NRL Betting: Melbourne Storm the handicap bet to secure minor Premiership against the Sharks
September 01, 2016
Recommended bet: Melbourne Storm (-5.5 points handicap) @ 4/5 (1.80) with BetVictor
It’s the perfect way to end the regular Premiership season, with top of the table Melbourne Storm playing host to second-placed Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at AAMI Park on Saturday evening, with the victors (a draw would suffice for the Storm) knowing that they will be crowned minor premiership champions and being assured of top seed going into the finals.
Both teams have suffered from some indifferent form of late, with Melbourne outclassed in going down to a 26-16 defeat at home to Brisbane Broncos last time out for what was their second loss in three matches. For their part, Cronulla’s comprehensive 37-12 win at home to Sydney Roosters in their last outing ended a four-match winless streak.
Despite boasting the best defensive record in the Premiership, Storm haven’t been quite so resilient at the back in recent weeks, having conceded 18-points or more in each of their last three games.
Team news sees Storm missing Nelson Asofa-Solomona through suspension, with Christian Welch coming in to replace him. The Sharks name an unchanged team.
The Sharks won the reverse fixture 14-6 back in Round 4 but Storm have a definite historic edge, having won 20 of the 30 previous meetings. That includes all six occasions the two teams have met at AAMI Park, with some sizeable winning margins in several of those games.
Not only do Storm lead the way going into the final round of matches in the regular season, but they also possess the best points differential in the Premiership by a healthy margin too. Add to that their dominant record on home turf against the Sharks and it’s difficult to see them tripping up here.
Despite a fine win against the Sydney Roosters, the form of Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks has dipped fairly alarmingly over the past month and there have to be some concerns over their ability to perform when the pressure’s really on. Had they not suffered the late loss of form, they would already have the minor premiership in the bag, securing them their first silverware since 1999.
It’s likely to be ultra-competitive and tight, but Melbourne Storm look good enough to get the victory and secure the minor premiership.