New South Wales Blues take on the Queensland Maroons next Wednesday in Melbourne to kick off the 2018 State of Origin Series.
The Blues have attracted big attention with bookmakers in the weeks leading up the Game 1 and despite a raft of statistics going against them, punters are confident in the new line up.
Coach Brad Fittler has picked a team that has gone down well with fans and the exciting squad could give the Blues only their second State of Origin Series win in 13 years.
Looking to add more misery to the Blues’ will be the Queensland Maroons, which are missing some key champion players.
There’s no Johnathan Thurston Cameron Smith this year, with both players retiring from representative honours. That’s going to make it tough for Queensland but punters shouldn’t overlook their ability to win at all cost.
Betting on State of Origin is hugely popular in Australia and we have found the best tips for both Blues and Maroons fans.
State of Origin Game 1 head-to-head tip
As a die-hard Queensland supporter, it’s not going to be easy to tip the New South Wales Blues, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Not once in the last 12 years have we doubted the ability of the Queensland side and we still don’t but missing their captains and having an inexperienced halves pairing is going to make it tough for the current holders.
New South Wales have dropped their dead weight, with the likes of Michael Jennings and Josh Dugan missing out on the squad. That couldn’t have been better news for Blues’ fans, which have been calling for a younger and more dynamic side for a long time.
The addition of speedsters Josh Addo-Carr and James Roberts is a good move from the coaching staff and having Tom Trbojevic on the wing is going to make life tough for the Maroons’ defence.
The Blues’ forward pack is also superior to that named by Queensland. Tyrone Peachy and Damien Cook add some much-needed speed to the forward pack and we’re excited to see what they can achieve at a higher level.
A concern for Queensland is the halves pairing of Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster. Both good players in their own right but Hunt has come up wanting at representative level and Munster is inexperienced.
Compare that to the Penrith Panthers’ halves pairing of James Maloney and young-gun Nathan Clearly, it’s a mismatch and one the Blues should take full advantage of.
Success isn’t going to happen overnight for New South Wales but they should have an even split of fans on site in Melbourne and they should be able to grab Game 1 of the series.
Bookmakers currently have the Blues as $1.58 favourites and we think those head-to-head odds will stay firm until kick off – BET NOW.
New South Wales first try-scorer tips
There is a stack of try-scoring talent in this New South Wales side but we’ve picked two young stars which should give punters their value for money.
Josh Addo-Carr is our top pick for the Blues and he’s been in cracking try-scoring form this season for the Melbourne Storm.
Addo-Carr has scored a premiership-leading 12 tries this season and he has earned his spot in the team.
His speed is unparcelled in the NRL and he knows how to score tries on the wing. That’s a big asset with the likes of James Maloney and Nathan Cleary providing the supporting ball.
Expect Josh Addo-Carr to get himself in the thick of the action early in the game and he could score first at $10 – BET NOW.
Damien Cook is a chance at $26 with Sportsbet. The South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker knows how to sniff out the line when he’s got to it and if the Blues are within striking distance, expect a solo effort.
He also possesses good speed and is often hanging around the middle of the park with the try line in sight.
$26 is great value for the debutante who will be out to impress – BET NOW.
Queensland first try-scorer tips
We have only one try-scoring tip for the Queensland side and that’s winger Valentine Holmes.
Holmes didn’t get off to a great start this season with the Sharks but he has since found his form back on the wing after wanting to play fullback.
He has scored 11 tries for the Sharks and he was good for the Maroons when winning the State of Origin series last year.
If the Maroons are to have any chance next Wednesday, they’ll need to open their account early before the Blues’ forward pack wears them down and Valentine Holmes could give them the early boost.
Bookmakers have priced him at $11 to score first and at $2.50 to score at any time for the Maroons – BET NOW.
State of Origin Game 1 Man of the Match tips
We’re sticking with the New South Wales players for this market as we believe the Man of the Match winner will be a part of the winning team.
Damien Cook ($13) is our top chance to win the honours (BET NOW). Cook has been in incredible form for the Souths this season and the hooker role is important in winning Origin.
He’s in the thick of the action at every play-of-the-ball and that should stand out with the Man of the March selectors.
Expect Cook to be working the middle of the field and if he doesn’t score a try, he should at least set up a couple with his speed and good passing skills.
Selectors like to focus on the play makers and there’s a reason why James Maloney is the $9 favourite to win (BET NOW).
Maloney is a game controller but he also provides the attacking spark. The Panthers captain is the senior of the two Blues’ halves and although we considered tipping Nathan Cleary at $13 (BET NOW), Maloney will likely play a more major role in the Blues’ game plan.