Recent NRL Grand Final history leans heavily towards the total points going under. A showdown between the two most ruthless defensive sides in the NRL should ensure it remains a gilt-edged option when deciding on your NRL tips for the big one.

NRL Tips – The Over/Under Line

The line for the 2018 NRL Grand Final is set at a conservative 32.5. But Over/Under trends in NRL deciders suggest the $1.90 on offer for the under is tremendous value for punters.

Since 2008, 80% of NRL Grand Finals have gone under the total points line. The last four-straight have produced totals of 36 points or less: Souths downed Canterbury 30-6 in 2014, North Queensland edged Brisbane 17-16 in 2015, Cronulla eclipsed Melbourne 14-12 in 2016, and the Storm downed the Cowboys 30-6 last year.

Meanwhile, the Storm’s 14-4 win over the Bulldogs in 2012 is the lowest-scoring grand final in the past 31 seasons.

With everything on the line, teams are less likely to take attacking risks – particularly early on. Grand finals are habitually close contests, which again favours the under.

And as the old cliché goes, defence wins games. The Roosters and Storm are easily the NRL’s best in that department, conceding just 14.5 and 15.3 points per game respectively in 2018. Cronulla were the next best with 18 points per game conceded.

Last week was a perfect example: the Storm strangled the Sharks 22-6 and the Roosters kept Souths try-less in a 12-4 triumph.

Cooper Cronk’s potential absence – and likely drop-off in contribution if he does play – reduces the Roosters’ potency. It may also force them into even more of a defensive mindset.

NRL Tips – Total Points Bands

The 31-40 Points option is the narrow Total Points Band favourite at $2.88; that’s where seven of the last 10 grand finals have landed. But the 21-30 Points band seems far more likely at $3.00.

And after the teams’ only regular-season meeting saw the Storm edge the Roosters 9-8, the 11-20 Points band is outstanding value at $6.00.

We might even see a throwback to the grinding, low-scoring Parramatta-Canterbury deciders of the mid-1980s! There’s a juicy $34 on offer for the 2018 grand final to produce 10 Points or less.

Only once has a team scored more than 18 points and lost a grand final – Parramatta’s 30-24 defeat to Newcastle in 2001. The losing side has been held to 10 points or less in 11 of the past 20 grand finals, including eight of the last 12.

That provides food for thought for punters in the individual team Total Points Band Markets, depending which team you’re leaning towards. The 11-20 Points band is favoured for both teams: $2.20 for the Roosters, $2.30 for the Storm.

For 10 Points or less, the Roosters are $2.80 and the Storm $3.50.

NRL Tips – Total Try Bands

There’s some value to be had in the Total Try Bands stakes, too. Five of the last 10 grand finals have produced 7-8 tries, which is offering $3.50 this year. But the 5-6 band (three times in the past 10 years) is the $2.50 favourite.

The 3-4 band looks potentially the best option at $4.00, but the 1-2 band is tantalising at $14. Then there’s the whopping $326 available if you’re prepared to punt on this year’s decider joining the 1986 Eels-Bulldogs epic as the only try-less grand final in history.

Whichever way it unfolds, gear up for a defensive slugfest.