Okay MYBookie rugby betting buffs, with the 2020 regular season in the books and the start of the NRL Telstra Premiership about to get underway, it’s time to take a look at the value-packed NRL odds surrounding the four matches that make of the opening slate of postseason action.
Rugby Betting Analysis – NRL Finals Week 1 Odds and Predictions
A pair of elimination finals and two qualifying finals will all get underway starting on Saturday, October 3. Three of the four matchups feature a decisive favorite looking to take care of business while one clash looks like a knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish. Now, let’s find out who’s in action and where the best betting value lies.
Penrith Panthers (18-1-1) Vs Sydney Roosters (14-0-6)
- When: Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 4:50 AM
- Where: Panthers Stadium, Penrith
- Money Lines: Panthers -140 / Roosters +114
Penrith finished first in the NRL ladder and closed out their 2020 regular season by winning a mind-boggling 15 straight games. The two-time defending champion Sydney Roosters finished fourth in the NRL ladder and won four of five until resting their starters in their season-ending 60-8 blowout loss to the Rabbitohs.
Penrith beat Sydney 20-14 in Round 1 and they’re playing this clash at home. Still, I like Sydney’s championship experience and I believe the Roosters have been waiting for the finals all season long as they’re shooting for the three-peat and nothing less.
While the Panthers tuned up for this clash by cantering to a 15th straight victory over the Bulldogs, scoring eight tries, the Roosters were ripped apart in a Penrith beat the Roosters 20-14 in round one but the intensity will be even higher this time with a preliminary final berth on the line.
Winger Brian To’o looks on track to play for Penrith after suffering a recent ankle injury. Dean Whare and Matt Burton were both dropped from the squad while fullback Dylan Edwards, center Stephen Crichton and second-rower Viliame Kikau are all back after being rested. Utility Tyrone May and back-rower Kurt Capewell have reverted to the bench.
Sonny Bill Williams won’t face the Panthers after being omitted from the squad 24 hours before kick-off. On Thursday night the Roosters said the star signing wouldn’t play due to a “flare up of a neck complaint”. Williams and Matt Ikuvalu were dropped from the squad. Winger Brett Morris, center Joey Manu, lock Isaac Liu and bench prop Lindsay Collins will all return after a rest. Hooker Jake Friend is out after a head knock last week. Freddy Lussick has replaced Friend at hooker while Angus Crichton has dropped to the bench.
While the Panthers have won three of their past four games against the Roosters at Panthers Stadium, Sydney has won their past six finals matches. I feel an upset brewing in this one rugby bettors.
Pick: Roosters 22 Panthers 18
Canberra Raiders (14-0-6) Vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (10-0-10)
- When: Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 2:40 AM
- Where: GIO Stadium, Canberra
- Money Lines: Raiders -666 / Sharks +450
The Raiders finished fifth in the NRL ladder while the Sharks finished in eighth place. Canberra won three straight to close out the regular season while Cronulla lost their final two regular season contests and three of four overall before sneaking into the postseason in the eighth and final spot. More importantly, Canberra has won three straight in this rivalry, including a 38-28 road win on Saturday. The Raiders get the win to cash in as a huge favorite.
Pick: Raiders 34 Sharks 22
Melbourne Storm (16-0-4) Vs Parramatta Eels (15-0-5)
- When: Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 4:50 AM
- Where: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Money Lines: Storm -555 / Eels +400
Melbourne finished second in the NRL ladder while Parramatta finished one spot back, in third place. The Storm won three straight until dropping their finale against the Dragons 30-22. The Eels won their final two regular season contests and three of their final four games overall. More importantly, one of those wins was a commanding 14-0 home win on Aug. 20. Yes, Melbourne is far more dangerous offensively, but Parramatta has an outstanding defense and I feel like an upset is in the makings in this one. The Eels snapped a four-game skid in this series the last time out and I like them to back that win up with another.
Pick: Eels 20 Storm 16
South Sydney Rabbitohs (12-0-8) Vs Newcastle Knights (11-1-8)
- When: Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 12:05 AM
- Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
- Money Lines: Rabbitohs -303 / Knights +240
South Sydney finished in sixth place in the NRL ladder while Newcastle finished in seventh place with one less victory. The Rabbitohs won two of their final three regular season contests while the Knights went a polar opposite 1-2 over their final three games. While Newcastle has won two straight in this series including a 20-18 road win in July, South Sydney is a huge favorite to win and advance. Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily see it that way as I expect Newcastle to get their third straight win over South Sydney. The Knights get it done in a thriller.
Pick: Knights 20 Rabbitohs 16