NRL PreviewNewcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm
Saturday, August 19, 3pm (AEST) at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

The Knights produced the upset of the season last week, downing the Eels 29-10 and have now won three straight. Despite the three wins on the trot, the Knights still find themselves locked at the bottom of the ladder. Meanwhile, the Storm have all but sewn up the minor premiership and could look at resting their stars over the remaining three rounds before the finals start. Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster has been named to make his return, while Tohu Harris has been listed on an extended bench.
HistoryThe Storm have won three straight against the Knights and have won three of the last four against the Knights in Newcastle. The Knights will be hoping for a change of fortune on their home turf after they were hammered 40-12 in Melbourne back in Round 13 this year. Both Billy Slater and Suliasi Vunivalu scored doubles in the 28-point win.
FormNewcastle have astonishingly won three straight, shocking Parramatta in the upset of the season 29-10, their first win on the road since 2015. The Knights were off the bottom of the ladder for two days but are back to last. The Knights have the 14th rated attack and 15th ranked defence. Melbourne are the best team in the premiership, clearly on top of the ladder with the best defence and the second ranked attack. The Storm have won four straight and not conceded more than 14 points in any of them. The Storm are 8-1 against teams outside the Top 8 this year.
Key MatchupBrock Lamb v Cameron Munster: Lamb has been sensational in the Knights’ winning run of three matches. He’s scored a try in each of the past three matches and has five try-assists across the winning streak. He’s playing with plenty of confidence at the moment and the Knights hierarchy will be hoping they’ve found the man to lead them forward out of the doldrums. Munster hasn’t played since the Round 21 match against the Sea Eagles and by all reports will make his return this week. The Storm have been flying in his absence, but he’s a star on the rise and could be the X-factor in the Storm going all the way this season.
Stats That Matter– Newcastle are 11-10 ATS with a 13-8 under record while Melbourne are 11-10 ATS with an 11-10 under number.
– Melbourne have won three straight against the Knights and have won three of the last four against the Knights in Newcastle.
– Since 2014, home underdogs of 12 or more are 9-12 ATS but Newcastle are 7-4 ATS with a 7-4 under record.
The Knights are 14-8 ATS as a home underdog in afternoon games since 2014 with 13 covers in their last 16.
– Home underdogs off a win are 20-11 ATS in day games since 2014 and 64-43 ATS overall while home underdogs of 6 or more are 19-5 ATS off a win in the final six rounds of the year dating back to 2008.
– Melbourne are 5-10 ATS as a road favourite of 4.5 or more.
Final ThoughtsThe Knights left most experts gobsmacked with their shock win over the Eels last week and would love nothing more than to knock of the NRL Premiership favourites here. The Storm are easily the benchmark in the NRL and are too professional to let this one slip. However, the Knights will be gallant and the 12.5 line looks very big considering the Storm are coming off a tough finals-like encounter with the Roosters. The Wolf is happy to be on the home side with the big start.
How It’s Shaping UpMelbourne by 8
Best Bet
Newcastle +12.5 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
Under 43.5 ($1.88)

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