NRL Round 1 odds, schedule and times
The opening round of the 2021 NRL season kicks off on Thursday, March 11, with the match of the round between Melbourne Storm and South Sydney, and runs until Sunday evening. Our NRL betting expert has examined the odds in our usual Monday column highlighting what league action is on for the week ahead.
With player and coaching movement in the off season you can always expect a few upsets in the first round of the season, though in 2020 round 1 the results pretty much went to script apart from the Panthers announcing themselves early by rolling the Sydney Roosters.
This time around the season starts with a bang with the defending premiers Melbourne at home against a Souths sides many expect to challenge for the title for veteran coach Wayne Bennett this season.
These were the two most potent attacking teams last season and with a clear night forecast for Melbourne it should be a great contest to kick things off. Off course, the Storm are without Cam Smith and his heir apparent Harry Grant but have an able back-up in livewire Brandon Smith.
The action continues with a double-header on Friday night, start with Newcastle, who were so impressive for long stretches last season, against a rebuilding Canterbury. Then we get to see if new Brisbane coach Kevin Walters can turn around the Broncos after their horror 2020 as they host finals contenders Parramatta in Brisbane.
Sydney Roosters v Manly is probably the pick of the Super Saturday trio of matches, with the Sea Eagles missing the finals last season on the back of a horror run with injuries. The Roosters will want to put themselves back in the title frame after a dismal finish to the season in 2020.
On Sunday, Canberra kick off what they hope will be a big year as they host Wests Tigers, before the round ends with a derby between old foes the Dragons and Sharks, with both teams at long odds to get close to landing the NRL title in 2021.
NRL Premiership odds before Round 1
Penrith and South Sydney will kick off the season as premiership favourites with rising Australian bookmaker TopSport.
The Panthers, of course, dominated the 2020 regular season before falling agonisingly short in the grand final against Melbourne Storm, who this season seem certain to be without legendary hooker Cameron Smith.
Wayne Bennett’s Rabbitohs have been building to something and this season regain star fullback Latrell Mitchell after his serious hamstring injury from late last season.
Gold Coast are the surprise packet rated seventh in title betting at only $16, but they have recruited boom young forwards in Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Storm) and David Fifita (Broncos), and Smith could also land there.
St George Illawarra Dragons are the clear favourites to finish at the bottom of the table.
NRL title odds 2021
$5 Penrith Panthers, South Sydney Rabbitohs
$6 Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm
$9.50 Canberra Raiders
$15 Parramatta Eels
$16 Gold Coast Titans
$19 Manly Sea Eagles
$21 Newcastle Knights
$31 Brisbane Broncos, New Zealand Warriors, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
$34 Cronulla Sharks
$41 North Queensland Cowboys, Wests Tigers
$61 St George Illawarra Dragons
NRL Round 1 fixture, odds and times
Thursday, March 11
- 8:05PM: Melbourne Storm $1.89 v South Sydney Rabbitohs $1.92
Friday, March 12
- 6PM: Newcastle Knights $1.54 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs $2.50
- 8:05PM: Brisbane Broncos $3.35 v Parramatta Eels $1.33
Saturday, March 13
- 3PM: New Zealand Warriors $2.25 v Gold Coast Titans $1.65
- 5:30PM: Sydney Roosters $1.33 v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles $3.35
- 7:35PM: Penrith Panthers $1.30 v North Queensland Cowboys $3.55
Sunday, March 14
- 4:05pm Canberra Raiders $1.30 v Wests Tigers $3.55
- 6:15PM: St George Illawarra Dragons $2.25 v Cronulla Sharks $1.65
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