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Welcome to The Pie Shop, where for each week of the NRL season, Tony ‘Swampy’ McCreath will be serving up juicy anytime pie scorers, corner pies, under the post pies, value pies, first pies and the house special – succulent double pies. Grab the tomato sauce and dig in!

For more State of Origin Game 1 best bets, check out The Wolf’s NRL tips.

Queensland v New South Wales

Wednesday 8:10pm

Well, thank goodness for State of Origin! I’ve dead-set done my plums on Flemington Race 1 faves twice in four days and Prince of Arran had about as much luck around the turn as I have with Mrs Swamp in the bedroom. I’m down to my last few dollars before it’s baked beans territory and I’m looking to bust out in Game 1 on Wednesday night. It definitely doesn’t feel like State of Origin week, but that will change once we jag a first meat pie and a Man of the Match award paying double figures… so let’s find some meat!

Starting with the match betting, I originally thought the line was too big and the total was too high. On further assessment, I’m leaning toward the minus at 7.5 or better and sticking solid on the unders at 41.5 or better. With so many unknown factors – Adelaide Oval, dicey weather, multiple debutants, end of season etc., it’s hard to pile into either with much confidence, so both the line and total would be small plays and for you margin punters out there NSW 1-12 would be my pick.

It will come as no shock to you that the value I’ve found is in the form of the try scorer markets and the Man of the Match.

Try Scorer tips

Whilst I usually like to focus on Anytime Try Scorer, it seems rude not to dabble on a first meat pie in Origin so Jack Wighton at $14 or better appeals.

Expect Cleary to navigate his forwards in the middle and right channels whilst marching up the field before letting Keary take over and dominate down the left-hand blind side. Keary has familiar soldiers around him in Tedesco, Cordner and Tupou with Wighton likely the first man to touch it off Keary’s up-tempo roll on. Wighton loves meat pies more than most and is a natural at hogging the ball when playing at five-eighth let alone in the centres. An added bonus is Tupou is one of the best in the game at the high ball and can easily bat the ball down to a hungry Wighton all whilst attacking one of the weaker defenders (and an origin debutant) in Brenko Lee. The Blues will feast down the left side and Wighton will feel right at home. Back him first and anytime pie.

Still looking at the anytime market, at the time of writing this Dane Gagai is paying $3 to cross the stripe and rumour has it he’s a chance of starting on the left wing with Capewell coming into the centres and Sami dropping off. If this happens, the $3 is well and truly overs with $2.5 closer to his true price. Playing wing, I’d be happy backing him at anything over $2.40 and if he remains in the centres we’re taking slight unders but we have the fact that Gagai finds another gear come origin time on our side.
In State of Origin, outside backs score at a higher clip than regular NRL and in 2020 outside backs in the NRL scored at a higher clip than previous years. As long as QLD can execute an attacking game plan, Gagai should be every chance to score playing outside Munster.

Lastly in this market, if you’re looking for value Cam Murray and Jake Trbojevic are great mid-field players that are always handy in support with a nose for the chalk. Jurbo is twice the price of Murray and starting the match. Have a nibble at the $8 Jurbo anytime pie.

Jack Wighton

First Try Scorer

Jack Wighton

Anytime Try Scorer

Dane Gagai

Anytime Try Scorer

Jake Trbojevic

Anytime Try Scorer

Man of the Match tips

More often than not you can safely narrow down the Man of the Match contenders to anyone in the spine and maybe a gun prop. This year it becomes much more difficult as the heavy faves have gun players all over the park including 2 regular spine players in the centres and one off the bench.

As such, I’m going to bypass the shorties in the market and gamble on the King at 20/1. Wighton was a serious consideration but I sided with Gutho for the sake of a tip and due to the fact he’s a roll bigger.

It’s unknown how involved King Gutho will get playing right centre and whether he has a license to roam throughout the match but the King I know will not be able to help himself and will be in everything possible. He’s too good of a player in too good of form to be restricted on one side, and even if he does get shackled, he’ll be playing outside the form halfback of the comp. At 20s or better, I’m happy to roll the dice and back the King to have a hand in everything.

In the case of QLD winning, the formula is much simpler.

Jake Friend is a hindrance on the side and has zero attacking flair. Munster is a gun and a big-time player but short enough at $11 and possibly still hungover. Cherry is a gun also, but it seems a long time since we’ve seen the type of performance that saw him win a Clive Churchill in a losing side. That only leaves the debutant fullback AJ Brimson.

I have long been a fan of AJ and he will be playing for his life with Ponga claiming the number 1 jersey in the long term and Val Holmes eyeing it off in the short term. Like Gutho, Brimson is very noticeable and if QLD were to shock NSW in Adelaide, it will be Swamp who is shocked if it’s not through Brimson brilliance. 20/1 is juicy.

Enjoy the game and I’ll be back (hopefully) with full pockets for Game II.

Clint Gutheron

Man of the Match

AJ Brimson

Man of the Match