Can the Roosters continue their unlikely run? What about the 9-0 Knights? Will Penrith flex their muscle?
The opening round of the finals is here, with eight teams battling it out across three massive days.
BetDeluxe breaks down every game and a range of best bets.
game of the week: Sharks vs. Roosters
9th September 7:50pm
While there are four mouthwatering finals match-ups across three days this weekend, none come close to the Saturday night clash of the Titans between the Sharks and the Roosters.
The market certainly agrees with the tight-knit nature of this 6th vs. 7th elimination game, with the Sharks narrowly favoured at $1.89 after defeating the Raiders 24-6 and cementing a home final in Round 27. They made it four from their past six, with victories over the Cowboys and Rabbitohs during that run.
Star fullback Will Kennedy has been named to return from a hamstring injury, while his replacement, Connor Tracey, is unlikely to suit up after hurting his knee against Canberra.
The Roosters are one of the form sides of the competition ahead of finals, winning five games on the trot and securing their spot in the eight with a dominant 26-12 display against the Rabbitohs. While Daniel Tupou will miss another game with a knee injury, the Tricolours have named Joey Manu in the centres in a massive boost for Trent Robinson’s men.
While finals are always a different beast, there’s no doubt that James Tedesco and his team will have their chests out, knowing they’ve won seven of the past eight games between the two sides. The fact that the Sharks have lost their previous five finals is also a concern, so we’re taking the Roosters to make it six straight and earn another week.
TIP: Same Game Multi
Leg 1: Roosters 1-12Leg 2: Over 40.5 pointsLeg 3: R. Mulitalo score anytimeLeg 4: J. Tedesco score anytimeTotal: $17
bet now: Cronulla vs. Sydney
Broncos vs. Storm
8th September 7:50pm
Two times in two weeks? No worries for both these teams after each rested their superstars from their Round 27 clash. Despite the lack of personnel, the Storm continued their recent dominance over the Queenslanders with a 14th consecutive victory. That’s a mental edge worth its weight in finals gold. With all their superstars back, Ryan Papenhuyzen ready to explode from the bench, and a winning record over the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium that dates back to 2009, we can’t go past Craig Bellamy and the Storm.
TIP: X. Coates anytime scorer @ $2.20
Bet Now: Brisbane vs. Melbourne
Panthers vs. Warriors
9th September 4:00pm
The Warriors could be the unluckiest team in the first week of finals as they must face the relentless two-time reigning champions in front of the Penrith faithful. After lowering their colours to the Eels in Round 26, the Panthers bounced back with a 32-point dismantling of the Cowboys and locked in another minor premiership. While the Warriors will welcome back stars the ilk of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Shaun Johnson, it’s hard to imagine Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, and the Panthers won’t build on their current seven-game winning streak over the New Zealanders.
TIP: Panthers 13+ @ $1.80
Bet Now: Penrith vs. NZ Warriors
Knights vs. Raiders
10th September 4:05PM
The most one-sided match-up in the first week of finals, with Newcastle trading at $1.18 in the head-to-head market with BetDeluxe. It comes off the back of nine straight wins for Adam O’Brien’s men, who have launched into fifth spot on the ladder and given themselves a chance at their first premiership since 2001. On the other hand, Ricky Stuart’s Raiders have lost three of their past four and will need to negotiate this game without forward leaders Josh Papalii and Corey Horsburgh. With Kalyn Ponga, Jackson Hastings and Lachlan Fitzgibbon among a host of ins for the Knights, they should be able to salute in their first final since 2013.
TIP: Knights 1-12 @ $2.90
Bet Now: Newcastle vs. Canberra
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