NRL finals 2021 schedule, odds, title betting — Munster, Addo-Carr race the clock

Storm v Panthers preliminary final preview, free betting tips

Welcome to our early look at week one of the 2021 National Rugby League finals, which kick off on Friday night with what we think is the best match-up of the weekend: Melbourne Storm v Manly at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

The Storm are quite rightly the No.1 seeds and title favourites, but Manly have come with a rush in the second half of the season and put in a mighty performance when the teams last met in round 21 at Suncorp Stadium.

The Sea Eagles lost 28-18 but dominated at times in a performance that signalled they are the real deal, though they will need to go to a new high to upstage the NRL’s powerhouse.

In early markets, Australian bookies have the Storm at $1.40 favourites, with the line set early at 8.5 points.

Early money has forced the Storm into $1.80 conceding 8.5 points so that line could widen by Friday night. With the Sea Eagles so close to full strength for the finals, we would be happy to back them at the start line.

Tom Trbojevic was in sublime form late in the Sea Eagles’ big win over the Cowboys at the weekend, and if Manly can match the Storm up front they should be right in this fight.

Also, Storm ace Cameron Munster (knee) is rated only a 50-50 chance of playing, while there is a cloud over winger Josh Addo-Carr (hamstring). They are both likely to be named to play but may not line up.

There are two matches as part of a finals double-header in Townsville on Saturday, with the action starting with the Sydney Roosters against the Gold Coast from 5.40pm.

While the Titans have been a little disappointing for much of this season, they go into this knockout contest with a full head of steam after a 44-0 win on Sunday against the Warriors that allowed them to claim eighth spot.

We think the Titans are tremendous value at around $3.80 to upset the Roosters, who have been so tough this season despite a lengthy injury list. The Titans with a start of around 10.5 points at $1.90 is also an enticing bet.

The latter match is the qualifying final between Penrith and South Sydney, with the Panthers seemingly running into peak form in time for the finals, while the Rabbitohs are somewhat disrupted by the loss of star fullback Latrell Mitchell for the season to suspension.

The Bunnies have good depth, but they have lost their past five matches to the Panthers, including 56-12 and 25-12 in their two match-ups earlier this season.

Master coach Wayne Bennett will need to find a magic formula to turn this one around.

In the final match of the first week of the finals, Parramatta are favoured to defeat the struggling Newcastle Knights. While the Eels have blown a great chance to finish in the top four, they did upset the Storm just two matches ago and should really be shorter than than the $1.38 available with TopSport for this one.

NRL Premiership odds before finals, week 1

Not much separates the big two at the top of betting, with the Storm steady at $2.40 and the Panthers at $2.60 as we head into the first week of the finals.

The Panthers have emerged from a tough State of Origin period where they were beset by injuries and unavailability to be serious contenders to the defending champions Storm.

Of course the market could be turned on its head this weekend if either of those teams falter against the big challengers Souths and Manly.

Souths moved from $9 to $10 after they rested a string of top-liners for their narrow win against the Dragons at the weekend, while Panthers coach Ivan Clearly opted for a near full-strength side for his team’s final-round win against the Eels.

Parramatta remain at fifth place in the betting, while the Titans rocketed in from $151 to $81 in NRL title betting as they succeeded in a last-ditch bid to reach the finals.

$2.40 Melbourne Storm
$2.60 Penrith Panthers
$6 Manly Sea Eagles
$10 South Sydney Rabbitohs
$21 Parramatta Eels
$34 Sydney Roosters
$81 Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans

Check out all the latest odds at TopSport!

NRL 2021 finals week one fixture, odds and times

Friday, September 10 

  • Qualifying final: Melbourne $1.40 v Manly $2.95, 7.50pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium

Saturday, September 11

  • Elimination final: Sydney Roosters $1.27 v Gold Coast $3.80, 5.40pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
  • Qualifying final: Penrith $1.23 v South Sydney $4.25, 7.50pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville

Sunday, September 12

  • Elimination final: Parramatta $1.38 v Newcastle $3.10, 4.05pm, Browne Park, Rockhampton

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