Rabbitohs v Cowboys tips & betting predictions; NRL Rd 17

Souths v Cowboys preview

Welcome to our South Sydney-North Queensland betting preview and free tips for their clash at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Friday, July 9.

This match has been switched to Newcastle from Stadium Australia in Sydney to comply with Queensland government restrictions, to allow the Cowboys to fly back to that state without any issue.

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Bookies have rated Souths as short-priced favourites to win, though it will certainly be a great test of their depth with five players lost to Origin duty this week.

The Rabbits must make do without second-rowers Jai Arrow and Cameron Murray, hooker Damien Cook, centre Dane Gagai and fullback Latrell Mitchell.

Souths will be pleased to not be losing their halves Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker to NSW duty, and that pair will have a point to prove after being overlooked as possible injury replacements for Blues casualties Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai.

South coach Wayne Bennett has named veteran playmaker Benji Marshall as hooker in place of Cook and it will be fascinating to see how he copes with starting after being used most often as a utility off the bench.

To balance things out a little the Cowboys have lost three players to Queensland: big bopper Francis Molo, Origin first timer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and fullback Valentine Holmes.

Souths have won the past five matches between these teams but remarkably three of those games have been decided by a single point.

In their only meeting in 2020, the Rabbitohs won 31-30 in Townsville thanks to a late try then an Adam Reynolds field goal in the 79th minute.

Start:7.55pm AEST, July 9
Venue:McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Head-to-head odds:Rabbitohs ($1.15) v Cowboys ($5.50)
Line betting: Rabbitohs -16.5 ($1.90) v Cowboys +16.5 ($1.90)
Premiership odds: Rabbitohs $5.50; Cowboys $251

South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys tips

Our NRL betting expert has examined the markets and some value Rabbitohs v Cowboys tips:

Souths -16.5 points/match total over 46.5

The Rabbitohs are sitting in third place with only three losses for the season, and they have never had trouble racking up big scores. It’s a substantial line but the replacements for the Origin players should be hungry to do well and cement a place with a big finals campaign looming.

Benji Marshall to score a try

The quick-stepping veteran will be tested by the workload in the middle of the field, but he should really shine in attack with plenty of ball in hand. He still knows how to sniff out a try even at 36 with 337 NRL games under his belt.

Rabbitohs vs Cowboys prediction 9/7

The Rabbitohs are chasing a fifth straight win and still loom as the biggest dangers to the Storm and Panthers in the race for the NRL title. This will test them, but their opponents are really struggling to find form at the moment. They have tumbled to 10th on the table and have suffered ugly losses in recent matches against Newcastle, Cronulla and Manly. Souths are a quality outfit and should get the job done comfortably. Our final Rabbitohs-Cowboys prediction: Rabbitohs by 24 points.

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