Melbourne Storm v St George Illawarra Dragons Thursday, July 5, 7:50pm AAMI Park, Melbourne
Both the Storm and Dragons will be decimated by State of Origin representation, with Melbourne missing six players (Billy Slater, Will Chambers, Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi, Tim Glasby and Josh Addo Carr), while Dale Finucane, Jesse Bromwich and Sam Kasiano are in the casualty ward. Meanwhile, the Red V will be without five of their stars on Origin duty (Ben Hunt, Tariq Sims, Jack de Belin, Tyson Frizell and Paul Vaughan).
Recent FormMelbourne have moved up to third on the ladder following their 9-8 win over the Sydney Roosters, their fourth straight win. The Storm have conceded just 10ppg in those four wins. Melbourne are the top defensive team conceding just 14.1ppg while they rank fourth in scoring with 22.3ppg. St George Illawarra sit on top of the ladder and have won three on end though all three wins came against bottom four teams. The Saints sit second in points scored with 24.6ppg while they rate third in defence conceding 15.6ppg. The Dragons are 2-3 against Top 5 teams this year.
Stats That Matter– Melbourne are 7-8 ATS with a 9-6 under record and are riding a six-game under streak. – St George Illawarra are 8-7 ATS with an 11-4 under record and have also gone under in six straight. – The Storm have lost to the Dragons just eight times since 1999 but have dropped two of the last three including a 34-14 loss at Kogarah in Round 9. – St George Illawarra have not won in Melbourne since 1999, a streak of 14 straight losses. – The last two meetings have topped 48 points though seven of the last nine games in Melbourne have failed to surpass 34 points. – The Storm have covered 7 of their last 10 home games and are 27-17 under at home since 2015. – Melbourne are 18-7 under at home after conceding 14 or fewer the start prior. – Melbourne have covered 6 of 10 with a 7-3 under record as a home favourite of less than a converted try. – The Storm have covered 7 of 9 as a home favourite after being held to 14 or fewer. – Melbourne are 9-1 under as a home favourite on a win streak of 4 or more. – The Dragons are 12-8 ATS with a 15-5 under record interstate since 2015 (13-1 under interstate at night). – In night games away from their suburban home grounds, the Dragons are 10-17 ATS with a 21-6 under record. – The Dragons are 16-4 under as an underdog of 4+ at night. – The Saints are 25-7 under after conceding 18 or more.
Final ThoughtsThis shapes up as a very tough match to predict with the massive Origin representation from both sides. Unders looks like the best play, with an 80% chance of rain predicted for Melbourne on Thursday, and seven of the last nine games in Melbourne have failed to surpass 34 points. The Storm don’t look as threatening in attack without Billy Slater and Cameron Munster, while the Dragons also lose an attacking option in the halves, with Ben Hunt unavailable. The Dragons look overs at the odds despite their poor record in Melbourne and The Wolf is tipping them for the upset on the back of a strong performance from Gareth Widdop against his former club.
How It Shapes UpSt George Illawarra by 2
Recommended Bets Best: Under 34.5 ($1.91) Value: St George Illawarra 1-12 ($3.65) First Tryscorer: Euan Aitken