|Match Preview||Recommended Bets|
|Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers
Saturday, March 17, 7:30pm (AEDT)
AAMI Park, Melbourne
|Best: Wests +14.5 ($1.91)
Value: Wests +14.5 & Under 42.5 ($3.15)
First Tryscorer: Will Chambers ($13)
The Tigers produced the upset of Round 1, defeating the Roosters in a 10-8 thriller at ANZ Stadium. If that wasn’t tough enough for Ivan Cleary’s men they now have to take on the defending premiers on their home turf in Melbourne. To make matters worse, it will be club legend Billy Slater’s 300th game, with the Storm taking great pride in lifting for milestone games for the greats of the club. The Tigers are a different kettle of fish under Cleary’s leadership and they’ll have plenty of self-belief after their shock win over the Roosters.
Melbourne showed nothing had changed with the premiers downing Canterbury 36-18 despite Cooper Cronk leaving for the Roosters and Billy Slater missing through injury. The Storm easily covered the 7.5-point line in Perth while the match went well over the 38-point total. The Wests Tigers produced the upset of Round 1 with a famous 10-8 win over the premiership favourites the Sydney Roosters. The Tigers ground out the close win as a 12-point underdog in a game that posted the lowest total of the round at just 18.
Cameron Munster v Benji Marshall: Munster was arguably the best player across the whole NRL competition in Round 1. He was playing his preferred position of fullback, with Billy Slater injured, and tore the Bulldogs to shreds with two line-breaks and three try-assists. He’s been named in the No.6 position for this clash, with Slater returning, but is still one of the most dynamic ball runners in the competition irrespective of the number on his back. It was a case of turning back the clock when Benji Marshall was given the late call-up to play five-eighth for the injured Josh Reynolds. He had a calming influence on the Tigers, and his clock-management was crucial when halves partner Luke Brooks was sent to the sin bin. Reynolds is out for the next 3-4 weeks, so it will be up to Marshall to see if he can cement the No.6 jersey or at least a spot in the top 17.
Stats That Matter
– Melbourne have won 19 of the 29 clashes with the Wests Tigers, including the last three.
– The Tigers have typically played the Storm well though suffering only three double digit losses in the last 13 meetings dating back to 2009.
– The Storm have won two of the three meetings played at AAMI Park.
– The over is 14-7 when an interstate underdog of 10 or more is playing in the first four rounds of the season.
– The Storm are 8-5 ATS as a double digit home favourite since 2015 with an 8-5 under record.
– Melbourne are 3-9 ATS with a 10-2 under record after scoring 25 or more.
– The Tigers have covered 5 of 6 under Ivan Cleary getting a start of 12.5 or more while they have covered 5 of 7 interstate in the Cleary Era.
– The Tigers are 10-5 under after conceding 14 or fewer since 2015.
– The Tigers have covered 12 of their last 17 night games including 8 of 10 as the away team.
The Wolf was impressed with the Tigers defence in Round 1 and they should be buoyed by that effort in the lead-up to this clash. They are massive outsiders in head to head betting, but they only have three double digit losses in the last 13 meetings with the Storm dating back to 2009. The Storm should get the cash here, but the 14.5 start to the Tigers looks too big.
How It’s Shaping Up
Melbourne by 7