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Best bets: A punter's guide to this week's sporting action

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Roar Rookie
14th April, 2022
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Last week Cam Smith managed to scramble his way to a T3 finish, despite a triple bogey on the nightmare 12th hole in the final round, winning the rest of world category and being my lone winner at $4.

The Roosters and Rabbitohs both scored wins but were unable to cover the 13-point margin. Also, the Blues were utterly disappointing as they fell to the Suns, losing Patrick Cripps to injury along the way.

This week I’m covering some exciting football matches and the NBA play-in tournament, hunting for value and hopefully more luck than last week.

As always, do your own research and happy punting!

NRL Round 6

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South Sydney Rabbitohs versus Canterbury Bulldogs, Accor Stadium, Friday 4:00pm

Good Friday presents the Rabbitohs with another favourable match-up against a bottom-feeding Bulldogs side. They will look to build off last week’s solid performance against the Dragons and string two wins together for the first time this season.

For the Dogs it’s another tough game, having been thoroughly beaten by the Storm and Panthers over the last two weeks, conceding a total of 74 points and scoring just 12 of their own.

Matt Burton of the Bulldogs

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

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I don’t expect things to go much differently for them this week, and I see the Rabbitohs taking another step up despite the absence of Latrell Mitchell.

The current line sits at 10.5, which should prove to be rather easy for the Rabbitohs to cover in front of their fans on a Friday afternoon game to kick off the Easter long weekend.

Bet: Rabbitohs line -10.5 – $1.90

Melbourne Storm versus Cronulla Sharks, AAMI Park, Saturday 7:35pm

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On Saturday, the Cronulla Sharks make the trip down to AAMI Park to square off against the Melbourne Storm in what looks to be the match of the round.

The Sharks have quietly strung together four wins in a row, their defence only giving up a measly four points in their last two contests. They will look to test their mettle against a Melbourne side who have scored 74 points across their last two games.

While AAMI Park has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Sharks in recent years, having lost their last three visits by 16 points or more, the acquisition of ex-Storm rookie Nicho Hynes has considerably changed the way they play, and he will be hungry to remind his old side of exactly what kind of player they let slip away.

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Expect the Sharks to bring their best footy and land a couple of blows but ultimately fall short in a thrilling battle between two top sides.

Bet: Storm to win 1-12 – $3

Multibet: Rabbitohs -10.5, Storm 1-12 – $5.70

AFL Round 5

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West Coast Eagles versus Sydney Swans, Optus Stadium, Friday 7:45pm

The Sydney Swans will make the trip to Optus Stadium on Good Friday to face off against an injury-riddled Eagles side, the latest addition to their injury list being star ruck man Nic Naitanui.

This match-up has been dominated by the Swans in recent history, having claimed 11 of the last 12 meetings between the teams.

James Rowbottom

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Swans barely avoided an embarrassing defeat to the Kangaroos last round. Isaac Heeney arrived late in the fourth quarter to save their blushes and move the team to 3-1 for the season.

Despite being heavy favourites, the fact they were able to overcome a late deficit and get the job done says a lot about this talented, young Sydney team.

Meanwhile, the Eagles scraped past the Pies for their first win of the season, a game they were lucky to win. Their three previous games saw them lose to the Suns, Kangas and Dockers, none of which are genuine contenders.

Expect the Swans to dominate the midfield battle and cruise past a battered and bruised Eagles side and further cement their spot among the title contenders.

Bet: Swans Line -10.5 – $1.90, Swans 25+ – $2.70

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Essendon Bombers versus Fremantle Dockers, Marvel Stadium, Sunday 4:40pm

A Sunday afternoon clash between the Dons and the Dockers is the only pick ’em match of the round. While some might have predicted this could be the year the Bombers finally contend for a flag, a rough start saw them lose to arguably the top three sides in the AFL in the Demons, Lions and Cats.

A very scrappy win over a frisky Crows side last around saw them finally break the duck and begin to get their season back on track.

On the other hand, the Dockers find themselves 3-1, a record that is surprising considering the absence of Nat Fyfe.

They put in a strong showing last round against the Giants at home, winning the final quarter 36-4, adding to wins against the Eagles and Crows.

Despite their opposite records, Essendon are slight favourites having won the last five matches between the pair.

Look for them to continue to build off last week’s win and claim another hard-fought victory on Sunday.

Bet: Bombers 1-39 – $2.40

Multibet: Swans -10.5, Bombers 1-39 – $4.56

NBA

Play-in Tournament: Los Angeles Clippers versus Minnesota Timberwolves

The recent return of Paul George has seen the Clippers win five of their last six games. The seven-time All Star is a huge addition for a scrappy team that have managed to earn the eighth seed despite missing George and his co-star Kawhi Leonard for most of the season.

Since his return George has averaged 22.5 points per game, 6.8 assists per game and 5.6 rebounds per game, which represents a respectable return from a lengthy lay-off.

Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Their opponents for the seventh seed play-in match are the Minnesota Timberwolves, an exciting young squad who have been another surprise package this season off the back of the electric Anthony Edwards and versatile big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

While the Timberwolves hold the home-court advantage, the Clippers come into the match with a 3-1 head-to-head record, all three victories coming with Paul George on the court, the lone defeat in his absence.

While I expect this to be a back-and-forth match-up, the Clippers have a lot more playoff experience, having reached the Western Conference Finals last season when they were defeated in six games by the Phoenix Suns.

It’s this kind of experience that will give them an edge over a young Timberwolves squad whose only player with significant playoff experience is veteran guard Patrick Beverley, who was previously a part of the Clippers’ squad in 2021.

My bet is that Paul George carries a heavy scoring load, and the Clippers lean on their stout defence and playoff experience to get the job done, securing the seventh seed and a fourth consecutive playoff berth.

Bet: LA Clippers to win and Paul George to score 25+ – $3.10

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