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Once again, it’s those 50/50 games that will trouble tipsters

In the NRL (Round 24) it’s hard to see the Dragons, Sea Eagles and Storm succumbing to the Tigers, Raiders and Eels, respectively.
The other games could go either way, but betting agencies suggest that the Cowboys should account for the Knights and the Roosters should get over the Sharks.
However, take nothing for granted following the Panthers’ unbelievable win over the Warriors in Auckland last weekend.
The Cowboys and Roosters are flying, however the Knights have won in Townsville in the past and the Sharks will be out to produce a big one at home after their remarkable win over the Dragons which was in fact their first win in Wollongong in 24 years.
That leaves three games left and yes, they could go either way.
No Barba, Eastwood and Kasiano is a blow for the Bulldogs as they set out to avenge the narrow loss they suffered at the hands of Rabbitohs over Easter.
Sam Burgess is missing from the Rabbitohs line up, however the return of Inglis and Sutton saw the red and greens achieve the rare feat of toppling the Sea Eagles twice in a season during the premiership rounds.
It was a great win by the Rabbitohs as the Sea Eagles are one of the form teams in the competition.
The Bulldogs sealed victory against the Raiders with a scintillating first half performance, however to have any chance against the Rabbitohs they will have to put it together for 80 minutes.
It’s hard to compare the Bulldogs with the top four teams based on consistency, so it’s the Rabbitohs.
The other Friday game is a bit of a lottery as well – Panthers hosting the Broncos.
The Panthers, like the Raiders and Warriors, have not only been hot and cold all season, but more importantly have struggled to post wins at home.
The Broncos have been highly competitive at home all season, but they’re a completely different animal on the road.
A loss for either side will hinder their hopes of making the final eight.
The Panthers would be full of beans after their win over the Warriors and we’ll finally get a clear idea how the Broncos will function in a big game without the injection of Hodges.
There is a case to tip either side and although the Panthers have battled at home this season it has to be said that the Broncos are 4-7 on the road in 2013.
The Broncos are favourites with the bookies, so perhaps that’s the only way you can split the teams.
A few years ago, the Panthers and Broncos played out a draw on a Friday night after golden point extra time at the foot of the mountains.
Now let’s try and pick a winner out of the Titans and Warriors match.
Had been keen on ther Titans for most of the week until it was announced that Zillman and Bird were scratchings for the Gold Coast’s final home game of the season.
That enhances the prospects of the unpredictable Warriors, who will either bounce back after a shock loss to the Panthers or fold like a pack of cards in a game they were expected to win.
The Titans are sitting in eighth spot, but lose this game and their finals hopes are in jeopardy with two roads games against the Storm and Roosters.
There might be two games left after this weekend, however the Warriors are done and dusted if they lose this match.
And to make life harder for tipsters, the Warriors edged the Titans 25-24 when they met in Auckland in Round 8.
It’s the kind of game where the Warriors can strike back and with their season on the line, especially with the Titans missing key men, they may just sneak home.
It’s a horrid game for tipsters, and don’t forget it wasn’t all that long ago that an under-manned Titans stunned the Bulldogs in Sydney.
Meanwhile, in the AFL (Round 22), take it as an absolute given that the Magpies, Crows and Tigers will get the four points against their respective opponets the Eagles, Demons and Giants.
The Eagles have a raft of players missing for the Friday night game, which will only improve the Magpies’ hopes of hosting an elimination final in two week’s time.
The best way to split the Kangaroos and Hawks is that a week ago the Kangaroos overcame the struggling Bombers and the Hawks proved to good for a resurgent Magpies.
The Hawks are the team to beat in the premiership race despite the fact that the Cats, Swans and Dockers are showing promising signs, and it would be extraordinary if they were to slip up at Etihad Stadium.
Back in Round 5, the Hawks got the Kangaroos by three points at the MCG.
The Cats-Swans clash is mouth-watering to say the least and in the corresponding match last year the visiting Swans were no match for the Cats.
Six weeks later the Swans claim the premiership after the Cats had fallen to the Dockers in an elimination final in Melbourne.
The Cats got the Swans by 21 points in Round 4 and the home ground advantage will surely enhance the Cats’ prospects.
The Dockers are tipped to win their final two matches as they eye second place, so for the second-placed Cats and third-placed Swans this is a massive game because there’s every likelihood that the loser will forfeit the right to host a qualifying final.
The Swans were poor in this corresponding match last year and no doubt they will improve, however the Cats rarely lose at home and were nothing short of outstanding against the Eagles in Perth last weekend.
The Power beat the Dockers in Perth they seal a spot in the finals and also improve their chances of perhaps hosting an elimination final if the Bombers continue to their downward spiral and they roll the Blues in the final round.
Lose to the Dockers, and the Power will more than likely battle it out for eighth spot when they host the Blues.
We were expecting an Adelaide side to make the finals this year, but for it to be the Power came as a surprise.
They’ve had a great year, but the Dockers have been spectacular this season and if they end up winning their last two games they might end up facing the Hawks in the grand final.
The Dockers will take a power of stopping if they secure a qualifying final and preliminary final at home, regardless of the opposition.
There are signs that the Dockers are building momentum just like the Lions in 2001 when they blitzed the second half of the season before sealing the premiership.
Just when you thought you could write off the Blues they come out and knock off the Tigers, who went into the match as a warm favourites.
The Blues can still make the finals if they topple the Bombers, who are only a shadow of the side that started 2013 in blistering form, and the Power in their final two games.
The Bombers have lost four straight and face a rival whom they defeated by just five points in Round 11.
No need to harp on the Bombers’ problems off the field, but who is going to flick the switch as they strive to get their 2013 campaign back on track.
If the Blues lose their finals hopes are over – unless the Bombers are kicked out of the competition – and for the Bombers they will be cannon fodder against who ever they face in an elimination final unless they spring back to life.
Surely, it’s the Blues.
Pride is at stake for the Saints when they host the Suns, who have pushed the Eagles and Power to the very limit in their past two road games.
The Saints have won only one of their past 13 games and after giving the Swans a run for their money in the first half last weekend they ended up leaving the SCG with their tails between their legs.
It might be case of Nick Riewoldt inspiring the Saints to victory or Gary Ablett guiding the Suns to a win.
Not an easy task to pick a winner and although the Saints are slight favourites we’ll stick our neck out and back the Suns.
The Lions have played some pretty good footy at home this season, but they will have to be at their best as the Bulldogs are suddenly a team to be reckoned with.
As well as the Bulldogs have played in Melbourne of late road games are a different story, although they did post a fine win over the Power in Darwin during the year and we all know how well the Adelaide-based team is travelling.
It could be a high-scoring contest.
The Lions now how to find their way to find the goalposts and the Bulldogs have scored 99 points or more in their past four games.
The Bulldogs stunned the Lions by 68 points in Round 1 after the Brisbane-based outfit had just claimed the NAB Cup title.
It’s unlikely the Lions have forgotten about that game and retribution would be a motivating factor.
There’s a lot to like about the Bulldogs, but a win at the Gabba would be a surprise.
No need to elaborate on Week 2 of the Rugby Championship following the big wins posted by the All Blacks and Springboks last weekend.
It’s hard to see the Wallabies bridging the gap against the All Blacks in Wellington and the Pumas troubling the Springboks in Mendoza.
The All Blacks and Springboks are specials.
They will win comfortably.

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