NRL Friday: Panthers v Eels free tips & odds, round 16, 2021
Welcome to our Penrith-Parramatta derby preview, prediction and odds update for their BlueBet Stadium clash on Friday night, July 2.
This is the second of two NRL matches on Friday, with the New Zealand Warriors and St George Illawarra squaring off in the earlier game at 6pm from Central Coast Stadium, Gosford.
All the talk in the lead-up to this match has been how the high-flying Panthers will fare without their talismanic halfback Nathan Cleary, who injured his shoulder steering NSW to a series win in the State of Origin against Queensland on Sunday.
Cleary has avoided having surgery on the shoulder, but is expected to miss at least a month of football, and it is a real test for the Panthers to shine without their most valuable player.
The Panthers have won four of their past six matches against the Eels, but there has rarely been much between the teams over their past 10 or so clashes.
In their latest meeting in round 18, 2020, the Panthers won 20-2, but in the earlier clash for the season the Eels won 16-10 to inflict the only defeat on the Panthers for the 2020 regular season.
This is branded the Battle of the Golden West and there is little doubt it will be a brutal contest, which will really test those sore Panthers backing up from a tough Origin battle.
Panthers v Eels team news for round 16
Of course, it’s all about Panthers halfback Cleary, who is the architect of so much of their offence, as well as possessing a magnificent kicking and goal-kicking game.
His NSW halves partner Jarome Luai switches to the No.7 jersey, while the versatile Matt Burton switches from centre to five-eighth and Tyrone May takes Burton’s spot in the centres.
The Panthers have suffered another blow with dynamic fullback Dylan Edwards (foot) ruled out, with Charlie Staines switching from wing to take the No.1 spot. Unpredictable Brent Naden takes the vacant wing spot in his first senior match for 2021.
Penrith regain blockbusting back-rower Viliame Kikau from a hamstring issue, while all their Origin players aside from Cleary have been named.
Parramatta regain devastating winger Maika Sivo after a suspension in place of the unlucky Sean Russell, who scored two tries on debut in the 36-10 win against the Bulldogs in round 15.
Oregon Kaufusi and Bryce Cartwright were named on the Eels’ bench in place of Nathaniel Roache (knee) and Keegan Hipgrave.
Panthers v Eels
Kick-off: 7.55pm local time
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Head to head odds: Penrith $1.57, Parramatta $2.45
Line: Penrith (-5.5 points) $1.95, Parramatta (+5.5 points) $1.85
Match total: 45.5 points: over $1.90, under $1.90
Panthers v Eels free betting tips
Our NRL betting expert has highlighted his free tips for Friday night’s game.
Maika Sivo/Brian To’o to both score tries
This multibet with TopSport will be paying around $4.20 and it’s punting on two players we love watch. They are so similar in the way they play. The Eels’ Sivo and the Panthers’ To’o are not the biggest wingers in the NRL, but they are both carved out of granite and run the ball with reckless abandon. They are the most likely scorers for their respective teams
Tri-bet: Either team to win by six points or less
This option is paying $3 at TopSport and given the recent history between the teams we think it’s a good one. So many of their clashes go down to the wire.
Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels prediction 2-7-2021
If this match were not being played at Panthers Stadium, we would be confident that the Eels would win this match. But the Panthers have built a real home fortress and even without Cleary they are a formidable opponent. The Eels, however, are fresher with only Junior Paulo involved in Origin and they have been in great form during the Origin period. Several of their players will also feel they have a point to prove after being overlookedfor Origin despite great club form. The Eels are also one of the few teams with the firepower to match the Panthers up the middle. This should be a real slogfest among the forwards… one for the purists. Our Penrith-Parra prediction: Parramatta to win by 2 points.
Panthers v Eels lowdown
Nine, Fox League and KAYO will telecast the game.
All of the top International betting sites will offer markets on the NRL.
The match kicks off at 7.55pm AEST
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