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2015 NRL Round 4 Betting Preview – St George-Illa vs Manly

2015 NRL Round 4 Betting Preview for St George-Illa vs Manly thanks to William Hill Australia.

7.30pm AEDT, Saturday, March 28
Win Stadium, Wollongong
Two clubs who have found themselves in the throes of crisis over the opening month of the season, the Dragons and Sea Eagles will be hoping for some respite with an all-important victory on Saturday night.

Selection Notes
Trent Merrin has been named to start at lock in place of Jack De Belin in the only change for the Dragons. Manly have named Jamie Lyon and Kieran Foran to return but both must pass late fitness tests with Foran the most in doubt. Feleti Mateo goes to the backrow while Tom Symonds drops to the bench and Justin Horo out of the side.

St George Illawarra have won 14 of the 22 all-time matches against Manly though the Eagles have won the last three clashes across the last three seasons including a 21-12 win at Kogarah last year. Five of the last six matches between the two sides have tallied 33 points or less. The Dragons are 4-1 against the Sea Eagles including a 24-6 win in their last meeting in 2011. The Saints side contains former Manly cult hero George Rose.

The Dragons have been horrible to date this year with a first-up loss to Melbourne before being embarrassed against the Tigers. They trailed 18-0 to the Raiders last week before staging a comeback against the pre-season wooden spoon favourites to get the late win. The Saints are bottom of the NRL in points and tries while they rank second in handling errors as their attack has just failed to fire all year. The Sea Eagles were flogged by Parramatta in the opening week before a courageous win over Melbourne. Last week they knuckled down against Canterbury but the final margin was flattering. Manly are surprisingly conceding the most line breaks, an indictment on a defence that has been so strong in recent years.

Key Matchup
Fullbacks Josh Dugan and Brett Stewart are two contenders for the Blues jersey but both need to pick up after slow starts to the year. Dugan has battled injury but has shown virtually nothing for the Saints while Stewart has three tries but not a single assist and the worst kick return yardage among all fullbacks. Both are capable of brilliance but need to step up in this one.

Stats That Matter
The Saints have won four of their last 10 at Wollongong with a 5-5 ATS record. As an outsider though they are 3-2 ATS. Manly are 18-16 straight and ATS away from Brookvale over the last three seasons but have covered just one of their last seven away games and none of their last four as a road favourite. The Dragons are 7-13 ATS off a win over the last three seasons while Manly are 12-9 ATS off a loss. The Sea Eagles are 5-0 (3-2 ATS) under Gavin Badger the last four years while the Dragons are 3-4 (2-5 ATS). The under is 51-36 with a close road favourite off a cover. The under is 93-66 with a close road favourite.

Final Thoughts
Awful game to figure here. The Sea Eagles are deserved favourites but punters are advised to wait until game time to check final line-ups. Manly have been good but are a worry on the road while it is hard to see the Dragons scoring any points against a defence that is even reasonably competent. The best bet in this one is the under with the close road favourite. Neither side will be running up a big score in this game. The safe tip is Manly though it is made with no confidence.

How It’s Shaping Up
Manly by 2

Best Bet
Under 39.5 ($1.90)

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St George-Illa vs Manly Comparison Betting Odds

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