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2015 NRL Round 2 Betting Preview – Canterbury Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels

2015 NRL Round 2 Betting Preview for Canterbury Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels thanks to William Hill Australia.

Canterbury Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels
7.35pm AEDT, Friday, March 13
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Traditional rivals Canterbury and Parramatta kick off Round 2 in what shapes as one of the most intriguing battles of the weekend. The Bulldogs are already on the ropes after a first-up defeat and the injury-enforced loss of star pivot Josh Reynolds while the Eels are up and about after a stunning Round 1 thumping of loathed enemies Manly. This will be an absolute ripper in front of a huge crowd.

Selection Notes
Canterbury have lost star five-eighth Josh Reynolds to a broken arm and suspension, meaning Moses Mbye comes in to play in the No.6. Hooker Michael Lichaa was named but is in doubt with Damien Cook set to replace him if he doesn’t come up. Parramatta have made just a solitary change with Pauli Pauli coming into the 17 for the suspended Junior Paulo.

Canterbury and Parramatta are two of the premiership’s longest-standing rivals, having played 136 games dating back to 1947. The Bulldogs hold a 73-58-5 advantage over the Eels though Parramatta have won 8 of the 13 finals played between the two teams. The Bulldogs have definitely had the best of it lately with wins in seven of the last eight matches dating back to 2011. The teams met twice last year with the Eels winning 22-12 and the Dogs hanging on 18-16. Canterbury have scored 30-plus in four of their last eight against the Eels. Canterbury have a 12-8 all-time advantage against the Eels at ANZ. Bulldogs backrower Tony Williams is a former Eel.

Canterbury were poor in their opening match of the season against Penrith with the 24-18 final score flattering the Bulldogs. Canterbury trailed 24-0 with 11 minutes to play and their flat attack looked lifeless while the big forward pack was run off its feet. The Bulldogs had 53% of possession and won the penalty count and field position battle but still failed to score until the final quarter of the game. Parramatta were by contrast were very good. Their handling was a major concern with 13 errors but they were highly efficient with 42 points on just 49% of possession and kept Manly to just 6.37m per hitup. The Eels’ backline combined for six assists and seven tries.

Key Matchup
The halfback matchup between Trent Hodkinson and Chris Sandow. The Bulldogs half has plenty of pressure on him in this one with no Josh Reynolds and will need to improve markedly after a flat performance against the Panthers that saw him make just two runs. Sandow had a blinder against Manly with two tries and two assists and in great shape will take plenty of confidence from the matchup. If Sandow is given free rein the Dogs are in strife. Hodkinson needs to find his attacking chops too to give the Bulldogs the inside running.

Stats That Matter
Parramatta are 2-14 straight and ATS at ANZ since 2011 with an average losing margin of 15.8 points at the venue. Away from Parramatta Stadium over that time frame the Eels are 10-50 with a 17-43 ATS number and an average losing margin of 16 points. They are 12-19 ATS away from their suburban home getting 8 points or less. Last season the Eels were 5-10 ATS away from Parramatta Stadium. The Bulldogs are 26-18 (24-20 ATS) at ANZ under Des Hasler with a 27-17 under record. The under is 9-3 when favoured by less than a converted try. The Bulldogs are 37-21 ATS since 2012 at night while the Eels are 25-29 ATS. The under is 15-7 at night at ANZ over the last two seasons. Over the last two seasons the Bulldogs’ 18.6 points per game ranks a lowly 13th. Parra are 7-17 ATS off a win since 2012. Over the last four seasons the Bulldogs are 8-2 straight and ATS in the wet while the Eels are 4-6 (5-5 ATS). The under is 53-25 in the wet over the same time frame.

Final Thoughts
There will be no love lost when these two teams square off at ANZ Stadium on Friday night with the clubs in the rare position of the Eels flying and the Dogs on struggle street. Expect Canterbury to fight back though. Their attack has been rotten to the core and the loss of Josh Reynolds won’t help that but their defence should improve against an Eels team that does lack structure. Parramatta ran riot last week and have the tools to do it but they are a very different team away from Parra Stadium and that shouldn’t be forgotten. Parramatta’s pack was manhandled early by Manly and this Bulldogs pack is the biggest and baddest in the NRL. The Bulldogs should win but this won’t get out of hand. Canterbury lack the points to run away with it and the forecast wet weather makes this one look like an under special.

How It’s Shaping Up
Canterbury by 4

Best Bet
Under 40.5 ($1.90)

Other Recommended Bets
Canterbury 1-12 ($3.15)

Canterbury Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels Betting Odds

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