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Can Salford Red Devils cause a surprise against St Helens?

Salford Red Devils are competing in their first-ever Super League Grand Final, but do they have any chance of toppling St Helens at Old Trafford?

Ahead of the start of the 2019 Super League campaign, most people felt that there was more chance of Salford Red Devils being relegated to the Championship than there was featuring in the top half of the standings. Those predictions were made with the club needing to come through last season's Super League qualifiers, just to retain their spot in the top echelons of the sport. However, 13 months on from avoiding relegation, Salford are now preparing for arguably the biggest match in their history having qualified for the Super League Final against all of the odds. A 22-0 victory over Castleford Tigers was followed by a shock 28-4 triumph over Wigan Warriors on away territory on Friday night, and it has left one of the minnows of the division dreaming of one of the sport's biggest prizes ahead of their showdown with St Helens at Old Trafford.

When assessing the rugby betting odds ahead of this game, the 13/5 for Salford to cause the upset is naturally going to stand out. There is an argument that the odds should be higher when taking into account that St Helens only suffered three defeats from 29 during the league season, but they only beat Salford by a 32-30 scoreline when the teams last met in May. Salford showed on that occasion that they have the unity and the desire to rise to the occasion, and given the momentum that they have built in recent weeks, they should not be dismissed as rank outsiders in this contest. That said, you can also get betting odds of 9/10 on Salford with +9.5 points on the handicap, and that is simply a no-brainer.

Salford Red Devils' Jackson Hastings celebrates scoring their third try with team mates on September 26, 2019© Reuters

There is also plenty of value to be had in betting on St Helens to win by 12 points or less. Despite Justin Holbrook's side possessing a staggering points difference of +521 across their 29 games, coupled with the 40-10 demolition of Wigan in the semi-finals, you have to consider that this is a final, where expectation may take its toll on the favourites and the underdogs may relish the opportunity to play as underdogs with no pressure. That is something which Salford have been doing all season, even when the stakes have got higher in their last two outings, so you cannot really ignore the chance to take the 9/5 which is on offer for St Helens to prevail by a narrow margin.

The odds available for the potential outcomes at half-time are also worth assessing. You can get 17/2 for the teams to be level at 40 minutes, as well as 7/2 on neither team to reach 10 points by the interval, or be locked in a low-scoring match at the halfway point. While Salford are undoubtedly the underdogs for this contest, you cannot ignore that they have conceded just four points in their last two fixtures. It's a quite remarkable defensive record and one which will provide them with belief, even when facing opposition who are motivated to end their five-year wait for another Super League crown. Only time will tell if the Salford underdog story can last for another 80 minutes, but punters should be taking advantage of the attractive odds which are on offer for what could turn out to be a thrilling final.

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