Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm
Monday, August 15, 7pm (AEST), Canberra Stadium, Canberra
|Best Bet: Canberra +2 ($1.90)
Other: Canberra ($2.10)
Either Team Under 6.5 ($2.88)
Round 23 finishes up with the match of the round, an absolute belter between Canberra and Melbourne. There are arguably no two teams in better form than the Raiders and the Storm with massive finals implications at play here.
Both teams are unchanged though Blake Austin is in some doubt for the Raiders.
Melbourne have won 26 of 36 all-time against Canberra, including a 68-4 win in Canberra when the teams met in 2013. The Raiders have split the last six evenly with the Storm though despite Melbourne winning 14-10 in Round 6 last year, the last meeting between the teams. The Storm have won 12 of the last 14 at Canberra Stadium. Six of the last seven matches have topped 42 points. Storm coach Craig Bellamy was a teammate of Raiders coach Ricky Stuart in Canberra.
Canberra are up to third on the ladder with a 13-6-1 record and a +152 differential which is fourth best in the NRL. They rank first in attack and seventh in defence this year while since Round 11 they are scoring 6.1 points more per game than the second ranked Melbourne Storm while they rate fourth defensively. They have won their last six and 9 of their last 10. Melbourne now lead the premiership with a 17-3 record and a +245 differential that is best in the NRL. They rank fourth in attack and top in defence though their attack is rated second since Round 11. They have won six straight and 13 of their last 14. The Storm have not conceded 20 points all year.
Josh Hodgson v Cameron Smith. There have been no more effective hookers this year than Hodgson and Smith. We all know what to expect of Smith, the greatest rake of all-time. He showed it again with a pressure penalty and then the winning field goal last week. Hodgson though has been the surprise of the year. He has been in sublime form and has been the key man in the Raiders’ revival.
Stats That Matter
Canberra are 12-8 ATS with a 13-7 over record while Melbourne 12-8 ATS with a 14-6 under number. Melbourne have covered 10 of their last 13 and have not had consecutive non-covers since Round 7 while they have gone under in four straight. Canberra have covered 7 of their last 9 and gone over in 8 of their last 9. Canberra are 5-10 ATS as a home underdog since 2013 with a 10-5 over record. Home underdogs off a 13-plus win are 25-12 ATS since 2013 with a 22-15 under record. Melbourne have gone under in 13 of their last 18 road games while they have covered 6 of their last 7 as a road favourite of less than a converted try. The under is 46-31 when a road favourite scored 15 points or fewer the week prior. Melbourne have covered just 2 of their last 10 Monday games while Canberra have covered their last three.
Both these teams can come back with the Raiders 3-5 when behind at the break and the Storm 3-2 when trailing.
This is an absolute belter of a match, one of the most exciting matches of the year, a true battle of styles between Canberra’s attacking flair and Melbourne’s defensive stoutness. Both teams have been great betting propositions this year but sticking with Canberra. Home underdogs off a 13-plus win cover at nearly 70% and the Storm do struggle on Mondays. Stick with the Green Machine.
How It’s Shaping Up
Canberra by 4
Canberra +2 ($1.90)
Either Team Under 6.5 ($2.88)
Best First/Last Tryscorer
Joey Leilua ($13.00)
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