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2015 NRL Round 3 Betting Preview – Manly vs Bulldogs

2015 NRL Round 3 Betting Preview for Manly vs Bulldogs thanks to William Hill Australia.

7.35pm AEDT, Friday, March 20
Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Few teams loath each other as much as Manly and Canterbury these days, two powerhouses whose paths crossed four seasons back when then Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler defected to the Bulldogs. This game will be as fierce and ferocious as any all season.

Selection Notes
Both Manly and Canterbury are unchanged after wins in Round 2. Feleti Mateo has been named at five-eighth with Jamie Buhrer in the backrow though Kieran Foran is some chance of a return. Lloyd Perrett has been named 18th man for the Bulldogs.

History

Manly and Canterbury have met in 121 premiership games with the Sea Eagles victorious in 63 compared to the Bulldogs in 53. But Canterbury have had the run of it in recent outings, winning give of the last seven including finals victories in 2012 and 2014. The teams played three times last year with Manly thumping the Bulldogs 32-10 at Brookvale before Canterbury recorded a 23-16 win seven weeks later. Canterbury needed golden point to eliminate the Sea Eagles from the finals. The Bulldogs have a good recent record at Brookvale with three wins in the last five outings. The last four matches between the two sides have all tallied over 35 points. Bulldogs coach Des Hasler spent a combined 20 seasons as a player and coach at Manly while Trent Hodkinson, Tony Williams and Tim Browne are former Sea Eagles. Manly prop Willie Mason won a Clive Churchill Medal at the Bulldogs.

Form
Manly and Canterbury both suffered first round losses before bouncing back in Round 2. The Sea Eagles were humiliated by the Eels in Round 1 before a courageous win over the Storm in their home opener. Their differential of -28 ranks 12th in the premiership though while injuries have hit hard with Manly using an NRL-leading 21 players through the opening two rounds. Their handling has been the NRL best but they rank third last in metres. It is defence that has been an issue though with Manly conceding the most tries and points as well as the most line breaks. Canterbury came home late in the season opener against Penrith before a dominant win over Parramatta at home last week. The Bulldogs lead the NRL in line breaks and have made the most tackles but have missed the second most tackles. Their differential ranks sixth. Canterbury are leading the NRL in dummy-half runs, a tool they used effectively against Parramatta.

Key Matchup
Brett Stewart and Brett Morris have both started the season with a bang. Stewart scored a double against Melbourne last week and though he doesn’t put up the numbers of more feted fullbacks he is arguably the Sea Eagles’ most important player. Morris has adapted well to his positional switch, leading all fullbacks in metres with an average of 147.7 to go with three tries. The fullback that plays the bigger hand will be critical in this epic encounter.

Stats That Matter
Manly are 23-8 (17-14 ATS) at Brookvale under Geoff Toovey, averaging a victory of 10 points. They have won their last 10 at the ground and covered five of their last six. Manly have won five of their last six as an outsider at the venue dating back to 2009. Since 2012 Canterbury are 23-14 with a 24-13 cover rate (and a 21-16 under record). They have covered just one of their last five road games though. When a road favourite under a converted try the Bulldogs are 11-4 with a 9-6 ATS number and a 10-5 under record. Over the last two seasons small road favourites are a poor 21-30 ATS. Manly are 28-18 ATS after conceding 20 points the week prior while the Bulldogs are 15-8 ATS (18-5 under) after scoring 30 or more under Des Hasler.

Final Thoughts
Manly were impressive – at least in parts – winning last week against Melbourne but the Storm are different propositions to the Bulldogs and there is no question that the Sea Eagles won’t be as up for this as they were last week. Canterbury typically perform well against Manly and are as reliable away from home as any in the premiership. Last week played the Bulldogs into form and that should carry over to this week. The best bet in the match though is the under. Both teams have played two overs apiece this year and these two can rack up the points but the Bulldogs play under matches after racking up a score and the Sea Eagles are surely working on their defence. Points will be hard to come by in this.

How It’s Shaping Up

Canterbury by 6

Best Bet
Under 38.5 ($1.90)

Other Recommended Bets
Canterbury ($1.82)

Manly vs Bulldogs Comparison Betting Odds

Below we have 2015 NRL Round 3 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.

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