GOODBYE regular season and hello NRL finals!
This is where the fun begins and we have all the latest market updates, odds and form so you can make some money this weekend.
The best eight teams have qualified for week 1 of the finals where the top four and bottom four will play among each other to eventually eliminate two teams.
The two winners of the 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 games will get a bye in Round 2 of the finals and the other four teams will be playing to survive.
The finals kicks off on Friday night where the minor premiers Sydney Roosters take on the always tough Melbourne Storm at Allianz Stadium.
Roosters vs. Storm
Friday, September 11, 7:55pm, Allianz Stadium
Roosters – $1.40 (-7.5)
Storm – $3.00 (+7.5)
The Roosters couldn’t have performed much better over the closing weeks of the NRL regular season if they tried, and they lost one of their major play makers in the process.
Mitchell Pearce is again sitting this game out, but he should be ready to go for Round 2 if they happen to lose this Friday night against the Storm.
The market suggests the Roosters will be too good for the Storm, which are always tough to beat in the finals and with the star duo of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, they have the ability to pull off a major upset.
Bettors will rarely find a better price for the Storm, in fact we’ll challenge anyone to find a price higher than $3 for them this season. That means the value is there for Storm backers, but the Roosters are battle-hardened and will want that vital week off.
Tip: Roosters to win ($1.40) at CrownBet.com.au
Exotic: Tupou to score at $1.80
Bulldogs vs. Dragons
Saturday, September 12, 5:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs – $1.30 (-9.5)
Dragons – $3.60 (+9.5)
The Bulldogs find themselves in fifth position on the ladder and that means they get to face the Dragons in Round 1 of the finals.
That also means they get to play the team currently paying $81 to win the premiership and this should be an easy win for the Canterbury side, which comes into this game on the back of a last minute win against the Warriors.
That late try was extremely important as they now face the Dragons which limped into the finals and have really looked out of sorts towards the end of the regular season.
To their credit, the Dragons have enough talent to produce a good performance on their best day, but we expect the big Bulldogs pack to dominate and record a comfortable victory.
Tip: Bulldogs -9.5 ($1.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Exotic: Bulldogs/Bulldogs at $1.65
Broncos vs. Cowboys
Saturday, September 12, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium
Broncos – $1.60 (-4.0)
Cowboys – $2.40 (+4.0)
The all-Queensland blockbuster which promises to be a classic where the Broncos take on Johnathan Thurston and the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Brisbane Broncos opened slightly shorter at $1.57 and were quick to drift to $1.60, but there should be plenty of financial support for the team that finished second in the regular season.
The Broncos have suffered some defeats to the likes of the Roosters and Storm in recent times, but they were competitive in both and the style of the Cowboys will suit them better.
Johnathan Thurston has done a great job leading the Cowboys into the playoffs and who knows what to expect from them as we get to the business end of the year.
The Cowboys have been giving teams big starts all year and running them down, but a slow start against the Broncos – which like to lead – could mean the Cowboys will play in week 2.
We expect the odds to drop for the Cowboys, but ultimately the Broncos should be too good across the park.
Tip: Broncos to win ($1.60) at Bet365.com
Exotic: Over 38.5 points at $1.90
Sharks vs. Rabbitohs
Sunday, September 13, 4:10pm, Allianz Stadium
Sharks – $1.77 (-2.0)
Rabbitohs – $2.10 (+2.0)
Probably the closest game of the week as the Sharks take on defending champions South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Sharks enter this game having lost their final regular season game to the Sea Eagles, but that’s history now and they will be focused on the Rabbitohs which get a much needed inclusion into their line up.
Greg Inglis has been named in the Rabbitohs 13 for Sunday’s do-or-die clash and boy has he come back at a good time. The Rabbitohs have been struggling in all aspects of their game and they will call upon Inglis to provide them some spark.
The Sharks are used to fighting out close games and we see this going down to the wire. Most of the Sharks players don’t have that finals experience of the Rabbitohs, but this season just might be their year.
Tip: Sharks to win at $1.77
Exotic: >Draw at $21 with Sportsbet.com.au
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