Penrith Panthers – $2.45 at Sportsbet
Cronulla Sharks – $1.53
While Penrith and Cronulla share the same points tally, the two teams are on different trajectories heading into their NRL clash on Friday night.
The Panthers were purring a couple of weeks ago, but losses to Canberra and Canterbury have halted their momentum and pushed them out of the top eight.
SEE ALSO: NRL ROUND 21 BETTING PREVIEW
The Sharks have gone the other way, reviving their finals chances with crucial wins over North Queensland and South Sydney.
With only points differential between them, this week’s meeting at Panthers Stadium could determine who features in September and who doesn’t.
Penrith Panthers Round 21 team news
James Maloney is out suspended, which gives Matt Burton a shot in the halves. Spencer Leniu and Sione Katoa replace the injured pair of Wayde Egan and Jarome Luai on the bench, while Viliame Kikau is back from a ban and Frank Winterstein drops to the reserves.
Out: Wayde Egan (shoulder), Jarome Luai (eye), James Maloney (suspension), Frank Winterstein (reserves)
In: Matt Burton, Sione Katoa, Viliame Kikau, Spencer Leniu
Cronulla Sharks Round 21 odds
Matt Moylan is sidelined with a concussion, so Josh Dugan reverts to fullback, Josh Morris shifts to centre and Sosaia Feki starts on the flank. There are no other changes to the 17 that beat the Bunnies last time out.
Out: Matt Moylan (concussion)
In: Sosaia Feki
Panthers vs Sharks tryscorer odds
Brent Naden – This guy has been a prolific scoring outlet since making his NRL debut midway through the season. Naden has seven tries from eight games and was the only Panther to find the line last week, so Sportsbet’s $2.88 quote for anytime tryscorer looks like great value.
Bronson Xerri – Is it mere coincidence that Xerri has scored in five out of seven Cronulla wins since he was called up in round four? The young centre has bagged three tries in the last fortnight and might be worth a dip for first tryscorer at $9.50 odds with Sportsbet.
Panthers vs Sharks NRL stats and trends
- Penrith are the worst team in the NRL for missed tackles (730) and penalties conceded (150)
- The Panthers opened as $1.75 favourites in Sportsbet’s match odds but have blown out to $2.45
- Cronulla rank first in the NRL for linebreak assists (60) and second for try assists (58)
- Six Sharks forwards ran for more than 110m when they beat Penrith 24-20 in round six
Panthers vs Sharks betting predictions
A full-strength Panthers side might have the edge at home, but they will struggle with so many key players out this week. Get on Cronulla to take another step towards finals with a valuable away win.
Cronulla Sharks by 1-12 points – $3 at Sportsbet
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