NRL Round 24 Betting Preview: Game Odds, Trends and Analysis for Week Ahead

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2017

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12:  Gareth Widdop of the Dragons is tackled by Ashley Taylor of the Titans during the round 23 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans at UOW Jubilee Oval on August 12, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Both the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canberra Raiders took a huge step towards qualifying for the NRL finals last weekend when they beat the Gold Coast Titans and the New Zealand Warriors, respectively.

The Dragons are now breathing down the neck of the North Queensland Cowboys in ninth place on the ladder but face a tough trip north to take on the second place Brisbane Broncos on Friday night.

St George have played in just one finals series since 2011 and are big outsiders at $3.60 AUD, according to AustralianGambling.com.au, against a Broncos side ($1.30) who've won four of their last five games.

While the Red V are just a game outside the top eight, the Raiders are a game further back in 10th place, but they are favored at $1.56 to get the win over the sixth place Penrith Panthers ($2.45) on Sunday, which would keep them in the hunt.

There are several teams fighting to keep their finals aspirations alive over the closing three rounds of the season, but the Melbourne Storm are sitting pretty at the top, three games clear at the summit. Barring a catastrophe, the Storm will clinch their second straight Minor Premiership this Saturday against the cellar-dwelling Newcastle Knights.

Last season's runners-up are $1.20 to beat the Knights ($4.65), which will snap a three-game winning streak for the Newcastle outfit, who are finishing the season strongly.

After losing to Melbourne last weekend, the Sydney Roosters have now dropped two games in a row and are in danger of dropping out of the top four at the worst possible time. They are heavy favorites at $1.22 to beat the 15th place Wests Tigers ($4.40) at home Saturday afternoon though, which should steady the ship.

Cronulla Sharks have also lost ground on their Premiership rivals over the past fortnight, with losses to both the Raiders and the Broncos, which has left them ahead of the fifth place Parramatta Eels by point difference only.

The reigning Premiers are assessed as a $1.60 betting favorite to beat the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday night, which is one of the matches of the round. A win for the Cowboys is priced at $2.37 and would be a massive boost for a team who have played without their star Johnathan Thurston for most of the season.

Round 24 kicks off at Sydney's Olympic Stadium on Thursday night, when the Eels ($1.22) host the Gold Coast Titans ($4.60), whose coach Neil Henry has been under fierce scrutiny by the media this week after his team dropped their fourth straight game.

South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.30) are at short odds to win their third game in a row, when they host the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night, but unfortunately for Souths fans, their late-season resurgence has come too late.

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