By Jamie Pacheco of www.bettingmaestro.com
There will be those who think that whatever happens in the Ashes, it’s already a case of ‘job done’ after the World Cup success. There will be other English cricket fans who will strongly disagree and say ‘no, this is the one that really matters’.
Whichever camp you sit in, the Ashes start tomorrow and it’s up to us to find some good bets ahead of the 1st Test.
No century in the match is 5.0 with Betfair Sportsbook
Edgbaston is a hard ground to bat on. There has generally been some assistance for the bowlers from the overhead conditions or from the pitch for years now. It’s not for nothing that more than one of those low-scoring nail-biters at the World Cup (India v New Zealand, for example) took place at Edgbaston. Different format I know but it’s still of some relevance.
Indeed, the stats back up the fact that run-fests are unlikely there. Last year when India played in Birmingham, it was a pretty low-scoring affair with neither side getting to 300 in their first digs and England’s second-innings 180 just about trumping India’s 162 in a fourth innings chase.
The only man to have hit a century in that match was Virat Kohli, who as we all know, can do things no-one else can. It was one of the best Test knocks I’ve seen in a while and for my money, it would take a monumental effort for anyone to come close to compiling an innings of that calibre.
There are further reasons why ‘no century’ in the match looks a good value bet. Eight Tests there over the last ten years have produced just eight centuries but two of those Tests didn’t have a century scored at all.
I think that the bowling is the strength of each side going into this Series. Any one of Cummins (identified as one of Australia’s dangermen for the Series in this piece here), Pattinson, Starc (if he plays), Broad, Anderson or Woakes are more than capable of taking out the opposition’s top order cheaply and it’s certainly not a wicket where a number six or seven or lower can come in and slog their way to a century. Given the wicket gets tougher and tougher, I’ll add something else to that. If someone is going to score a century, they’d better do it in the first or second innings because they’re pretty unlikely to get it in the third or fourth.
As hinted above, these aren’t vintage batting line-ups with only a handful of batsmen for my money capable of playing a long innings on a tricky pitch so if one of the big guns doesn’t to 100, I don’t think it’s a Cameron Bancroft or a Joe Denly who will.
All enough reasons to go with no century in the match at 5.0.
Cool-head Khawaja can be Australia’s main man
My second selection is purely on price. We all know that David Warner and Steve Smith are Australia’s big scalps and I’m not arguing they deserve to be favourites for first innings top bat honours.
But I’ve always thought there’s something a bit special about Usman Khawaja. Yes, I know that a handful of players in Test cricket are averaging over 50 these days but Khawaja’s 42 isn’t too shabby at all.
He played a wonderful knock in the UAEto single-handedly salvage a draw at the start of the year and his phlegmatic character and patience may just be what’s required here as even the more experienced heads (like Warner and Smith) may feel the pressure a bit. Those two in particular (and to a lesser extent Bancroft) may also be on the receiving end of some serious abuse about Sandpapergate – especially at Edgbaston where the crowds are particularly vocal- and that simply can’t help their cause.
If Khawaja can get Warner and Smith beat, he’s probably got them all beat for Australia Top batsman honours and at a really big 7.0, I’m taking the chance.
Back no century in the match @ 5.0 with Betfair Sportsbook
Back Usman Khawaja to be Australia 1st innings top scorer @ 7.0 with Skybet/Unibet
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