter @tipbetpronrl.


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