Author Archives: James Pacheco

Ashes Second Test: Draw not so likely after all, seam bowlers to the fore

By Jamie Pacheco of

The draw is odds-on ahead of the Second Test at Lord’s. No prizes for guessing why so I’ll cut to the chase and tell you. It’s the weather. Rain is forecast for Wednesday for most of the day and plenty more for the days after that.  

There is however an argument to say that’s a price worth laying. Not only have weather forecasts been a bit off of late but Umpires really do their best to get the players out on the ground whenever possible. With TV channels and paying punters desperate for the action to get under way, it’s understandable.

Those two reasons alone mean we might get enough overs in to force a result but there are other ones. Lord’s has been a tough place to bat at over the past few years in Test matches so assuming the wicket plays to form, it may be that if 260 plays 240 in the first innings, we’ll have plenty of time to get a result even if we do lose a fair few overs to rain.

But there’s another reason. Bar the barely-human Steve Smith, Joe Root and maybe Ben Stokes and Usman Khawaja, not many players on the field have the capacity to bat for long periods in difficult conditions. We might get an odd quick fifty here or there but are unlikely to witness the sort of long, laboured innings that tend to result in draws. So take your pick: lay the draw at odds-on on Betfair or back one of the sides at odds that are inflated, as a result of the draw price.

I don’t really have a opinion on which of the two teams that is because I think they’re pretty evenly-matched so there’s another far riskier but potentially far more profitable way of going about your business. If it’s a wicket likely to favour seam bowlers rather than batsmen or spinners, and classy ones at that, then let’s go with one bowler from each side. They need to fit that profile of being classy seam bowlers and of being in form…for man-of-the-match honours. The nice thing about that strategy of picking one from each side being that if it does end in a draw after all, they’ll both be in contention anyway. The two men in question: Stuart Broad and Pat Cummins.

Back Stuart Broad to be man-of-the-match @ 15.0 with Skybet

Back Pat Cummins to be man-of-the-match @ 15.0 with Skybet

You can read more Ashes betting tips including Series England Top batsman and a whole load more high-quality cricket betting content at

1st Ashes Test- Big runs hard to come by at Edgbaston

By Jamie Pacheco of

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.  

Recommended Bets

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

You can read more Ashes betting tips including Series England Top batsman and a whole load more high-quality cricket betting content at

Cricket World Cup Tips: No way Afghanistan should be outsiders

Starts Tuesday 10.30

Both Afghanistan and Sri Lanka lost their opening match at the tournament. A bit like in a horse race, it’s worth considering not just the numbers themselves but also the manner of a team’s defeat in a game of cricket.

Sri Lanka were absolutely torn apart by New Zealand, posting just 136 and losing the game by 10 wickets. Their batting was erratic and indisciplined, their bowling toothless and ‘samey’ with no-one even looking like taking a wicket. More than that, it was their body language and attitude that was the greatest cause for concern. Sulking about the fact that a few of their best players weren’t selected for the World Cup or that a new skipper had just come in.

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IPL Betting: Go with the Saffers


Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians Tuesday 15:30

An excellent result last time out with David Warner getting his 50 (he scored 81) to see us rewarded at 3.0 and the Kings XI hitting more sixes than the Sunrisers, despite losing the match by 45 runs. That was available at 2.0.

So on we go and it’s the Qualifier tomorrow. If you’re not an avid IPL fan, here’s a reminder of how it all works. The teams who finish first and second in the Group Stages get two bites of the cherry when it comes to making the final. Whoever wins the Qualifier goes straight to the Final. Whoever loses will then play the winner of the Eliminator (played between the teams who finished third and fourth in the Group Stages) and if they win that- known as the Qualifier 2 – they will then make the final by the back door, so to speak.

Anyway, it’s Chennai at home to Mumbai tomorrow and whereas my first instinct was that Chennai were a cracking price as underdogs given they’re defending champions, the most successful team in the history of the IPL and at home for good measure, there’s a serious spanner in the works: Mumbai keep on beating Chennai. It’s now four times out of the last five that Mumbai have beaten them. But then again, Chennai are often at their best when the pressure is really on. You could therefore make a case for either side, but not at the odds on offer.

I’d rather go with two Chennai players – who know this ground inside out – to put in strong performances, whether they’re on the winning side, or not.

Imran Tahir is the IPL’s second-highest wicket-taker with 21, just four behind fellow South African Kasigo Rabada, who has 25.  Tahir has played every match, bowled his maximum allocation of four overs whenever it was possible for him to do so and knows this track better than anyone. This season 70% of the wickets Chennai have taken at home have fallen to spin, so you can see why the smart move is to go with the team’s star spinner. Yes, Tahir is understandably favourite. But I’ve seen plenty of favourites for team top bowler who tick as many boxes as he does available at around 2.5; so the 3.75 isn’t to be sniffed at.

With the bat, I’m putting my faith in Faf du Plessis. It hasn’t quite been as good a season as you’d expect from someone normally as consistent as South African's World Cup captain at first glance but it’s worth delving a little deeper. He actually has the best average (39) of anyone on the side bar MS Dhoni (122) for the season. And if you’re wondering about Dhoni’s average, yes he’s played extremely well this season but because he bats between 4-6 he’s also had six not outs to boost that average through the roof.

But back to Du Plessis. Like so many champion players, he seems to be peaking at just the right time. Last time out he got 96 and before that it was 39, so he’s obviously in good nick. It’s also worth remembering that it was precisely in this very match last year – Qualifier 1, in this case against the Sunrisers – that he scored a match-winning 67 not out.  Not that an excellent innings over a year ago suggests he’s going to go out and do it again but it certainly doesn’t do any harm; it’s proof he handles the pressure well in the biggest IPL games.

On home soil, opening the batting and in good form, he’s considerably bigger than I would have expected at 4.33.   

Back Imran Tahir to be Chennai Top Bowler @ 3.75 with Betfair Sportsbook

Back Faf du Plessis to be Chennai Top Batsman @ 4.33 with Skybet.

You can read more cricket betting insight with particular focus on the Cricket World Cup from Jamie Pacheco at

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