If you're hoping to watch a close, no-holds-barred, all-out attack NRL game, rugby league betting odds indicate this is the one you're looking for. Both sides believe the attack is not just the best form of defence – it is the only form of defence. Look at their line-ups. For Penrith: Bryce Cartwright, James Maloney, and the magician that is Dylan Edwards. For Parramatta: Clinton Gutherson, Corey Norman, and Jarryd Hayne. The latter is sure to cop some flak after trying his hand in the NFL, but the fact is he's still a regular in the "most likely to change a game" column; while their 2017 campaign all but ended when Gutherson, who had been brilliant all season, was injured
This has all the hallmarks of a close encounter of the mistake-riddled epic kind. Panthers were plagued by defensive frailties all last season – and their recruitment has done little to shore up that weakness. Parramatta, meanwhile, are perennial bottlers. They should regularly challenge for the title. But they historically struggle to cope with the pressure – something Brad Arthur and his coaching staff will have to deal with if they build up a head of steam and the press start playing 'what if' with the Premiership title. And that historic struggle to open the pressure valve is why our rugby league tips for Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels recommend plumping for a Panthers win.
These two sides are likely to be very much in the mix for the finals a long way from now, at the business end of the NRL season. Over the course of the campaign, the Eels probably have a slight edge, for all their astonishing lack of self-belief, but in this opening match, the Panthers are favourites for the points with bookmakers including William Hill – and they're almost certain to be thoroughly entertaining along with it – especially if Maloney and Cleary click.
This has all the hallmarks of an opening-round thriller. Both sides thrive on attacking football. In James Maloney and Bryce Cartwright, the Panthers have more attacking options than a Panzer division. But neither of them are the best defenders, which means there are holes all over the pitch for the opposition to exploit. So, two sides that love to attack and fail to defend suggests a close encounter of the high-scoring kind. Which makes Betfair offer for a 1-12 point Panthers win look very reasonable indeed.
To see odds on the next event visit Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels odds page.