North Queensland Cowboys v Newcastle Knights
9.05pm AEDT, Saturday, March 14
1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
2015 NRL Round 2 Betting Preview for Nth Queensland vs Newcastle thanks to William Hill Australia.
North Queensland were terribly disappointing in their season opener against the Sydney Roosters but get an opportunity to atone against a Newcastle team who came away with an opening round win. The Cows can’t afford to drop a second home game if they are to find a Top 4 berth.
Paul Green has dropped reserve Glenn Hall, bringing in the highly promising Kelepi Tanginoa. Lachlan Coote has been named as 18th man and could play. Skipper Kurt Gidley has been named to return for the Knights at fullback, replacing Sione Mata’utia, but must pass a late fitness test.
Newcastle hold an 18-14 all-time edge over North Queensland though the Cowboys have won nine of the 15 clashes in Townsville. The Cowboys have won five of the last seven though including three straight in Townsville by an average of 18 points. The teams split the series one apiece last year.
North Queensland were terribly wasteful in Round 1 against the Roosters, managing just a single consolation try despite having 55% of the ball and winning the penalty count 10-2. The Cowboys won every conceivable metric but inefficiency in the 20-metre zone cost them dearly in an error-riddled game. Newcastle pulled off an impressive win over New Zealand on the back of some tremendous forward play that netted 9.06 metres a hitup.
Johnathan Thurston and Jarrod Mullen are the two key playmakers in this one and hold all the aces. Thurston struggled in the season opener, playing two side-to-side. He needs to play more direct but he rarely puts together two below par games. Jarrod Mullen started the season well and needs to show some consistency, an issue throughout his career. He needs to take advantage of any roll the Knights pack gets.
Stats That Matter
North Queensland are 12-2 and 10-4 ATS at home over the last two seasons with an average win of 14.7 points. The Cowboys are near unstoppable when favoured by more than a converted try, going 18-4 with a 16-6 ATS record. The Cowboys are 9-3 under off a loss of 13-plus since 2011. The Knights are 15-12 ATS on the road over the last three years but are 2-11 (6-7 ATS) when getting a converted try. The Knights have covered just six of their last 14 interstate. Interstate teams getting 8 or more points are 82-67 ATS since 2009. The Cowboys are 6-2 ATS under Gavin Badger while the Knights are 5-7 ATS while the over is 19-13 when there is a home fave of bigger than a converted try.
North Queensland were good up the first 80 metres of the park last week but just could not crack the Roosters. The score was not reflective of how strong the Cowboys were in areas of the game. They will be far more efficient against a much weaker defensive side in the Knights. The Cowboys’ record as a big favourite at home is just too good to ignore.
How It’s Shaping Up
North Queensland by 14
North Queensland -7.5 ($1.90)
Other Recommended Bets
North Queensland 13+ ($2.35)
Nth Queensland vs Newcastle Comparison Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 2 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.