NRL PreviewCanberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers
Sunday, August 20, 2pm (AEST) at GIO Stadium, Canberra

This is potentially the biggest match of Round 24 based on its finals implications. The 10th placed Raiders can pack for Bali if they can’t overcome the Panthers, while the 6th placed Panthers could slide out of the Top 8 if they lose and the Sea Eagles, Cowboys and Dragons all win. The Raiders have named an unchanged line-up, while the Panthers will be without Peter Wallace (broken hand). Trent Merrin has been named on an extended bench for the Panthers and could be a late inclusion.
HistoryThe Panthers have won two of the last three against the Raiders, while Canberra have won the last three against Penrith at Canberra Stadium. The Panthers won 24-20 at Bathurst earlier in the year. Raiders rookie Nick Cotric scored a double on a losing side.
FormCanberra have kept their finals hopes alive with a big win in Auckland over the Warriors, their third straight win. The Raiders have posted 30 points in each of those three wins. Canberra have won just two of their last six at home. Penrith have won six straight and 10 of their last 12. The Panthers have kept opponents to 16 or fewer in four straight. The Panthers rank sixth in attack and seventh in defence.
Key MatchupJunior Paulo v Reagan Campbell-Gillard: The Wolf is expecting a physical forward battle in Canberra on Sunday afternoon and both of these men will be leading the charge for their respective packs. Paulo hasn’t played as many minutes as he did earlier in the season, but it means he can go at 100 miles per hour in the opening stanza and set the tone for the Raiders pack. Campbell-Gillard has been very impressive over the past month and was one of the Panthers’ best in last week’s win over the Cowboys. He started off the bench, but had a massive impact, running for 230 metres and making 38 tackles. The Wolf has him circled as an Origin forward of the future.
Stats That Matter– Canberra are 11-10 ATS with an 11-10 over record while Penrith are 11-10 ATS with a 12-9 under number.
– The Panthers have won two of the last three against the Raiders.
– Canberra have won the last three against Penrith at Canberra Stadium.
– The Raiders are 20-28 ATS at home since 2014.
– The over is 17-10 when the Raiders are favoured by 4 or more at home while the over is 15-8 in Canberra day games.
– Penrith have covered just 2 of their last 7 day road games.
– Canberra are 17-10 ATS after scoring 30 points.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf found it difficult to find a winner here and is settling on the Overs as the best bet. Both sides love to throw the football around and a shootout is expected in Canberra on Sunday afternoon. The home ground factor sways this one in favour of the Green Machine by a margin of 1-12.
How It’s Shaping UpCanberra by 6
Best Bet
Over 43.5 ($1.88)

Other Recommended Bets
Canberra 1-12 ($3)

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