NRL – Top 8 NRL 2024 Betting Odds & Expert’s Predictions

By: James Salmon
NRL Betting Tips
NRL Expert Prediction 2024

More than two months into the season, five teams are already almost unbackable to make the top eight, with each of the Panthers, Storm, Sharks, Broncos and Roosters at very short odds to play finals. But that still leaves three spots up for grabs, and there are plenty of sides that are capable of snatching them. On this page, we will take a look at some of the better value picks to play finals in 2024, with all but three or four teams capable of getting there. 

NRL Outsiders Odds to make the Top 8 in 2024

Best Outsider Teams to make the Top 8 in 2024

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles have locked themselves in as the clear sixth team in this market behind the aforementioned big five, with a strong start to the season putting them in a great position to play finals in 2024. With a healthy list – or more specifically, a healthy Tom Trbojevic – at their disposal, they were solid throughout the first couple of months of the season, losing just three of their first nine games and with each of those defeats coming by eight points or less. A couple of those have been against teams that they probably should have beaten, but they’ve also shown their mettle against the best of the best, with victories coming against the Panthers and Roosters within the first few weeks of the season. More than just putting them in a strong position on the ladder ten weeks into the year, those results have demonstrated what this team is capable of and shown that if they can continue to remain relatively injury-free throughout the rest of the season, they should really be playing finals. They’re certainly not a lock to get there, with plenty of other teams nipping at their heels and the ever-present threat of an injury to Trbojevic capable of derailing their season, but for the time being they look every bit like a finals team.

  • What brings them here? The Sea Eagles have been around the mark for a couple of years, but this year they appear to be playing better than they have in some time.
  • What has changed? A lot changed for the Sea Eagles from last year to this one. They lost a host of players to other teams, including Sean Keppie, Samuela Fainu, Morgan Harper, Kelma Tuilagi, Kaeo Weekes and Christian Tuipulotu, while coming in were former Tigers trio Luke Brooks, Tommy Talau and Aitasi James, as well as Jaxson Paulo, Corey Waddell and Bailey Hodgson.
  • Injury update: As mentioned, the Sea Eagles have nearly a clean bill of health, with the only name on their list at the time of writing Ben Trbojevic, who is just about ready to return. 

Bet on the Eagles to make the finals at $1.40 with PlayUp

North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys might be the league’s biggest enigma. Last year they could lay claim to the same thing, having looked a likely bottom four team for much of the year, only to knock off a bunch of Premiership favourites in a row. Suddenly they looked likely to not just jump into the top eight, but cause a stir in the finals; until that run of form ended just as quickly as it began and they missed the finals. They opened up this season with wins in their first three games and four of their first five, but they subsequently went on to lose four in a row. It’s been a confusing start to the season, but in the favour of the Cowboys is the fact that aside from a stinker against the Sharks, each of the other three of those losses came by seven points or less. And with a far, far easier run of games to come throughout May, they should be able to notch up a few consecutive wins, potentially by big margins, and their odds in this market will no doubt come down if they do that as expected as a result. The Cowboys remain an up and down team who could easily flunk the rest of the season, but at their best they are clearly capable of playing in the finals. If they perform near that level, they should be there in September, and at nearly even money look like decent odds to get there.

  • What brings them here? Two years ago the Cowboys flew up the ladder and made a Preliminary Final, and since then they have been around the mark – even if the gap between their best and worst is far too big.
  • What has changed? The Cowboys have lost Peta Hiku to the UK, as well as Mitch Dunn and James Tamou to retirement and each of Riley Price, Jake Bourke and Taniela Sadrugu to other teams. Meanwhile, Viliami Vailea comes across from the Warriors.
  • Injury update: The Cowboys have lost Zac Laybutt and Coen Hess for the season with knee injuries, while Jamayne Taunoa-Brown should be available about halfway through the year as he recovers from an Achilles injury. Tom Chester is due back in Round 13 from a hamstring.

Bet on the Cowboys to make the finals at $1.95 with PlayUp

The Dolphins

We probably could have guessed given Wayne Bennett is coaching them, but the Dolphins have done a great job of exceeding expectations since entering the league. At the start of 2023, their first year in the league, they were the runaway favourite to win the Wooden Spoon, but put that idea to bed very quickly with a bunch of early wins. Though they did ultimately tumble down the ladder, they still manufactured a lot more wins than most expected from them, and so far this year looks likely to be a similar tale. They won three of their first four games and two months into the year found themselves with a 5-3 record and sitting in fourth place on the NRL ladder, and though they will likely struggle to stay there they have put themselves in a position to genuinely challenge for what would be an inaugural finals appearance. The Dolphins, though they might lack the talent of a few other finals contenders, do the basics as well as anyone, and as a result are able to consistently beat the teams below them and remain competitive with those above them. Even after a positive start to the year, the Dolphins have a reasonable draw over the next couple of months and could very easily find themselves well and truly entrenched inside the top eight halfway through the year. If they do that they will only shorten in this market, and will be well-placed to play finals. 

  • What brings them here? The Dolphins consistently challenge most teams in the league, and after being smashed in the opening round of this season went on to win five of their next seven to give plenty of credibility to their finals aspirations.
  • What has changed? The Dolphins didn’t change all that much in the off-season. They lost each of Brenko Lee, Poasa Faamausili and Hermen Ese’ese, while they picked up Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler from the Broncos, as well as Jake Averillo and Oryn Keeley.
  • Injury update: The Dolphins will be without Tom Gilbert for the season with a knee injury, while Tom Flegler is due back in Round 13 from a shoulder injury and Tesi Niu from an ankle around the same time. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow should be back in mid-May from a hamstring injury.

Bet on the Dolphins to make the finals at $2.00 with PlayUp

New Zealand Warriors

After making a Preliminary Final last year the Warriors entered this year with higher expectations than just making finals, and made a pretty reasonable fist of it in the first six weeks. They suffered defeats in each of their first two games, but those were both by just four points and to the two best performing teams through the first couple of months in the year in the Storm and the Sharks. After that, they didn’t lose again for over a month, but while their finals charge was well and truly on track at that point, things very quickly went south. With their ensuing two games against the Dragons and the then-winless Titans, six weeks without a loss looked likely. Instead, they got pumped by the Dragons and then gave the Titans their first win of the season, while the week after that they lost by six points to the Knights to make it three losses in as many weeks. But all is not lost just yet for the Warriors. It was only a few weeks ago that they were viewed as a potential top four contender, and while a reasonably lengthy injury list certainly isn’t helping their cause, they still have the ability to turn things around. Things do, however, get a little tough for them over the coming weeks, and the hole that they currently find themselves could easily get deeper quickly. But after facing each of the Panthers, Storm and Broncos within a six-week period, they will potentially play just one finals team in their last eight games, so it is very possible that they charge home to make the eight. Even if their recent form doesn’t suggest as much, this team is clearly good enough to make finals and at better than even money, is decent value to do so.

  • What brings them here? The Warriors flew into Premiership calculations last year, and while they have fallen out of that conversation courtesy of some indifferent recent form, they will still very much be expecting to play finals.  
  • What has changed? The Warriors, as mentioned, have a big acquisition in the form of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and they have also secured Kurt Capewell from the Broncos and Chanel Harris-Tavita. But there are quite a number of outs, too, with all of Viliami Vailea, Bailey Sironen, Josh Curran and Ronald Volkman playing elsewhere this year and Brayden Wiliame retiring.
  • Injury update: As mentioned, there is a bit going on in terms of injury for the Warriors. They’ll be without Luka Metcalf until at least late in the season with a fractured leg, while Demitric Sifakula is due back mid-season from a knee injury. Each of Chanel Harris-Tavita, Marata Niukore, Jazz Tevaga and Kurt Capewell are expected to be available from early-mid June.

Bet on the Warriors to make the finals at $2.30 with PlayUp

Canterbury Bulldogs

The Bulldogs really needed to show some signs of improvement this year given the level of turnover their list has had over the past couple of years, and while things didn’t start particularly well they have been really solid since the opening two games of the season. In those two games, they lost by 18 points to the Eels and 19 to the Sharks while scoring a combined total of just 14 points, but they kickstarted their season with a 32-0 win over the Titans the next week and have looked solid ever since. In the six games following that opening fortnight, the Bulldogs went 4-2 and both of those losses came by four points or less – one of them a very gallant 16-14 defeat at the hands of the Storm in Melbourne. That stretch was enough to see them jump inside the top eight a couple of months into the season, and with a number of winnable games to come throughout May and June there is every chance that they will solidify their spot inside it even further in the coming weeks. The Bulldogs are at long last beginning to look like something resembling a decent team, and are the best chance that they have been for a long time to make a long-awaited return to the finals.

  • What brings them here? The Bulldogs have been building for a few years without seeing all that much improvement, and have put in plenty of disappointing seasons in that time. But at long last, this year they appear to have taken that next step and put themselves into finals contention. quality players in the off-season and could be set for a year of significant improvement. 
  • What has changed? The Bulldogs continued their long-term list turnover in the off-season. They picked up, as mentioned, Stephen Crichton from the Panthers in what is a big get, while they also grabbed his teammate Jaeman Salmon, as well as Kurt Mann from the Knights, Blake Taaffe from the Bunnies, Jake Turpin and Drew Hutchison from the Roosters, Connor Tracey from the Sharks and Poasa Faamausili from the Dolphins. With all those ins there are also obviously heaps of outs; each of Jake Averillo, Corey Waddell, Kyle Flanagan, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Paul Alamoti have gone elsewhere in the NRL while Luke Thompson and Jayden Okunbor headed overseas.
  • Injury update: Karl Oloapu is out indefinitely with a neck injury, while Chris Patolo should be back in about mid-June from a knee injury and both David Fifita and Ryan Sutton later in May. 

Bet on the Bulldogs to make the finals at $2.50 with PlayUp

Canberra Raiders

The Raiders came into this season behind only the Dragons and the Tigers in the Wooden Spoon betting, despite the fact that they finished in eighth place last year. With an incredible number of close wins helping them to that finals appearance, however, it was easy to see why some regression was expected this year, but so far the Raiders have proven very eager to prove their host of naysayers wrong. They started the year with a couple of big wins by 16 and 20 points, and though they have suffered a couple of hefty losses since then they have also secured enough wins to have them right in the finals mix a couple of months into the season. Having said that, there have been a few concerning signs for the boys from the nation’s capital; a one-point win over the Titans was nothing to write home about and was followed by a 24-point loss to the Broncos before, in their worst performance of the season, they went down 40-0 to the Sharks. They did subsequently bounce back with an impressive two-point win over the Sea Eagles, however, and their erratic form so far this season does make them a little difficult to pick. It feels likely that their form will begin to dwindle as the season wears on and they have shown some signs of that already, but this is a side which has proven an ability to defy its critics over the past year or so. The Raiders are certainly a chance to play finals, though they don’t necessarily look like the best value pick in this market.

  • What brings them here? The Raiders were finalists last year courtesy of an incredible run through the middle of the season which saw them win most games by small margins, and have started this year reasonably well.
  • What has changed? A whole lot. They lost a bunch of players including Jake Averillo, Corey Waddell, Kyle Flanagan, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Paul Alamoti, but among their raft of ins were Stephen Crichton and Jaeman Salmon from the Panthers, Blake Taaffe and Daniel Sufuka-Fifita from the Rabbitohs, Kurt Mann from the Knights and Jake Turpin and Drew Hutchison from the Roosters.
  • Injury update: Corey Harawira-Naera remains indefinite on the injury list as he has for some time, while Pasami Saulo has no definitive timeline either from a back injury. Zac Hosking and Jamal Fogarty are both due back in around Round 20 from a shoulder and bicep injury respectively, while Jordan Rapana and Corey Horsburgh will be handy inclusions when they return likely late in May.

Bet on the Raiders to make the finals at $3.00 with PlayUp

Newcastle Knights

The Knights last year managed to look both like a bottom four side and a top four sides for extended periods of last season, the latter of those phases coming over the past two months or so of the year as they stormed into fifth place and a semi-final. But there were plenty of changes for them in the off-season, and some growing pains were evident in their first few weeks of the season. They lost three of their first four games of the season, though that solitary win was an impressive one against the Storm. Still, a 2-5 record seven games in was certainly not what they wanted, but there have been some signs since that they are beginning to pull themselves together. They picked up a couple of solid wins in a row after that, and with a really winnable month of games to come they could easily find themselves in the top eight within a few weeks. With that in mind, their lengthy odds to make the finals look pretty juicy. There is a very good case to be made that the Knights have a better chance of playing finals than at least a couple of teams above them on this list, and they may well shorten a reasonable amount over the coming weeks, too – if they win the games that they should win. At around $4 with most betting sites, the Knights look like one of the better bets to play finals in 2024.

  • What brings them here? The Knights had a brilliant end to the 2023 season, and though they underwent plenty of list changes in the off-season they still do have a reasonable amount going for them, and have begun to show that after a slow start to the year. 
  • What has changed? Dominic Young is a significant loss for the Knights after he led them in tries last season, while they’ve also lost Kurt Mann, Bailey Hodgson, Simi Sasagi, Lachlan Miller, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Adam Clune. On the flip side, they will welcome Jack Cogger and Thomas Jenkins from the Panthers, as well as Jed Cartwright from the Rabbitohs, and Will Pryce and Kai Pearce-Paul from abroad.
  • Injury update: A Kalyn Ponga is a massive spanner in the works for the Knights as they attempt to play finals, with the reigning Dally M Medalist out until Round 20 with a foot injury. That aside, however, they have basically a full bill of health at the time of writing.

Bet on the Knights to make the finals at $4.00 with PlayUp

Parramatta Eels

The Eels have continued to tumble since their surprise 2022 Grand Final appearance, missing out on the finals last year and now at long odds to make their way back into them a couple of months into this season. They enjoyed a positive start to the season, smacking the Bulldogs around in Round 1, losing competitively to the Panthers in Round 2 and then beating the Sea Eagles in Round 3, but since then they have not given much of a yelp. A disappointing loss to the Tigers was followed by a dreadful defeat at the hands of the Raiders, and two more losses in the next three weeks saw them sitting at 3-5 and with a tough run of games. The loss of Mitchell Moses has, as expected, had a significant impact, and with each passing week it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see them turning things around. The return of Moses is nearing and that will certainly be a big boost, but they will likely be a little way behind the eight ball by then, and as much as his return will help it won’t completely transform the team. Their odds are reasonably tantalising for a team which has been there or thereabouts for a number of years, but at this point in time it’s hard to see the Eels playing finals footy.

  • What brings them here? The Eels have been in finals contention, if not well above it, for some time now, but their odds have ballooned out after a few poor weeks.asonable amount going for them, and have begun to show that after a slow start to the year. 
  • What has changed? Not too much has changed on field for the Eels. Waqa Blake has been moved on while Josh Hodgson and Andrew Davey retired, and they picked up a couple of Sea Eagles in Morgan Harper and Kelma Tuilagi. field for the Eels. Waqa Blake has been moved on while Josh Hodgson and Andrew Davey retired, and they picked up a couple of Sea Eagles in Morgan Harper and Kelma Tuilagi.
  • Injury update: As mentioned, Moses is out with a foot injury though should be back in late May. Clint Gutherson is due back a couple of weeks after that, while longer term injuries are to Ofahiki Ogden, who is expected to be available in Round 18, Haze Dunster, due back in Rounds 18-20, while Arthur Miller-Stephen is out for the season. 

Bet on the Eels to make the finals at $5.50 with PlayUp

Best Outsider Prediction to make the Top 8 in 2024

There are a number of teams to whom the three spots in the top eight which still appear to be up for grabs could fall, and at long odds the Knights look like decent value to be one of them. Granted they had a huge number of changes in the off-season, but they have a decent amount of talent and have shown some good form recently after a poor start to the year, even in Ponga’s absence. How they deal with that absence will play a major role in their fortunes this season, but if they can keep themselves in or around the top eight without him, his return for the last month or two of the season could see them squeeze into the top eight for the second consecutive year.

James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.

#
Betting Site
Brand Features
Bet Now
1
Best App
playup-betting-site
PlayUp
5.0
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Best Handicap
2
New Pick
betright-logo-betting-site
BetRight
4.8
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Bet Right Discord
3
boombet logo betting site
BoomBet
4.8
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Great Customer Service
4
PUNTERS' FAVORITE
dabble-logo-betting-sites
Dabble
4.8
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Copy Bets & Follow other punters
5
SPORTS PICK
bet365-logo-betting-sites
Bet365
4.8
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Best Bet Builder
6
New Pick
questbet-logo-betting-sites
QuestBet
4.7
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Solid Mobile App
7
elitebet-logo-betting-sites
EliteBet
4.7
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Regular money-back specials
8
Best for Greyhound
chasebet-logo-betting-sites
Chasebet
4.6
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Trending Bets
9
NEW
betgalaxy-logo-betting-sites
Betgalaxy
4.6
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Fun betting experience
10
wellbet-logo-betting-sites
WellBet
4.6
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Simple, Localised Betting
11
volcanobet-logo-betting-site
Volcanobet
4.5
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Fresh betting platform
12
HOT
puntgenie logo-betting-sites
PuntGenie
4.5
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Revolutionary Betting Interface
13
Popular Choice
puntnow-logo-betting-sites
PuntNow
4.4
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
competitive odds
14
juicybet logo-betting-site
JuicyBet
4.4
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Swift sign-up process
15
Best For Racing
vicbet-logo-betting-site
VicBet
4.4
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Racing specialists
16
betroyale-logo-betting-sites
BetRoyale
4.4
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Sleek Design
17
Best For Racing
midasbet logo-betting-site
MidasBet
4.4
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Opening Specials
18
winnersbet-logo-betting-sites
WinnersBet
4.3
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Daily Promotions
19
BetProfessor Betting Site
BetProfessor
4.3
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Slick app
20
goldenrush Betting Site
GoldenRush
4.3
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Top Bonuses
21
unibet-logo-betting-site
Unibet Australia
4.3
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Bet Share
22
sterling-parker-Betting Site
SterlingParker
4.2
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Quality software & layout
23
junglebet Betting Site
JungleBet
4.2
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Refreshing website theme
24
getsetbet logo-betting-site
GetSetBet
4.2
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
GetSetBet TV
25
puntcity Betting Site
PuntCity
4.1
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Same game multis available
26
Best for e-Sports
picklebet-Betting Site
Picklebet
4.0
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Engaging App
27
draftstars-Betting Site
Draftstars
4.0
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Fantasy Sports
28
topsport-white
TopSport
4.0
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
High betting limits
29
Best App
bluebet Betting Site
BlueBet
4.0
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Same Race & Game Multis
30
palmerbet-Betting Site
Palmerbet
3.9
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Great Promotions
31
real-bookie Betting Site
RealBookie
3.9
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Regular Offers
32
Best for Greyhound
betdogs-white Betting Site
BetDogs
2.8
australian-flag-icon-round-32x32.webp
AUS Licensed
Great betting odds
punterspal-black
Solid Odds & Regularly Updated Promotions
Visit Site
Close