Australian Rugby League resumes Thursday
Australia’s premier Rugby League competition, the National Rugby League (NRL), is set to make its much-anticipated return this week. While technically this will be Round 3 of the competition, because no games have been held since the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the season in late March, it feels like the preseason all over again.
The NRL will utilize just six stadiums between Round 3 and Round 9, in order to adhere to strict biosecurity requirements, and while there are ambitious plans to have fans return to these stadiums in July, for the time being, the games will be played behind closed doors.
For BetAmerica players keen to get involved, if you live in the Eastern Time Zone, it’s going to work out great if you’re an early riser! Most games will kick off between the hours of 4-6 a.m. ET, but there are some that start at 1 a.m. ET.
The competition commences with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the Parramatta Eels at 5:50 a.m. ET Thursday. Here is a pick for that game, and a couple of the others we are looking forward to watching to get a much-needed footy fix!
Brisbane Broncos vs. Parramatta Eels (Thursday, 5:50 a.m. ET)
|Brisbane Broncos||Draw||Parramatta Eels|
These teams are undefeated through the first two rounds of the competition and both are expected to be title contenders at the pointy end of the competition.
This game is being played at the Broncos’ home ground, Suncorp Stadium, and under normal circumstances, that home-ground advantage would have tipped the odds in the Broncos’ favor. At the time of writing though, it’s effectively a pick ‘em game at BetAmerica.
Ready to roll 😎 pic.twitter.com/fo7hg9mNYp— Brisbane Broncos (@brisbanebroncos) May 27, 2020
I agree with BetAmerica’s oddsmakers. The result of this match is a flip of a coin, but with two serious playmakers on either side, in the form of halves Mitchell Moses (Parramatta) and Anthony Milford (Brisbane), there is the potential for plenty of tries.
In case you’re not up to speed with your Rugby League rules, a try is worth four points, and a conversion is worth two.
Rugby free pick: Over 40.5 total match points
Sydney Roosters vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs (Friday, 5:55 a.m. ET)
|Sydney Roosters||Draw||South Sydney Rabbitohs|
These teams share a rivalry going back to the first year of the premiership, in 1908, and their clashes are always full of passion! The Rabbitohs’ coach, Wayne Bennett, is the Bill Belichick of Australian Rugby League.
It's good to be back! 🐇❤️💚— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) May 26, 2020
View full training gallery 👉 https://t.co/FwnO0aZPRu#GoRabbitohs #OldestProudestLoudest pic.twitter.com/2mpqxl15LH
The Roosters are 0-2 to start the season but are back to near full strength and should be able to get the win. However, Souths should make it close, and the eight-point spread appears generous.
Rugby free pick: South Sydney Rabbitohs +8
Melbourne Storm vs. Canberra Raiders (Saturday, 5:35 a.m. ET)
|Melbourne Storm||Draw||Canberra Raiders|
Here are another two teams expected to be playing finals footy come the end of the season. They are the top two in betting to win the premiership, with the Storm +400 favorites at BetAmerica, just ahead of the Raiders at +500.
Both teams sailed through the first two rounds of the competition undefeated, and will be looking to stamp their dominance now that the season has resumed.
Two rep stars set to return on Saturday night. This will be a biggie 🔥#YourStorm— Melbourne Storm (@storm) May 26, 2020
While there won’t be a crowd, the Storm has the advantage of playing at its home ground, AAMI Park. Melbourne has a 31-12 record against the Raiders, and although things have been much tighter between the teams in recent years, the Storm looks like the winner for this game.