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2015 NRL Round 5 Betting Preview – Bulldogs vs Souths

2015 NRL Round 5 Betting Preview for Bulldogs vs Souths thanks to William Hill Australia.

4pm AEDT, Friday, April 3
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Two of the premiership heavyweights clash at their joint home ground in what will be a blockbuster Good Friday clash with over 50,000 fans expected to roll in for the Bulldogs-Rabbitohs clash. These two last met in the Grand Final last year and there will be no love lost when the two run onto ANZ in what could be the game of the season.

Selection Notes
Brett Morris has been named to come back for the Bulldogs at fullback, forcing Sam Perrett to the wing and Corey Thompson out of the side. Tim Lafai and Josh Reynolds also return with Moses Mbye and Antonio Kaufusi dropping out. South Sydney are unchanged from the team that lost to Parramatta with ex-Bulldogs Daryl Millard and Bryson Goodwin playing in the centres.

History
Canterbury and South Sydney have played 150 times with the Bulldogs leading the all-time head-to-head 78-68 with four draws. Souths have had the best of it lately though winning six of the last nine including a 30-6 win in last year’s Grand Final, the second decider the two teams have met in. The Bulldogs are 13-7 all-time against the Rabbitohs at ANZ. Points have been hard to come by in recent outings with seven of the last eight matches tallying under 41 points and the last three averaging 33.3 points. Three of the last five matches between the two teams have featured a field goal. The Souths team contains ex-Bulldogs Daryl Millard and Bryson Goodwin.

Form
Souths and Canterbury both sit in the top four with 3-1 records though neither have been playing particularly well. The Rabbitohs won their opening three games of the season – including a come-from-behind victory over the Sydney Roosters and comprehensive wins over Brisbane and the Wests Tigers. The Bunnies lost to Parramatta last Friday though. Souths’ metrics are generally very good, most notably allowing the fewest line breaks and opposition try assists. Canterbury were hammered in their opening round match by Penrith before recording wins against Parramatta, Manly and the Wests Tigers, the latter in golden point. The Bulldogs have two close wins this year and have dominated just one team. They lead the NRL in dummy half runs and rank third in line breaks. The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers with just 47% of the ball.

Key Matchup
Look for an enormous battle between hookers Michael Lichaa and Issac Luke. Luke has been the most effective rake of the season. No player has touched the ball more this season while his average of 113.5 metres a game is well clear of the second-placed hooker. South Sydney’s dominance up front comes from him. Lichaa has been brilliant in the start to his Bulldogs career. He has averaged 60 metres a game but ranks third in all dummy-half metres while he averaged 2.25 tackle breaks a game. His defensive work ranks Top 10 in the NRL. He is becoming a star at the Bulldogs.

Stats That Matter
Both teams have excellent records at ANZ under their respective coaches with the Bulldogs 28-18 (25-21 ATS, 27-19 under) and the Rabbitohs 29-13 (25-17 ATS, 22-20 under). In day matches at the venue though Souths have a huge edge with the Bunnies 8-2 straight and ATS while the Bulldogs are 4-6 with a 3-7 ATS number. Canterbury are 11-4 under as an outsider at the venue while they are 15-16 (20-11 ATS) as an outsider under Des Hasler. Souths are 16-10 ATS since 2012 when favoured by less than a converted try. Souths are excellent off a loss with a 19-8 (16-11 ATS) run while the Bulldogs are 5-1 (3-3 ATS, 6-0 under) off a one-point game. Canterbury are 9-2 (8-3 ATS) in wet weather – there is a 30% chance of rain on Friday. Canterbury’s Curtis Rona is the NRL’s top tryscorer with five.

Final Thoughts
This is one of the NRL’s marquee matchups and it won’t disappoint with classic battles across the park including fullbacks Morris and Inglis, halfbacks Hodkinson and Reynolds, hookers Lichaa and Luke and props Graham, Tolman and Burgess. Wow. The fact this is a day match plays into South Sydney’s hands a little but they have been poor and predictable the last two weeks as a long offseason seems to have taken its toll. Canterbury are typically great bets as an outsider and they do get a nice chance to take advantage of a ravaged Bunnies three-quarter line. The Bulldogs will probably need to be more expansive than they have been but if they can send their big boppers at the Bunnies fringes an upset would not surprise at all. Any rain helps the Bulldogs.

How It’s Shaping Up
Canterbury by 2

Best Bet
Canterbury +4.5 ($1.90)

Other Recommended Bets
Canterbury ($2.50)

Under 38 ($1.90)

Bulldogs vs Souths Comparison Betting Odds

Below we have 2015 NRL Round 5 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.

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