2021 NRL Round 1 – Tips, Predictions & Odds

We have expert betting tips for NRL Round 1, which starts with the Storm vs. Rabbitohs on Thursday night.

Rugby league fans have been waiting patiently for the new season to start and with eight games scheduled in Round 1, punters get great betting opportunities.

We analyse every game this week and provide our best NRL tips.


All odds are with Sportsbet – our No. 1 rated bookmaker. You can join Sportsbet by clicking HERE.


NRL Round 1 Tips

Thursday 11/03/21

8:05pm Melbourne Storm vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs @ AAMI Park

There are tapered expectations placed on the Melbourne Storm this season, but despite fears regarding Cameron Smith, they still have a legitimate team.

The Storm features some quality players in the lineup, including Cameron Munster. He has the ability to change a game and there are experienced players littered throughout the squad.

South Sydney comes off a win over St George in the Charity Shield. It was a tough performance and they demand respect. However, the Storm don’t often lose at home in the opening week, so stick with them.

Betting tip: Melbourne Storm to win @ $1.80 Bet @ Sportsbet

Storm by 6

Friday 12/03/21

6:00pm Newcastle Knights vs. Canterbury Bulldogs @ McDonald Jones Stadium

Newcastle had the makings of a good team in 2021 and they should account for the Canterbury Bulldogs in Round 1.

Canterbury is expected to languish at the bottom of the table this season and facing the Knights first-up isn’t the easiest introduction to 2021.

It could be a long season for the Bulldogs and although the opening weeks can result in upsets, this shouldn’t be one of them.

Betting tip: Newcastle Knights to win @ $1.55 Bet @ Sportsbet

Knights by 8

8:05pm Brisbane Broncos vs. Parramatta Eels @ Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane is tipped to finish in the bottom two this season despite being one of the most consistent teams over the last 10 years.

The Broncos went through some turmoil last season and nothing positive happened in the offseason. A long 2021 is expected and facing the Eels first-up is a major worry.

Parramatta is one of the more explosive offensive teams in the NRL. It’s able to pile on the points early in the game and its defense is underrated.

Punters should expect an easy cover for the Eels, despite playing at Suncorp Stadium.

Betting tip: Parramatta Eels –8.5 @ $1.88 Bet @ Sportsbet

Eels by 12

Saturday 13/03/21

3:00pm New Zealand Warriors vs. Gold Coast Titans @ Central Coast Stadium

The Warriors are once again staying in Australia this season, which will make it tough for the Kiwis.

They are coming off a solid season, but repeating those efforts will be harder this time around. The Warriors garnered plenty of support on both sides of the Tasman, and they’ll need the same support in 2021.

Gold Coast is a team that has spent years outside the top eight, but all that could change this season. There is a sense of confidence in the squad and we fancy their chances to topple the Warriors on Saturday afternoon.

Betting tip: Gold Coast Titans –3.5 @ $1.90 Bet @ Sportsbet

Titans by 6

5:30pm Sydney Roosters vs. Manly Sea Eagles @ SCG

The Sydney Roosters plummeted out of the finals last season, so there is plenty of redemption to play for in 2021.

They have one of the best teams on paper in 2021, but staying healthy will be their key. Injuries derailed their 2020 season and tested their depth.

Manly is a team facing an uphill battle this season. Expectations are low, but that could galvanise this team in the early stages of the season.

Bookmakers are giving Manly 9.5 points and it’s good enough to cover the spread in what should be a tight Round 1 battle.

Betting tip: Manly Sea Eagles +9.5 @ $1.90 Bet @ Sportsbet

Roosters by 6

7:35pm Penrith Panthers vs. North Queensland Cowboys @ Panthers Stadium

Penrith were beaten in last year’s Grand Final by the Melbourne Storm, but it didn’t lose any admirers.

The Panthers are tipped to go one better in 2021 and they should start their season with a win over the North Queensland Cowboys.

Expected to struggle this year, the Cowboys will do well to make the playoffs. Since the retirement of Jonathan Thurston, the Cowboys have failed to recapture their brilliance.

Penrith should control the game from the outset and score a comfortable win.

Betting tip: Penrith Panthers –9.5 @ $1.88 Bet @ Sportsbet

Panthers by 14

Sunday 14/03/21

4:05pm Canberra Raiders vs. Wests Tigers @ GIO Stadium

It could be a big season for the Canberra Raiders, who have the core needed to go deep into the playoffs later this year.

Canberra is a team that comes out of the gates firing, which could be bad news for the Tigers. The Raiders don’t take long to find their groove and a win is expected to kick off Sunday NRL.

The Tigers are getting 9.5 points, which is a fair start. They are good enough to keep this game close and with teams being rusty in Round 1, Canberra could trail at the half and find their best in the second half.

Take the Tigers to keep this game competitive.

Betting tip: Wests Tigers +9.5 @ $1.90 Bet @ Sportsbet

Raiders by 7

6:15pm St George Dragons vs. Cronulla Sharks @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

The Dragons enter the 2021 NRL season with a Charity Shield loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs. There wasn’t much to get excited about, but it was only a warm-up game.

Cronulla is a team capable of making the playoffs this season, but they are one of the more enigmatic teams in the NRL.

We think Cronulla has the more exciting team on paper on Sunday, and that could be the difference between these teams.

Betting tip: Cronulla Sharks –2.5 @ $1.88 Bet @ Sportsbet

Sharks by 6


All odds are with Sportsbet – our No. 1 rated bookmaker. You can join Sportsbet by clicking HERE.

Our top rated and recommended bookmaker for round 1 of the NRL season is Sportsbet – JOIN HERE.
Other top rated bookmakers for NRL Round 1 include BetEasyPlayUp, and SportsBetting.

To find out our best bets for Round 1 of the NRL season, read our full round 1 preview and betting tips!

For detailed information on how to watch and live stream Round 1 of the NRL season, read our guide on how to live stream NRL!

Read our NRL Round 1 preview and bettings tips to find out all of the fixtures and locations for the round!

Daryl Curnow
About the Author: Daryl Curnow

After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NRL, AFL, NBA, Rugby, NFL, and US college sports. Daryl’s tips have been featured on various websites around the world before joining the GoBet team. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.

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