Saturday, July 23, 7.30pm (AEST), AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne’s charge to a Top 2 finish sees them face a Sydney Roosters team that is struggling to breakthrough of late but has certainly been playing better Rugby League.
Selection NotesMelbourne are unchanged as are the Sydney Roosters after playing on Monday night. The Chooks have added Kane Evans to an extended bench.
HistoryMelbourne have won 17 of the 31 matches played against the Sydney Roosters including a humiliating 46-0 victory when the teams met at the SFS in Round 14, where Suliasi Vunivalu scored a hat-trick and Cooper Cronk a double. The Storm have now won 3 of the last 4 and 9 of the last 14 against the Roosters. Low-scoring matches have been typical with 5 of the last 6 failing to break 38 points. The Storm have won 3 of the last 4 at AAMI. Shaun Kenny-Dowall has scored 3 tries in his last 4 games against Melbourne.
FormMelbourne are second on the NRL ladder with an amazing 14-3 record, trailing just Cronulla. The Storm have the second best differential, the clear top defence and the fourth-rated attack. The Storm have won 10 of their last 11 and have not conceded more than 20 points in any game all year. The Storm have posted 29-plus in 3 of their last 5 and are 8-1 against bottom eight teams with five of those wins by single digits. The Sydney Roosters are second last with a 3-14 record and a -126 differential, 14th in the league. The Roosters rank 13th in attack and 14th in defence. The Roosters have dropped five straight and have posted more than 20 just three times this season.
Round 20 NRL Odds
Key Matchup Cooper Cronk v Mitchell Pearce. Cronk is playing in such sublime form that a second Dally M Medal is not out of the reckoning. He has been in rare form with nine assists in his last five matches to go with three tries. Pearce has looked good since returning from suspension and injury. He has shown good energy and nice touch but has had little support around him.
Stats That Matter Melbourne are 10-7 ATS with an 11-6 under record while the Sydney Roosters are 8-9 ATS with an 11-6 over record. The Roosters have gone over in 5 of their last 6 while the Storm have covered 8 of their last 10. The Storm are 22-26 ATS at home since 2013 with four straight covers. As a double digit home favourite, they are 7-12 ATS with an 11-8 under record while they are 7-15 ATS as a double digit favourite overall. Double digit favourites off a small win are 12-16 ATS since 2013 with the Storm 1-4 ATS. Road outsiders of more than a converted try off a double digit loss are 60-44 ATS. Road teams on a five-day backup cover 58% of game with underdogs 34-21 ATS.
In-Play StatMelbourne are an incredible 12-1 when leading at halftime. The Sydney Roosters have trailed at the break nine times this year and have lost on every occasion.
Behind The Curtains
Final Thoughts Melbourne have been outstanding all year but laying a big start against the Roosters the bet is certainly the visitors. The Storm are typically terrible bets laying a big start at home and double digits here is just way too much. With road outsiders off a double digit loss covering at a great clip, particularly on a quick backup, a Sydney Roosters team with a near full-strength side should make the nut.