Online Betting Guide

The 2016 NRL season punting odds & best bets for the contenders

WE look at the top teams which should be contending for the NRL title later this year. Having already covered the teams we think can’t lift the trophy, that leaves us with the teams in which bookmakers have as their favourites.

Last year’s winners North Queensland Cowboys have been respected in the market, but it’s the Brisbane Broncos which are holding onto favouritism after being defeated in the 2015 Grand Final.

The New Zealand Warriors have been big firmers after they arguably won the offseason signing battle. The franchise which has never won the NRL premiership signed the likes of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Isaac Luke to help add some excitement to their squad.

Also involved in the contenders category are Manly, Roosters, Storm and the Rabbitohs which are currently at good value odds with Greg Inglis still playing at the fullback position.

Over this week we’ve looked at all the teams in the competition in our betting review of the strugglers and pretenders. Be sure to give them a look before finishing off the trilogy of useful tips and info here.

Brisbane Broncos – $5

Grand Final winner – $5.00
Top 4 finish – $1.75 @ Sportsbet.com.au
Top 8 finish – $1.15
To miss the 8 – $5.00

The Broncos may have fallen to the Cowboys in the 2015 Grand Final, but many are expecting them to come out firing this season.

Losing players like Justin Hodges is not easy to recover from, but they still keep fellow Queensland Origin players Darius Boyd, Matt Gillett, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Anthony Milford, Kodi Nikorima, Corey Parker and Sam Thaiday.

That’s a long list of talent and we think they have the best team on paper this season. They have had their season which ended in disappointment and now it’s time for the Broncos to go all the way.

Our best Brisbane Broncos bet is taking them to reach the Grand Final at $2.75 with Sportsbet.com.au.

North Queensland Cowboys – $8.00

Grand Final winner – $8.00
Top 4 finish – $2.20
Top 8 finish – $1.33
To miss the 8 – $3.20

After years of struggling, the North Queensland Cowboys finally got their fans the win and Johnathan Thurston made his way into league immortality.

Thurston is such an integral part of their team and it’s no wonder he’s the current $5.00 favourite at CrownBet.com,au to win his second consecutive Dally M Medal.

Not much has changed for the Cowboys this season, but they find themselves on the second line of betting. That’s partly due to the fact that it’s so hard to win back-to-back NRL titles and bookmakers are keeping them safe for that reason.

Last season the Cowboys took awhile to find their feet, but we’re expecting them to start this season much better and make a run for the minor premiership. They are another top chance of making the final at a value price of $4.50.

New Zealand Warriors – $8.00

Grand Final winner – $8.00
Top 4 finish – $2.50
Top 8 finish – $1.50
To miss the 8 – $2.50

The Warriors have recruited well by signing both utility hooker Isaac Luke from the Rabbitohs and classy Kiwi fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck from the Roosters.

With excitement machine Shaun Johnson playing in the halves, this makes the Warriors a dangerous proposition this season, but can punters trust the New Zealand franchise?

The answer is no. You can’t trust the Warriors, but there would be serious concern if they couldn’t make they playoffs this year and that’s our bet for this team. The $1.50 is short, but it looks a good bet and it’s better than bank interest.

The Warriors could fill a top 4 spot, but we think they’ll sit around the 5th or 6th spot.

Manly Sea Eagles – $9.00

Grand Final winner – $9.00
Top 4 finish – $2.50
Top 8 finish – $1.45
To miss the 8 – $2.70

It was shocking to see the Manly Sea Eagles capitulate last season and some were wondering if they would survive to this season.

It was pleasing to see the talents of Daly Cherry-Evans stay with Manly, despite running other teams through the ringer in the process, but his skill will be needed for Manly to make it to the playoffs.

Joining Cherry-Evans in the squad is Isaac John who will provide some quick play of the ball opportunities in the backline. Luke Burgess, Darcy Lussick and Nate Myles will provide some bolster in the forward pack which leaves the likes of Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai to get on the outside of their defenders on the wings.

Manly look like a solid side this year, but a key injury could derail their season. We’re not sure they can rebound quickly enough after last year to warrant being at $9.00 in the betting.

Sydney Roosters – $13

Grand Final winner – $13
Top 4 finish – $3.00
Top 8 finish – $1.60
To miss the 8 – $2.20

The Roosters won the minor premiership last season and looked destined to make the final, but they came unstuck in the playoffs and they have been left to rebuild this season after the Mitchell Pearce saga.

Add to that the court case surrounding Kiwi international Shaun Kenny-Dowall and it all looks like too much of a distraction for the Roosters.

They might be looking to Blake “rocks’n’diamonds” Ferguson to provide them with some inspiration in the backline, but he’s hardly captain material and he will need quality ball supplied. That will now have to come from the back-up playmakers and we don’t think the Roosters will have that same edge this season.

They are trending downwards and punters have caught on. They are now at $13 which is a high price for the Roosters this time of the season.

Melbourne Storm – $14

Grand Final winner – $14
Top 4 finish – $3.20
Top 8 finish – $1.60
To miss the 8 – $2.28

What a price punters are getting for a team like the Melbourne Storm. The big three at still together: Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater which will mean they Storm have every chance to win the premiership.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy has come out saying he has a fire to go well this season and we believe him. The storm could well be the leader mid-way through the season and Sportsbet.com.au are offering $11 for the storm to be in front after round 13.

The top 8 finish price of $1.60 looks a great multi-bet inclusion and we’d be very surprised to see them miss the playoffs with their talent.

Cooper Cronk is also a good chance of winning the Dally M Medal at $26.

South Sydney Rabbitohs – $15

Grand Final winner – $15
Top 4 finish – $3.50
Top 8 finish – $1.65
To miss the 8 – $2.20

The Rabbitohs have lost a little of their shine this season, but they should always remain a chance of at least making the playoffs.

Greg Inglis will be at the back for the Rabbitohs which is a big asset to have and he’s on the same line as Cooper Cronk for Dally M Medal honours at $26.

The Rabbitohs wouldn’t have been happy about losing their last three games in 2015 and they will come out with some fire in their belly this season. They had an interrupted season and it could all depend on how well they cope throughout the Origin series.

Having three Burgess brothers together is a positive and Sam Burgress returning from injury will do them some good in the forward pack.

The best Rabbitohs bet is for them to be the best NSW team at the end of the season. This pays $6.50 at Sportsbet.com.au.