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2015 NRL Round 5 Betting Preview – Manly vs Canberra

2015 NRL Round 5 Betting Preview for Manly vs Canberra thanks to William Hill Australia.

5.30pm AEDT, Saturday, April 4
Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
The NRL goes to Albury this Saturday with an injury-ravaged Manly tackling Canberra in what shapes as a compelling affair. The Sea Eagles have not lost four straight since 2009 but are staring down the barrel of it if Ricky Stuart’s side can find their best and consign the Sea Eagles to a third straight loss.

Selection Notes
Manly have been decimated by injury with Feleti Mateo, Jamie Lyon and Josh Starling all out hurt and Steve Matai in serious doubt. Brayden Williame is in at centre, Tom Symonds starts in the backrow while Justin Horo and Ligi Sao have been added to the bench. David Williams will come in if Matai is a late withdrawal. Ricky Stuart has dropped Mitch Cornish from halfback – a typical Stuart move – replacing him with Sam Williams.

Manly have won 29 of 47 all-time against Canberra and have dominated the Raiders in recent years winning 12 of the last 14 including the last five by an average margin of 16.4 points. The teams met just once last year with Peta Hiku scoring four tries in the 54-18 drubbing. This is only the fifth time since 2005 the teams have met away from Brookvale with the Sea Eagles winning all of those clashes by 13-plus.

Both Manly and Canberra are in dire straits, opening the season 1-3 apiece. The Raiders have a two-point differential. Manly’s attack ranks a lowly 15th while they are the 12th-rated defensive side. Canberra’s attack ranks 14th while their defence is rated 13th. Manly’s big problem has been metres – they rank second last in metres made while they rank fifth-last in metres conceded. The Eagles have been particularly soft up the middle allowing the most dummy half runs while they have forced the fewest tackle breaks. Canberra’s major worry has been their edge defence with their three-quarter line missing 22 tackles over the last two weeks.

Key Matchup
The centres in this game don’t seem to be great but they will have a huge impact on the match. Manly have Steve Matai – the best centre on the park by a long way – but he is in severe doubt. If he does play he could carve Jeremy Hawkins up. On the other side Jarrod Croker is a capable attacking player but a defensive liability. Brayden Williame is inexperienced though and how he plays could be key. The game will be won on the edges and which team steps up defensively.

Stats That Matter
Manly have been 18-17 straight and ATS away from Brookvale over the last three seasons with a 20-15 ATS record. The Raiders are 7-19 (12-14 ATS) away from Canberra Stadium with a 14-12 under number. The Raiders have covered four of their last five off three straight losses and are 6-4 ATS over the last three seasons. Manly have covered just one of their last four after scoring six points or fewer. The Eagles are a shocking 6-11 straight and ATS when favoured by less than a converted try since 2013. The Raiders are terrible as a small underdog with a 3-9 straight and ATS over the same time. Canberra have covered three of their last six against Manly. Canberra have covered six of their last nine off a 30-point loss.

Final Thoughts
The upset looks like it could be well and truly on in this one. The addition of Sam Williams for the Raiders is a major positive as he offers plenty of creativity while the sizable and aggressive Canberra pack should be able to dominate Manly. It is hard to find a scenario where Manly win this outside of the obvious class edge of the spine, who are going to need to control the game and force a grinding win. Bettors have to take the plus here.

How It’s Shaping Up
Canberra by 1

Best Bet
Canberra +4.5 ($1.90)

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Manly vs Canberra Comparison Betting Odds

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