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NRL 2020 Betting Update: Panthers take pole position

NRL 2020 betting news

The Melbourne Storm started the 2020 NRL Finals Series as favourites to win it all, but it took just one game for them to be knocked off their perch.

For weeks, when the Penrith Panthers were at $6 in the outright betting, we pleaded for folks to take our advice and get on board – so if you hadn’t done so until now, that’s on you.

A sensational win from Penrith has seen them fall to $2.75 in the NRL Premiership odds at Sportsbet.com.au, while the Storm have come in from $3.50 to $3.25.

Concerns around Cameron Munster’s knee have a little to do with this, as does Cameron Smith playing a preliminary final with 75 carryover points, but falling behind 12-0 to the Parramatta Eels in their qualifying final also plays a role.

Parramatta have blown all the way out to $34 to become the rank outsiders among the six remaining teams, with all their critics feeling vindicated about a so-called ‘fraudulent’ ladder position.

Despite winning 75% of their games in the regular season, they were a popular pick to be knocked out in straight sets, and it’s a fate they face as they go into their clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs as the underdogs.

As such, many punters and pundits have surmised that trailing for a long period and then only winning by 12 points over Parramatta doesn’t make Melbourne as good people thought they might be.

SEE ALSO: NRL FINALS WEEK 1 REVIEW

On the other side of the draw, Penrith’s win over the Sydney Roosters impressed anyone and everyone.

They trailed 10-0 early against the two-time defending premiers, but the way they settled and held their nerve was incredible.

The Panthers scored the next 28 points unanswered before a late fightback from the Roosters meant the minor premiers were forced to win the game a second time, and ultimately they were up to that challenge too.

On the back of that thrilling win, Nathan Cleary is the favourite for the Clive Churchill Medal at $5.50 and Jarome Luai has stormed into $15.

Based on how the award has been given out in previous years, it will take a monumental performance from someone not named Nathan Cleary to take the award away from him if the Panthers do go all the way.

If you like Penrith for the premiership, the smart money is to roll it in with Cleary to win the Churchill Medal.

The antics of Trent Robinson in the coaches’ box on Friday night as well as an overly arrogant assessment of the game in his press conference left plenty scratching their heads.

The Roosters have conceded 89 points in their last two games and are now in sudden-death mode, with some starting to think the end is near.

Does Robinson feel that way also? Normally a cool customer in the grandstand, he was visibly emotional and riding the highs like he was the second coming of Ricky Stuart.

Did he know deep down the only chance of a three-peat was by beating Penrith and earning a week off?

Only time will tell, but if any team wanted a chance to end Sydney’s run, it’s the Canberra Raiders.

Last year’s runners-up are still at $15 to win the premiership, but you can make the case that this competition is still a five-horse race.

The Raiders had no possession in the first half against Cronulla, but they held their nerve to be down by only four points at half time before crushing the Sharks in the second half on the back of a Jack Wighton masterclass.

Canberra are $2.75 to beat the Roosters in their semi-final, but in the corresponding fixture in round 10 at the SCG they beat the Chooks 24-20 when they were paying $5, so why shouldn’t they believe they can knock them off?

SEE ALSO: NRL GRAND FINAL BETTING GUIDE

The Raiders have also beaten Melbourne in three of their last four clashes, with the one loss by six points, so there is still a road to the NRL Grand Final for them – albeit a difficult one.

And what about the Rabbitohs?

Sure, they went down 14-0 against the Knights, but after that they outscored them 46-8, which has moved them into $11 for the premiership and $1.47 favouritism for their clash against the Eels.

Only five weeks ago they dusted Parramatta 38-0 in one of the most jaw-dropping offensive performances seen in several seasons, and the common train of thought is it will happen again.

While this fixture feels like theirs to lose, taking out Penrith a week later is going to be an enormous ask.

They did push the Panthers in a 20-12 loss earlier in the season, so it is by no means beyond them, but it would absolutely take their best game and the Panthers coming up flat.

It feels like it’s still a five-horse race, and there is certainly a path for the two remaining clubs from the bottom four to make a run.

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