We have expert betting tips for all NRL Finals Week 3 games this week, which features the Storm vs. Raiders and Panthers vs. Rabbitohs.
A spot in the NRL Grand Final is up for grabs and both games are expected to be thrillers. Two teams outside the Top 4 have made the semifinals, but they could have a tough time progressing to next Sunday’s final.
We look at the form of all four teams in action this week.
7:50pm Melbourne Storm vs. Canberra Raiders @ Suncorp Stadium
The Melbourne Storm enjoyed a week off having beaten the Parramatta Eels in Week 1. It was a solid performance to score 36-24, but there were some nervous moments.
They trailed the Eels at one stage and they needed a second-half comeback to put them away. However, that form was somewhat franked by the Rabbitohs last week, who were pushed to their limits against the Eels.
One thing going in favour of the Melbourne Storm is experience, with the likes of Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster having played in big matches.
However, finals experience isn’t something this Raiders team lacks. Last year’s beaten finalists are on a mission to avenge that loss, and they showed that against the Roosters last week.
It was a dominant performance by the Raiders and the 22-18 score line doesn’t do them justice. They were excellent throughout the middle of the field, so the Storm forwards will have their work cut out for them.
On talent alone, the Storm has the better team. They are packed with speedsters and quality forwards, but the Raiders continue to find ways to win.
Bookmakers have the Storm as $1.47 favourites and the Raiders are paying $2.75. The current line is six points, which should see an equal amount of action.
The Raiders are capable of keeping this game close, but we fancy the Melbourne Storm to come out with the victory. They have been stellar this season and there is no reason to jump off their back.
We don’t want to push on the –6 line, so we’re picking our own line of –3.5 at $1.62. It is better odds than the head-to-head line and there isn’t as much risk for punters.
Betting tip: Storm –3.5 @ $1.62
Storm by 6
7:50pm Penrith Panthers vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs @ ANZ Stadium
Penrith has been the best team throughout the course of the year and they will be tough to beat on Saturday.
After putting away the Roosters by one point in Week 1 of the NRL finals, they enjoyed a week off to rest and recoup. It was a physical game, so they should come into this game fresh.
Penrith will be without Viliame Kikau, which is a big loss, but they are a deep side and they have quality players to cover.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have momentum coming into this game after beating the Eels 38-24. The game turned with 10 minutes to go when Eels kicker Mitchell Moses missed a kick to tie the game at 20-20.
South Sydney capitalised on the error and ran in three late tries to seal the game. It was another superb second-half performance from the Rabbits, who are averaging 30 points in the second half throughout the finals.
Penrith will need to be aware of a late comeback, especially since they almost gave up a lead over the Roosters. However, the Panthers have been the best team this year and the NRL title looks well within their reach.
They have an imposing forward pack and Nathan Cleary has been in superb form running the back line. For that reason, we are picking the Panthers to come out ahead and potentially meet the Storm to set up a #1 vs. #2 final.