We have expert betting tips for the NRL Grand Final this Sunday between the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm.
The Panthers and Storm have been the two best teams throughout the season, so an epic Grand Final is expected on Sunday night.
We look at which team has the edge and where punters can find value for the 2020 NRL Final.
7:30pm Penrith Panthers vs. Melbourne Storm @ ANZ Stadium
Class has prevailed this season as the best regular-season teams have made it to the 2020 NRL Grand Final.
Penrith qualified for the final when beating the South Sydney Rabbitohs is a tough affair on Saturday night. The 20-16 final went right down to the final play and they showed good mental toughness to come out ahead.
The top seed during the regular season, the Panthers have consistently stepped up their game. Despite not having Vilame Kikau in their squad last week, they were able to live up to expectations.
Standout half Nathan Cleary wasn’t at his best, but he didn’t make any mistakes. Keeping mistakes limited could be the key to success against a Melbourne team that loves scoring from their own half.
To the eye, Melbourne was easily the more impressive team in their semi-final. They won 30-10 over the Raiders after blitzing them in the first 10 minutes.
The rest of the game was a simple cruise for the Storm, who were firing on all cylinders. They key to Melbourne’s success is not only their experience, but their pure speed.
Players such as Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen have blistering speed, and Penrith will do well to limit them on offense.
Sunday’s final will likely be Cameron Smith’s last game in the NRL – although that is no confirmed. Either way, Smith’s experience and leadership could be another point of difference against a Panthers team that lacks finals’ experience.
The head-to-head matchup heavily favours the Storm, who have a 26-9 advantage over the Penrith Panthers. However, the last time they met in June it was a 21-14 win to Penrith.
Playing away from Queensland helps Penrith but they have just a 47% winning strike rate at ANZ Stadium, compared to the 64%-win rate for the Storm.
Bookmakers have the Storm as $1.75 favourites, which is a higher price than we imagined. Based on their superior semi-final win, we thought the Storm would be $1.60 to win the NRL Grand Final.
We expect an equal amount of action on both teams and we can see why. The Panthers and Storm are worthy of the title, but we give the slightest of edges to Melbourne.
They are more experienced in this situation and the occasion could get the better of the younger Panthers’ stars, such as Stephen Crichton and Jarome Luai.
We are thrilled with the $1.75 available in head-to-head markets and are expecting that price to shorten throughout the week.
Penrith Panthers vs. Melbourne Storm exotic betting predictions
Bookmakers are offering great value in the NRL Grand Final exotic markets, so let’s look at the best value available.
The first try scorer market is always fun to play and we have two Melbourne Storm players worth backing this Sunday.
The Storm enjoy getting off to fast starts, so look for Josh Addo-Carr and Justin Olam to get the ball rolling. Addo-Carr is a winger, so he will get his opportunities to score early, but Justin Olam is a powerhouse, who is growing in confidence with every game.
The Fox is the current favourite at $8.50 and that is good value, but take Olam at $17 (Sportsbet) for even juicier odds.
Another Storm player worth backing is Suliasi Vunivalu, who is playing his final game with the Melbourne Storm on Sunday. The Fijian winger is paying $2.10 to score a try, which is worth snapping up.
Grand Finals can be low-scoring affairs, but that is hard to imagine with a side like Melbourne. They will be looking to score plenty of points and Vunivalu could cash in.
Our last exotic bet is on the total match points market. The current line is 36.5, and we see this game going over.
Both teams are great offensively and given that Melbourne scored 30 in their semi-final and Panthers 20 points, the Over 36.5 should hit.
2020 Clive Churchill Medal expert betting predictions
The Clive Churchill Medal goes to the best player in the Grand Final and we have two Storm players worth backing.
There are many chances for Penrith players, but given that we’re predicting Melbourne to win, we will stick with their stars.
Cameron Smith tops the list and he’s the current $4.50 joint favourite with Nathan Cleary. It could be Smith’s last game and he will look to control the tempo and come up with some brilliant plays.
Smith rarely plays poorly on the big stage and given the importance of the Grand Final, expect a big effort.
The other player we like is Cameron Munster, who was terrific in their win over Canberra last week. Munster was injured two weeks ago, but he has overcome his leg problem and he bounced back in style.
He will need to have a monster game to outshine Cameron Smith, but Munster is a new breed of superstar and Clive Churchill Medal selectors will take notice.
Munster is paying $9 with Sportsbet and that is worth taking.