Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm
Sunday, July 17, 2pm (AEST), Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
|Best Bet: Over 48.5 ($1.90)
Other: Melbourne 13+ ($1.50)
Suliasi Vunivalu ($7.00)
The wooden spoon Newcastle host one of the title favourites in Melbourne and will need some kind of home ground push to remain even vaguely competitive against one of the form teams of the competition.
Jarrod Mullen returns for the Knights from a long injury replacing Jack Cogger in Nathan Brown’s only change to the starting team. Mickey Paea comes onto an extended bench. Felise Kaufusi replaces the injured Jordan McLean for Melbourne with Matt White onto the bench. Newcastle have just Dane Gagai on Origin duty while Melbourne have only Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk playing Origin.
Newcastle are last on the ladder and have just a single win this year while their -345 differential is historically poor. Their 12.8ppg is the worst in the NRL in attack while they concede an astonishing 34.4ppg. They have lost 10 straight and are 0-5-1 against Top 6 teams with three losses of 30-plus. Melbourne are second on the ladder with a 13-3 record and a +216 differential, best in the NRL. They concede just 11.4ppg, best in the NRL, while their 24.9ppg is fourth in attack. They are 8-0 against teams outside the Top 8.
Jesse Bromwich v Robbie Rochow. Bromwich is arguably the best prop in the NRL at present, averaging 143.5m per game to go with two tries and two assists. He has no flaws in his game. Rochow has only just returned from injury but is going to be the future of the Knights. He is touted as a long-term skipper and needs to show some leadership this week.
Stats That Matter
Newcastle are 6-10 ATS this year with a 10-6 over record while Melbourne are 10-6 ATS with a 10-6 under record. The over is 9-1 since 2008 when a road team is favoured by 16.5 or more with the favourite covering four of the last six. The Storm are 9-5 ATS when laying 16.5 or more since 2008, covering three of their last four. Newcastle are 3-4 ATS this year at home with an average losing margin of 18. They are 1-4 ATS getting 6.5 or more on home soil. Home underdogs who scored 25 points the game prior are 32-15 ATS since 2013. Road favourites who scored 40 the week prior are 12-14 ATS with a 14-12 over record. The Storm are 10-13 ATS in day matches since 2013 while Newcastle are 5-7 ATS in day matches this year. The under drops from 53% to 47% during the Origin period and is 15-27 this year. Favourites during the Origin period cover 55% of matches compared to 47% during the rest of the regular season and this season are 22-20 ATS.
Newcastle have blow three of four halftime leads. Melbourne are 11-1 when leading at the break.
The numbers in this one suggest Newcastle are a sneaky chance of covering here and Melbourne can be complacent against poorer teams but it would take a game punter to jump on board. The best bet is the over. Even though the total is high the over has a huge salute rate when a road team is favoured by 16.5 or more, hitting at a rate of 90%.
How It’s Shaping Up
Melbourne by 18
Over 48.5 ($1.90)
Melbourne 13+ ($1.50)
Best First/Last Tryscorer
Suliasi Vunivalu ($7.00)
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