Wed, Sep 7, 8:44am by Staff Writer
The NRL Finals get underway this week with the top eight teams in the competition beginning the battle to reach the Grand Final. With the regular season going down to the wire these match ups were unknown until the final whistle of the last game of Round 26 as an extremely competitive year came to a conclusion. All focus now is on who can navigate the playoffs and line up on Grand Final night.
Broncos v Titans, Friday September 9, 7:50pm
An all Queensland clash kicks off the weekend as the Brisbane Broncos host the Gold Coast Titans. The Titans inched into the finals courtesy of them and their nearest rivals Wests Tigers both losing in the final round. Meaning they head into this match after two losses, vindicating their price of $3.60 with William Hill. The Broncos on the other hand are in fine form winning their last five matches coupled with home field advantage means they are heavy favourites priced at $1.30. The Titans will be looking for an upset but the Broncos are likely to have just too much for them.
Bet of the Match: Brisbane to win at $1.30
Raiders v Sharks, Saturday September 10, 5:35pm
Cronulla led the competition for large periods of the season only to be undone in the closing stages. That dip in performances allowed their finals opponents Canberra to pip them to a home final in the opening week. The Raiders are in exquisite form at the minute winning the last ten matches of the season and will be confident of advancing past the Sharks here. Priced at $1.67 the Raiders are favourites in contrast to the Sharks at $2.20. Cronulla need to bounce back quickly but week one of the finals may just be too close.
Bet of the Match: Canberra to win at $1.67
WATCH: Our NRL Finals Preview
Storm v Cowboys, Saturday September 10, 7:55pm
Last year’s Grand Final winners, the North Queensland Cowboys, edged their way into the top four in the closing stages of the season. With a plethora of big match players, the Cowboys could well be peaking at the perfect time. Although they face a huge task travelling to Melbourne to take on the Storm. The Minor Premiers stand at $1.77 to claim victory here while the Cowboys are priced at $2.05. This could well be the match of the round as these two heavyweights meet.
Bet of the Match: Melbourne to win at $1.77
Panthers v Bulldogs, Sunday September 11, 4:30pm
Closing out the opening week of the Finals is Penrith Panthers against the Canterbury Bulldogs. Canterbury’s collapse in the closing stages of the season saw them drop from top four probables to seventh-placed mediocrity. Three consecutive losses condemned them to trying to make the Grand Final the hard way. Made even more difficult with the great form that Penrith are currently in. Their five-game winning streak sees them enter this match as favourites priced at $1.50. Canterbury must overcome odds of $2.60 to advance into next week.
Bet of the Match: Penrith to win at $1.50
Finals matches are always great occasions and these fixtures appear no different on paper as the best eight sides in the competition face off.
NRL Finals – First Week Odds:
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