The 2022 NRL rugby schedule is winding down as we head into round 22 of play. One of the highlights of this weekend (outside of Penrith vs. Melbourne) is the second-ranked North Queensland Cowboys visiting the eighth-seeded Sydney Roosters.
The Cowboys (15-5) won’t catch the 18-2 Panthers atop the ladder, but they still need victories with the 14-6 Sharks hot on the trail. The Roosters (11-9) are in a different spot, just trying to survive.
Sydney is in the final spot for a berth in the finals, but the 10-10 Raiders are one of three teams within two games of the Roosters for that last position.
NRL Scoreboards Record
Sydney has played their way into a potential finals berth on the heels of four straight victories. They ran a gauntlet towards the end of June that featured losses to:
Three of the top five teams in the league – before going on a march of wins.
The most impressive win for the Roosters on their current stretch is 34-16 against the Broncos last Thursday, a team a slot ahead of them on the ladder.
Sydney has an easy one next weekend against the Wests Tigers but may find it difficult holding on to the eighth spot as they close out with Melbourne and the Rabbitohs, who are both headed to the finals.
North Queensland continues to be one of the more popular betting picks as they’ve won seven of their last eight matches. The Cowboys did fall 26-12 to the Sharks on July 15th but have since rattled off three in a row.
Step Up In Competition
North Queensland does get a step up in competition for the Roosters vs. Cowboys betting predictions. The last three opponents for the Cowboys have been #15 Wests Tigers (27-16), the #11 Dragons (34-8), and the #12 Bulldogs (28-14) last Saturday.
The Cowboys look for a little revenge in this match after Sydney dominated them 28-4 back in round four. That’s the fourth straight win in the head-to-head series for the Roosters, who have come out on top in nine of the last 12 with North Queensland since 2014.
Sydney Roosters vs. North Queensland Cowboys Betting Analysis
Despite being #8 in the standings compared to their opponents, who are second, Sydney is a -3.5 favorite in round 22 rugby betting picks.
Some of that has to do with being at home, and some of that spread is based on the Roosters winning rather handily earlier this season and holding a four-game win streak over the Cowboys.
Sydney also needs this match more as they are hanging on to the eight seed but with a couple of tough opponents to close out the year.
North Queensland has turned their season around and have clinched a finals berth, so they may be slightly less motivated down the stretch.
The Roosters are -167 on the moneyline, but the Cowboys have some value for the upset at +132 as they are 15-5 on the season after all.
Saturday’s total is 46.5, and Sydney has scored at least 28 points in each of their four consecutive wins over North Queensland.
The biggest question whether this match goes ‘over’ or ‘under’ is if the Cowboys can get their offense going after being held to 18 or less during the four-match head-to-head losing streak.
Sydney Tries to Hang On
James Tedesco has been on a roll for the Roosters, and he’ll try to keep that form against the second-best away team in the NRL in what will be Teddy’s 200th career NRL appearance.
Tedesco has also been a dominant force against North Queensland, with five try assists in three matches.
Joseph Suaalii has also been a major factor for the Roosters, with 13 tries in his last 13 games. Sam Walker is second in the NRL with 157 points, so Sydney has some talent and depth.
North Queensland Aims to Stop Skid
For all their acclaim this season, a fifth straight loss to Sydney would definitely sting for the Cowboys.
North Queensland has some momentum with seven wins in their last eight games, but the competition has been lackluster, too, as Cronulla is the only top-eight team the Cowboys have beaten during that stretch.
North Queensland’s Valentine Holmes leads the NRL with 182 points, so the Cowboys have firepower too, but will it be enough to get a win at the Sydney Cricket Ground?
Roosters vs. Cowboys Betting Preview
The -3.5 line favoring the Roosters seems fair, as they are at home and have dominated the head-to-head series.
To some, that number may also appear on the low side, considering Sydney’s average margin of victory has been 20 points in the last four matches against North Queensland.
Roosters vs. Cowboys Betting Prediction
This may very well be a new and improved Cowboys team, but their 7-1 record over the last eight isn’t that impressive when you take into account the poor quality of competition. Take Sydney -3.5
NRL Pick: Roosters +4.5 (13/15)