Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Newcastle Knights will clash on Friday, April 1, in the third round of the 2022 National Rugby League (NRL). It will mark their first meeting since August 15, 2021, when Newcastle Knights claimed their fourth consecutive head-to-head win, and according to the latest rugby betting odds, the Newcastle outfit should make it five in a row at the end of this week.
But can Knights deliver up to the expectations and bounce back following a devastating loss against Penrith Panthers last week, or will Sharks step up to the plate and upset the favorites in this NRL spectacle?
Last Game Records
Newcastle Knights enter this bout with a 2-1 record, having won their opening matches of the season against Sydney Roosters (20-6) and West Tigers (26-4), but they couldn’t deliver on Saturday when Knights had to admit defeat to Panthers (20-38). Although a painful defeat, the Knights were expected to struggle in that match, as they were +290 underdogs according to the Rugby League betting odds for that match.
The Sharks have managed the same 2-1 record after three rounds of play, albeit with different results. They started the 2022 season with a 19-24 defeat against Canberra Raiders but bounced back in style with back-to-back wins against Parramatta Eels (16-18) and St George Illawarra Dragons (36-12), who they bested last Thursday.
Knights and Sharks will lock horns on Friday, April 1, at 6:00 pm local time (AEDT) at Shark Park in Sydney, Australia.
Cronulla Sharks at Newcastle Knights Betting Analysis
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks enter this bout as -250 favorites, whereas Newcastle Knights are priced as +210 underdogs. Although the offer makes a lot of sense, this is also the first time since August 2018 that the Sharks are expected to win.
Ever since then, the Sharks lost four bouts with the Knights with 8-14, 10-28., 22-26, and most recently by 14-16, when these two teams last met in August 2021.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have been holding on well so far this season. Although their record is not perfect, nor is it very impressive, the Sharks are 2-1 three rounds in and are on a two-game winning streak.
They started the new season with a shock 19-24 defeat against Canberra Raiders, but they didn’t need long to bounce back, collecting back-to-back wins against the Eels (16-18) and Dragons (36-12).
With that record, the Sharks hold the sole position of the no.3 team in the NRL standings, with four points and a 73-52 points difference.
Newcastle Knights have managed the same 2-1 record after three rounds of play, albeit in the opposite direction. Knights started the new season strongly, picking up two wins against Roosters (20-6) and Tigers (26-4) before they had to admit defeat to the current league leaders, Penrith Panthers (20-28), who defeated them on Saturday.
But despite losing that bout, the Knights held on well, and they had their chances to cause an upset. Most notably, the Knights had to play without Barnett, who got sent off in the 33rd minute, so perhaps we should take that loss with a grain of salt.
Newcastle Knights won’t be able to count on Mitch Barnett, who is set for a lengthy sting on the sidelines after he received the honor to be the first player of 2022 to get sent off. The forward earned the suspension with a high elbow in the Knights’ game against Panthers last weekend, and while there are no official statements on his status, he could be spending multiple weeks out of action.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have not announced any new changes to its roster, meaning we should see the same lineup from last week.
Cronulla Sharks at Newcastle Knights Betting Preview
Knights have won four of the last five head-to-head meetings with the Sharks, albeit they enter this match as +210 underdogs, which makes a lot of sense, knowing that they’ll be missing Barnett for this match and likely until the end of April.
Moreover, the Sharks have shown a lot more over the season so far and should be set to beat the Knights for the first time in almost four years. But even though the Knights will miss a key player and are looking like the weaker team, we wouldn’t count them out just yet.
Admittedly, the game is played in Sydney, at the Sharks’ home stadium, but the Knights have done well here last time out. They’re still 1-4 across the last five H2Hs at Shark Park, but we wouldn’t count them out just yet.
Cronulla Sharks at Newcastle Knights Betting Prediction
The line for this match is set at 7.5, which offers an excellent opportunity to back the outsiders to keep it close. Even though it won’t be easy for the Knights to compete on Friday without key players and on the road, they have shown enough so far this season for us to see them as a threat.
Sharks have had some solid performances as well and definitely deserve to be priced as the heavy favorites, but can they actually cover the spread? They lost against the Raiders (19-24) by five points in the season opener, edged past the Eels by two points (18-16), and defeated the Dragons by 24, granted it was largely thanks to Hynes N., who had a phenomenal showing on the day.
How to bet on Cronulla Sharks at Newcastle Knights
There is no denying that the Sharks are the most likely victors for this bout, but we have to trust the Knights to keep it close. They’ve won all of the last four head-to-head meetings with the Sharks, which should give them a mental edge.
Admittedly, the Knights are not a very good away team (4-8 last season), but it’s not like the Sharks are a very good home team either (6-6 last season). For this rugby betting prediction, we will trust the visitors to keep it close!
Prediction: Knights +7.5 -110