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NRL Finals Week 1!

Get excited. This is TipBetPro’s first ever NRL finals series, and by golly gosh, we are pumped.

The home and away season was a real rollercoaster with a massive climb in winnings early doors, followed by a downhill stretch through Origin, only for us to climb once more. Are we at the summit? Not yet we aren’t. See our finals recommendations below:

Game 1: Brisbane Broncos (5th) versus Gold Coast Titans (8th)

The first game of the finals sees the Broncos versus the Titans, in a QLD smash off. At season’s start we have the Broncos in the top 4 and the Titans in the bottom 4! But who wins this one?

Odds (Line): Broncos $1.28 (-10) ; Titans $3.85 (10)

Season Summary: Broncos W15, L9 ; Titans W11, L12, D1

Season H2Hs: Round 5 – Broncos won 24-16

TipBetPro’s accuracy:

Only the two bets on the Bronco’s all season, yielding a 38% return. They tend to have very low odds, like the finals, and hence we rarely see value here, other than against the Cowboys and Storm, the latter of which, they won. They also won their last 5 coming into finals…

The Titans are huge favourites at TBP, seeing us collect nearly 73% returns from 7 winning bets on one of the season's surprise packages. Indeed we did all our betting damage when they were surprising everyone except our model. The arrival of some big names, whilst appearing great hasn’t fooled our excel spreadsheet………can they discover the winning touch?


The bookies clearly see the Broncos winning this one, and why not, they are at home, have won 5 games on the bounce and beat the Titans in their only meeting this year.

The TBP model has predicted the following

Broncos to win by 17 (68% confident)

Given the odds of 1.28, this does not meet our minimum expected value (EV) threshold, so there is no recommended bet on the Broncos (that said given Sportsbet money back special may be worth a bet up to $50).

For the Titans, the confidence in an upset is 32%, which is below our minimum confidence threshold, so again no bet recommended.

Game 1: Recommend No Bet

Game 2: Canberra Raiders (2nd) versus Cronulla Sharks (3rd)

What a game this should be. The battle of the Raiders and the Sharks, one team on fire and the other, well not so much.

Odds (Line): Raiders $1.67 (-2.50) ; Sharks $2.25 (2.50)

Season Summary: Raiders W17, L6, D1 ; Sharks W17, L6, D1

Season H2Hs: Round 7 – Sharks win 40-16 ; Round 22 – Raiders win 30-14

TipBetPro’s accuracy:

The Raiders were a decent team for us this year, coming in on 7 from 10 bets for a 40% return. They were also our tip for the premiership at the start of the season, so winning 12 in a row coming into the finals season, and scoring points for fun, has us pumped!

The Sharks started poorly, both in the season proper, but also in our betting, losing 2 of the first three games. Then came a golden patch, which saw us thinking they would never lose again………….unfortunately losses to the Raiders and Storm saw us lose money, and that last 6 games does NOT look good. 8 from 12 bets correct and a 25% return.


Well what a game this should be, bringing together two teams who have had amazing runs of form and scoring. Although, one of them has had their run recently, whereas the other has had only one win in the last 6 games. Is this relevant? Well yes, but finals is always a bit different.

The bookies have the Raiders favourites and the TBP model has predicted the following:

Cronulla to win by 1 (51% confident)

This game is the toss of a coin in our opinion, so wouldn’t be surprised by a Raiders win.

Given the higher odds on Cronulla of 2.25, this is our recommended bet.

Game 2: Recommend Cronulla Bet

Game 3: Melbourne Storm (1st) versus North Queensland Cowboys (4th)

This game sees the table topping minor premiers, the Melbourne Storm take on the reigning premiers, the North Queensland Cowboys:

Odds (Line): Storm $1.77 (-1.5) ; Cowboys $2.10 (1.5)

Season Summary: Storm W19, L5 ; Cowboys W15, L9

Season H2Hs: Round 10 – Storm win 15-14 at home : Round 21 – Storm win 16-8 away

TipBetPro’s accuracy:

Only the 4 bets placed on the Storm this year, mainly due to their low odds and not suiting a value based approach. None the less, 3 from 4 came in with a rather healthy 75% return. Losing 2 of their last 4 games may be a worry, not that we bet on them in these losses!

Like the Storm, we only bet the 4 times on the Cowboys this year, and for similar reasons. But only 2 came in and they have cost us money, including a round 21 loss to the Storm, when we thought at home the Cowboys would be too strong!


Neither team enters the finals “on-fire”, although both teams are class acts, and can erupt at any time and pretty much from anywhere on the park. The Storm have won both their previous encounters this year, and the scores against (14 and 8 points) indicate just how good the Storm defense is.

So can Thurston and co unlock the Storm defense?

The TBP model has predicted the following:

Cowboys to win by 3 (53% confident)

Yet another toss of the coin, with the expected value of a Cowboys win, just, just scrapping over the minimum expected value threshold. Either way, a money back special is likely whichever way you punt.

Game 3: Recommend a Cowboys Bet

Game 4: Penrith Panthers (6th) versus Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (7th)

The Panthers versus the Bulldogs, in a NSW smash off to rival those in Qld.

Odds (Line): $1.50 (-5.5) ; $2.67 (5.5)

Season Summary: Panthers W14, L10 ; Bulldogs W14, L10

Season H2Hs: Round 2 – Bulldogs win 18-16

TipBetPro’s accuracy:

The Panthers well and truly flew under TBP’s radar (well algorithm) this year, with only the two bets, and one win, albeit a tasty one against the Broncos, giving us a 100% return. This was primarily due to their better players being inexperienced, which is not rated as highly as perhaps it should have been. Plus their first 10 or so games saw a distinct lack of consistency when it came to results. The last 5 games have been a bit different……!!

Another team which saw little action was the Bulldogs, with only the 3 bets, and a disappointing loss of 25%. They started the year with a nice little win against the Sea Eagles, but then did a bit of a Panthers (up and down). After the bye they were on fire and it took us 6 weeks to jump on board! They have since been pretty poor to be honest and have lost their last 3, meaning they travel and have lost the second chance.


The final game of the round sees two teams who have shown us plenty, but who have also shown us they are fallible. The Panthers carry all the form into this one and are at home. Can they make it their 6th win on the bounce and inflict the Bulldogs 4th loss in a row? It was a narrow Bulldogs win last time they met, and the TBP model has predicted the following:

Panthers to win by 11 (61% confident)

The odds on this game are pretty consistent with our model and there is no value to had on either team. Again, a punt on the Panthers at Sportsbet is worth a go given the money back special.

Game 4: Recommend No Bet

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