It doesn’t get any bigger than this for the Parramatta Eels and Canberra Raiders. The loser is knocked out of the NRL finals and the winner heads to the semis to try to book a spot in the final.
The Raiders knocked out the Melbourne Storm last week in a stunning upset, so momentum is on their side. However, the Eels are favored to win in NRL betting markets, so it’s an intriguing contest on Friday.
Eels Needing Bounce Back
The Eels had every chance to beat the Penrith Panthers last week, trailing 7-6 at the halftime break. However, they were manhandled in the second half of the 27-8 loss.
Their inconsistency has been problematic for bettors throughout the year, so we’re not sure what to expect from the Eels against the Raiders.
At their best, the Eels are one of the best teams in the competition and that’s reflected in the sportsbook. They are -240 to win outright and -6½ in points spread markets, so there is plenty of confidence.
However, we would tread carefully with the Eels. They might have beaten the Raiders earlier this year, but the Raiders have improved since and we’re not sure the Eels have.
Former player Mark Carroll has criticized the decision not to change the lineup that faced the Panthers.
“I can’t believe they haven’t changed the squad,” Carroll told Fox Sports. “They got belted by the Panthers. For me, they need changes. It is sudden death.”
The Raiders got hot at the right time and it could result in an upset against the Eels.
They have rattled off a lengthy winning streak, including a 28-20 victory over the Storm last week, which was their biggest of the year.
Beating the Storm at home in the finals is unheard of, so this team has great belief and the Eels are there for the taking.
“They can keep writing us off. We’ll worry about what we’ve got here and our belief, and if people want to write us off, especially other teams, that’s beneficial for us,” Jordan Rapana said.
“We’ve got a very, very inexperienced back five, but what comes with that is a lot of energy and enthusiasm … and they bounce off ‘Rapa’s’ energy,” coach Ricky Stuart added.
Betting online markets have the Raiders at +170 and +6½. It’s a generous line for a team hitting the mark at the right time, so we expect late money to come for the visitors.
Eels vs Raiders Head-to-Head
The Eels won the most recent meeting 28-20 in May. However, the Raiders won the previous engagement 12-10.
The Raiders have a 21-16 lifetime edge over the Eels but they are only 7/16 at the venue.
Eels vs Raiders Game Information
- Game: Eels (16-9) vs Raiders (15-10)
- Location: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
- Day/Time: Friday, Sept. 16th, 5:50 a.m. ET
- Eels vs Raiders Live Stream: RugbyPass
Eels vs Raiders Betting Lines
|Parramatta Eels||-6½ -120||-240||41½-130o|
|Canberra Raiders||+6½ -120||+170||41½-110u|
Eels vs Raiders Prediction
We don’t see much value in betting the Eels, so we’re taking the value with the Raiders at the better price.
Getting +170 is a great option for bettors, but we’re confident with the points spread. A line of 6½ is an important number when betting on rugby league and it should be a close game either way.
The likes of Rapana, Jack Wighton, and Nick Cotric could run through the Eels’ defense and we see the game being decided in the final 10 minutes.