|Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels NRL Betting Odds and Game Info|
|NRL betting odds||Panthers $1.24 at BetOnline | Eels $4.30 at PlayUp|
|When||Saturday, September 18 at 7:50pm AEST|
|Where||BP Print Stadium – Mackay, Queensland|
|Last time they met||Eels 6-40 Panthers (R25, 2021)|
|Watch live||Nine, Foxtel, Kayo|
There is a bitter rivalry between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels at the best of times, but when they meet in an NRL semi final on Saturday night in Mackay, the tension will go up to another level.
Penrith come into the game with the fear of being labelled ‘chokers’ if they have another bad day at the office, while Parramatta face another weekend of being reminded about the longest premiership drought in the competition should they bow out. Both teams face enormous pressure, but the betting markets have Penrith as a scorching-hot favourite at $1.24, while the Eels come in as a $4.30 outsider. Normally when a team is at that big a price, they fear nothing and play with a sense of freedom, but the burden of history is enormous at a club like Parramatta and it will weigh on the players.
Dylan Edwards will come back into Penrith’s starting side at fullback, while Moses Leota will take his place in the front row having missed the 10-16 loss to South Sydney. Parramatta have named Ryan Matterson on the interchange bench after being left out of the side altogether for their 28-20 win over Newcastle.
The winner of this game will meet the Melbourne Storm in the preliminary finals. The Storm have eliminated the Eels in consecutive finals series and dealt the Panthers a loss in the 2020 NRL Grand Final, so no matter who wins on Saturday night, they will have more demons to face in the coming weeks.
Panthers vs Eels SF analysis & top betting markets
The message coming out of Penrith this week has been how their confidence has not been impacted by the loss to Souths, but how much of that is false bravado and how much of it is for real? If it’s for real, Brian To’o at $6.50 to score the first try is a must. Their left edge is where they will look to go if they are feeling frisky, and they will have seen the issues the right edge of Parramatta had in their Week 1 final. To’o was the first tryscorer when they met two weeks ago, so he has the inside running to do so again. Matt Burton at $11 is the other name that will attract a ton of cash on that side of the field.
The -12.5 line being given indicates they should give the Eels a belting, but their previous clashes suggest it should be close. Ignoring a fortnight ago when Parramatta rested 14 players, they lost 13-12 earlier in the year and the only team they lost to in the 2020 regular season was Parramatta. For that reason, the $3.30 for a 1-12 point Panthers win is terrific value.
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The Parramatta Eels could exit the finals in Week 2 for the fourth time in five years, so there is something about this game they find difficult to overcome. Everyone else is waiting for them to fall over, so do they have the mental toughness to knock off their big rival as a $4.30 outsider? The recent clashes between these two when they are full strength suggests the +12.5 line is far too long, and one thing that might keep the game close is the state of the regional ground in Mackay after a final the day before.
One player who made a name for himself last week was Will Penisini, who set up a try for Blake Ferguson and got a penalty try himself late in the game. He comes in at the $4.20 price to cross at any time, and he might well turn a few more heads marked up on Burton this weekend. Clint Gutherson at $2.88 is the other must if you are looking for a tryscorer, as his energy will put him in the frame.
Key matchup: James Fisher-Harris vs Reagan Campbell-Gillard
It’s a big game for the men with double-barrelled names. James Fisher-Harris played his worst game in two years against the Rabbitohs, while Reagan Campbell-Gillard was outstanding in his return from injury in Week 1 of the finals. RCG impacted the game with physicality in defence and made life hell for any Knight who took a run one-out off the ruck, but will he be able to do the same against a Panthers side who are able to shift the ball at the drop of a hat? JFH has habitually laid a platform for Penrith every week over the last two years, and he showed his importance to the result when he wasn’t allowed to do that last week.
Panthers vs Eels semi final predictions & best bets
Match handicap: Parramatta Eels +12.5
Penrith will progress to the prelims, but Parramatta should cover the +12.5 line. It may not be any consolation for Eels fans, but you might as well try and make some cash to cheer yourself up.
Parramatta Eels +12.5
Same game multi: 5 legs @ $70
Eels +12.5 with Brian To’o, Clint Gutherson, Matt Burton and Will Penisini to all score a try pays a whopping $70.
Eels +12.5 / Burton AT / To’o AT / Gutherson AT / Penisini AT
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