We’ve got a Grand Final rematch on Saturday when the Penrith Panthers take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Penrith was able to squeak out the 14-12 victory and cost South Sydney their first Grand Final win since 2014.
The Rabbitohs are in the preliminary final for the fifth straight year, but each of their last three seasons have been ended by Penrith.
The Panthers aim for their third straight Grand Final appearance, also losing to Melbourne 26-20 in 2020. The Panthers vs Rabbitohs betting prediction should be a heated one.
NRL Performance Recap
Saturday’s preliminary final matchup between the Panthers and Rabbitohs is a tale of two fitness levels. Penrith finished the regular season as the minor premiers, allowing them to rest a majority of players in the finale and then having last weekend off after an easy 27-6 win over the Eels in the qualifying final.
Rabbitohs Performance Recap
South Sydney, on the other hand, has been busy. They avenged a regular-season finale loss to Sydney by taking down the Roosters in the qualifying final.
Just six days later, they ended Cronulla’s season in a 38-12 victory. All of that legwork has to give Penrith an edge in the Panthers vs Rabbitohs betting prediction.
Panthers Performance Recap
Of course, there is a chance that Penrith comes into this game a bit rusty, having played just one meaningful game in about a month.
They did look very good in the 27-6 win over Parramatta, though, and that’s an Eels team that had beaten the Panthers twice during the regular season.
The Panthers’ big boost came in the return of Nathan Cleary, who had missed the last five weeks of the regular season due to a spear tackle ban.
Cleary had two try assists, 108 run meters, and three tackle breaks in his return. The win in the qualifying final was Penrith’s 27th in their last 29 games at BlueBet Stadium.
Panthers vs. Rabbitohs Betting Analysis
Penrith is a -8.5 favorite when betting on rugby for Saturday’s preliminary final matchup. The Panthers have not only beaten up on South Sydney in the finals the last three years, they’ve dominated the series overall with victories in eight of the last nine matches.
Penrith swept the season series in 2022, winning 26-12 and 26-22. The Rabbitohs haven’t earned a win over the Panthers since a 16-10 win in 2021 in a game played in Townsville.
The Penrith Panthers odds on the moneyline are -286 in this match. With their extended rest and overall dominance of South Sydney in recent years, that is not a bad price tag.
Cleary Back Makes Penrith Even Better
If you’re going to lose your star player, it might as well be at the end of the regular season when you’re just about ready to wrap up the minor premiership regardless.
Cleary facing a five-game ban may have actually helped the Panthers, as their star has returned fresh and ready for another Grand Finals run.
Will Fatigue Get to South Sydney?
Beating Penrith when all things equal is a tough command; in fact, Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou has called it “the hardest task in the game.
” How is South Sydney expected to beat the league’s top team when the Panthers are rested, and the Rabbitohs are likely running on fumes.
Even in a relatively easy 38-12 win over the Sharks last week, South Sydney players such as Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker did look noticeably gassed.
NRL Injury Report
One advantage South Sydney does have going for them in the Panthers vs Rabbitohs betting prediction is that Penrith will be without Taylan May, who is suspended for this match due to a high tackle last week.
Penrith Panthers vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs Betting Preview
The -8.5 point spread for this Saturday’s rugby betting picks looks on the low side. While South Sydney may keep this close up until the half, fatigue is going to set in.
Panthers vs. Rabbitohs Betting Prediction
Penrith should be able to easily cover this spread late, and in fact, this game may get ugly. 40-12 type match is not out of the realm of possibility. Take Penrith -8.5.
NRL Pick: Panthers -8.5 (-115)