Wed, Jul 19, 10:07am by Staff Writer
With only seven rounds left to go in the season, things are starting to get tense as finals positions become a reality for some and lost hope for others. Places in the top four are wide open with several teams still in contention while those fighting for the top eight are decreasing week by week.
Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury Bulldogs, Suncorp Stadium, Thursday July 20, 7:50pm AEST
Canterbury return after the bye to take on the Broncos in Brisbane. The Bulldogs were pushed all the way in Round 18 against a struggling Knights side and will have spent their weekend off looking for answers. Finals are probably just out of their reach realistically but Canterbury need to end the season with some momentum looking ahead to next year. A scalp in Queensland would answer many of their critics but they are underdogs heading into this clash priced at $3.60 with William Hill. Brisbane backed up after Origin with a win over the Knights themselves, albeit a little more comfortable in the end. Despite a strong performance in the first half, the Broncos had too much for the Knights which is likely to be the same this weekend as they take on the Bulldogs. The Broncos are in the fight for the top four and games like this are must win if they are to make it. They stand at $1.30.
Bet of the Match: Brisbane to Win by 1-12 points at $2.90
WATCH: Our Preview of Round 20 of the NRL season
Penrith Panthers v Gold Coast Titans, Pepper Stadium, Saturday July 22, 3pm AEST
The surprise form team at the moment are the Gold Coast Titans, who have won three in succession. They have kept their slim hopes of Finals footy alive to this point but this is a must-win game against the Panthers. Penrith are a side who themselves are finding form at the right time of the season, making this a potential thriller. The Titans sit four points out of the top eight with Penrith only two out. Arguably it is the Titans in better form after they beat two of the top eight sides St George and Cronulla in their last games but they are priced at $2.56 with William Hill, while Penrith are favourites to keep their push for the top eight alive at $1.52.
Bet of the Match: Penrith to Win by 1-12 points at $2.85
Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm, GIO Stadium, Saturday July 22, 5:30pm AEST
Canberra Raiders are not in the position that they would have targeted at the beginning of the year. They sit four points adrift of the top eight in among the chasing pack, who can all mathematically still make finals. They face a huge challenge to keep that dream alive when they host the Storm in Round 20. Melbourne are once again dominating on the ladder but went down last time out to a surprise loss to Parramatta. They will be aiming to bounce back against the Raiders but will face a tough challenge up in Canberra. The home side are priced at $2.62 compared to the Storm at $1.50 to claim victory.
Bet of the Match: Melbourne to Win by 1-12 points at $2.90
NRL Round 20 Odds: (William Hill)
Brisbane Broncos $1.30 v Canterbury Bulldogs $3.60 Line: 9.5
Sydney Roosters $1.15 v Newcastle Knights $5.60 Line: 15.5
Cronulla Sharks $1.35 v South Sydney Rabbitohs $3.25 Line: 8.5
Penrith Panthers $1.52 v Gold Coast Titans $2.56 Line: 5.5
Canberra Raiders $2.62 v Melbourne Storm $1.50 Line: 6
Nth Queensland Cowboys $1.35 v New Zealand Warriors $3.25 Line: 8.5
St George Illawarra Dragons $2.14 v Manly Sea Eagles $1.72 Line: 2.5
Wests Tigers $3.40 v Parramatta Eels $1.33 Line: 9.5
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