That’s it, 25 rounds later and we have our top 8 for the
finals series and of course we had to get there in dramatic fashion.
While lead story should have been the Tigers-Sharks
unofficial early finals game, there were plenty of other storylines to come
from the weekend as well.
Because it’s the end of the regular season we are also going
to take a bit of a look back at the overall numbers of the season that was as
part of our 5 Lessons Learned.
1 – Sharks With the Bite
We have to start with the biggest game of the weekend.
Put your hand up if you bought into the Farrah Fairytale
storyline expecting the Tigers to make it three in a row to sneak into the
Instead it was the Sharks putting together a ruthless,
professional performance to get themselves into that last spot.
You could also be forgiven for thinking that the Sharks will
now be the ones to capitalise on the momentum gained in that victory and
capitalise on an allegedly vulnerable Manly team.
So do you back the momentum story next week?
Well there are worse theories for picking a side to back.
2 – No Rest for the Wicked
It’s probably not that much of a surprise that the Storm opted
not to take it easy in the final round before the finals.
While nobody would have blamed Bellamy for resting a few
more players than he did, that approach brought them a very happy presentation
ceremony of the minor premiership trophy.
It closed off a very strong season for the Storm and they would
be well worth a bet in the Premiership market as well.
Overall it closed out a 20 win regular season for the Storm,
although they weren’t leading the way against the spread, posting a 13-11
record with a handicap.
Although that is in part due to their own success meaning
they have had plenty of big lines to cover.
One more statistical oddity, they went 9-3 as the home team
but 11-1 as the visitors, although as minor premiers their only remaining trip
would be for a Grand Final.
The Storm were also the only team to never play as an underdog
all season, favoured in 24/24 games.
3 – Against the Spread Standings
While the Storm won the regular season trophy for the topping
the ladder, who had the best record against the spread?
It was actually a three way tie on that ladder (& no, I’m
not doing a calculation of points differential against the spread) with the
Raiders, Roosters and Manly all finishing at 15-9, one win ahead of the Eels.
Making up the top eight against the spread are the Storm,
Tigers, Warriors and Bulldogs with 13 covers and just missing out on the ATS
Finals series would be either the Sharks and Cowboys who went an even 12-12.
So of that top eight, there would be three changes to the
actual finals series.
At the other end of the ladder, as mentioned a few weeks
ago, it was the Gold Coast Titans with a 6-18 record, with every other team covering
at least 10 times.
4 – Who Scored the Points?
The other market that might have kept a few people watching games
where the result was otherwise resolved is the total points market.
It was the Warriors who came through in a big way for punters
who backed the over, clearing the total points number in their games 16 times.
Trailing them was the Roosters with 15 overs and the Titans
finished on par as well with 15 covers although that probably had more to do
with a lack of defence than scoring prowess.
The best unders bet on the season was definitely the
Bulldogs with five overs and 19 unders.
5 – Finals Form Guide?
You can’t underestimate what a confidence boosting win can
do for a side going into the finals and the Rabbitohs all of a sudden might be
catching fire at the right time.
Not to mention beating their Qualifying Final opponents, the
Roosters, will give them plenty of reason for optimism going into this game.
It’s now three in a row including two upset victories to
have them rolling into September, can they carry that through to October though?