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The 2016 NRL club-by-club season betting preview – the strugglers

THERE are some NRL teams just not worth our time or money and we’ll do our best to steer punters away from these money-stealing sides.

We speak of four NRL teams this season which are at long odds to win the premiership and punters shouldn’t be enticed by the big odds. The St.George/Illawarra Dragons, Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans all fall into this category, but there are some good bets to be placed on bad teams.

Sportsbet has a most losses betting option which would cover all four teams and individual season performances is where punters can earn a dollar or two so sign up to take advantage of the futures betting now.

Gold Coast Titans – $151

We were shocked to see an NRL team paying such a big price to win the premiership, but then we realise just how bad the Gold Coast Titans will be this season.

They failed to sign any player that will generate interest and they have lost their main chances of bringing in a crowd. Below is the list of their likely starting lineup and you can judge for yourself how many wins the hapless Titans will get this season.

Greg Bird
Anthony Don
Nathan Friend
Josh Hoffman
Ryan James
Chris McQueen
David Mead
Daniel Mortimer
Eddy Pettybourne
Tyrone Roberts
David Shillington
Matt Srama
Will Zillman

Still yet to be inspired? We didn’t think so and the fact that they are paying more to make the top 8 than the Broncos are to win the competition just about sums up their chances.

Bookmakers are predicting a very low season total-win line of 7.5. All the Titans will have to do to cover the over 7.5 wins line is win eight from 24 games. They only need to win one in every three games this season to win this bet, but we’re predicting a lengthy losing streak could put this bet in harms way.

Punters have sided with the under 7.5 ($1.70) at and we’d have to agree. It’s going to be a long season for Titans fans.

Wests Tigers – $101

The Wests Tigers are looking to rebound after another poor season, but it might be a few years before they start making a run for the title.

Any team paying over $100 to win the premiership are automatically discarded as title chances and even if they produce a couple of upsets this season, which they are capable of doing, they won’t be able to perform on a consistent basis given the team and culture they currently have.

We might cop some criticism for saying this, but Robbie Farah just isn’t the player he used to be. How he makes the New South Wales origin side is beyond belief and he just doesn’t look interested in leading his young Tigers team around the park.

Unlike the Titans, the Tigers do have some quality players they can call on to show some brilliance. Matt Ballin is a classy player which puts his head down and does the dirty work, and players such as Dene Halatau and Aaron Woods provide some big game experience.

The Tigers will be hoping James Tedesco can stay healthy, but what a waste of talent he is playing for a team like the Tigers. He will be the difference in many of the Tigers close games this season and we think he is solely good enough to lift the Tigers over the line.

Their season wins total is set at 8.5 and the over is paying $1.95 at It’s a tough one, but with a bit of luck the Tigers could win nine games this season. They had a shocking season last year and managed to win eight games, so it isn’t beyond them.

Newcastle Knights – $67

The Newcastle Knights are looking to rebound after a horrendous 2015 season where they managed to win one prize…the coveted wooden spoon.

The Knights won eight games, lost 16 and had a points differential of -154 (second behind only the Titans on -197). It’s hard to believe they have gone from the glory days of Andrew Johns to the bottom of the table, but they haven’t been managed very well since then.

There seems to be a lack of cohesion at the top of the chain for the Knights and that shows by their current outfit. They signed former Bulldog and Origin player Trent Hodkinson in the offseason, but he was trending downwards at a significant rate so we hope they bought him on the cheap.

Hodkinson was an attractive option because he was a great goal kicker, but his radar is way off now and that makes him another liability for the Knights this season. Add to that players such as the aging Jarrod Mullen, Jeremy Smith and Akuila Uate who is slowing down, it doesn’t bode well.

Unfortunately for the Knights, they might complete back-to-back wooden spoons and punters are getting great odds in this market. They are currently at $8.00 at Sportsbet to record the most losses which we think is good value for a team that will continue to struggle.

St. George Illawarra Dragons – $34

The days of fearing the mighty Red V are well and truly over, but to their credit the Dragons did manage to make the playoffs last season.

That being said, they started the season on fire and led the competition in the early rounds, so finishing eight on the ladder was seen as a major disappointment. There is hope for the Dragons this season and the $34 represents that, but whether they have enough talent across the park to win the premiership is doubtful.

Their key players are Benji Marshall, Josh Dugan, Jack de Belin and Gareth Widdop. They all have experience in the big time and I’m sure they would want that winning feeling to come back to Illawarra. If Dugan can stay healthy and correct his poor attitude problem, the Dragons have a chance of causing the upset.

Can they win the NRL title? Probably not, but they can make punters some money this season. Take the Dragons Over 10.5 wins ($1.95) at CrownBet, which has a good chance of cashing. Winning 11 games won’t make it into the playoffs, but they are usually a team sitting right around the mark.

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