FOR all intents and purposes the Dally M Medal is Cameron Smith’s, it’s just currently being held by the NRL.
The betting agencies, including Sportsbet.com.au, have the Storm skipper as the unbackable $1.08 favourite to take home his second Dally M Medal, but the result may not be as clear cut as many think.
Smith was the red-hot favourite to win the Players’ Champion award at the RLPA awards a fortnight ago, but Tigers fullback James Tedesco got the nod ahead of the Queensland captain, leading people to believe it may not be the foregone conclusion that we expected.
For non-Rugby League fans, the Dally M Medal votes were public knowledge up until round the conclusion of round 14, where the remainder of those went behind closed doors.
Prior to the votes being hidden from the public eye, Cameron Smith (20 votes) was five clear of Mitchell Pearce and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who were one vote clear of Paul Gallan and Paul Vaughn.
Gareth Widdop – who is the $10 second favourite at Sportsbet.com.au – sat seven votes adrift of Smith when the public tallies closed.
Is it has much of a foregone conclusion as the market would have you believe, or is there a dark horse than can stifle the Storm skipper?
The big and little bets of this year’s Dally M Medal
If the punters are to be believed, Smith has it in the bag.
A big $13,500 bet came on Cameron Smith at $1.15 at Sportsbet, forcing them to wind him into his current $1.08 quote. This did not deter the investments after another $6,250 was wagered on Cameron Smith at those odds.
In fact, 70 per cent of all the money is wagered on Smith, and 35 times as much money as there is on Daly Cherry Evans, who is the second most popular player at $12.
On the other end of the spectrum, ambitious Sportsbet punters are trying to turn their pocket change into big dividends after a number of brave investors put on some questionable bets.
Sportsbet have taken a 1c wager on departing Parramatta playmaker Semi Radradra ($501), and a $1 investment on Tohu Harris at the $501 quote.
Sportsbet.com.au representative Christian Jantzen believes the count is as good as over.
“Cam Smith will win the Dally M by the length of the red carpet and we’re bracing ourselves for a decent payout tomorrow night given we opened him at $13.”
If it is Smith’s medal, who are the next best options?
Let’s face it, barring some unforeseen act of God, Smith is taking home his second Dally M Medal.
The market reflects this given he is the only man under double figures for the award, so those wanting to punt on the NRL’s night of nights have a Without Cameron Smith Market at Sportsbet.com.au in which they can bet on.
Lets take a look at the top candidates.
Of the main group of candidates in the market, Widdop is one of the few that remained somewhat within striking distance of Smith.
Seven votes back at the round 14 cutoff point, the Englishman went on to have a influential second half of the year, but his vote gathering ability may be stymied by the fact his Dragons went on a downhill slide and finished outside the finals.
Despite polling just eight votes at the round 14 cut off point, Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans is expected to come home like a bullet out of a gun following a number of best afield performances. DCE also did not miss any football through the origin period, and was one of the main catalysts for his team’s late-season resurgence.
We think Cherry-Evans is the best without Smith option in the Dally M betting market at the $5 quote at Sportsbet.com.au.
The Sharks strongman was not as far off the pace at the round 14 mark (14 votes) compared to others, and the former NSW skipper is expected to finish somewhere towards the top on Wednesday night.
While he is not as flashy as some of the other candidates here, big Gal is always front-and-centre of the ref’s attention and his bash and crash style is certain to win him some votes as the season wears on.
While he will be competing for votes along Smith for most of the season, Slater put together a sensational season, and was well within commission (13 votes) when the tallies went behind closed doors.
The eye-catching full back was instrumental in a number of Melbourne’s wins, and given they ended the season by winning seven-straight games, he has plenty of opportunities to add votes to that already impressive tally.
The 2011 winner of the Dally M Medal is a proven vote accumulator and we expect him to be right in the mix without his skipper once all the votes are tallied.
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