Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bulldogs Predictions: Back Ricky Stuart’s side for another narrow win

 | Thursday 16th May 2024, 9:22am

Thursday 16th May 2024, 9:22am

Canberra Raiders NRL 2023

The NRL Premiership’s annual Magic Round begins on Friday (kick-off 09:00 BST, 18:00 local) when Canberra Raiders and Canterbury Bulldogs meet in the first of eight games being played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium over the unique three-day weekend.

The Raiders and Bulldogs are both right in the middle of the early scramble to reach the top eight, with my Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bulldogs predictions reflecting the neck-and-neck nature of the mid-table field in 2024.

Canberra Raiders vs Canterbury Bulldogs Tips

  • Raiders to win by 1-5 points @ 5/1
  • Raiders to win first half @ 7/5

Team News

Ricky Stuart calls Jordan Rapana back into the Raiders line-up at full-back after having witnessed varying performances from youngster Chevy Stewart and Albert Hopoate in the absence due to a knee injury of the New Zealand international.

There’s still no Corey Horsburgh due to a groin injury, with Jamal Fogarty, Pasami Saulo, Zac Hosking and Corey Harawira-Naera all out for the foreseeable.

The Dogs name an unchanged squad from the side which pushed Penrith Panthers close last weekend before falling 16-10 at the BlueBet Stadium. Coach Cameron Ciraldo is still without Ryan Sutton, Chris Patolo, Karl Oloapu and Daniel Suluka-Fifita.

Raiders to win by 1-5 points @ 5/1

This is the third Magic Round meeting between these sides in four seasons, and they open the weekend’s festivities for the second year in succession.

And they have served up classics in their two previous Brisbane-based encounters, with the Raiders edging the 2021 clash 20-18 before winning out 34-30 in an end-to-end humdinger in ’23.

It’s the Bulldogs who have the edge according to the bookies, with Betfred offering 4/6 on them to win and a special price boost is available on the Dogs to score first, hold a half-time lead and win the game at 2/1 from 7/4.

I’m minded to go with ‘Sticky’ and the Raiders to find a way to win this one though, with this Bulldogs sympathiser not yet fully won over by the new dawn under Ciraldo. While they’ve been much more competitive this season than in similar years, the next few rounds will truly show whether the Doggies can challenge in 2024.

For now I’m backing the Raiders to keep on doing what they’ve done in recent years and hang on to the coattails of the top-end outfits. And with that in mind, I expect them to edge another to-and-fro battle with the Bulldogs, with the 5/1 odds on the 1-5-point margin implying a 16.7% probability of success.

Canberra Raiders to win by 1-5 points @ 5/1

Raiders to win first half @ 7/5

Given how tight this one is likely to be value isn’t easy to find. But 7/5 on the Raiders getting ahead before the break looks a nice offer.

The issue here is that they haven’t started their most recent games particularly well, with the last of their four half-time leads this season coming in round six against the Gold Coast Titans.

But having had a bye-week coming into this one, and off the back of a morale-boosting come-from-behind win over the Manly Sea Eagles in round nine, I can see Stuart and his troops being fully refreshed and quick off the mark for this one.

Canberra Raiders first half winners @ 7/5

You can read all our latest Super League Tips at our dedicated Betfred Insights Super League content hub.

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