NRL Round 20 schedule, odds, title betting — Storm-Panthers square off
NRL Round 20 start on Thursday, July 29, with the Roosters-Eels clash from BB Print Stadium in Mackay, but this round is all about the blockbuster between the Storm and Panthers in Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Storm-Panthers clash at Suncorp Stadium may well decide the minor premiership and also who will be favourites to lift the title at the end of the season.
Australian bookmakers have made the Melbourne team short-priced favourites at $1.25, which is no surprise given they have won 15 matches in a row and have been in much better shape than the Panthers through the disruptive State of Origin period.
Penrith regained star five-eighth Jarome Luai last week from a knee injury, but champion halfback Nathan Cleary is still not ready to come back from a shoulder injury.
In added blows to the Panthers’ chances, Cleary’s fill-in Tyrone May (leg) is unlikely to be fit, and the same applies to outstanding lock Isaah Yeo (head knock). Prop James Fisher-Harris (family reasons) and hooker Api Koroisau are also out of the mix.
In the Storm corner, they regain Cameron Munster, lock Dale Finucane and back-rower Felise Kaufusi after they were given a post-Origin rest.
All indications are the Storm will repeat their grand final win over the Panthers this time around, though when they met earlier in the year the Panthers scored a thrilling 12-10 win.
Elsewhere, the Roosters need to upstage the Eels on Thursday night to have any chance of a top-four spot come finals time. Conventional wisdom says a team from the top four will win the title, so it’s all on the line for the Roosters against an Eels team that needs a big scalp to build some added belief.
In the early match on Friday Wests Tigers take on the New Zealand Warriors, who have said goodbye to superstar fullback and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as he leaves rugby league to chase his All Blacks dream in the 15-man game.
On Saturday, Souths should dent the chances of the Dragons making the finals, while the 5.30pm game is crucial for the Knights and the Raiders.
Newcastle and Canberra are sitting in 11th and ninth respectively and can’t afford any slip-ups with the finals coming up fast.
On Sunday, most interest will centre on the Sharks-Sea Eagles clash from Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe, with the Manly side emerging as surprise contenders after a stellar run of form in the past couple of months.
NRL Premiership odds before Round 20
Melbourne Storm have really taken charge of title betting now and moved from $2.40 to $2.30 after their surprisingly tough win against the Broncos last weekend.
If they can upstage the Panthers as expected, they could be in to close to even money to land yet another title for Craig Bellamy.
The Panthers remained steady at $3.50 with leading Australian bookies TopSport, with Souths out to $6 from $5.50.
Manly moved from $12 into $11 as they racked up another win to stay within striking distance of the top four, while Parramatta were out from $9.50 to $13 after their 12-10 loss to the resurgent Raiders.
The Roosters are $17, while the Raiders moved from $51 to $34 and while they are no chance of winning the title, a finals appearance is starting to look more likely than not.
The Knights were $81 to $101, a line they share with the Titans, who came in from $151 after they thumped the Dragons 32-10 last Sunday. The Titans are another team that needs to string together a few wins to salvage what to date has been an inconsistent year.
NRL title odds 2021
$2.30 Melbourne Storm
$3.50 Penrith Panthers
$6 South Sydney Rabbitohs
$11 Manly Sea Eagles
$13 Parramatta Eels
$17 Sydney Roosters
$34 Canberra Raiders
$81 Cronulla Sharks
$101 Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights
$251 New Zealand Warriors, St George Illawarra Dragons
$501 Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys, Wests Tigers,
$1001 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
NRL Round 19 fixture, odds and times
Thursday, July 29
- 7.50pm: Sydney Roosters $2.45 v Parramatta Eels $1.55
Friday, July 30
- 6pm: Wests Tigers $1.82 v New Zealand Warriors $1.98
- 8.05pm: Brisbane Broncos $1.82 v North Queensland Cowboys $1.98
Saturday, July 31
- 3pm: St George Illawarra Dragons $6.40 v South Sydney Rabbitohs $1.11
- 5.30pm: Newcastle Knights $2.10 v Canberra Raiders $1.72
- 7.35pm: Melbourne Storm $1.25 v Penrith Panthers $3.95
Sunday, August 1
- 2pm: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs $3.50 v Gold Coast Titans $1.30
- 4.05pm: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks $4.10 v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles $1.24
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