NRL Betting: Brisbane Broncos can cover the Handicap in close encounter with North Queensland Cowboys

NRL Betting: North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos are going head-to-head this Friday in a repeat of last year’s Grand Final.

Recommended bet: Brisbane Broncos (+6 points handicap) @ 1/1 (2.00) with Betway

It’s a repeat of last year’s Grand Final on Friday evening at the 1300SMILES Stadium, as North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos go head-to-head as they chase a coveted Preliminary final spot.

To say that there’s little to choose between these Queensland rivals in recent clashes is an understatement, with them having met three times in the past year and each game having been decided by a solitary point, with two matches going into golden point.

The Grand Final last year ended as a 17-16 golden point win for the Cowboys, with the Broncos gaining some form of revenge with a 21-20 golden point victory at the Suncorp Stadium, before the Cowboys won the last meeting 19-18 in Townsville in May.

North Queensland lost 16-10 at AAMI Park to Melbourne Storm last weekend, meaning they now have a longer route to the Grand Final as a consequence.  For their part, the Broncos were unconvincing in seeing off the Gold Coast Titans 44-28 in last week’s sudden-death elimination final to ensure that they lived to fight another day.  It was a victory that stretched their winning run to six matches, but they were poor defensively throughout and will need to tighten up considerably against the Cowboys.

Home advantage has to be taken into account here, with the North Queensland having won 11 of their 12 matches on home turf this season.  Their one loss – 16-8 to Melbourne Storm at the end of July – coincided with the absence of Johnathan Thurston with a hamstring injury.

This will be the third season in succession that North Queensland have faced Brisbane in the finals and it’s worth noting that the Cowboys have won all five previous meetings against the Broncos in the Finals series.

The Cowboys are justified favourites for this game and they may well prevail, but it would be a surprise were this to be anything other than another closely fought encounter.  There will probably be more than a point in it this time, but it still looks worth backing the Broncos on the Handicap +6 points to ensure that this is another nail-biting game that goes to the death.