As the 2021 NRL season edges ever closer, with the opening round of fixtures scheduled to commence from 11th March, excitement is already building ahead of what promises to be a thrilling campaign. With plenty of action-packed rugby league action just around the corner, let’s take a look at the early premiers and premiership betting odds for the key teams.
Regular Season & Premiers
Last year one team was head and shoulders above everyone else. Penrith Panthers completely stunned the NRL after a relatively steady start, embarking upon a remarkable winning streak from Round 6 of the 2020 competition. After dominating the premiers title race last year, they are 4/1 favourites to reign supreme again during the 2021 NRL regular season.
However, the Panthers are expected to face a much sterner test of their credentials. South Sydney Rabbitohs are tipped to be the strongest challengers at 17/4 odds. Meanwhile, the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm are both on 5/1 odds, indicating they will be firmly amongst the four front-runners at the top of the ladder.
But can anyone else provide a genuine challenge for this fearsome four? While they are considered 10/1 outsiders for the premiers title, Canberra Raiders have one of the most experienced NRL squads. Providing everyone can stay fit and free of injuries, they are certainly capable of challenging thanks to superb depth upfront.
Since collecting the wooden spoon as the NRL’s worst team in 2018, Parramatta Eels have enjoyed a spectacular turnaround in fortunes. Finishing fifth in the final ladder standings, and then third last season, it’s hard not to imagine them making a push for the premiers this year. Priced at 14/1 odds to achieve that objective, the Eels look to be really good value.
Grand Final & Premiership
No team has won the rugby league Grand Final more times in Australia than the South Sydney Rabbitohs; triumphing on 21 occasions since the inaugural final was played in 1908. However, during the modern era of the NRL since 1998, they have lifted the iconic Provan-Summons Trophy just once in 2014, ending a drought that had stretched back to 1971.
Nevertheless, the Rabbitohs are amongst the rugby league betting favourites to win the Grand Final this year, priced at 19/4 odds. They also have an added incentive, given that legendary coach Wayne Bennett is entering his last season with the Rabbitohs. The team will undoubtedly be keen to send him out in a blaze of glory.
After dominating the regular season and winning the premiers, Penrith Panthers are 9/2 favourites to win the 2021 Grand Final, after falling just short on the big stage last year. Melbourne Storm halted the Panthers amazing run in the 2020 Grand Final, and priced at 11/2 odds this year, back-to-back triumphs is a genuine possibility-
Nobody should ignore Sydney Roosters, who are also tipped at 11/2 for the Grand Final crown. The 2019 premiership winners are the second-most successful team in the Australian rugby league, and their current squad is packed with enough talent to succeed. They will certainly be amongst the leading challengers for the big prize.
Potential Surprise Package
One team watch this year will be Gold Coast Titans. The 2019 wooden spoon outfit finished just outside the top eight in 2020, and after some great recruitment to bolster the squad, they are tipped at 5/2 to break into the top four. At 14/1 for a premiers push, keep an eye on their form in the early rounds.