2018 State of Origin Game 1 – NSW v QLD – Preview & Betting Tips

The following is a preview with betting tips for Game 1 of the 2018 State of Origin Series. Origin betting promotions are also listed for those who live outside NSW.

Last year Queensland won the series for the 11th time in 12 years. New South Wales won Game 1 in Brisbane comfortably then coughed up a handy lead to lose Game 2 in Sydney before losing Game 3 by a wide margin in Brisbane. This year features a fixture at a neutral venue for the first time since 2015.

2018 State of Origin Schedule

Each game will be televised on Channel Nine.

Game 1 – Melbourne – MCG
Wednesday, 6 June, 8:00 PM AEST
Referees: Gerard Sutton, Ashley Klein

Game 2 – Sydney – ANZ Stadium
Wednesday, 24 June 2018, 8:00 PM AEST

Game 3 – Brisbane – Suncorp Stadium
Wednesday, 11 July 2018, 8:00 PM AEST

State of Origin History

Below are the State of Origin results since 2000. The background shading donates the game location while the text colour denotes the game winner.

Year Winner W L D Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
2000 NSW 3 0 0 NSW 20-16 QLD
QLD 10-28 NSW
NSW 56-6 QLD
2001 QLD 2 1 0 QLD 34-16 NSW
NSW 26-8 QLD
QLD 40-14 NSW
2002 QLD 1 1 1 NSW 32-4 QLD
QLD 26-18 NSW
NSW 18-18 QLD
2003 NSW 2 1 0 QLD 12-25 NSW
NSW 27-4 QLD
QLD 36-6 NSW
2004 NSW 2 1 0 NSW 9-8 QLD
QLD 22-18 NSW
NSW 34-16 QLD
2005 NSW 2 1 0 QLD 24-20 NSW
NSW 32-22 QLD
QLD 10-32 NSW
2006 QLD 2 1 0 NSW 17-16 QLD
QLD 30-6 NSW
NSW 14-16 QLD
2007 QLD 2 1 0 QLD 25-18 NSW
NSW 6-10 QLD
QLD 4-18 NSW
2008 QLD 2 1 0 NSW 18-10 QLD
QLD 30-0 NSW
NSW 10-16 QLD
2009 QLD 2 1 0 QLD 28-18 NSW
NSW 14-24 QLD
QLD 16-28 NSW
2010 QLD 3 0 0 NSW 24-28 QLD
QLD 34-6 NSW
NSW 18-23 QLD
2011 QLD 2 1 0 QLD 16-12 NSW
NSW 18-8 QLD
QLD 34-24 NSW
2012 QLD 2 1 0 NSW 10-18 QLD
NSW 16-12 QLD
QLD 21-20 NSW
2013 QLD 2 1 0 NSW 14-6 QLD
QLD 26-6 NSW
NSW 10-12 QLD
2014 NSW 2 1 0 QLD 8-12 NSW
QLD 32-8 NSW
2015 QLD 2 1 0 NSW 10-11 QLD
QLD 18-26 NSW
QLD 52-6 NSW
2016 QLD 2 1 0 NSW 4-6 QLD
QLD 26-16 NSW
NSW 18-14 QLD
2017 QLD 2 1 0 QLD 4-28 NSW
NSW 16-18 QLD
QLD 22-6 NSW


Home advantage has been historically important, with New South Wales holding a 15-1-9 record in Sydney while Queensland are 18-7 in Brisbane since 2000. Queensland have won 3 of the last 4 in Melbourne, however NSW won the most recent fixture at the MCG in 2015.

2018 State of Origin Game 1 Squads

(source: news.com.au)

New South Wales

Coach: Brad Fittler has taken the reigns of NSW after he replaced Laurie Daley in November 2017.

1. James Tedesco 2. Josh Addo-Carr 3. James Roberts 4. Latrell Mitchell 5. Tom Trbojevic 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Damien Cook 10. David Klemmer 11. Boyd Cordner (c) 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Jack de Belin
Interchange: 14. Paul Vaughan 15. Jake Trbojevic 16. Angus Crichton 17. Tyrone Peachey
18th man: Tariq Sims
19th man: Nick Cotric

Brad Fittler has introduced 11 debutants to the roster. “I think it’s a team that has picked itself. We put reputations aside and these guys have been the best in NSW,” Fittler said. The debutants are Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, James Roberts, Josh Addo-Carr, Nathan Cleary, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Damien Cook, Jack de Belin, Tyrone Peachey, Paul Vaughan and Angus Crichton.

Wade Graham is one notable exception, but hamstring issues have limited his season thus far. There are currently injury clouds over James Roberts, who has an Achilles tendon problem, and Jack De Belin, who has a hip strain.

The squad is certainly full of in-form players, but the question is how well the side with so many debutantes will combine on Wednesday. There may be some growing pains.


Coach: Kevin Walters enters his third Origin series as Queensland head coach.

1. Billy Slater 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Greg Inglis (c) 4. Will Chambers 5. Dane Gagai 6. Cameron Munster 7. Ben Hunt 8. Dylan Napa 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Felise Kaufusi 13. Josh McGuire
Interchange: 14. Michael Morgan 15. Josh Papalii 16. Coen Hess 17. Jai Arrow
18th man: Moses Mbye

Greg Inglis will captain the side for the first time. The three debutants are Andrew McCullough, Felise Kaufusi and Jai Arrow. Veterans Darius Boyd and Matt Scott missed out on selection. This is in addition to the departures of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk, who had 101 caps between them. There are a few injury clouds currently over the squad. Ben Hunt (corked thigh), Jai Arrow (shoulder and back issues), Michael Morgan (groin strain), Josh McGuire (ankle injury) are all fighting for fitness and there are reports that Billy Slater has suffered a hamstring injury. If Slater is indeed ruled out, it will be the first time since 2003 that Queensland will go into Origin match without Slater, Thurston, Cronk or Smith. It is reported that Kalyn Ponga and Anthony Milford will join the Queensland squad to cover Slater if he is unable to play.

Melbourne history

Since 2000 the fixtures in Melbourne have resulted:
2006: NSW 14-16 QLD
2009: NSW 18-28 QLD
2012: NSW 10-18 QLD
2015: NSW 26-18 QLD

The average total score has been 37 points, which is closer to the 39.4 average for Brisbane than it is to the 31.7 average for Sydney.

All four meetings were won by 1-12 points, which makes the venue more like Sydney, which has historically featured tighter winning margins than Brisbane. Since 2005 all 17 games in Sydney were settled by by 12 points or less, compared to eight 1-12 results and ten 13+ results in Brisbane.

Weather forecast

The Melbourne weather forecast for Wednesday is sunny with 0% chance of rain.

Bookmaker odds comparison

You can compare up-to-date bookmaker odds across numerous State of Origin markets in the bookmaker odds section. Game 1 odds and markets can be viewed here.

Head-to-head betting

At the time of writing the best odds for Queensland were 2.90 (Betfair) while the best odds for New South Wales were 1.53 (BlueBet).

The NSW side this year has been picked almost entirely based on form and while the squad lacks Origin experience, Queensland have lost a lot of experience too, as they start life without Thurston, Cronk or Smith and they might be also without Billy Slater. The primary question marks for NSW are how well the new-look squad combines and how well young players like the 20 year old Nathan Cleary handle the pressure.

The NSW backline looks fast and dangerous and is lined with players in fine try-scoring form. In light of this and the injury cloud over a number of Queensland players, if I were to bet on the head-to-head market I would back the Blues. I am concerned by how short they are, though, in light of so many debutantes and past disappointments. Those who are more conservative might want to wait until Wednesday evening to see who will actually take the field for the Maroons.

Margin betting

The 12.5 margin odds at the time of writing are:

NSW By 1-12: 2.88 (Sportsbet)
NSW By 13+: 3.30 (BlueBet)
QLD By 1-12: 3.90 (bet365, Palmerbet)
QLD By 13+: 11.0 (Palmerbet)
Draw: 21.0 (Palmerbet)

Since 2000, all fixtures played in Melbourne have been settled by 12 points or less so I would consider backing both NSW 1-12 at 2.88 (Sportsbet) and QLD 1-12 at 3.90 (bet365, Palmerbet).

Over/under betting

Most bookmakers have set an over/under mark of 34.5. Three of the last four meetings in Melbourne have gone over this total and with the Blues fielding a dangerous-looking side but one that features so many people playing alongside each other for the first time, I think there could be a fair number of points scored by both teams. Given this and the dry weather forecast, I recommend taking over 34.5 points at 1.92 (Unibet).

Exacta and quinella markets for first & second try scorer

For those who enjoy high-odds wagering, Sportsbet offers exacta and quinella markets for the first and second try scorers in the State of Origin.

An exacta wager is a bet on the first and second try scorers in correct order. A quinella wager is a bet on the first two try scorers in either order. Note that the first and second try scorers could be the same person.

To view the markets, go to the Sportsbet State of Origin page, click on the upcoming fixture, then scroll down and expand the ‘Player Markets’ tab.

Historically the best players to include in Origin exacta and quinella wagers are QLD wingers (Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai) and NSW centres, however based on the new-look NSW side and form of Josh Addo-Carr, who has 12 tries to his name this season, I recommend combinations using Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai and Josh Addo-Carr. The quinella odds for these selections are:

Addo-Carr / Gagai – 46.00
Addo-Carr / Holmes – 56.00
Gagai / Holmes – 76.00
Addo-Carr / Addo-Carr – 61.00
Gagai / Gagai – 126.00
Holmes / Holmes – 151.00


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