NRL Round 21 schedule, odds, title betting — race for fourth spot heats up
NRL Round 21 start on Thursday, August 5, with the Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos clash from Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Round 20 of the NRL was disrupted and altered in response to the latest Covid-19 outbreak in south-east Queensland and it’s important to keep a close eye on the draw this week as there may well again be late changes, with all NRL teams based in the northern state.
While we kick off with the Knights-Broncos match, there are three other matches this weekend that are pivotal to shaping the all-important top four with five rounds remaining before the finals.
South Sydney v Parramatta on Friday night at Cbus Super Stadium and then the double-header at Suncorp Stadium of Sydney Roosters v Penrith followed by Manly Sea Eagles v Melbourne Storm will go a long way to deciding fourth place on the table between the Roosters, Eels and Sea Eagles.
Australian bookmakers have made the top three teams on the NRL table, Storm, Panthers and Rabbitohs, short-priced favourites for their respective matches, but tread warily around Penrith as champion halfback Nathan Cleary may still not be ready to resume this week from a shoulder injury.
The Panthers will get some relief with flying hooker Apisai Koroisau (suspension) and NSW lock Isaah Yeo (head knock) back this week to face the Roosters.
There are three distinct tiers in the NRL heading into round 21, with the top three well clear of a cluster of three, Parramatta, Roosters and the red-hot Sea Eagles, which are seemingly fighting it out for places four, five and six.
Thirdly, there are five teams all tied on eight wins apiece (Titans, Sharks, Raiders, Dragons and Knights) which are desperately battling for positions seven and eight on the table and at least a start in the finals.
So this is a fascinating round altogether, and of those five teams the Titans and Knights seem to have the most momentum as we head towards the September action.
NRL Premiership odds before Round 21
Melbourne Storm just go from strength to strength and they have almost a full roster tpick from. They were in from $2.30 into $2.10 in the latest betting markets after easily beating the injury-ravaged Panthers in round 20.
The Panthers are out to $4 but really need to get some troops and form back before you could consider backing them at that price, while Souths loom as the biggest wildcard team and are backable at $6.50.
The Rabbitohs are a devastating attacking unit and one could argue they are in better shape at the moment than the Panthers, therefore representing great value at $6.50.
Flying winger Alex Johnston is missing from their lethal left-edge attack but he is due back in round 22, while they regain star centre Campbell Graham and star back-rower Cameron Murray from injury and suspension this week.
To our eye the Bunnies loom as the new biggest threat to the dominant Storm.
The Roosters firmed up from $17 to $14 after keeping alive their top four hopes with their 28-0 win against fellow top-four contenders Parramatta last weekend, but have now lost veteran centre Josh Morris until the finals with a hamstring injury.
The Raiders and Knights are the best of the rest in NRL title betting at $61 but it’s hard to make a case for any team outside the top six as far as lifting the trophy on grand final day goes.
NRL title odds 2021
$2.10 Melbourne Storm
$4 Penrith Panthers
$6.50 South Sydney Rabbitohs
$11 Manly Sea Eagles
$14 Sydney Roosters
$21 Parramatta Eels
$61 Canberra Raiders, Newcastle Knights
$81 Gold Coast Titans, Cronulla Sharks
$251 St George Illawarra Dragons
$501 New Zealand Warriors, Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys, Wests Tigers,
$1001 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
NRL Round 21 fixture, odds and times
Thursday, August 5
- 7.50pm: Newcastle Knights $1.35 v Brisbane Broncos $3.30
Friday, August 6
- 6pm: Canberra Raiders $1.28 v St George Illawarra Dragons $3.80
- 8.05pm: Parramatta Eels $3 v South Sydney Rabbitohs $1.40
Saturday, August 7
- 3pm: New Zealand Warriors $3.90 v Cronulla Sutherland Sharks $1.26
- 5.30pm: Sydney Roosters $3.60 v Penrith Panthers$1.30
- 7.35pm: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles $3.75 v Melbourne Storm $1.28
Sunday, August 8
- 2pm: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs $2.85 v Wests Tigers $1.44
- 4.05pm: Gold Coast Titans $1.36 v North Queensland Cowboys $3.20
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