NRL Betting Preview: Back Melbourne Storm to see off Parramatta Eels by 1-12 points in Play-off clash
Recommended bet: Winning Margin – Melbourne Storm to win by 1-12 points @ 21/10 (3.10) with Sportsbet
It’s play-off semi-final time in the NRL Telstra Premiership, with regular season table-toppers Melbourne Storm playing host to 4th placed finishers Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Minor Premiers Storm come into this game in fine form, having won their last seven matches in the regular season. Their last defeat was a 22-6 loss to the Eels at AAMI Park in Game Week 18 in early July, so there will certainly be no complacency from Craig Bellamy’s team.
It also has to be taken into account that that defeat featured a depleted Storm, without the club’s Origin contingent (Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Will Chambers and Tim Glasby). This time will see a far stronger team taking to the field for Storm.
The Eels are also in superb form, having won nine of their last 10 to claim a top four finish. Their only loss in that run was a shock 29-10 defeat at home to bottom of the table Newcastle Knights, although they quickly recovered to win three on the spin thereafter.
The Eels can beat anyone on their day as the Storm know only too well, but home advantage and their fantastic consistency over the course of the campaign suggests that the Storm should prevail.
The Storm have clearly been the best team this season, having lost just four matches throughout the regular campaign, with two of those coming during the Origin series. They have also managed the most points scored and the fewest conceded over the course of the season.
Eels coach Brad Arthur was quick to start the mind games, warning referees to lookout for Storm wrestling and trying to slow the play-the-ball. Bellamy was quick to fire back, so an extra feisty encounter seems assured.
Captain Cameron Smith is set to become rugby league’s most capped player when he leads the Storm out in his record 356th NRL game against Parramatta and a Melbourne win by 1-12 points would be a perfect way to mark the occasion. That’s priced at 21/10 (3.10) with Sportsbet and looks worth a bet.