Canberra vs. Wests Tigers
GIO Stadium, Sunday afternoon
Canberra couldn't have asked for a better opponent to kick start their campaign in the NRL this season.
The Raiders are at home to the Wests Tigers and they are a team they have dominated in recent years, winning nine of their past 11 encounters.
Yes, it is the start of the season and there are usually a few upsets to be had in the first few rounds but I can't see it happening in this one.
Canberra made the Grand Final two seasons ago and last year were Preliminary Finalists and a quick look at the squad lining up on Sunday sees many of those players back for another dig.
Most importantly though they have Josh Hodgson back at number nine. He is class and his absence thanks to a knee injury for most of 2020, along with a bunch of other players, was a big reason they couldn't make consecutive deciders.
Ricky Stuart has made a few improvements to the team too and the same could be said for his counterpart, Michael Maguire.
There's no doubt the Tigers are the value bet of the round at $3.40, especially when you factor in their huge trial win over Manly recently.
They have also recruited well with Origin centre James Roberts and fullback Daine Laurie just two new faces to a side that has continually finished just outside finals contention for a decade.
That said, do they have what it takes to go the nation's capital and score the upset? While I think they are a good long range bet to make the Top 8 ($3.50), my money is with the Raiders.
They are short enough so take them at the 1-12 Margin to get a bit more bang for your buck.