We head into round 23 rugby picks with the Canberra Raiders needing some help to reach the finals. Currently, Canberra is in the ninth spot at 11-10, just a game back from Sydney for the last spot into the postseason. Check the Knights vs Raiders Betting Predictions below.
NRL Performance Recap
The Newcastle Knights (6-15) waved goodbye to their finals hopes weeks ago, and it has shown as they’ve lost five of their last six.
The Knights can still play spoilers, although it looks like they’d just rather have this season be over with and focus on 2023.
Teams’ Previous Scoreboard
The Knights don’t do a lot to exude confidence heading into this week’s rugby schedule. They did beat the West Tigers a couple of weekends ago, but that’s also the last place team on the ladder, and it was just a 14-10 victory, albeit on the road.
Aside from the win over Wests Tigers, the last Newcastle victory came on July 1st, 38-12, against the Titans.
Second Worst Team on the NRL Ladder
That match was at home, and Gold Coast is the second worst team on the NRL ladder, so Newcastle is 2-7 over their last nine, with both wins coming against the worst two teams in the league.
Canberra needs to take advantage of their draw this week, trailing Sydney by two points on the ladder and up against a bottom four team on the ladder.
The Raiders have done a good job of keeping their chances at the finals alive as winners of four of their last five matches – the lone loss over that span to minor premier champions Penrith.
Raiders Favorable Matchup
The Raiders get a favorable matchup on Sunday, but that’s what they thought they had last weekend before struggling to a 24-22 win over the Dragons, who are in 11th place on the ladder.
If this weekend’s Knights vs. Raiders betting predictions were like their earlier match, we should expect a close contest.
Canberra did end up prevailing 20-18 at home in round 15, but it was just another example of how evenly matched these teams have been the past couple of years.
Newcastle holds a 5-4 edge in the last nine head-to-head games these two clubs have played. Five of those contests have been decided by single digits, but perhaps the stakes are different in this meeting, with Canberra aiming for a shot in the finals?
Knights vs. Riders Betting Analysis
The stakes are definitely different for each of the clubs in Sunday’s game, but it’s still somewhat interesting that Canberra is a -10.5 road favorite for this match.
Make no mistake, the Raiders have been playing much better rugby over the past month than Newcastle, but it always seems like a battle when these two squads meet up.
The Raiders didn’t exactly impress last weekend against a bottom eight team in the Dragons (24-22 at home) and beat the Titans 36-24 three rounds ago, but that’s also the second worst team in the NRL. If Gold Coast can put up a fight, one would think that Newcastle could as well.
The total for Sunday’s match is 44.5, and although their previous meeting this season went under that number, nine of the previous 11 head-to-head games were over that total. The Knights have scored 14 points or less in five straight matches, however.
Being at Home No Advantage for Newcastle Knights
Some would think that Newcastle being at home could help them possibly score an upset on Sunday, but the truth is they’ve won just one of their last nine at McDonald Jones Stadium, giving up an average of 35 points over that span.
Unfamiliar Surroundings for Raiders
Canberra heads to McDonald Jones Stadium for the first time since 2017, and they lost that match 34-20. The stakes are different this season, though, as the Raiders need to be a game better than Sydney over the last three weekends of the season.
A win on Sunday is huge for Canberra, who play the already eliminated Manly next weekend and then close out the season against the last place Wests Tigers.
Sydney, meanwhile, plays the Wests Tigers this week but finishes with two tough matches against Melbourne, who is playing for a top four spot, and the Rabbitohs, who are finals bound as well.
Knights vs. Riders Betting Preview
This is a match that will more than likely go Canberra’s way, but the -10.5 point spread seems on the high side based on how close these teams have played each other over the years, starting with a drawback in 2016.
Canberra is -335 on the moneyline.
Knights vs. Riders Betting Predictions
Even though the points seem like a lot to cover and Canberra hasn’t visited McDonald Jones Stadium in a while, there’s just too much on the line for the Raiders not to dominate here.
Canberra has a pretty favorable draw in the last three rounds of the season, and it’s likely they finish 3-0 to get into the finals.
NRL Pick: Raiders -11.5 (-125)