The Melbourne Storm have been a fixture in the NRL grand final for the better part of the last 15 years and punters are expecting them to take their usual place at ANZ Stadium again next weekend.
As of Friday morning, over 90 per cent of the money in the Head to Head market for Friday night's preliminary final was behind the Melbourne side, including a $10,000 wager on the Storm at $1.35. The heavy support for Melbourne has seen their price shorten to $1.33 after opening at $1.42 while the Sharks are now out to $3.10 to score their third victory over Melbourne this season.
It's a similar story in the points start market where the opening handicap of 6.5 points placed on the Storm was seen as far too light by the betting public. A flurry of early money on Melbourne -6.5, including a $6,000 bet placed last Saturday afternoon, saw the line jump up to 8.5 points where it currently sits.
There are also numerous $1,000 plus Multis including both the Storm and the Sydney Roosters to win their Preliminary finals, the biggest of which is a $2,000 wager that could return nearly $10,000 featuring the Storm and Roosters as well as the Richmond Tigers in their AFL preliminary final, and two legs that have already come in.
Another punter will also be hoping to see the two favourites progress this weekend after placing a $3,000 bet, prior to the start of the NRL finals, on the Storm and Roosters to meet in the grand final at $4.80 odds.
Overall things are much tighter, betting wise, for the second NRL preliminary final. The money is currently split very evenly in the Head to Head market with less than $200 separating the support for each of this sides. This is also reflected in the Winning Team & Margin book with just 14 per cent of all money on this market backing a 13+ point win by either side.
One punter is certainly expecting a back and forth battle after placing a $1,115 wager on the Roosters to lead at HT but Souths to get the victory at $9 odds, which could return them over $10,000.
$2,000 Multi could return $9,360
Quad Series Netball: New Zealand v South Africa - New Zealand @ $1.30
Champions League: Inter v Tottenham - Inter +1.5 @ $1.11
AFL: Richmond v Collingwood - Richmond Tigers @ $1.37
NRL: Melbourne v Cronulla - Melbourne Storm @ $1.35
NRL: Sydney v South Sydney - Sydney Roosters @ $1.75