Mitchell Lamb from TAB.com.au assesses the best value betting options for the opening round of NRL action, and he believes the Roosters should be key to your staking plans.
If youth and inexperience have been two of the big factors in Newcastle struggling the past few years, their off-season recruitment plan has addressed that in a major way.
Mitchell Pearce, Jacob Lillyman, Aidan Guerra and Chris Heighington bring to the club a wealth of NRL and representative football experience that should help to bring out the best in the promising young players on the club's roster.
They've also added one of the game's most gifted young attacking weapons in Kalyn Ponga plus a player still with upside in Connor Watson, who has the benefit of having played previously with halves partner Pearce.
I think the Knights come firing out of the blocks this year. They have only borderline top-eight hopes, but they will be infinitely better this season and I expect them to have too much for Manly at home first up. The Sea Eagles will have their depth tested this year, and I'm not convinced they can repeat their finals berth of last season.
The Tigers and Roosters have rosters at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to where their ceiling lies: The Tigers have little depth and the backline they are trotting out this week looks shaky at best, while the Roosters have a backline led by star recruits James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk that will put a big scare into every team in the comp.
Cronk will have some big weapons at his disposal out wide, as he had in Melbourne for most of the past decade, and I think we're going to see him turn Latrell Mitchell into one of the best, if not the best, attacking centres in the game -- if he's not that, or close to it , already.
Unless the Roosters are just completely off their game first up, I can't envisage how the Tigers can go with them here. If this were being played in Round 20, the Tigers' start would be closer to double what they receive here.
The Dragons looks to have a solid, well-rounded side this year, but I get the feeling their new halves partnership of Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop may take a little time to truly jell. Brisbane, meanwhile, are notoriously fast out of the blocks and they looks overs to me even though I completely expect it to be close at Kogarah.
I feel pretty good about the Roosters racking up some points against the Tigers, as mentioned earlier, and I am all in on Latrell Mitchell playing a big role as he should get plenty of opportunities to blossom outside Cooper Cronk.
MULTI = $7.33