Two places remain in the NRL Finals ahead of Round 20 and it is Canberra Raiders and Cronulla Sharks who are being tipped to make the eight.
With the top six all but wrapped up with Melbourne Storm, Penrith Panthers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels, Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles all booked for September, the race is now on to join them in the finals.
With only bottom of the ladder Canterbury Bulldogs out of the equation, the remaining nine into two doesn’t go. Seven sides are going to be left disappointed. Who will produce the goods on the run to the finals and claim those coveted spots in the eight?
According to Bets.com.au, it is the Raiders and Sharks who are most likely to play finals footy again – just as they did in 2020.
Despite an inconsistent season, the Sharks currently occupy seventh spot after 19 rounds of the season with an 8-10 record, are they are odds-on to hold onto their position in the eight with quotes of $1.67 from most Australian bookmakers.
The Raiders have endured a tough season but have hauled themselves back into the finals picture. Having finished fifth last year and having played in the 2019 Grand Final, the Green Machine have finals pedigree and are also odds-on at $1.67 to get there again.
Canberra have the same 8-10 record as the Sharks, but sit in ninth spot on the ladder heading into Round 20. The team above them are the St George Illawarra Dragons, who are also 8-10 for the season and bidding to the return to finals footy.
The Dragons, perhaps surprisingly, are out at $5.50 and fifth in the latest betting odds in the To Make The Finals market with online wagering agencies.
Ahead of the Red V in the betting are the Gold Coast Titans and Newcastle Knights. The 10th placed Gold Coast outfit are $2.75 to make the finals, while 11th placed Knights are $4.50 to finish in the eight as they did last year.
Both the Titans and Knights are 7-11 for the season and only a win away from the three teams above them. Gold Coast have an advantage with a significantly better points differential than the Knights, who realistically need to win two more games than those above to make the finals.
Wests Tigers ($14.00) and North Queensland Cowboys ($17.00) are both 6-12 and need at least three wins if they are to sneak into the finals.
New Zealand Warriors need an even better finish to the season with their $26.00 quote to make the finals reflective of their 5-13 record after a miserable run of results over the last two months.
The only other team in the betting for a top 8 finish are the Brisbane Broncos. Second from bottom with a 4-14 record, the Broncos won’t be playing in the finals again this year and the $151 on offer for them to pull off a miracle are token odds at best.