With the lack of any live action to bet on, Sporting Index have priced up a market for players to start the opening State of Origin Test.
Whilst the date of game one is uncertain under the current climate, it’s highly likely that Origin will be played at some stage this year, particularly as the Ashes tour in November will almost certainly be cancelled.
There are some interesting odds and we start with Roosters’ hooker Jake Friend who is very short priced at 1/4 to be in the Maroons’ 17 for the opening clash.
Friend is expected to make his Queensland debut if he avoids the same injury fate as last year, but coach Kevin Walters could spring a surprise so I would stay clear of that one.
Two other Maroons odds on at 4/5 are Titans lock Jai Arrow and Bulldogs’ prop Dylan Napa, with both having already represented their state four and seven times respectively.
The value lies elsewhere though with Cowboys’ second-rower Coen Hess, who has started the season well and already has five Queensland appearances to his name, priced at an attractive 2/1.
A standout price is found further down in the shape of the legendary Cameron Smith who despite retiring from rep rugby, could be tempted to return should the Maroons be short in key areas.
Sporting Index price Smith at 10/1 to make a headline-making return, with a shortened season also likely to play in the veteran’s favour and lead to calls for his return.
On the opposing side there seems little doubt that Luke Keary will be New South Wales’ master-playmaker with odds at a very short 1/3 for the Roosters star.
The only other player odds on in Blues colours is Nick Cotric at 4/5, with the Raiders winger making his debut in the opening Test last year before he was ruled out with an ankle injury.
There is plenty of value on this side of the market and as you start to scroll down, in-form players Mitchell Moses and Kotoni Staggs both look interesting at 5/2.
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Jack Wighton and Tom Trbojevic are expected to start in the centres for the Blues but with neither a natural in the position, Staggs odds start to look very attractive.
Perhaps the most interesting of all are the odds of veteran half-back Mitchell Pearce who is a massive 13/2 for the Blues 17, that’s despite playing a major role for NSW in the decider last year.
Brad Fittler has again kept his cards close to his chest on selections in key positions making this an intriguing market from top to bottom.
To view all the Sporting Index odds for players to make the State of Origin starting 17s, click here.