NRL Thursday: Panthers v Storm betting tips, prediction & odds, round 3, 2021

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Welcome to our Penrith v Melbourne Storm match preview, prediction and odds update for their NRL clash at Panthers Stadium, Sydney, on Thursday, March 25.

This is a rematch of the 2020 grand final won 26-20 by Melbourne after they bolted out to an early lead and the held off a late charge from the Panthers.

The weather forecast is good for match day though the region has plenty of drying out do after the incredible big wet of the past week. Bookmakers have made the Panthers $1.82 favourites against the Storm ($2), though the early money at the 1.5-point line has been for Craig Bellamy’s Melbourne side.

The match was robbed of a little of its gloss on Wednesday with the withdrawal of Penrith playmaker Nathan Cleary (concussion) and Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen (neck).

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The Panthers could hardly have made a better start to the 2021 season, admittedly against middling opposition in North Queensland and Canterbury Bankstown. Ivan Cleary’s men scored a total of 52 points in those games and conceded zero!

But the Melbourne Storm have won eight of their past 10 matches against the Panthers, including the 26-20 grand final win. In their only other meeting in 2020, in round six, the Panthers won 21-14 at Campbelltown.

Melbourne are coming off a surprise 16-12 loss to Parramatta in round two when the Eels shut them down in the wet.

Panthers v Storm team news for round 3

Halfback Nathan Cleary was named to play when the teams were announced but was withdrawn on Wednesday as the Panthers decided on a safety-first approach with their star player. He suffered a head knock late in the game against the Bulldogs. Cleary passed his HIA at the game but was being monitored for any symptoms of concussion.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has called up rising playmaker Matt Burton to take the place in the starting side left by Nathan Cleary’s withdrawal.

The Panthers have talismanic hooker Api Koroisau sidelined with a broken wrist but have an able replacement in Mitch Kenny.

Melbourne Storm also took a precautionary approach with fullback Papenhuyzen, with Nicho Hynes likely to replace him in the No.1 jersey.

Towering Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona suffered a chest injury in the loss to the Eels but is expected to play, though the Storm are still some way short of full strength with the likes of centre Brenko Lee (hamstring), veteran Dale Finucane (calf) and rising hooker Harry Grant (knee) still on the sidelines.

Tough back-rower Felise Kaufusi has been suspended for his elbow on the Eels’ Ryan Matterson last week, with Tom Eisenhuth coming into the starting side. Aaron Pene and Nicho Hynes have been added to the bench.

Read on for our Panthers v Storm tips and winner prediction for their NRL clash on Thursday, March 25.

Panthers v Storm

Kick-off: 8.05pm local time
Venue: Panthers Stadium, Sydney
Head to head odds: Penrith $1.82, Melbourne Storm $2
Line betting: Penrith (-1.5 points) $1.95, Melbourne Storm (+1.5 points) $1.85
Match total: 38.5 points: over $1.96, under $1.84

Panthers v Storm free betting tips

Below our NRL betting expert has highlighted his free Panthers-Storm betting tips for Thursday’s game.

Panthers to win/match total under 38.5 points

These are two of the outstanding defensive teams in the NRL over the past few seasons and this matches promises to be finals-like in its intensity. Tries should be at a premium, but we just think the Panthers are travelling slightly better early this season as the Storm adjust to LACS (Life After Cameron Smith).

Dylan Edwards to score a try at $3.25

The Panthers fullback has not crossed for a four-pointer as yet this season but it’s only a matter of time. He is quick, agile and courageous and generally is there backing up when the Panthers are on the attack.

Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm prediction 25-3-2021

Penrith have won only three of their past 21 matches against the Storm. But they have uncovered what shapes up as a golden generation of players and it’s important to strike while you are hot. The Panthers will always look back on 2020 with great disappointment that they fell one win short of arguably the greatest season in recent NRL history. You just know the Storm, easily the most professional team in the competition, will hit back hard after their surprise loss in round two. They have proven match-winners in the likes of the Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes, but their pack is weakened a little by the loss of Kaufusi and the off-season departure of boom youngster Tino Fa’asuamaleaui to the Titans. The Panthers should be able to continue their great start to the season at home, even with Nathan Cleary looking on from the sidelines. Our Panthers v Storm prediction: Penrith by six points.

Panthers v Storm lowdown

How can I watch the Penrith-Melbourne clash?

Channel Nine, Fox League and KAYO will telecast the game, or it can be streamed at

How can I bet on the Panthers v Storm clash?

All of the top International betting sites will offer markets on the NRL.

What time does Thursday’s Panthers v Storm NRL Round 3 game start?

The Panthers-Storm match kicks off at 8.05pm AEDT.

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