Just before we get onto the serious business of some Big Bash bets, I’d just like to say that this great competition starts on Wednesday morning, runs till mid-February and I’ll be providing tips on it right here at Daily Punt every Tuesday, looking ahead to each week’s Wednesday game. For further tips on the Big Bash, you can go to www.bettingmaestro.com to read them.
The Bash Brothers
So let’s start by looking at the opening game: Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers.
It pits a pretty flaky side in the Heat against last year’s winners, the Strikers. The Heat are a bit of a one-trick-pony with explosive opening duo Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn (the Bash Brothers) as good as any opening partnership in the game. Whatever happens, they’ll score at breakneck pace and if they hang about for 10 overs or more together, you wouldn’t be too surprised if they’ve put 100 or so on the board which could well be game over for the opposition.
All well and good but there are two problems with that. The first is that McCullum is pretty much past it. He’s 37 now and whereas a few years ago he was an aggressive player who tried to hit a boundary off most balls and ran a few ones and twos off the good balls, now he just tries to smash the cover off everything without much thought over where it ends up. He may get away with a few courtesy of some edges and miscues but against quality bowling, he’s unlikely to last too long. The other problem they have is that there isn’t really much more to come after them: Joe Burns and Alex Ross are reliable old heads but not more than that and they don’t bat deep so it’s pretty much all down to McCullum and Lynn.
An even bigger problem is that they don’t bowl well. Consider this: last season they went at 8.2 runs an over for the duration of their campaign. The Strikers in contrast, went at 7.1 So on average, the Strikers conceded 20 odd runs less a match. Huge difference when you consider their batting strike rate was virtually identical.
Strikers better all round
But there’s a lot to like about the Strikers as slight outsiders beyond that. Like the fact that they’re the defending champions who with the exception of Travis Head have pretty much the same team as last year. Or the fact that the two players making up their own opening partnership of Weatherald and Carey were ranked 2 and 3 respectively on the Big Bash top batsman rankings last year. They may not score as quickly as the Bash Brothers but they’re more prolific. Or the fact they have Rashid Khan, last year’s joint-top bowler, this season’s favourite for top bowler and also for player of the tournament. More importantly, they’re the better team and rate good value at 2.0.
Side with Siddle
Speaking of Khan, if my life depended on picking the Strikers’ top bowler tomorrow, I’d go with him. I'd probably also go with him if I was picking the overall Big Bash top bowler. But that’s obviously not how betting works. It’s about risk and reward and brilliant though he is, that’s a tad on the short side. Particularly given that just a week ago he was playing a T20 tournament over in South Africa. Admittedly the pitches in the two countries are somewhat similar but that still can’t have been ideal preparation with such a big tournament round the corner. So it may take him a couple of games to get up to scratch here.
Four players last season took 11 or more wickets for the Strikers, other than Khan. Ben Laughlin got 16 and he might go close here for top Strikers wicket taker in the match but at 3.75 that’s a bit short, too. Then there was Billy Stanlake (11), Michael Neser (13) and Peter Siddle (11). The first two are around the 5.0 mark, Siddle is 5.5. My preference goes for the latter. Not just because he’s half a point bigger but more because if you bet with Bet365, it will go down to who conceded the fewest runs in the event of a tie on wickets. And in this regard, going by last year’s stats, Siddle would win hands down. His economy rate was 5.94, Stanlake’s 6.47 and Neser’s a far bigger 9.11. It’s not unusual at all for one or more bowlers to be tied on two wickets in a T20 and that economy rate could make all the difference. At a chunky 5.5 it’s certainly worth finding out.
2pts Back Adelaide Strikers to beat Brisbane Heat @ 2.0 with Ladbrokes
1pt Back Peter Siddle to be Adelaide Strikers Top Bowler @ 5.5 with Bet365