At long last, the summer is over and the 2020 NRL Premiership season is here. Let’s take a look at the match odds and best bets for the opening round, which kicks off on Thursday night in Parramatta.
Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs
8:05pm AEDT Thursday, March 12 at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta
The Parramatta Eels will start the season among the top handful of premiership contenders. The Canterbury Bulldogs, meanwhile, hold the second line of betting for the wooden spoon. As such, it is no surprise to see Parra pegged as $1.32 favourites at Sportsbet.com.au for Thursday’s season-opening fixture at Bankwest Stadium.
Canberra Raiders vs Gold Coast Titans
6pm AEDT Friday, March 13 at GIO Stadium, Canberra
The Canberra Raiders could not have asked for a gentler start to the season. Last year’s grand finallists will kick things off at home to the Gold Coast Titans, who are well liked to finish bottom of the table again. You can get on the Raiders at $1.30 with BetOnline.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos
8:05pm AEST Friday, March 13 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Valentine Holmes will make his much-anticipated NRL return in a new-look back half for the North Queensland Cowboys, while Jack Bird will line up at fullback for the Brisbane Broncos. The match betting is tight, with the home side given a slight edge at $1.80 with Ladbrokes.
Newcastle Knights vs New Zealand Warriors
3pm AEDT Saturday, March 14 at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Gehamat Shibasaki and Enari Tuala will form an all-new centres pairing for the Newcastle Knights, while Jayden Brailey will make his NRL debut at hooker. Chanel Tavita-Harris will get first crack at the no.6 jumper for the NZ Warriors, with Kodi Nikorima named on the bench. The Knights are well backed at home, giving up only $1.45 at BetOnline.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Cronulla Sharks
5:30pm AEDT Saturday, March 14 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Latrell Mitchell takes the no.1 jersey for his maiden outing with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, while Alex Johnston is named on the bench. William Kennedy starts at fullback for the Cronulla Sharks with Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan both out injured. You can get $1.62 at Ladbrokes for the Bunnies to start the year with a win.
Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters
7:35pm AEDT Saturday, March 14 at Panthers Stadium, Penrith
All eyes will be on Kyle Flanagan, who takes over from the retired Cooper Cronk as the Sydney Roosters‘ starting halfback. The Penrith Panthers are missing a few regulars and James Fisher-Harris is named on the bench as he battles a pectoral problem, so the $1.45 about Sydney at Ladbrokes looks the way to go.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm
4:05pm AEDT Sunday, March 15 at Lottoland, Sydney
There is a bit of buzz around the Manly Sea Eagles, who will have both Trbojevic brothers on the park for their NRL Round 1 clash with the Melbourne Storm. With Will Chambers gone, Justin Olam and Marion Seve will man the centres for the Vics. There is a little bit of value about Manly at $2.30 with several bookies, but the Storm are hard to ignore at $1.65 with Ladbrokes.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers
6:15pm AEDT Sunday, March 15 at WIN Stadium, Wollongong
This might be the toughest game to tip in the opening round. The St George Illawarra Dragons have been all over the place in the last few years, while the Wests Tigers have looked steady but unspectacular under Michael Maguire. The Dragons have a habit of defying expectations, good or bad, so consider the $1.85 at Sportsbet for the hosts to win.
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