NRL Finals Week 1 Betting Preview: Game Odds, Trends and Analysis for Week Ahead

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2017

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Roosters and Titans players push each other during the round 26 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Gold Coast Titans at Allianz Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
Daniel Munoz/Getty Images

After 192 regular season games, the top eight sides in the NRL have their sights set on the first week of the finals, which begin on Friday night in Sydney.

That match sees the second-place Sydney Roosters host the third-place Brisbane Broncos in a blockbuster Qualifying Final. The winner of this one will be well placed to challenge for the Premiership, just one home win away from the Grand Final.

The Roosters have won their last four games against the Broncos on their home deck, which has seen them installed as $1.60 AUD favorites, with the club from the Queensland capital out at $2.35 according to AustralianGambling.com.au.

The other Qualifying Final will be played down in Victoria on Saturday afternoon, when the Melbourne Storm, the top pick for the Premiership, are the shortest priced favorite of the weekend, at $1.22, to beat the Parramatta Eels ($4.30), who finished fourth.

The Storm are on a seven-game winning streak heading into the finals and, having lost just four games all season long, it's going to take a massive effort from the Eels to cause a boil over in this one.

The first of the two Elimination Finals takes place on Saturday night when the Manly Sea Eagles and Penrith Panthers go head to head for the second week in a row. In the final round of the season, it was the Sea Eagles who cemented their place in the finals with a 28-12 win.

That loss was Penrith's second in as many weeks, and with constant speculation surrounding the future of their skipper Matt Moylan, it's been a less than ideal lead-up to the most important time of the year.

All the money has been for the Manly side to repeat their heroics of last week, which has seen them come into $1.60 to end Penrith's ($2.35) season.

On Sunday, the North Queensland Cowboys, who only snuck into the top eight after the St George Illawarra Dragons bowed out of contention with a final-round loss, aim to cause a huge upset and end the reigning Premier Cronulla Sharks' season.

Cronulla haven't exactly set the world on fire in the last five weeks either though. They've managed just two wins in that period, including a lacklustre performance against the wooden-spooners Newcastle.

The Sharks are at the short quote of $1.35 to keep their dream of back to back titles alive, with the Cowboys out at $3.20.

Related

    NRL: Cooper Cronk scans reveal 'severe' shoulder injury

    Rugby League logo
    Rugby League

    NRL: Cooper Cronk scans reveal 'severe' shoulder injury

    the Guardian
    via the Guardian

    Rugby League Today: Widnes relegation confirmed, Holbrook praises Barba, Burgess cleared by investigation

    Rugby League logo
    Rugby League

    Rugby League Today: Widnes relegation confirmed, Holbrook praises Barba, Burgess cleared by investigation

    Drew Darbyshire
    via Love Rugby League

    Australia coach Mal Meninga reveals Kangaroos halfback race down to two

    Rugby League logo
    Rugby League

    Australia coach Mal Meninga reveals Kangaroos halfback race down to two

    @johndean_
    via FOX SPORTS

    NRL 2018 finals: Billy Slater hearing set for Tuesday after Storm bid to have it earlier knocked back

    Rugby League logo
    Rugby League

    NRL 2018 finals: Billy Slater hearing set for Tuesday after Storm bid to have it earlier knocked back

    FOX SPORTS
    via FOX SPORTS