NRL Round 3 odds, schedule and times
Round three of the 2021 NRL season kicks off on Thursday, March 25, with a rematch between 2020 grand finalists Penrith and Melbourne Storm at Panthers Stadium. Our NRL betting expert has examined the odds in our usual Monday column highlighting what rugby league action is on for the week ahead.
The Panthers-Storm encounter is one that has all NRL fans salivating, but it is by no means the only classic contest in a great round that runs until Sunday evening.
There is also a match-up between bitter rivals South Sydney and Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia on Friday night, with both teams entering this season with great expectations of challenging for this title.
The shock defection of boom youngster Joseph Suaalii from the Bunnies to the Roosters has only added spice to this encounter. Can anyone say “salary cap”?
Meanwhile, bookmakers have made the Panthers slight favourites to exact a small measure of revenge on the Storm for the latter’s 26-20 grand final win. That grand final outcome was devastating for the Panthers, who had put together one of the great seasons in NRL history having lost only once previously all season.
Ivan Cleary’s men have won their opening two matches in great style, without conceding a single point against North Queensland and Canterbury, while the Storm won their opener against Souths before a shock 16-12 loss to Parramatta last Thursday night.
Penrith may have to take on the Storm without ace halfback Nathan Cleary, who faces assessment after being hit by a high shot from Dogs player Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in the dying minutes of their clash and leaving the field for a HIA. The Storm will be without the banned second-row firebrand Felise Kaufusi.
This clash will go a long way to sorting out where the big guns stand in the race for this season’s premiership.
Meanwhile, the Rabbitohs-Roosters clash is almost is intriguing given the Bunnies sent the Roosters spiralling late last season with an astonishing 60-8 drubbing that was one of the greatest thrashings the Tricolours have received. The Roosters will be hell-bent on continuing their great start to the season, while the Rabbitohs will want to announce themselves as serious contenders.
The Penrith-Storm and Rabbitohs-Roosters are the clear highlights of NRL round three but the action runs through to Sunday night when the hapless Cowboys take on the only rising Queensland side the Gold Coast Titans in Townsville.
Our value bet of the week could be the Sharks at $3.20 to upset the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night. Cronulla were gritty in their loss to the Raiders on Sunday and we are not convinced the Eels are the real deal as yet.
NRL Premiership odds before Round 3
The Panthers remained at the top of the betting for the title after their clinical 28-0 win over the Dogs. The only significant move among the top contenders was the Storm easing from $5.50 to $6.50 after their loss to the Eels.
Parramatta firmed in from $15 to $12, while the unbeaten Knights were $19 to $17.
Among the teams further down the pecking order, injury hit Manly were $34 to $41, while St George Illawarra firmed from $81 to $51 after a gritty win against the Cowboys in Townsville.
Meanwhile, bookies have all but put a line though the once mighty Brisbane Broncos for the season, with $101 available about them winning the title. We would not take $100,000-1 the way the Broncos are travelling.
NRL title odds 2021
$5 Penrith Panthers
$5.50 Sydney Roosters
$6 South Sydney Rabbitohs
$6.50 Melbourne Storm
$8.50 Canberra Raiders
$12 Parramatta Eels
$17 Newcastle Knights
$21 Gold Coast Titans
$26 New Zealand Warriors
$29 Cronulla Sharks
$41 Manly Sea Eagles
$51 St George Illawarra Dragons, North Queensland Cowboys
$67 Wests Tigers
$81 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
$101 Brisbane Broncos
NRL Round 3 fixture, odds and times
Thursday, March 25
8:05PM: Penrith Panthers $1.86 v Melbourne Storm $1.94
Friday, March 26
- 6PM: St George Illawarra Dragons $1.87 v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles $1.95
- 8:05PM: South Sydney Rabbitohs $2.18 v Sydney Roosters $1.68
Saturday, March 27
- 3PM: Canberra Raiders $1.26 v New Zealand Warriors $3.85
- 5:30PM: Brisbane Broncos $1.73 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs $2.14
- 7:35PM: Parramatta Eels $1.36 v Cronulla Sharks $3.20
Sunday, March 28
- 4:05pm Newcastle Knights $1.34 v Wests Tigers $3.30
- 6:15PM: North Queensland Cowboys $2.75 v Gold Coast Titans $1.45
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