NRL 2024 Least Wins Wooden Spoon Betting – Odds, Tips & Predictions

By: James Salmon
NRL Betting Tips
NRL 2024 Wooden Spoon
NRL Least Wins Wooden Spoon 2024

After the Dragons and Tigers entered the season as the runaway favourites to end it on the bottom of the ladder, the Titans have since taken over favouritism following a disastrous start to the season. After coming in to shorter than even money odds they have softened a little in the betting courtesy of some more competitive form, but the market has maintained a clear top grouping of teams, each of which is separated relatively substantially from one another. On this page, we will take a look at all of the teams who still have any sort of chance of finishing on the bottom of the ladder.

NRL 2024 Wooden Spoon Favourites

Gold Coast Titans

The Titans were hoping to show some improvement this year after finishing 13th then 14th over the past two years, but four thumpings and an ACL injury to their captain and best player in the opening month quickly put paid to that hope. Following those hefty defeats they skyrocketed into favouritism in this market, overtaking the previously highly fancied Dragons and Tigers, and at one point got to as low as $1.60 with most betting sites. Gradually, however, they managed to become a little more competitive, with a one-point loss to the Raiders followed by a four-point loss to the Titans before, finally, they secured their first win for the season in their seventh game. That was against the Warriors in New Zealand, no mean feat for any team, let alone a winless one. That saw their odds drift a little, but at the time of writing they are still the comfortable favourite to end the season on the bottom of the ladder. Given the improvement they have displayed in recent weeks, however, they don’t necessarily look like great value at even money so far out from the end of the season, and there is every chance that they will drift further as the season wears on.

  • What brings them here? The Titans would have hopes to have been well away from this conversation, but a really bad start to the season and a disastrous ACL injury to their skipper has catapulted them into favouritism.
  • What has changed? Very little changed for the Titans in the off-season. They lost Kruise Leeming to Wigan, and brought in Keenan Palasia from the Broncos and Harley Smith-Shields from the Raiders.
  • Injury update: Tino Fa’asuamaleaui is, as mentioned, out for the season with an ACL injury, while Jayden Campbell is expected back late in May or early June following a knee injury. 

Bet on the Titans to have the least wins @ $2.00 with GetSetBet 

South Sydney Rabbitohs

What a disaster it is for the Rabbitohs to find themselves in this discussion at all, let alone the second favourite to finish on the bottom. They came into this year with Premiership aspirations, but their season has fallen apart incredibly quickly. A 36-24 loss to the Sea Eagles in Las Vegas was a disappointing but forgivable way to start the season, and a ten-point defeat at the hands of the Broncos could fit into the same category, but the nature of their losses got worse very quickly. A 44-point loss to the Roosters followed, a fortnight later went down 34-4 to the Warriors, and a couple of weeks after that gave up 54 points in a 34-point defeat to the Storm. Head coach Jason Demetriou was, unsurprisingly, let go after the latest of those defeats, and with an interim coach in charge and a whole lot of uncertainty off the field, it’s hard to imagine the on-field results getting better in a hurry. The Rabbitohs do have a lot more talent than most of the other teams around them in this conversation and, if they can find a way out of this hole in which they currently find themselves, could win a few games over the rest of the season, but for the time being they seem destined to continue to struggle. They’ve been the worst performed team of the year at the time of writing, and are far from the worst option in this market.

  • What brings them here? This year has been a disaster, and there are no two ways around it. A dreadful run of results to start the year have seen the Rabbitohs go from a potential contender, to a team trying to stay off the bottom of the ladder.
  • What has changed? Not all that much has changed from last year on the field for the Rabbitohs. Jack Wighton is a big in from the Raiders while Sean Keppie came across from Manly, and leaving was Hame Sela, Daniel Suluka-Fifita, Blake Taaffe and Jed Cartwright.
  • Injury report. The Rabbitohs do have a few injuries, though not enough to explain their dreadful performances this year. Lachlan Ilias is out indefinitely with a leg injury, while Tevita Tatola won’t be available till late in the year courtesy of a foot injury. Likewise Campbell Graham, who is out with a sternum injury, while Alex Johnston and Latrell Mitchell should be handy inclusions in early-mid May following a hamstring and suspension respectively.

Bet on the Rabbitohs to have the least wins @ $4.00 with GetSetBet 

Wests Tigers

 

The Tigers were never expected to be world beaters in Benji Marshall’s first year as head coach; they have won the Wooden Spoon in each of the last two years, after all. And while they haven’t exactly set the world on fire, they have been reasonably competitive for the most part, and with a couple of early season wins have managed to work their way out of favouritism to finish on the bottom again. They picked up their first win of the season in just their second game and in very impressive fashion, knocking off the Sharks – who at the time of writing seven games into their year, haven’t lost again – by 26 points. The next week they backed that up with a one-point defeat of the Eels, though four consecutive defeats by increasingly big margins followed those two wins. Still, that was a reasonably tough run, with the latter two of those defeats coming at the hands of the Panthers and the Broncos, teams that nobody expects the Tigers to get near. They are still a pretty average team, but Marshall’s start to his tenure has been far from a disaster. With the Titans and Rabbitohs struggling so badly the Tigers certainly don’t look like the worst team in the league, but there is no denying that there is still a long road ahead of them to become relevant once again in the NRL. With their odds having ballooned out in this market to start the year, it’s not the worst time to bet on a team which has become very accustomed to being on the bottom of the ladder in recent years.

  • What brings them here? The Tigers have spent a lot of time at the bottom of the ladder lately, and while they are very, very gradually improving, they are still most likely a bottom four side this year.
  • What has changed? Obviously Benji Marshall in as head coach is a big change, but on the field a lot has changed too. They’ve lost quite a few players, probably most notably Luke Brooks, though Justin Olam is a big in as he comes across from the Storm.  
  • Injury report. Adam Doueihi unfortunately suffered a knee injury that will keep him out until around Round 17, while Junior Tupou has a foot injury. That aside, the Tigers are pretty healthy.

Bet on the Tigers to have the least wins @ $6.00 with GetSetBet 

Newcastle Knights

The Knights looked like they were going to be a bottom four side for much of last season, until suddenly, they won nine games in a row, finished fifth and made their way into the semi finals. They did lose quite a few big names in the off-season, but equally they picked up a few handy players, and that change combined with their erratic 2023 season made predicting their fortunes this year a pretty difficult task. So far, they are looking a little more like the team they were in the first half of last year than the latter stages. They’ve suffered a number of really disappointing defeats, including a 16-point loss to the Raiders in Round One and a 24-point defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs. But on the other side of the coin, they have been competitive against the best teams, knocking off the Storm by two points and losing by just two points to the Roosters, while they also suffered close defeats at the hands of both the Cowboys and the Warriors. They should realistically be good enough to avoid bottom spot and will still be eyeing off a spot in the finals, but there are a lot of good teams floating around in the NRL. It seems more than likely that the Knights will drop off after their fifth place finish last year and potentially significantly, and a long-term injury to Kalyn Ponga will make repeating that effort close to impossible. It will be interesting to see how they deal with life without the reigning Dally M Medallist, but even without him, a Wooden Spoon still seems pretty improbable.

  • What brings them here? The Knights endured a couple of really disappointing losses early in the season, and with so many good teams around that is enough to have them in this conversation.  
  • What has changed? Dominic Young is a significant loss for the Knights after he led them in tries last season, while they’ve also lost Kurt Mann, Bailey Hodgson, Simi Sasagi, Lachlan Miller, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Adam Clune. On the flip side, they will welcome Jack Cogger and Thomas Jenkins from the Panthers, as well as Jed Cartwright from the Rabbitohs, and Will Pryce and Kai Pearce-Paul from abroad.
  • Injury report. Kalyn Ponga will be out until about Round 20 with his foot injury, while a host of players including Greg Marzhew, Jed Cartwright and Tyson Frizell are due back in early May.

Bet on the Knights to have the least wins @ $10.00 with GetSetBet 

Parramatta Eels

We’re beginning to get to the real outsiders now, beginning with a Parramatta team that was in the Grand Final against the Panthers as recently as 2022. The Eels, looking to get back into the finals after missing out last year, started the season reasonably well with two wins in their first three games, but a loss to the Tigers followed by a 41-8 defeat at the hands of the Raiders was a worrying fortnight. They bounced back with a solid win over the Cowboys, but a 44-16 loss to the Dolphins the next week made it three really poor performances in the space of a month. The Eels aren’t playing particularly well, something which certainly hasn’t been aided by the absence of Mitchell Moses through a foot injury, and with Clint Gutherson now ruled out for over a month following knee surgery, they could be in for a tough few weeks. It’s beginning to look like returning to the finals might be a tough ask for the Eels, but while they might have to reset expectations for the season, it would be a huge surprise to see them end the year at the bottom of the ladder. They are better than at least a handful of teams, and should be looking to clock up double-figure wins this year – certainly more than enough to see them avoid the Wooden Spoon.

  • What brings them here? The Eels haven’t had an ideal start to the season with a couple of really poor performances standing out, and injuries to key players have only compounded their issues.
  • What has changed? Not too much has changed on field for the Eels. Waqa Blake has been moved on while Josh Hodgson and Andrew Davey retired, and they picked up a couple of Sea Eagles in Morgan Harper and Kelma Tuilagi. field for the Eels. Waqa Blake has been moved on while Josh Hodgson and Andrew Davey retired, and they picked up a couple of Sea Eagles in Morgan Harper and Kelma Tuilagi.
  • Injury report. As mentioned, Gutherson is expected to be out till Round 14 while Moses is due back a couple of weeks earlier. The Eels have a couple of longer term injuries on their injury list too, with Arthur Miller-Stephen out for the year with a knee injury, Haze Dunster unavailable until the last couple of months of the season with a foot, and Ofahiki Ogden on a similar timeline with a pec. Toni Mataele should be available just before Moses from his hamstring injury.ep him out until Round 11. Matt Doorey is due back from a facial fracture in about Round 10. 

Bet on the Eels to have the least wins @ $15.00 with GetSetBet 

Canberra Raiders

The Raiders were at the head of the pack behind the Dragons and the Tigers entering the season in this market, but they have been pretty strong to start and may have already done close to enough to avoid finishing on the bottom of the ladder, even if things go terribly wrong from here. They opened the season with consecutive big wins against first the Knights and then the Tigers, and after two losses which followed they bounced back with a 33-point win over the Eels, then just edged out the Titans to take their record to 4-2. In keeping with the trend to that point in the season, they subsequently lost two games in a row, but nonetheless with four wins to their name at that point already it’s hard to imagine them finishing last. Most likely they will only need another win or two, if that, to stay off bottom spot, so it’s easy to see why their odds have ballooned out as much as they have. The Raiders are not a fantastic team but they have shown an ability to play at a decent level in multiple games so far this year, and even if they slow down a little they should still be winning reasonably regularly for the rest of the year. Whether they can play finals might be the more potent question than whether they will finish last at this point in time, and while their odds are juicy in this market, that is for good reason.

  • What brings them here? The Raiders were expected by many to drop off a little this year, but they have enjoyed a relatively strong start to 2024 which has all but ruled them out of this race.
  • What has changed? A whole lot. They lost a bunch of players including Jake Averillo, Corey Waddell, Kyle Flanagan, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Paul Alamoti, but among their raft of ins were Stephen Crichton and Jaeman Salmon from the Panthers, Blake Taaffe and Daniel Sufuka-Fifita from the Rabbitohs, Kurt Mann from the Knights and Jake Turpin and Drew Hutchison from the Roosters.
  • Injury report. The Raiders have a bit going on in terms of injuries. Corey Harawira-Naera remains out indefinitely, as does Zak Hosking, and Pasami Saulo doesn’t yet have a timeline either. Jamal Fogarty will be out until about Round 20 with a bicep injury, while Jordan Rapana and Corey Horsburgh are due back between Rounds 11 and 13 from their injuries.

Bet on the Raiders to have the least wins @ $21.00 with GetSetBet 

Canterbury Bulldogs ($8.00)

The Bulldogs needed to show some improvement this year in Cameron Ciraldo’s second season in charge, having dropped from 12th to 15th last season, and after a slow start they appear to be showing signs of just that. Their start to the year was a disaster, with hefty losses to the Eels and the Sharks in their first two games, but for the next five weeks they were pretty solid. They picked up their first win of the season in emphatic fashion against the Titans before trading wins for losses for the next month or so, but those losses were both by four points or less – one of them an impressive two-point defeat to the Storm – while they knocked off the Roosters and smashed the Knights. The signs are there that this side is slowly beginning to develop into one which could compete for the finals, and as the odds suggest they should be able to stay well away from the bottom of the ladder this season. They have made something of a home in the bottom four for an extended period of time now, but barring a disaster this team won’t be winning the Wooden Spoon this year, and even at long odds they are not worth a bet.

  • What brings them here? The Bulldogs have long been in contention for the Wooden Spoon, and while they still aren’t world beaters this year they should easily be good enough to avoid bottom spot.
  • What has changed? Stephen Crichton is joined by former Penrith teammate Jaeman Salmon in coming across from Penrith, while Blake Taaffe comes over from the Rabbitohs, Kurt Mann from the Knights, Jake Turpin and Drew Hutchison from the Roosters and Josh Currnan from the Warriors. Obviously those gains have been accompanied by a few losses, too; Jake Averillo goes to the Dolphins, Kyle Flanagan and Raymond Faitala-Mariner to the Dragons, Corey Waddell to the Sea Eagles, and Paul Alamoti to Penrith amongst others.
  • Injury report. Karl Oloapu is out indefinitely with a neck injury, while Chris Patolo won’t be available until Rounds 14-16 with his knee injury. Elsewhere, Daniel Suluka-Fifita and Ryan Sutton are expected to be available from Round 12.

Bet on the Bulldogs to have the least wins @ $26.00 with GetSetBet 

St. George Illawarra Dragons

Coming into this season the Dragons were right up there with the Tigers for favouritism in this market, and even after the Titans’ dreadful start saw them skyrocket into that position, the Dragons still looked likely to be right in the mix to end up on the bottom of the ladder. Very quickly, however, that has all changed. After being trounced in their second and third games of the year, they went on to win three of their next four, knocking off the Sea Eagles, Tigers, and perhaps most impressively of all, the Warriors to take their record to 4-3. A 42-point thrashing at the hands of the Roosters the following week was a reminder that this team is still a pretty average one, but by banking those early season wins they have all but put themselves out of the running to finish on the bottom of the ladder. Most likely, they would need to lose just about every game for the rest of the season in order to win the Wooden Spoon, and while they will likely lose more than they win, it is difficult to imagine that transpiring.

  • What brings them here? The Dragons just dodged the Wooden Spoon last year and looked likely to be in a similar spot this year, but those early season wins have seen them work their way out of contention for bottom spot.
  • What has changed? A fair bit. A lot of trades were made in the off-season, with Jayden Sullivan likely their most significant loss – even more so in the context of the Wooden Spoon race given he went to the Tigers – but Raymond Faitala-Mariner coming in amongst a host of others.
  • Injury report. The Dragons are reasonably healthy at the time of writing. Corey Allan will miss the season with a knee injury, but that aside there are only a couple of short-termers for them to worry about.

Bet on the Dragons to have the least wins @ $34.00 with GetSetBet 

Our Prediction

There has been plenty of change in this market already this season, and it’s likely that there will be a lot more as the year wears on. The Titans have established themselves as the favourite for good reason, but they have started to look a lot more competitive in recent weeks and at short odds, don’t look like a great bet. One team which appears to be heading in the other direction is the Tigers. They’ve spent plenty of time at the bottom of the ladder in recent years, owning the ignominious title of two-time reigning Wooden Spooners, and while they’ve looked okay in their start to life under Benji Marshall, that solid start has gradually been fading and a few more hefty losses are beginning to eventuate. With the Titans capable of winning a few more games if they keep being as competitive as they have been of late, the Rabbitohs a complete unknown but a team which should be good enough to avoid last spot, and a couple of other Wooden Spoon contenders having notched up early wins, the Tigers look like the best value pick in this market at the time of writing.  

Statistics

  • Only 2 sides have won the NRL Premiership within 2 years of winning the Wooden Spoon, – the Panthers in 2003 and the Sharks in 2016. No team has ever won the NRL Premiership the year after a Wooden Spoon win.

Most Wooden Spoons Won

  • 17 – Western Suburbs Magpies (now defunct), lastly in 1999.
  • 14 – Parramatta Eels – most Wooden Spoon finishes among current clubs.

Least Wooden Spoons Won

  • The Wests Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles and St George Illawarra Dragons have never won the Wooden Spoon, while the Canberra Raiders finished last only once in their maiden year in the NRL competition in 1982.

Most ‘successful’ Wooden Spoon turnaround team

  • The 2009 Sydney Roosters finished last and bounced back to reach the 2010 NRL Grand Final but were denied the ultimate turnaround after being defeated by the St George Illawarra Dragons in the ‘big dance’.

James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.

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