2018 NRL Grand Final Preview


The NRL Grand Final is always one of the highlights of the Australian sporting calendar and we are set for an outstanding game at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The Melbourne Storm have been the best team in the NRL all season long and they are clear favourites in our 2017 NRL Grand Final betting market, but in their way is an extremely plucky North Queensland Cowboys outfit that has been nothing short of sensational during the NRL Finals.

Will the Melbourne Storm claim another premiership or will the North Queensland Cowboys continue their incredible run?

We have analysed both teams and our complete 2017 NRL Grand Final tips can be found below!

Melbourne Storm Vs North Queensland Cowboys

Sunday 1 October, 6.15pm (AEST), 7.15pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

Melbourne Storm 34 - North Queensland Cowboys 6

The Melbourne Storm have clearly been the best team all season long in the NRL and they are deserving of their position as dominant favourites.

Melbourne were fairly unconvincing against the Parramatta Eels in the qualifying final and they were slow out of the blocks against the Brisbane Broncos, but the way they put away the Broncos late was very impressive.

The scary thing for the North Queensland Cowboys is that the Storm can still play much better than that.

This is a side that is absolutely packed full of big-game players and the likes of Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater rarely disappoint in a big game.

Melbourne have won 21 of their past 24 games as home favourites for a clear profit and they are 13-11 against the line in this scenario.

North Queensland were very lucky to sneak into the NRL Finals after they won just one of their last six regular season games, but the way they have played over the last three weeks was nothing short of outstanding.

They have improved each time that they have played in the NRL Finals and they were always in control of their clash with the Sydney Roosters.

Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo have gotten most the wraps, but there hasn’t been a weak-link in this North Queensland side and their forward pack has won the points battle over the Sharks, Eels and Roosters.

There is no fitter team in the competition and if the Cowboys are in touch late they will be tough to hold out.

North Queensland have won seven of their past 15 games as underdogs for a clear profit and they are a most impressive 10-5 against the line in this scenario.

It has been impossible not to like what the Cowboys have been able to produce in recent weeks and the 2017 NRL Grand Final will be closer than the current market suggests.

Back North Queensland To Beat The Line (+10 Points)

First Try Scorer

Suliasi Vunivalu and Jose Addo-Carr are clear favourites in First Try Scorer betting markets at $7 from Billy Slater ($12), Will Chambers ($13), Antonio Winterstein ($15) and Curtis Scott ($15).

Josh Addo-Carr has been in outstanding form in recent weeks and he was able to score the opening try when Melbourne recorded a comfortable win over North Queensland in round 22.

He is a deserving favourite and he looks likely to be involved in the action early.

Coen Hess has scored the majority of the tries from the Cowboys forwards this season, but Gavin Cooper is another forward that often finds his way over the stripe and he has a habit of scoring the first try in big games.

Cooper is often used as a decoy runner when the Cowboys are attacking their oppositions line, but if they do feed him the ball he can be tough to stop.

The $29 for Cooper to claim the first try is well and truly over the odds.

Back Josh Addo-Carr @ $7 & Gavin Cooper @ $29 to score the first try

Clive Churchill Medal

Cameron Smith is a dominant favourite in our 2017 Clive Churchill Medal betting market and he is currently available at $2.25 to win the award for the first time in his illustrious career.

There is no doubt that Smith will be heavily involved for the Storm and he is a deserving favourite, but $2.25 is incredibly short and that means there is plenty of other value to be found.

Cooper Cronk is on the second line of betting at $6 and he is the value selection for the Storm.

This will likely be Cronk’s final ever game for the Storm and he is just as important to their winning chances as Smith.

Jason Taumalolo and Micahel Morgan have both been outstanding for the Cowboys during their unlikely NRL Finals charge and it is no surprise that both are prevalent in Clive Churchill betting markets.

Taumalolo is just about a lock to run for 200 metres and he could prove to be the difference between the two teams – a couple of offloads or a try are all that the damaging forward needs to be in the Clive Churchill Medal conversation.

Back Cooper Cronk @ $6 & Jason Taumalolo @ $9

The NRL Grand Final is one of the biggest days on Australian Sporting calendar and history could be made in the 2016 edition.

The Cronulla Sharks have qualified for their first Grand Final since the Super League decider in 1997 and they may never have a better chance to win their maiden NRL Premiership.

Standing in their way is a Melbourne Storm outfit that have a host of big-game experience and have been the most consistent side in the competition all season long.

Will The Sharks finally win an elusive Premiership or will there be more success for the Storm? I have analysed both teams and below are a wide range of betting plays for a number of different betting markets.

Cronulla Sharks Vs Melbourne Storm

Sunday 2 October, 6.15pm (AEST), 7.15pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

There is very little between these two teams in betting and the Melbourne are only very narrow favourites.

Melbourne have only lost five games in 2016 and the majority of those came in games in which they were missing Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.

The Storm are just a consistent side that keep performing season after season and they have actually improved in 2016 edition with a full-season from Cameron Munster as well as two of the most exciting wingers in the game in the form of Suliasi Vunivalu and Marika Koroibete.

Melbourne play the perfect style of rugby league for a Grand Final and there is little doubt that they will be able to handle the big occasion.

The Storm have won 19 of their past 22 games as favourites for a sizeable profit and they have won nine of their past 10 games as favourites against the Sharks.

Cronulla only ground out a win over Canberra in the opening week of the finals, but they were nothing short of outstanding against the North Queensland Cowboys in the preliminary final.

Their forwards simply out-enthused the Cowboys pack and there is little doubt that their backline is the most underrated in the entire competition.

Cronulla have been an excellent betting play throughout the 2016 NRL season and they have won five of their past eight games as underdogs for a healthy profit.

The real issue for the Sharks is their truly horrid record against Melbourne as well as the fact that they have only a couple of players with any Grand Final experience.

The market has got this game just about right, but there is one betting market where there is still plenty of value.

I expect this to be a very low-scoring affair and the under has been a profitable betting play in 18 of the past 26 games played by the Storm as well as the majority of Sharks games this weekend.

Back Under 34 Points

First Try Scorer

Suliasi Vunivalu ($7) is a dominant favourite from Marika Koroibete ($10), Valentine Holmes ($10), Sosaia Feki ($11) and Ben Barba ($12).

Vunivalu is a try-scoring machine, but there is no doubt that he is a touch of unders at his current price.

The one winger that does appeal at their current price is Holmes.

Holmes is capable of scoring from any part of the field and he is more than capable of taking advantage of any deficiencies in the defence of the Storm wingers.

The forward that is excellent value at their current price is Storm forward Kevin Proctor.

Proctor is a very dangerous runner close to the line and he has scored the first try for the Storm three times already this season.

Back Valentine Holmes @ $10 & Kevin Proctor @ $21

Clive Churchill Medal

There are no better big game players in the NRL than Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and it comes as no surprise that they are the clear favourites in Clive Churchill Medal betting.

Kicking in general play is sure to be crucial in what will be a very tight-affair and because of that I believe that Cronk will be crucial.

He has already won the Clive Churchill Medal once back in 2012 and he has an excellent chance to become the first player since Bradley Clyde in 1991 to win the Clive Churchill Medal on multiple occasions.

The value in Clive Churchill betting markets is Luke Lewis.

Lewis is not often rated up there with Michael Ennis, James Maloney and Paul Gallen as the Shark’s most important players, but he is easily their most consistent and he has a stack of big-game experience.

The $23 currently on offer is well over the odds.

Back Cooper Cronk @ $7 & Luke Lewis @ $23

NRL Grand Final Money Wire

The Ladbrokes Money Wire delivers you information on the big bets, key markets and all the moves ahead of the NRL Grand Final.