|Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Betting Odds and Game Info|
|NRL betting odds||Panthers $1.25 at Sportsbet | Rabbitohs $4.20 at BetOnline|
|When||Saturday, September 11 at 7:50pm AEST|
|Where||Queensland Country Bank Stadium – Townsville, Queensland|
|Last time they met||Panthers 25-12 Rabbitohs (R23, 2021)|
|Watch live||Nine, Foxtel, Kayo|
The Penrith Panthers will start their NRL finals campaign with a top-four clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs as the main event at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
The Rabbitohs have been unable to beat the Panthers on two occasions this year and they also fell short in a dramatic preliminary final against them last season. They come into the game as a $4.20 long shot, which almost feels disrespectful when you look at the quality of the team they can still put on the field despite the absence of Latrell Mitchell. Blake Taaffe is named at fullback to replace Mitchell, but there are rumours swirling that it could be someone else who steps into the custodian role.
Penrith come into the game with their best side available, and it will be Scott Sorenson who has to make way for Spencer Leniu on the interchange bench. The Panthers have won 39 of their 44 regular season games over the last two seasons, but after falling short in last year’s NRL Grand Final, there is all the more motivation for them to go all the way in 2021.
Panthers vs Rabbitohs finals preview & top markets
The Panthers have won 37 of their last 39 matches when they’ve come in as the favourite, and they’ll do so again with a -11.5 point handicap. One man who is a lock to have a big game is Brian To’o, who has got back to his best form since returning from injury a few weeks ago. He is the favourite at $7.50 to score the first try of the match – can he make it two weeks in a row? He has a try in each of his last four games for the Panthers, so why not also get on the $1.50 he is paying in the anytime market for a same-game multi? While they have won big in their last two against the Rabbitohs, the 25-12 results a few weeks ago was enhanced by an 11-2 penalty count, which was an anomaly for the most disciplined team in the competition. It makes the $3.25 on offer for a 1-12 win very appealing.
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Just who exactly plays fullback for the South Sydney Rabbitohs is a big mystery, and it feels like a big risk to make such a big change after already being forced to due to the Latrell Mitchell suspension. The +11.5 line for the Bunnies is a big one for them in most cases, but they have fallen well short in both games against Penrith this year. Wayne Bennett will no doubt have them ready to rip in, and his record in big games as a coach suggests that if he is going to go down he isn’t going to be blown out of the water. Alex Johnston at $2 is an absolute must as an anytime tryscorer, while Dane Gagai at $3.60 presents some nice value. He has scored a try in four of Souths’ last six games over the Panthers, so perhaps he continues that hot streak?
Key matchup: Nathan Cleary vs Adam Reynolds
The two halfbacks on display might just be the best available in the NRL in Nathan Cleary and Adam Reynolds. It was the boot of Cleary back in Round 23 which turned the tide after Penrith fell behind 12-0, but Reynolds also showcased his brilliance in that game, kicking one of the most precise 40/20s anyone has ever seen. The kicking game of both men is absolutely crucial in how their respective teams build pressure. Cleary can kick his team back into games because of the variety of bombs he has in his arsenal that are complemented by the distance he can create. Reynolds’ ability to get set restarts has been his bread and butter for a decade, but look for him to kick early in tackle counts to try and nullify Brian To’o.
Panthers vs Rabbitohs QF predictions & best bets
Exact margin: Penrith Panthers by 10 points
Penrith will win the game by 10 points to qualify for a preliminary final, while Souths will fall to the other side of the draw. You can get $19 for a Panthers win at that exact margin, which is a sensational price.
Penrith Panthers by 10 points
Same game multi: 4 legs @ $28.50
Panthers 1-12 with Brian To’o, Dane Gagai and Alex Johnston to all score a try at $28.50 could be a nice one to ride home on Saturday night.
Panthers 1-12 / To’o anytime / Gagai anytime / Johnston anytime
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