NRL 2023 Round 18 – Betting Tips, Odds & Predictions

James Salmon
NRL Betting Tips
NRL 2024 Round 18
NRL 2023 Round 18

With just a couple of months left in the NRL home and away season, competition for spots within both the top four and top eight is hotting up. And with a number of games between similarly placed teams on the ladder this weekend, Round 18 looks likely to have a big say on the make up of the finals. A Sharks vs Dragons game on Thursday night isn’t anything to get too excited about, but it’s followed by a Friday night which will see the Warriors host the Rabbitohs and the Storm host the Panthers, while other big games over the weekend will see the Broncos take on the Dolphins and the Sea Eagles face the Roosters. We’ve previewed all eight games set to take place over this season-defining weekend of NRL action below.

Round 18 Fixtures

FixturesInfo (AEST)Home OddsAway Odds
Sharks vs DragonsThursday June 29 at 7.50pm$1.12$6.25
Warriors vs RabbitohsFriday June 30 at 6.00pm$1.70$2.15
Storm vs PanthersFriday June 30 at 8.00pm$1.77$2.05
Raiders vs TitansSaturday July 1 at 3.00pm$1.65$2.25
Cowboys vs TigersSaturday July 1 at 5.30pm$1.20$4.50
Broncos vs DolphinsSaturday July 1 at 7.35pm$1.32$3.40
Bulldogs vs KnightsSunday July 2 at 2.00pm$2.20$1.67
Sea Eagles vs RoostersSunday July 4.05pm$1.77$2.05

Cronulla Sharks vs St. George Illawarra Dragons

Round 18 doesn’t exactly kick off with the matchup of the year, with the fourth placed Sharks set to host the 17th-placed Dragons. After a couple of losses in a row the Sharks have been able to re-establish themselves inside the top four courtesy of a thumping 38-point win over the Bulldogs a fortnight ago and then a bye last week. That means they’ll be well-rested when they host a Dragons team which was sent tumbling back to last spot by a rampant Warriors team which beat them by 38 points last week. Blowouts like that have been relatively rare for the Dragons so far this season, but it’s a long season when you’re battling it out for the Wooden Spoon and with the Ben Hunt saga which surrounds them, it’s easy to see them finding it increasingly difficult to be competitive. This Thursday night could be a prime example of that. With the Sharks looking to solidify their spot inside the top four, they should be able to record a big victory on their home turf.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Sharks to win$1.10
Over 45.5 total match points$1.91
Sharks -18.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Cronulla-Sutherland SharksCronulla Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi  9. Blayke Brailey 10.Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane 14. Cam McInnes 15. Thomas Hazelton 16. Jack Williams 17. Wade Graham 18. Connor Tracey
19. Mawene Hiroti 20. Toby Rudolf 21. Braydon Trindall 22. Jesse Colquhoun

St. George Illawarra DragonsSt. George Illawarra Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Tautau Moga 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Ben Murdoch-Masila 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Talatau Amone 15. Michael Molo 16. Toby Couchman 17. Jaiyden Hunt 18. Ryan Couchman 19. Moses Mbye 20. Zane Musgrove 21. Max Feagai 22. Billy Burns

New Zealand Warriors vs South Sydney Rabbitohs

If ever there was an example of the folly nature of the NRL this year, it’s this game. A few short weeks ago, the Warriors were just hanging onto finals contention after a run of poor forms while the Rabbitohs had established themselves as the best team in the league behind the Panthers, and maybe not even behind them. Fast forward to Round 18, and suddenly the Warriors are back in fifth and the Rabbitohs are on the brink of the eight. The Warriors have been brilliant in June, winning three games by at least 22 points each and enjoying the points from the bye, too. Their latest win was a 30-point domination of the Dragons which took their record to 9-6 and got them within points difference of the top four. The Bunnies, meanwhile, have been dropping games for fun, and their 31-6 defeat at the hands of the improving Cowboys last weekend was their fourth in their last five matches. With the ladder as tight as it is, that’s seen them drop down to eighth, though they are just a game from fourth and as one of just a handful of teams to have not yet enjoyed the bye, they’ve still got a few extra points up their sleeve. Interestingly in relation to this game, the Warriors’ improvement this year has not come as a result of their form at home, where they’re just 4-3, and the Rabbitohs’ struggles come despite a 6-3 record on the road. That could be significant in this game. The Bunnies are the better side even if they’re not playing like it, and having travelled well this year they can continue the trend on Friday.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Rabbitohs to win$2.15
Rabbitohs 1-12$3.30
Rabbitohs +2$1.87

Predicted Squads

New Zealand WarriorsNew Zealand Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Jackson Ford 12. Josh Curran 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Mitch Barnett 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Tom Ale 18. Freddy Lussick 20. Brayden Wiliame 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Kalani Going 23. Zyon Maiu'u

South Sydney RabbitohsSouth Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Richard Kennar 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Hame Sele 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Michael Chee Kam 13. Cameron Murray 14. Siliva Havili 15. Shaq Mitchell 16. Davvy Moale 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Tyrone Munro 19. Taane Milne 20. Dean Hawkins 21. Peter Mamouzelos 22. Jacob Gagai

Melbourne Storm vs Penrith Panthers

After a lacklustre looking game on Thursday night, Friday well and truly lives up to the lofty standards expected of it, with the second a potential Grand Final preview between the Storm and the Panthers. We all know about the Panthers credentials; they are, of course, the reigning back to back Premiers and sit atop the NRL ladder with the best points difference by a country mile despite having probably not played their best throughout large parts of the year. Over the past few weeks, the Storm have begun to put their collective hand up as one of the most likely teams to stop them after an up and down start to the year. They’ve hit their stride over their past three matches, beginning with a 54-10 win over the Sharks. That’s been followed up by two more thumpings of first the Tigers and then the Sea Eagles, giving them an average margin of victory over those three games of 28 points. They’ve also conceded just 22 points in those games. That tightening of the screws has moved them into second place in the league in terms of points conceded this year; the Panthers, unsurprisingly, are first by a mile. That means scoring in this game will likely be mighty tough, particularly with the finals-like intensity at which it will probably be played. The Storm at home is a very tough ask for any team, but the Panthers have lost just one of their last six games. In a tight, low-scoring affair, they can break the Storm’s winning streak by a narrow margin.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Panthers to win$2.05
Under 38.5 total match points$1.91
Panthers +1.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Melbourne StormMelbourne Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tariq Sims 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 13. Josh King 14. Bronson Garlick 15. Alec Macdonald 16. Tui Kamikamica 17. Kane Bradley 18. Tyran Wishart 19. Tom Eisenhuth 20. Chris Lewis 21. Sualauvi Faalogo 22. Jonah Pezet

Penrith Panthers

Penrith Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Jack Cogger 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Soni Luke 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Zac Hosking 19. Matthew Eisenhuth
20. Luke Garner 21. Tyrone Peachey 22. Tom Jenkins

  • The Storm and the Panthers are the two teams who have conceded the least points in the NRL this season, with the Storm in particularly good defensive form of late having conceded just 22 in their last three games.
  • The Knights are 1-6 on the road so far this season.
  • The Cowboys have won two of their last three games by 25 points – and that was against the Rabbitohs and Storm. Meanwhile, the Tigers have lost their last two by at least 16 points.

Multi of the Week

Storm vs Panthers Under 38.5 Points$1.90
Bulldogs to win$2.20
Cowboys -14.5$1.95
Bet $10 for $81.51 with PlayUp

Canberra Raiders vs Gold Coast Titans

The Raiders are putting together one of the most incredible seasons in recent memory, partially for a reason they would be happy with and partially not. Sitting at 9-6 and in sixth place, their ability to win close games has been uncanny. Evidently that’s a good thing, but it also suggests that 9-6 might not be an accurate reflection of their ability. The streak continued last week with a two-point win over the Roosters, which took their points difference to -69 despite having won three more games than they’ve lost. How’s this for a stat; over their last ten games they have an 8-2 record, but have scored 15 points less than their opposition. That is truly bizarre and suggests a lot of luck has been involved, but also, the belief they have is clearly unparalleled and they just keep on winning. The Titans, meanwhile, have found some winning form of their own of late with two in a row along with the bye over the past three weeks putting them right on the edge of the top eight. They’ve tightened up defensively in that time, with last week’s 18-12 win over the Broncos particularly impressive. A performance like that will have them right in the mix to win this game. Based on the Raiders past form, this one will probably go down to the wire, and they will probably come away with the points.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Raiders 1-12$3.10
Raiders 1-5$7.00
Raiders to win$1.63

Predicted Squads

Canberra RaidersCanberra Raiders: 1. Sebastian Kris 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Pasami Saulo 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Nick Cotric 17. Ata Mariota 18. Brad Schneider 19. Danny Levi 20. Matt Frawley 21. Xavier Savage 22. Peter Hola

Gold Coast Titans

Gold Coast Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Sam Verrills 10. Tino Fa’asumaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Joe Stimson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Chris Randall 18. Iszac Fa'asuamaleaui 19. Jojo Fifita 20. Kruise Leeming 21. Klese Haas 22. Jacob Alick

North Queensland Cowboys vs Wests Tigers

What an interesting little resurgence from the Cowboys this is. At the beginning of June their chances of not just recreating their Preliminary Final appearance from last year, but making the finals at all, seemed close to lost. They were right near the bottom of the ladder with a 5-8 record and games against perhaps the best three teams in the league to come. Instead, they won them all, knocking off the Storm by 25 points, the Panthers by four points and last week the Rabbitohs by 25 points as well. Suddenly they’re 8-8 and right on the edge of the top eight, and as arguably the best side in the league it’s hard to see them not jumping into a finals spot soon – particularly with a game against the Tigers at home this week. After a spell of mostly competitive games the Tigers haven’t been particularly close in their past couple of games, losing by 16 points to the Titans then 22 to the Storm before their bye last week. They’ve shown an ability to be competitive against good teams – not least when they bizarrely beat the Panthers – but this is a tough matchup. The Cowboys, for all their struggles this year, have been really strong at home where they’re 6-2, and they’re now in some electric form that seems likely to get them back into the top eight. This should be an easy win for the home team.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Cowboys to win$1.20
Over 45.5 total match points$1.91
Cowboys -14.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

North Queensland CowboysNorth Queensland Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Semi Valemei 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki 18. Jason Taumalolo 19. Kyle Feldt 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Jack Gosiewski
22. Zac Laybutt

Wests TigersWests Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Starford To'a  5. Junior Tupou 6. Daine Laurie 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Jake Simpkin 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’I 12. Shawn Blore 13. John Bateman 14. Tallyn Da Silva 15. Fonua Pole 16. Alex Twal 17. Asu Kepaoa 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Will Smith
20. Tommy Talau 21. Justin Matamua 22. Aitasi James

Brisbane Broncos vs The Dolphins

Any question marks people have about the Broncos were brought to the surface last weekend when they went down in what looked like a very winnable game against the Titans at Lang Park. Tht game continued a trend which has seen the Broncos struggle on their home turf this year – they’re now 4-4 at home, compared to 7-1 on the road – and also saw them lose their handle on top spot. They remain in Brisbane this weekend but get a chance to get the job done on a different surface, and perhaps the Gabba will hold the key to breaking their home hoodoo. Realistically, it should. The Dolphins appear to at last be crashing back to earth after a first year which has seen them significantly exceed expectations and even put themselves in the mix for the finals. They’re still just a game out of the eight, but the way they’ve played of late they’ll struggle to get back in, particularly with the form of some of the teams in the bottom half of the eight or just outside it. The Dolphins haven’t had too many problems scoring the last few weeks, putting up 20 points last week and 18 before, but they’ve given up 30 points to the Warriors, 58 to the Sea Eagles and 48 to the Eels in that period. Against a team with as much potency with ball in hands as the Broncos, that doesn’t bode well. The Broncos need to bounce back this week if they’re to maintain their status as a legitimate Premiership contender, and they can do that with a big win.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Broncos to win$1.32
Over 47.5 total match points$1.91
Broncos -9.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Brisbane BroncosBrisbane Broncos: 1. Tristan Sailor 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Brendan Piakura 12. Xavier Willison 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Corey Jensen 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Martin Taupau 18. Jesse Arthars 19. Deine Mariner 20. Jock Madden 21. Tristan Sailor 22. Logan Bayliss-Brow

DolphinsThe Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Valynce Te Whare 5. Tesi Niu  6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan  8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Herman Ese’ese 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Ray Stone 14. Josh Kerr 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Connelly Lemuelu 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Max Plath 19. Harrison Graham 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Brayden McGrady 22. Kurt Donoghoe

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Canterbury Bulldogs vs Newcastle Knights

Sunday’s first game doesn’t exactly shape up as one for the ages, with the 15th placed Bulldogs taking on the 14th placed Knights. Neither of these teams has won since May; the Bulldogs in fairness have had a pretty tough draw and went within a point of the struggling Roosters, but they didn’t exactly put their best foot forward in a 22-point loss the Eels and then a 38-point defeat at the hands of the Sharks. The Knights, at least, have been really competitive in every game in what was also a tough June fixture for them. After a four-point loss to the Broncos and a two-point loss to the Roosters they faced the Panthers last weekend and certainly didn’t embarrass themselves, going down by just eight points to the Premiership favourites. They enter this game in better form despite the losses, but they’ve also really struggled on the road this year, winning just one of their seven games away from home. Heading to Canterbury isn’t exactly the most daunting task, but that record speaks for themselves. The Bulldogs can win a close one against the odds here.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Bulldogs to win$2.20
Bulldogs 1-12$3.40
Bulldogs +2.5$1.90

Predicted Squads

Canterbury-Bankstown BulldogsCanterbury Bulldogs: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Khaled Rajab 7. Matt Burton 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Tevita Pangai Junior 11. Jayden Okunbor 12. Jacob Preston 13. Kurtis Morrin 14. Harrison Edwards 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Franklin Pele 17. Jackson Topine 19. Reece Hoffman 20. Kyle Flanagan 21. Corey Waddell 22. Braidon Burns 23. Raymond Faitala-Mariner

Newcastle KnightsNewcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker18. Dylan Lucas 19. Brodie Jones 20. Lachlan Miller 21. Jack Johns 22. Adam Clune

Manly Sea Eagles vs Sydney Roosters

A couple of dominant victories over the past month and a half have given the Sea Eagles some cause for optimism, but unfortunately they haven’t been able to back it up with any sort of consistency and have lost their last two by 30 points to the Eels and 18 to the Storm, scoring just ten points in that time. What’s more, they’ve now lost Tom Trbojevic for the season due to a pectoral injury he sustained at the beginning of Origin Game 2, which probably all but rules them out of finals contention. The Roosters, meanwhile, will still see themselves as right in the hunt despite their poor form and litany of injuries, particularly given many of those injured players are due to return soon. Incredibly, four of their past five games have been decided by two points or less after another thriller against the Raiders last weekend, but they went down in that one to take their record in those games to 2-2. They’re not a particularly formidable side at the moment, but with Trbojevic gone it’s easy to see the wind coming out of the Sea Eagles’ sail on the run home. On the road, the Roosters should be able to wrap up the round with a comfortable victory which will get them right back onto the edge of the top eight.

BookmakerJames’ TipOdds
Roosters to win$2.05
Roosters 7+$2.95
Roosters +1.5$1.87

Predicted Squads

Manly Warringah Sea EaglesManly Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Ben Trbojevic 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Aaron Woods 18. Jake Arthur 19. Morgan Harper 20. Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega 21. Karl Lawton 22. Sean Keppie

Sydney Roosters Sydney Roosters : 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sandon Smith 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Turpin 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Victor Radley12. Naufahu Whyte 13. Nathan Brown 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Terrell May 16. Siua Wong 17. Fletcher Baker 18. Junior Pauga 19. Corey Allan 20. Zach Dockar-Clay 21. Nat Butcher 22. Dylan Napa

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