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Stats and betting odds point to a 2016 NRL Grand Final thriller

THE Melbourne Storm has opened as the favourite for the 2016 NRL Grand Final against the Cronulla Sharks this Sunday.

While there’s a popular school of belief that a Sydney-based Grand Final could be advantageous to the Sharks, Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen says the Storm still deserve to be favoured.

“Melbourne deserve to be favourites, but it’s fair to say Cronulla were the most impressive team of the weekend, so we’re expecting punters to get on the Sharkies bandwagon in the coming week,” Jantzen said.

The Storm opened at $1.80 with Sportsbet to win its third legitimate premiership. The Sharks sit at even money ($2 at Sportsbet) to win its first NRL title and will play the game on its home turf.

The Sharks have won 12 from 17 games at ANZ Stadium and the Storm have won only seven from 22 games. Storm bettors will be hoping the experience Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith bring to the table will get them over the line, but the value appears to be with the Sharks.

The $2 quote will likely be the best price offered throughout the grand final week and with a close game expected, there is very little separating the two sides in the margin betting market.

The Storm 1-12 ($3.10) are the current favourite, but the Sharks to win by 1-12 is only $3.20. Punters are expecting the game to be decided within 12 points and backing both options would guarantee a profit if this were to happen.

Sharks 1-12 punters will be hoping they can put in a better effort than they showed in round 26 against the Storm. The Sharks went down 26-6 in a one-sided affair, but with the addition of captain Paul Gallen, the Sharks should be better prepared for the final.

Storm vs. Sharks betting stats

All statistics based on a $1 bet

Melbourne Storm:

The Storm has been one of the most profitable NRL teams for punters, providing $6.67 for every $1 invested.

Known as one of the most heavily-punted sides of the competition, the Storm went under the radar to start the season and punters took advantage of that in the early stages, but it hasn’t been happy shopping since.

The Storm are impacting negatively for both head-to-head and line betting punters over the last six games, which is mostly due to recent losses to the Raiders and the Broncos.

Still, faithful Storm punters will be pleased with the overall profit heading into Sunday’s game where the Storm are once again the favoured side at $1.80.

Cronulla Sharks:

The Sharks were paying $11 to win the NRL premiership before the season started so futures punters will be able to hedge their bets for a secured profit, but have they been a good betting side in 2016?

The Sharks have been a great team to bet on throughout the entire season, despite going through a bad patch of form which include three consecutive losses and a draw.

Cronulla punters have made a profit betting the head-to-head line in the last six, 12 and 18 games this season – with an overall profit of $5.46 on the season for every $1 invested.

Having won its last two games as the underdog, Sharks punters have breezed through the finals series with a handy profit. After beating the Raiders away from home in week one, they secured a week off before facing last year’s champions the Cowboys where they were victorious 32-20 in a one-sided display.

Again they will be the outsider in the final and Sharks punters are circling.