NRL Finals Week 1 Rugby League Preview & Betting Tips
It’s crunch time as eight teams will become four after this week’s action.
Storm v Rabbitohs
Melbourne come into this off the back of a disappointing six point loss to the Panthers, giving them just their fourth loss at home this season. They get back Billy Slater, Cameron Munster, Suliasi Vunivalu and Brodie Croft for this game and we think that will be enough to get them the win.
South Sydney ended their three-game losing skid with a 51-10 thumping over Wests Tigers. This was the first time since 2015 Souths have scored 50 points. Robert Jennings returned from injury with a bang, scoring his first ever try against the Tigers. Jennings ended the season third on the tryscoring leaderboard with 18 tries.
Whilst Souths got the win against Melbourne back in Round 21, a concerning stat for the Rabbitohs is they have lost all 14 matches played against the Storm in Melbourne. They have enjoyed the underdog status this season as they have won five of nine matches when starting outsiders.
Josh Addo-Carr has scored six tries in his past three games against the Bunnies. Whilst he doesn’t have a great strike rate at AAMI Park with just five of his 17 season tries coming at the venue, we think he will cross tonight.
Best Bet: Melbourne (Win)
Value Bet: Josh Addo-Carr to score/Melbourne to win (To score + win)
Panthers v Warriors
David Fusitu’a has claimed Top Try Scorer honours after scoring his 22nd try last weekend - scoring in his fourth consecutive game. Penrith need to watch out for him, as last time they faced Fusitu’a he put a hat-trick on them.
The Warriors recorded their 15th win for the season with a four point victory over the Raiders last week. This was just the third time in the club’s history they have recorded 15 wins during a regular season. A huge boost for the side will be the return of Blake Green.
The Panthers overcame their recent poor form with a 22-16 win over the Storm, which was the most points they have scored against them since 2005 and Penrith’s first ever win at AAMI Park. Inspirational skipper James Maloney will become the fourth player in history to play finals footy for four different clubs.
The Warriors won this match up convincingly in Round 24, which ended the Panthers three-game winning run over them. Matches between these sides tend to be high scoring affairs with three of the past four totalling more than 50 points.
For Head-To-Head players, our money is leaning slightly towards the upset (Warriors, $2.15 @ Sportsbet).
Best Bet: David Fusitu’a (to score a try)
Value Bet: Warriors/Over 38.5 Points (H2H/Over Under Double)
Roosters v Sharks
What a cracking game when first plays fourth at Allianz Stadium.
The Roosters have been warming up nicely for the finals and come into this having won six of their final eight regular season games with the only blemishes being a narrowly loss to Canberra and a 14-point loss to the Broncos.
Sydney Roosters claimed the Minor Premiership with a 34-point win over the Eels last week and will definitely like the feeling of being back home for this one. The tricolours had won five straight at home prior to the Broncos loss, however, you could argue there were excuses for that.
Trent Robinson’s side will be even more confident of getting through to the Preliminary Final as they’ve racked up two straight wins against Cronulla after losing six on the trot against them.
Cronulla won’t be pushovers though and have arguably been one of the form teams of the competition, winning four straight coming into this encounter. Valentine Holmes has been the man for them during the past two months, scoring nine tries in his past eight games and is definitely one to consider for your value bets.
Holmes has scored seven tries in seven matches against the chooks including a double earlier this year.
Best Bet: Sydney Roosters (Win)
Value Bet: Valentine Holmes (To Score 2+ Tries)
Broncos v Dragons
All the stats suggest the Broncos will be winning this one.
Master coach Wayne Bennett appears to have timed his run perfectly with Brisbane, winning three straight games and going from eighth to sixth in the final week of the regular season to secure a home final here.
The Broncos have dominated the Dragons in recent times, winning 12 of their past 14 clashes although they did drop the opening game of the season at Kogarah this year 34-12.
The stats get even uglier for Dragons fans when you factor in clashes at Suncorp Stadium – 10 straight wins, and counting, for the Broncos.
Stgeorge Illawarra were undoubtedly the team of the first half of the season, however, a drop in form and several key injuries looks all but certain to derail their premiership challenge three weeks short.
Brisbane are our tip but they are short. Looking for some value? Go for the Broncos at the Line (-10.5) while in the tryscoring markets, Jordan Kahu is the man to follow as he looks to bag a try against the Dragons for the fifth straight game.
Best Bet: Brisbane -10.5 (Line)
Value Bet: Jordan Kahu (To Score)