State of Origin returns on Wednesday as the Queensland Maroons set out to defend their title against the New South Wales Blues.
It’s a similar story to 2020, which saw an underrated Maroons outfit defeat a seemingly indestructible Blues squad. However, State of Origin is about the best team and that’s why we all love it.
Townsville hosts Game 1 on Wednesday, where the Blues have been installed as $1.54 favourites. Queensland is the outsider at $2.50 and we look at which team represents better value.
State of Origin Game 1 Tips
Queensland Maroons vs. New South Wales Blues Game 1 Betting Predictions
New South Wales is packed with high-quality players and it will be tough to roll in the opening game of the series.
The Blues have a star-studded roster, which includes the Penrith Panthers halves pairing of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai. Having a halves pairing that is already on fire is a massive bonus for this team. They have been playing stellar rugby league for Penrith and they’ll likely stand up for the Blues.
Luai was a tough selection based on his lack of representative experience, but with Cleary on his side, we think he’ll handle the pressure well.
They also have the likes of James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic and Jack Wighton. They’re not lacking the NRL’s best fullbacks and although they all can’t play the position; it shows how deep this team is.
Having speedster Josh Addo-Carr on the wing helps and Latrell Mitchell will move infield to provide some spark outside the halves. It’s a terrific back line that should put fear into the eyes of the Queenslanders.
Queensland has named a similar team to last year. It might look overmatched, but they are good team players and capable of producing the upset.
Players like Xavier Coates, Valentines Holmes, AJ Brimson and Cameron Munster bring excitement to the backline. The forward was also bolstered with Felise Kaufusi, who was cleared of suspension earlier this week.
It might not have the star appeal of the Blues outfit, but that’s no reason to overlook Queensland. It comes off a series win under similar circumstances and it’s always tough to beat in front of home fans.
Punters get value odds of $2.50 and they’re worth taking. We see Queensland soaking up the early pressure and the Blues might suffer from having one too many superstars in the team. Providing the Queensland pack gets some go-forward ball, the experienced backline has the ability to cross the line.
Bet: Queensland Maroons to win @ $2.50 – Bet @ Sportsbet
State of Origin Game 1 First Try Scorer Predictions
There are almost too many players to choose from, but we have selected one player from each side who could score first.
Queensland are likely to send the ball to Xavier Coates’ win and he’s the man they should target. Coates has been in electric form for the Broncos and his biggest asset is in the air.
He is the best jumper in the NRL and he could take advantage of a smaller Josh Addo-Carr or Brian To’o. We expect Coates to hang on the wing and wait for a cross kick from Daly Cherry-Evans, who is a good in-play kicker.
Coates is the current favourite for Queensland to score first. He’s paying $10 and those odds are worth taking. He is also $2 to score at any time during the game, which is well worth adding to your State of Origin tickets.
We’re looking away from the favourites for New South Wales. It’s tough to overlook Addo-Carr and Brian To’o, but we think Damien Cook is out to make a statement through the middle of the field.
Cook’s form has been mixed this season, but he’s one of the best ruck players. If the Blues pack rumble forward, Cook will be waiting on their wings for a pop pass and he’s quick enough to run half the field.
The former sprinter is quicker than most give him credit for and we can’t turn down odds of $26.
Cook is $5.50 to score at any time for a safer and we also like Latrell Mitchell at $2.40 in this market. The South Sydney Rabbitoh is good enough to score a four pointer and silence some of his critics.
State of Origin Game 1 Player of the Match Pick
Sportsbet is offering a Player of the Match option and we’re backing Daly Cherry-Evans. His halves partner Cameron Munster might be the more popular elect, but Cherry-Evans can control the game.
We expect POTM selectors to take into account which players takes control of the game and sets up tries. That should be Cherry-Evans and he’s one of the more consistent players on the field.
Punters get value odds at $13 for the Queenslander to receive the honours.
Bet: Daly Cherry-Evans @ $13 – Bet @ Sportsbet
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.