Thu, Aug 15, 1:19pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bulldogs – NRL Round 23
When/Where: 3:00pm, Saturday 17th August at Canberra Stadium
AUD $100 Free Bet: www.IASbet.com
What a superb match in prospect this looks to be. A desperate Canberra Raiders who sit right on the fringe of the top eight will look to break a two game losing streak against the fifth placed Bulldogs, who are also coming off a loss and look to be decimated by injury.
With so much at stake it certainly makes for a good game to bet on and at this stage, punters look divided with both teams at $1.90 to win the match; a good price if you think you know the winner.
Only one side has been able to conquer the Raiders in the nations capital this season so the Bulldogs face an arduous task. The fact that they will go into the game missing some of their stars makes the assignment that much more difficult.
The outcome of the game is of massive importance to both teams with a loss for the Raiders likely to leave them scrambling to make the top eight, while a loss for the Bulldogs would also send them spiraling towards that fringe area where any hiccup would mean no post season football.
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The Raiders have been forced to make a couple of changes. Joel Edwards starts for the injured Shaun Fensom, with Jake Foster on the bench. Terry Campese is named despite suffering a facial injury last week, while Reece Robinson is 18th man.
1. Anthony Milford
2. Sandor Earl
3. Jarrod Croker
4. Blake Ferguson
5. Jack Wighton
6. Terry Campese
7. Josh McCrone
8. David Shillington
9. Glen Buttriss
10. Dane Tilse
11. Josh Papalii
12. Joel Thompson
13. Joel Edwards
14. Shaun Berrigan
15. Jake Foster
16. Brett White
17. Paul Vaughan
18. Reece Robinson
This match could be the pivotal moment of 2013 for the Raiders. They are back at their home ground, coming off two losses and have their backs to the wall as they take on a quality team. A win could well see them back in the top eight, a loss might see that chance slip from their grasp.
The Raiders would have taken plenty of positives out of their 28-22 loss to the Roosters last weekend. The Roosters are close to the form team in the competition at the moment and they gave them a solid run for their money. It was a good return to form after their 68-4 loss the week before which had some pundits questioning their commitment to the cause.
The stage is now set for the Canberra team to perform and show that they are a serious playoffs conveyance. They get a great opportunity with their opposition being somewhat depleted through injury. That gives us punters an opportunity to latch onto an attractive head to head price as well. At $1.90 the Raiders look a very nice wager.
The Bulldogs have their fair share of injury concerns. Ben Barba is still missing with an injury, Dale Finucane starts at lock for the injured Greg Eastwood, while Tim Browne, Martin Taupau and Lachlan Burr are all included on an extended bench with Sam Kasiano also out for a month.
1. Sam Perrett
2. Mitch Brown
3. Josh Morris
4. Tim Lafai
5. Krisnan Inu
6. Josh Reynolds
7. Trent Hodkinson
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Michael Ennis (c)
10. James Graham
11. Frank Pritchard
12. Tony Williams
13. Dale Finucane
14. Dene Halatau
15. Josh Jackson
16. Tim Browne
17. Martin Taupau
18. Lachlan Burr
Last Monday night’s 26-16 loss to the Titans certainly wasn’t something that the Bulldogs would have had on their late season agenda. It was a game that most thought would be another victory on the Canterbury teams way to ensconcing themselves in the top eight and possibly even pushing for the top four. They now face the prospect of having to fight to hold a top eight place should they lose here.
The Bulldogs now also have to overcome some injuries to key players. Dally M medallist Ben Barba is still out and he is now joined by key forwards Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood. These losses are a severe dent to the Bulldogs fire power up front and class in the back line.
If you like the Bulldogs from a punting perspective that is certainly something to keep in mind before you invest heavily. They are three players of representative quality and regulars in the team. Replacing the injured trio would not be an easy task at all.
This match is a chance at redemption for the Canberra Raiders in front of their home crowd. They were completely and utterly embarrassed last time they played at the venue and it is the one blemish on their home record for the season. They get their chance to atone here and expect them to come out firing.
The Bulldogs have shown that if they don’t get off to a good start that they struggle to make up ground. That makes this matchup all the more intriguing. Canberra are notoriously slow starters so, if the Bulldogs are to have a chance, they may be served well by coming out of the blocks hastily.
I think the combination of the Canberra venue for this match, the fact that Canberra have so much to play for, and the vital injuries for the Bulldogs all point towards a Raiders win. If the Canterbury side had all hands on deck I may have been inclined to go with them but they look too big of a risk in this one. I like the Raiders to win here.
Raiders by 8.
Raiders – $1.90 Head to Head with IASbet.com
Bulldogs – $1.90
This may be a close match but I estimated that the Raiders would have been shorter than this. Punters are finding it hard to split the two teams and that is presenting us with some value for a bet. I’m keen on the Raiders and the $1.90 price gives us plenty of reasons to bet with conviction.
Raiders 1-12 – $3.20 with IASbet.com
Raiders 13+ – $3.75
Bulldogs 1-12 – $3.40
Bulldogs 13+ – $4.20
With both our prediction and the punters consensus indicating that this match could be a close one, the Raiders looks pretty good value in the margins market. $3.20 for a 1-12 result is odds that I’m very comfortable with and it looks a good bet.
Raiders -1.5 – $1.92
Bulldogs +1.5 – $1.92
If you’re keen on obtaining an extra two cents for every dollar invested compared with the head to head price then this market may be up your alley. The Raiders should have no problem covering this line.
For the first try scorer of the match I am going with the Raiders controversial winger Blake Ferguson. Ferguson is currently $9 with IASbet.
If you prefer backing a Bulldogs player to score first, I’d recommend Josh Morris who is currently paying $10.
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