The Cronulla Sharks control their own destiny in terms of the #2 spot on the NRL ladder; as if they simply win on Saturday, they clinch that position. The Sharks were the hottest team in the league down the stretch, and they should be considered legitimate grand finals contenders after his recent run.
The Newcastle Knights are just ready for their 2022 rugby schedule to be over, which it will be after Saturday night’s match.
With a loss in the finale, the Knights could drop all the way down to 15th on the ladder, a disappointing season for a team that had finished in seventh place the last two seasons while making the finals.
Newcastle Knights vs. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Newcastle thought they had the right man for the rebuild as Adam O’Brien guided them to a top eight finish in each of his first two years on the job.
The Knights lost in the qualifying final in 2020 and the qualifying round in 2021 but all that momentum has stalled with a 6-17 record and a mere 14 points heading into the regular season finale.
The Newcastle Knights vs. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks best bets seem to be to just avoid the home team like the plague.
It is Old Boys Day as past Knights players, coaches, and management return to celebrate the team, but this is also a squad that has lost 9 of their last 10 at McDonald Jones Stadium and 7 of their last 8 overall.
Newcastle had been awarded the wooden spoon as the worst team in the NRL three times and missed the playoff the other two in the five years preceding O’Brien coming to the team.
Fighting for the Second Spot on the NRL Ladder
While sentimentality will be on display for the Knights in Saturday’s rugby picks, the Sharks actually have something legitimate to play for in the second spot on the ladder.
That would guarantee home games in the first and second rounds of the finals so that’s something Cronulla wants.
The Sharks are only the seventh highest scoring team in the league, but Nicholas Hynes is also the NRL’s fourth-leading scorer with 170 points.
Hynes’ production and solid defense have Cronulla in the spot they are in heading into the regular season finale.
Knights vs. Sharks Previous Scoreboards
The Newcastle Knights vs. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks best bets feature two teams heading in opposite directions.
The Sharks have gotten hot over the last three months of the season to win 10 of their last 11 games while Newcastle has been defeated in seven of their last eight.
What you worry about with the Knights here is that they aren’t just losing lately, they are getting beaten by horrible teams.
In the last five matches Newcastle has lost to the #15 Titans, the #8 Raiders (which isn’t a bad defeat), the coldest team in the league Brisbane and the #12 Bulldogs.
Knights vs. Sharks Analysis
Newcastle’s only win over their last five games was 14-10 against wooden spoon winner Wests Tigers who have a mere 10 points on the season.
The Knights have allowed at least 28 points in their last three games. The Sharks are moving in the opposite direction, rebounding from a 7-5 start to get to 17-6.
Cronulla’s defense has allowed six total points the last two weeks, and no team has scored more than 20 on their current five-game win streak. . .
Knights vs. Sharks Odds Breakdown
Can Newcastle Even Keep This Close?
The Knights lost 18-0 to the Sharks earlier this season, but they had won four straight in the series prior. Those may have been better Newcastle teams though, and when betting on rugby this week it may be best to avoid the Knights as they are +19.5 underdogs.
Sharks Look Like They’ll Cruise Into the Finals
The Sharks are -19.5 favorites and -770 favorites, meaning they’ll likely get the victory and wrap up the #2 seed for the double chance in the finals.
Knights vs. Sharks Betting Pick and Prediction
The Knights have lost three straight, but none of those have been by more than the 19.5 points they are getting on Saturday.
An 18-point loss to Brisbane was on the road, they hosted the possibly top eight Raiders and lost 28-22, and suffered a tough defeat to the Titans last week but that was also away.
Once the Sharks get up in this one, they’re just going to cruise and rest up for the finals.
NRL Pick: Knights +19.5 (1.83)
NRL Pick: Under 53.5 (1.91)