The Sydney Roosters are searching for a third consecutive NRL premiership and remain as $3.75 favourites to do so. But’s not all roses for the defending premiers right now. While they’ve put some huge scores on poor teams, they’ve not been able to put away any of their elite counterparts. The Chooks haven’t been kind to punters at the line either.

There is a good chance this period of doubt looks silly in three months. Nonetheless, the Roosters are struggling by their standards so far in 2020.

Head-to-Head

The Roosters are 4th on the NRL ladder with eight wins and four losses, which on the surface, looks perfectly fine. However, it’s who the four losses have come against that is the worry. The Roosters haven’t had a lot of success against the better teams in the NRL.

Six of their eight wins have been over teams currently in the bottom eight. Meanwhile, their losses have come to the Panthers (1st), Storm (2nd), Raiders (5th) and Sea Eagles (9th). The Sea Eagles are a top team in the competition when Tom Trbojevic is playing, as he was when they beat the Roosters 9-8 in Round 2.

More recently, the Roosters have struggled to get by the lowly Warriors and Titans with a combined winning margin of just 14 points. They didn’t score more than 18 points against either. While the Roosters are carrying injuries and it can be somewhat assumed that they are taking it easy in the regular season before ramping it up into the finals, they don’t look like themselves right now.

Against the Spread

After going 34-20 against the spread over the last two NRL seasons, the Roosters have covered just five of their 12 games in 2020. They’d been a punters friend for the last two seasons. Now, they’re back with the pack and require caution.

Historically, their current 11th on the ATS ladder doesn’t translate into premiership success.

Premiership Winner Against The Spread

Season/Premiership Winner/ATS Record
Season/Premiership Winner/ATS Record
2010 Dragons: 17-10 (2nd)2015 Cowboys: 14-14 (7th)
2011 Sea Eagles: 17-9-1 (1st)2016 Sharks: 16-11 (3rd)
2012 Storm: 17-10 (2nd)2017 Storm: 16-10-1 (2nd)
2013 Roosters: 18-9 (1st)2018 Roosters: 17-10 (1st)
2014 Rabbitohs: 17-9-1 (1st)2019 Roosters: 17-10 (2nd)

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Nine of the last ten premiership winners have finished the season inside the top three on the NRL ATS ladder. The Cowboys in 2015 are the outlier at 7th. Although, the Broncos team the Cowboys beat in the Grand Final finished the season 1st (18-9).

In losing straight up to the Raiders as -11.5 favourites before barely beating the Warriors and Titans as -23.5 and -22.5 favourites respectively, the Roosters are on a three-game losing streak against the spread. They are -12.5 favourites against the Dragons on Thursday night.

The Repair Job

Some things can’t be fixed in 2020; Victor Radley and Sam Verrills are big holes to fill despite their slight stature. However, one Sonny Bill Williams will help the Roosters as they begin to build up towards October. Whether he dominates on the field or not, his presence in the locker room will only have a positive impact on the group.

Will having the cross-code legend turn up be all the Roosters need to reignite the spark?

Their run to October provides them with plenty of opportunities to right the wrongs against Top 8 teams. After the Dragons in Round 13, the Roosters play the Storm (Rnd 14), Raiders (Rnd 17), Knights (Rnd 18), Sharks (Rnd 19) and Rabbitohs (Rnd 20).

While the cracks have started to appear this season, it’s not panic stations for the Roosters and their quest for three in a row. Their favouritism for the premiership, $1.30 to make the Top 4 and $2.10 to reach the 2020 NRL Grand Final suggests it’s only a matter of time before they click back into gear.

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