NRL 2021 Betting Odds, Tips & Best Early Bets
The 2021 NRL betting market is one of the most competitive in recent memory. The bookies have several top teams at very generous odds at the start of the season.
The Melbourne Storm come into the 2021 season as the reigning premiers after a dominant win over the Penrith Panthers in the 2020 NRL Grand Final, but the loss of club legend Cameron Smith means the bookies are happy to offer bigger odds on the Victorians than they usually would.
Despite losing last year’s decider the Panthers are the favourites to win the 2021 NRL Grand Final with most bookies, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs narrowly the second pick. Last year’s winner the Melbourne Storm are locked on the third line of betting alongside the Sydney Roosters to round out the single-figure chances.
NRL Grand Final Betting Tips
The big off-season move in the NRL was Cameron Smith’s decision not to re-join the Melbourne Storm team for 2021. Smith's retirement from NRL means the 37-year-old will not wear the Melbourne purple for the first time since 2002.
The team that the Storm conquered in the decider, the Penrith Panthers, come into the 2021 NRL season as the favourites, despite losing several key players in the off-season. The Panthers could be the best team in the competition but will be reliant on a clean bill of health.
While not at the peak of their powers, the acquisitions of Jai Arrow, Benji Marshall and Josh Mansour add some much-needed experience to the South Sydney Rabbitohs line up, which puts them on the second line of betting with online bookmakers. The Bunnies face three tough tests to start the season, including away games against the Melbourne Storm and the Manly Sea Eagles alongside a home game against the Sydney Roosters, but if they can get off to a flier, there’s no reason to think the Rabbitohs won’t be in contention once again.
The NRL’s glamour club the Sydney Roosters are perennial contenders, and despite not making wholesale off-season changes, the Chooks will vying for an NRL Grand Final berth in 2021. A lot will depend on how well Lachlan Lam and Luke Keary pair after the departure of Kyle Flanagan, but there’s no doubting the prowess of the Tricolours.
The team to keep an eye on is the Canberra Raiders. The Green Machine finished as runners up in 2019 and fell at the preliminary final hurdle last season. Ricky Stuart will have his men ready to go as the new season approaches and while they’ll need to ensure they stay healthy throughout the new campaign, the double-figure odds around the Raiders represent one of the best bets of the 2021 NRL season.
2021 NRL Bets to Consider
The Canberra Raiders are a team we are expecting to be highly competitive in the 2021 NRL season. There’s plenty to like about the Green Machine, and with a much better draw than expected, there is every chance the men from the nation’s capital finish the season on top of the ladder. If we want to play it safe, backing the Canberra Raiders to finish inside the top four looks a good bet.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Dragons were one of the poorer teams of the 2020 campaign and after a period of inactivity over the off-season, the Saints’ prospects look fairly bleak heading into the 2021 NRL season. Backing them for the wooden spoon looks a solid bet for one of the worst sides in the competition.
If he stays on the park and Penrith contend for the premiership as we expect, Nathan Cleary will be a driving force behind their success. The point scorer will be in control of their attacking flurries and offers value to be the NRL’s top point scorer in 2021, Cleary represents great value.
The Newcastle Knights represent great value in the 2020 NRL Grand Final betting market. They will be relying on new inclusions to hit the ground running and Dally M Medal contender Kayln Ponga to play the entire season, but if they can string together some consistent form and more importantly keep their stars out on the park, the Knights could be a sound bet.
2021 NRL Grand Final Long Shots
The Canberra Raiders present as the team to back if you are looking for double-figure odds. The Green Machine played off in the 2019 NRL Grand Final and made it through to last year’s preliminary final despite a lot of things going against them.
This season with a good draw, a clean bill of health and only one key player in the form of Nick Cotric leaving in the off-season, the Raiders represent terrific value heading into the 2021 NRL season.
Another team that’s worth a futures investment is the Newcastle Knights. The Novocastrians added Tyson Frizell and Sauaso Sue in the off-season as well as some English players who are expected to make an immediate impact. When you pair them alongside arguably the game’s best player in Kalyn Ponga, the 23.00 on offer for the Knights looks to be a wise 2021 NRL Grand Final long-shot bet.
What About the Warriors?
The Warriors provided the NRL with the feel-good story of the 2020 campaign and will look to build on an impressive finish to last season's campaign. Based on the NSW Central Coast, the Warriors will have less uncertainty about their setup and with a new coach and impressive signings, the Warriors could present a significant challenge for Finals Footie.
An already ferocious forward pack has been bolstered with the additions of Kane Evans and Bayley Sironen. Already boasting arguably the competition's best back 3, headline by captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, the NZ side will look to their 2020 rookie of the year Chanel Harris-Tavita to guide them around the paddock. Finals footie should be the goal for the Warriors, in what would be a fitting send-off to the inspirational leader RTS before he crosses codes to chase his All Blacks dream. Question marks will hover over halfback if Harri-Tavita struggles, but we're backing the gun to lead the side into the finals.
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