With the Dragons, Panthers, Warriors and Tigers sitting at the top of the ladder, the 2018 NRL season isn’t going like most people anticipated. However, one area that has remained consistent in recent years is the early-season low-scoring games.

Through the first six rounds of the 2018 NRL season, the number of points scored has fallen Under the points total in 55% of matches. Over the last 10 seasons, only two have ended with the Over cashing in more than the Under in the same period.

It’s a consistent trend that punters can rely on. However, it doesn’t last forever.

Who are the culprits so far?

Team% of games UnderTeam% of games Under
Canberra50%North Queensland50%
Gold Coast33%South Sydney67%
Manly33%St George-Illawarra50%
Melbourne50%Sydney Roosters50%
NZ Warriors67%Wests Tigers67%


There aren’t too many surprises here.

The Titans and Sea Eagles are both inconsistent sides that have been subject to some heavy defeats. Both have featured in games where the opposition covered the points total themselves.

For the Bulldogs, Sharks and Eels, it’s their own lack of attack that sees so many of their games finish Under. Defensively they aren’t atrocious, but they are the three lowest-scoring teams in the NRL with the Eels averaging just 7.7 points per game.

The rest can – for the most part – be explained in matchups. For example:

Put the massive Dragons forwards against another decent pack, and it’s going Under.

Send the Tigers out to play another defensively sound team, and it’s going Under.

How the rest of the 2018 season looks

Much like the trend of favourites struggling in the early rounds on an NRL season, the Under does the opposite.

Throughout the first five rounds of the last 10 seasons, the Under has covered in 57% of games. Not one of those seasons had an Under rate below 50% while four came in at over 60% – including this one (61%).

However, it’s at this point of the season the rate at which the Under comes in takes a dive.

From here, that 57% drops all the way to 49% by the end of the season.

The slide is already underway in 2018 with only two Round 6 matches finishing Under; kickstarting the regression towards the mean.

NRL – Round 7

We’ve already seen Bulldogs v Roosters come Under with their 6-0 eyesore on Thursday night. Despite the trend suggesting there might only be another one or two games that will also come in Under this week, there are a couple of clear candidates.

Tigers v Knights: Neither of these two sides strikes fear into the opposition with their attack. Ranked 10th and 11th in points per game, they aren’t expected to rack up a score. For the Tigers, in particular, it’s their defence winning them games and in turn, seeing games fall Under the total. With the points total at 40.5 in this one, it’s going to take an uncharacteristically high point-scoring outburst to see it go Over.

Sharks v Panthers: With both of these sides decimated by injuries, we’re not going to see the best 17 players from each club running out this week. As a result, Cronulla’s nitty-gritty reputation plays into the hands of the Under here. With their backs against the wall and question marks over the effectiveness of their spine, defence is the key this week. They don’t score points at the best of times. Another with a 40.5 points total, the Sharks defence is a good chance at keeping this one Under.