Stats don't lie: why the Maroons are favoured to win
QUEENSLAND is missing three champions but the superstars remaining in its spine should still get it home, according to Fox Sports' ratings system that assesses the value of every player by position.
Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Darius Boyd are among the competition's most valuable players and are head and shoulders above the opponents they'll face off against.
Not only that but the forward battle, where many believe the Blues have the edge, is very evenly poised.
Taking into account each players' form, their past performances and their impact on win expectancy, this ratings system is designed to calculate the likely outcome of a match.
It is a more complex system than simply weighing the statistics that most rugby league fans would consider key indicators of performance.
It acknowledges that those statistics don't always contribute to winning, which is ultimately the only measure that matters.
For this exercise, every player has been rated against all the other players who play their position and weighted according to their impact on the outcome of a match and then adjusted on the basis of minutes played.
While a Maroons side with Johnathan Thurston in it, instead of Anthony Milford, would have been superior, the 17 that will take the field has still got NSW's measure.
According to this ratings system, both sides have already dropped the ball at the selection table, with several players picked despite their inferior ability to win a game for their side compared with some players that were snubbed.
The players who don't justify their place in the side based on this rating system have been marked with an asterisk in the two line-ups below.
Staggeringly, the Blues could have picked a team that would have given them a greater than 50% pre-match win probability. With the team that's been picked, their win expectancy is about 40%.
Queensland: 1. Boyd: 187.158; 2. Oates: 114.798; 3. Chambers: 131.197; 4. O'Neill*: 93.992; 5. Gagai: 109.798; 6. Milford: 158.945; 7. Cronk: 228.745; 8. Napa: 127.516; 9. Smith: 261.179; 10. Myles*: 88.657; 11. Papalii: 171.342; 12. Gillett: 156.809; 13. McGuire: 147.728; 14. Morgan: 139.138; 15. Thaiday*: 103.51; 16. Guerra*: 86.86; 17. Lillyman*: 103.22. Total: 2410.592
NSW: 1. Tedesco: 165.502; 2. Ferguson: 111.598; 3. Dugan*: 103.462; 4. Hayne*: 93.469; 5. Morris: 99.469; 6. Maloney: 165.88; 7. Pearce: 154.265; 8. Woods*: 121.001; 9. Peats: 110.481; 10. Fifita: 175.072; 11. Jackson*: 110.931; 12. Cordner: 156.45; 13. Frizell: 154.392; 14. Bird: 132.757; 15. Graham: 149.735; 16. Klemmer*: 143.853; 17. Trbojevic: 150.966. Total: 2299.283
PREDICTED RESULT: Queensland to win by 6.5