2015 NRL Round 3 Betting Preview for Canberra vs St George-Illawarra Dragons thanks to William Hill Australia.
5.30pm AEDT, Saturday, March 21
Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Canberra will be hoping to continue on with the biggest hoodoo in Rugby League when they welcome St George Illawarra back to the nation’s capital. In current form, the Dragons are going to find it extremely difficult to end what is the biggest mock in the NRL.
Canberra have lost fullback Jack Wighton to injury, forcing a reshuffle that sees Jordan Rapana shift to fullback, Edrick Lee to the wing, Jarrad Kennedy to the centres and Shannon Boyd to prop. St George Illawarra are unchanged though coach Paul McGregor has indicated he could make some changes with Mitch Rein, Dylan Farrell and Rory O’Brien all in the gun.
Canberra have a 16-7-1 all-time record over St George Illawarra but have lost to the Dragons just three times since 2001. The Dragons ended a 14-year Canberra Stadium drought last season with a 34-16 victory. Prior to that the Raiders had won 11 straight at the venue against St George Illawarra. The Dragons have posted 20 points just twice in their last 13 against Canberra. The last six matches between the two teams have topped 40 points.
The Raiders found a win in the season opener on the road against Cronulla in a major upset before a gritty but ultimately fruitless home loss to the Warriors last weekend. The Raiders managed just one try last weekend and have struggled to create, particularly on the back of the worst kick return in the NRL. The Raiders have missed the fewest tackles but have been pretty vanilla across the park. The Dragons have been horrific over the opening two weeks, posting just two tries in losses to the Storm and the Tigers. They were embarrassing on Monday, conceding 20 points in 26 minutes and getting destroyed in the middle, allowing 9.1 metres per hitup while making 18 handling errors.
Five-eighths Blake Austin and Gareth Widdop must carry the weight of their respective attacks on their shoulders with halfbacks Mitch Cornish and Benji Marshall struggling for form. Austin is a terrier but lacks real class with the ball. His fighting qualities will be needed though to go through the Dragons rather than around them. Widdop is a star though he still doesn’t have an assist yet. He is better than that though and needs to take more of the ball from Marshall and get the Dragons playing a lot straighter.
Stats That Matter
Canberra are 10-15 ATS at home over the last three seasons with a 12-13 strike rate and an average loss of 4 points. They are much improved as a favourite though with a 9-4 recprd and a 7-6 ATS number with an average win of 6.1 points. The Dragons have struggled on the road with an 11-15 record but a 14-12 ATS number. When getting four points or fewer the Dragons have covered two of their last three. Home teams who scored single digits last start are an excellent 37-17 ATS over the last three seasons with home favourites 18-7 ATS. The Dragons have covered just one of their last six after a loss of 13-plus.
Chips in Canberra. The Dragons are a hot mess at the moment with their pack getting man-handled by everyone from the Storm and the Tigers to the Orange CYMS Under-13 Bs. Benji Marshall is playing so sideways that he makes Adam Dykes look like Martin Lang. The Raiders have the mock on the Dragons and have a big angle in their favour as well as being a decent home favourite. It is hard to make any kind of case for the Dragons. Canberra – if they are even competent – win this.
How It’s Shaping Up
Canberra by 13
Canberra -2.5 ($1.91)
Other Recommended Bets
Canberra 13+ ($3.20)
Canberra vs St George-Illawarra Dragons Comparison Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 3 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.