Billy effect on full show ahead of grand final
BILLY Slater is often credited with revolutionising the way modern-day rugby league fullbacks play.
And 'Billy the Kid' has certainly had an impact on betting for his swansong - Sunday's NRL grand final.
When Slater was charged for that shoulder charge from the preliminary final win over Cronulla, Ladbrokes bookmakers initially installed the Roosters as favourites for the decider.
But after Cooper Cronk had his shoulder crunched into the Alliance Stadium turf, they were forced to rethink.
They wound the Storm in and the Roosters out. So on Sunday morning the two teams couldn't be separated at $1.92 apiece.
By the time Slater stepped off the private jet to plead his case to the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night, the weight of money had seen the Storm move from a 1.5 point outsider to a 1.5 point favourite.
After the star fullback was given the all-clear, the bookies wound the reigning premiers in further to be a 2.5 point, $1.68 favourites holding three times the money as the Roosters.
And such is the willingness from punters to "back the story'", Slater is also clearly the best backed for the Clive Churchill Medal.
Slater, along with captain Cameron Smith, has been wound in from $6 into $5 for the man-of-the-match award.
For the Roosters, the only player attracting any interest is fullback James Tedesco.
No doubt, if Cronk plays, punters will part with some hard earned on the halfback.
That would also be some kind of grand-final fairytale.
AFL GRAND FINAL
IT is the season showpiece that very few people saw coming.
A West Coast Eagles-Collingwood quinella was paying $1001 at the start of the season when both teams were over $2 just to make the finals.
Punters did cotton on that West Coast may be the real deal fairly early in the season, and Ladbrokes took a number of big bets at odds of $51, $41 and $34 before the Eagles' premiership odds shortened dramatically.
Collingwood may be favourites to claim their first flag since 2010 but the weight of money all week has been with West Coast.
Ladbrokes have taken more than double the money for West Coast than they have for Collingwood, and the Eagles could end up starting shorter than their current price of $2.25.
It is unlikely to be a one-sided grand final with five of the past seven games between these two sides at the MCG being decided by 15.5 points or less - a result which is currently paying $2.60.
NORM SMITH MEDAL
COLLINGWOOD midfielder Steele Sidebottom fell just short of claiming an upset Brownlow Medal win on Monday night, but punters believe he will not be denied the Norm Smith Medal on Saturday.
Sidebottom is $7 to win the best-on-ground gong, and he has been easily the best-backed since he polled surprisingly strongly on Monday.
Elliot Yeo is the on the second line of betting at $9, while the Collingwood trio of Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury and Adam Treloar are all at $10 with Ladbrokes.
THERE is one Ladbrokes punter that will be particularly nervous watching the AFL grand final.
This punter was enjoying a late night wager on the Prix Beugnot Hurdle in France in March when he placed a long-range multi.
He combined Rasango in the Prix Beugnot Hurdle at $3.20, Tom Mitchell to win the Brownlow Medal at $15, and the West Coast Eagles at $41 for an incredibly juicy $50 at $1738.50, which will net him a cool $98,350.
This same punter did the exact same thing 12 months ago.
He combined Halcyon Honey ($1.50) to win a random race at Mandurah with Dustin Martin to win the Brownlow Medal at $9 into Richmond to win the AFL Premiership at $67.
All three legs saluted and he collected $45,225.00 for his troubles.
Unforgotten stamped herself as the horse to beat in the Epsom Handicap with an outstanding win in the Chelmsford Stakes. The fact that she has already had a race start over 1600 metres this campaign is a big advantage and trainer Chris Waller has kept her on the fresh side for this contest.
She is a star in the making.
Unforgotten to win Epsom Handicap @ $4.20
The likely absence of Cooper Cronk has definitely swung this game in favour of the Melbourne Storm. There is no side in the NRL that has more big-game experience and it is tough to see the Sydney Roosters maintaining their composure without Cronk steering them around the park. It should be close, but the class of the Storm will see them prevail when it counts.
Melbourne Storm to Cover The Line (-2.5 Points)
There really is not that much between these two sides and the home-ground advantage that
Collingwood have at the MCG has been over-rated by the market. West Coast have won their two games at the MCG this season and they beat Collingwood at the famous venue earlier this season. They have been a highly profitable betting play as away underdogs this season.
West Coast Eagles to win @ $2.25* (*not a unanimous selection)
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, but they can bounce back against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots have won their past nine home games against Miami and the Dolphins have not won at Gillette Stadium since 2008. The Patriots have covered the line in eight of their past 10 games as home favourites.
New England Patriots to Cover The Line (-7 Points) Against the Miami Dolphins.