2015 NRL Round 1 Betting Preview for Penrith Panthers v Canterbury Bulldogs thanks to William Hill Australia.
4pm AEDT, Sunday, March 8
Pepper Stadium, Sydney
After a rollicking preliminary final clash last season, Penrith and Canterbury meet again in what is sure to be a bruising Round 1 affair. Both teams have high expectations heading into 2015 and will want to get off to a fast start.
Penrith have lost international winger Josh Mansour to injury with speedster George Jennings to debut. Reagan Campbell-Gillard will also debut off the bench. Some big names have been left out including Nigel Plum, Apisai Korisau and Adam Docker. Curtis Rona has won the battle for a wing berth over Corey Thompson for the Bulldogs while Michael Lichaa and Brett Morris will also debut for the club. Des Hasler will play four big forwards on the bench.
Canterbury have historically had the best of Penrith with a 49-34-3 all-time record. Penrith have had the best of it lately though with 11 wins in the last 17 encounters including both regular season games last year, winning 18-16 with an after-the-siren kick in Round 3 before hanging on 22-16 late in the year. The Bulldogs did win the preliminary final 18-12 though. The Panthers have won 5 of the last 7 at Penrith Stadium. Seven of the last nine matches have tallied 38 points or less. Bulldogs benchman Frank Pritchard is a former Panther while Penrith centre Jamal Idris debuted for Canterbury.
Both Penrith and Canterbury were awful during the Auckland Nines, failing to win a single match. Penrith’s trial form was only fair too. They downed a combined Roosters/Wyong side but were well beaten by both the Warriors and Parramatta. In Canterbury’s only serious trial, the Bulldogs lost a close encounter to Melbourne 32-30.
Fullback battles don’t get much more exciting than this. Matt Moylan has had two superb seasons and won a call-up to Australia’s Four Nations squad last year on the back of his exquisite ball playing and wiry running. Morris has switched clubs and is trying his hand at fullback after becoming the game’s best winger. All eyes will be on the No.1s where the rising star will matchup with the veteran switching clubs and positions.
Stats That Matter
Penrith are 15-10 at home but just 12-13 ATS over the last two seasons. They are 16-9 under on home turf though, including a 7-2 under record in day matches. Under Ivan Cleary the Panthers are 8-13 with a 9-12 ATS record when bigger than $1.85 at home. Canterbury are 23-13 (24-12 ATS) away from ANZ under Des Hasler with a 21-15 under record. The Bulldogs have covered 12 of 16 games as an away underdog under Hasler. The Bulldogs have gone under in 11 of their last 16 day matches. Canterbury were the top under side last season while the Panthers were the third top under side.
Canterbury and Penrith have a history of low scoring matches and it is unlikely to be different in this one. They have met in the opening three weeks in two of the last three seasons for totals of 34 and 36. They were both big under teams last year due to stout defence and incompetent attack. Both teams have added key elements to their attacking plans but the general ethos will be defence first. The Bulldogs and Panthers are too solid teams but need to show something in attack before it can be respected. The best bet in this one is a close, low-scoring grind at Pepper Stadium.
How It’s Shaping Up
Canterbury by 1
Under 37.5 ($1.91)
Other Recommended Bets
Either Team Under 12.5 Points ($1.85)
Penrith Panthers v Canterbury Bulldogs Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 1 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.