It’s all systems go for the NRL next week, with the first games kicking off on Friday 12th March. Not only has the National Rugby League enjoyed growth in corporate sponsorships, club membership growth and impressive TV ratings – the betting pool on League is outpacing AFL and looks set to continue this year.
So, with so many punters out there in NRL land – who is the best value bets for this season?
As it stands, here are the prices to win the Premiership for the 16 NRL teams: Eels $6, Bulldogs $7, Storm $7.50, Dragons $7.50, Titans $11, Manly $11, Souths $11, Wests Tigers $13, Brisbane $21, Penrith $21, Newcastle $26, Cowboys $26, Roosters $26, Canberra $34, Warriors $34, Sharks $41
Looking at these figures, the first firm value pick seems to be the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Bunnies have a strong squad for 2010 and under new coach John Lang could represent a consistent outfit. All the ahead of Souths, while having the chance at winning the prize – show very little value at those odds.
In the middle of the pack, the Broncos and Panthers at $21 offer some great value odds. Both these sides are giant killers on their day and if they get the bounce of the ball a few weeks, they could easily get into the Top 8. Many are predicting the Broncos to miss the Top 8 but you can never count them out. For the Panthers, they’ve shown exciting preseason form, have cleared a lot of dead wood out and have a capable squad.
Following these teams, the Roosters are the next best betting option. Sitting at $26 to win the title. While they might have run dead last in 2009, they are a whole new looking side this year. Premier coach Brian Smith is guiding them around and they have some genuine match winners in Todd Carney and Mitch Pearce. Don’t count them out.
Finally, for those that want mammoth value and like picking from the rear of the field – the NZ Warriors are offering the juiciest odds of $34 to win the comp. Most don’t have the Warriors in their Top 8 calculations, but given this side are a 1 team country – anything could happen. Just like in 2003, they got on a consistent roll that took them all the way to the Grand Final. The fairytale does happen in modern day NRL, so throw a lazy hundred on the Kiwis and you never know – you could get a handy payday at the backend of the year.