Bet on another low-scoring Super League decider

Super League Grand Final

Rugby Union
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Published: 05/10/2012

Most bookmakers have set the Super League Grand Final total points line at 44.5 and that level it makes sense to go low when Warrington and Leeds battle it out for the title.

Betting on the winner of the Old Trafford match is a little bit tricky. The Wolves and the Rhinos have met three times this term but every game has seen at least one of the teams unable to field its best side. So the form lines are not as solid as the casual observer - and punter - would think.

When Leeds beat Warrington 26-18 at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium in April, it did so without having to contend with Chris Bridge and two of the away side`s Australian imports, Brett Hodgson and Michael Monaghan. And when the Wolves beat the Rhinos 37-18 in their home Super League match and 35-18 in the Challenge Cup decider, the losing team were missing their most influential offensive player, Danny McGuire.

One could make a case for Warrington being about six-point favourites for their Super League Grand Final debut but that is exactly how most bookmakers view the championship game so there is no point in exploring the handicap betting markets, although the Wolves are around 9-5 to win the match by between one and 12 points and that makes some appeal.

But a couple of exotic Super League Grand Final bets stand out more. First, there is the opportunity to get short of total points at 44.5. No championship decider has featured more than 48 points and only twice in the 14 Old Trafford finales would an under 44.5 points bet have not paid off.

Admittedly, this term`s three games between Warrington and Leeds have produced an average of 50.66 points but the Old Trafford trend is stronger and the weather in Manchester this week has been pretty ordinary. The Theatre of Dreams has been the Theatre of Nightmares for attacking players in most Super League Grand Final matches, with the rugby league fraternity often complaining that the Old Trafford pitch is a bit slippery and not conducive to scoring a lot of tries.

Second, there is an interesting exotic concerning the number of drop goals in the Super League Grand Final, with one or more available at around 2-1. Six of the 14 championship games have featured at least one one-pointer and there has been a drop goal in two of this season`s three matches between the Wolves and the Rhinos. Furthermore, Warrington five-eighth Lee Briers and Leeds lock Kevin Sinfield are two of the competition`s most prolific one-point scorers.

In anticipation of a tight Super League Grand Final, the odds of around 2-1 about one or more drop goals appear somewhat generous. They deserve to be closer to 6-4.

Super League Grand Final punters love betting on the Harry Sutherland Trophy, which goes to the player recognised as the game`s best performer. Steer clear of centres and props because no-one in those positions has won the prestigious award. Fullbacks have the best record with four wins.


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