Tue, Jul 10, 1:36pm by Staff Writer
Billy Slater will play his 31st and final game for Queensland on Wednesday night as they seek to avoid a series sweep against New South Wales.
The Maroons have been outsiders all series and that continues in game three, priced at $2.25 to win at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The Blues are $1.65 favourites.
Slater will captain Queensland for the first time, with Greg Inglis out with a thumb injury.
Inglis’ absence is one of a number of changes coach Kevin Walters has enforced for the match, which includes a new halfback.
Daly Cherry-Evans returns to the Queensland team after being exiled for a number of years. Ben Hunt shifts to a bench utility role after underperforming in the first two games.
Queensland held leads in both games this series but were overwhelmed by New South Wales, particularly on the edges.
The last series sweep by New South Wales was in 2000, with Queensland achieving the feat only once in their decorated run during the past decade and that was in 2010.
The opening handicap for this match favours New South Wales by 3.5 points at $1.90, the shortest handicap of the series.
Game one and game two had handicaps in excess of eight points, with those matches taking place in Melbourne and Sydney.
In the margin markets, New South Wales to win by 1 to 12 points is favoured at $2.80, with a narrow Queensland win paying $3.30.
The total match points has continued to rise since the opening of the market, moving another point in the last week from 36.5 points to 37.5 points. The over/under is paying $1.90.
New South Wales have maintained a very similar squad for the entirety of the series. Game two debutant Matt Prior makes way for debutant Tariq Sims on the bench.
Nathan Cleary and James Maloney have been a steady presence in the halves for the Blues, but it is the play of the rest of the backline players which has been the difference for them.
Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic have all been standouts in their first Origin series. Half back James Tedesco was man of the match in game one and hooker Damien Cook has dazzled in the middle of the park.
In the first tryscorer market, the recalled Corey Oates is Queensland’s best priced player at $11, with Valentine Holmes also priced at that market.
Holmes has scored in both games for Queensland this series, with Oates taking a right wing role for the match.
For the Blues, Josh Addo-Carr at $9.50 is the shortest priced first tryscorer in the market, with the Melbourne speedster scoring in his two games for New South Wales thus far.
The forward pack of Queensland has not been as sound defensively as teams of yesteryear, with Jarrod Wallace shifting to the bench for game three after starting in the first two games.
There is little that separated the sides across the two matches, bar some exquisite New South Wales finishing and poor Queensland kicking on final tackle.
In Billy Slater’s final game for Queensland, the home crowd will be boisterous and eager to avoid a series sweep.
Origin positions are up for grabs for next season and New South Wales will want to gather further momentum towards next series.
The Maroons haven’t been swept in 17 years and with Slater’s final game, have extra motivation to play well in front of their home fans.
Best bet- Queensland Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3.30
State of Origin Game 3 Sportsbet Odds
Queensland $2.25 v New South Wales $1.65
Handicap: NSW -3.5 $1.90
Margin: Queensland 1-12 $3.30, 13+ $6.50
NSW 1-12 $2.80, 13+ $3.75
Total match points: over/under 37.5 $1.90
Josh Addo-Carr $9.50
Tom Trbojevic $11
Corey Oates $11
Valentine Holmes $11
Latrell Mitchell $12
James Tedesco $13
James Roberts $15
Billy Slater $15
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