With the Ashes finally wrapped up earlier this week, online bookmakers have started pricing up the return series down under later this year. It didn’t take a genius to work out that England would be favourites, but odds on favourites at 5/6!! I’m not so sure about that.
As much as I think England will (at the very least) retain the Ashes down under, I’m not so sure I would be confident enough to be backing them at 5/6 to win the series outright.
For anyone thinking about backing England at that price – or having any sort of risky(ish) bet – I would recommend using some free bets, the sort you can find on http://www.freebetoffers.net. Basically use the matched betting method to gain a free bet from the bookies, and then use the bookies free bet to back England with. That way you can back England without risking your own money.
Looking at the current condition and form of England doesn’t totally inspire me to want to back them at odds on. At the same time though, others might rightly argue that they are 3-0 up in the series without playing well, so are clearly the far superior team. And as a result, England should thrash Australia when they do eventually get their act together.
It’s simply a matter of opinion and how you read the current situation. Do England have problems? Or are they simply a good side a bit out of form who are still winning, and will win more comfortably when form returns? Probably a bit of both I suspect.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to have a go at England here for winning a series, I’m just pointing out that there are one or two areas of concern for me if I was considering betting on them at 5/6 to win the Ashes in Australia.
England have been fairly poor in this series for me. Not enough of their top players have come to the party, particularly Cook, Trott and Prior. Cook’s captaincy hasn’t been great also, but he’s a young captain and still learning.
Joe Root’s promotion to opener hasn’t worked in my view, and so far the Jonny Bairtow experiment hasn’t been a resounding success. Also, why didn’t Jimmy Anderson warm up before the 4th Test? Is Anderson injured, or just out of form?
In contrast to that, who would have thought back in 2005 that the fragile little Sherminator of the England side would be the man to almost single handedly hold the English batting together and beat Australia?
Ridiculed by Shane Warne in 2006/7, Bell now has a record that boasts 92 Test appearances, 20 centuries, 37 half centuries and a Test average of 46.89.
It’s also the sign of a good team when players can step up to the plate when others are out of form. At the start of the series I doubt anybody would have predicted a 3-0 scoreline at this stage with not much contribution from Trott, Cook and Prior.
Moving onto Australia and another reason why I don’t see 5/6 as great value on England is because the Aussies aren’t that bad on home soil.
Last year they lost 1-0 to South Africa, and beat Sri Lanka 3-0. The previous year they beat India 4-0, and drew 1-1 with New Zealand. With the exception of the series against the Kiwis, that isn’t a bad record, as South Africa are the best Test side in the world.
They also have a good bowling (seam) attack that seems to suit their wickets. They just need to get some confidence and stability into the batting unit.
At times they have had the better of England in this series, they have just lost those crucial little periods of play though. To use a tennis analogy, England took more of their break points than Australia did.
I repeat what I said pre (this) series, I don’t think this Aussie side is as bad as it is portrayed. Warner is a dangerous player, Rogers may not have a long term future at his age, but he is okay for the time being.
Michael Clarke is one of the best batsmen in the world, and Australia have two decent number sixes to choose from in Steve Smith and Shane Watson. That’s not meant to be flippant, it is a serious point. Most teams in the world would gladly have a player of the ability of either of those two who can bat at number 6, and are both more than capable fifth bowlers.
No problem at wicket keeper with Brad Haddin and Matthew Wade to take over. And as I have already said, the seamers are decent enough. I actually do believe that Nathan Lyon has done enough to show he could be an okay spinner if some real faith and belief is shown in him.
If the Aussies could find a competent number 3 (it could be Usman Khawaja) and a number 5, and soon another decent opener, they could have a decent side. Nothing like the side of 10 years ago, but if they could find a couple of top class performers to compliment what they have, they will be back up there at a similar level to England and India, and not far from South Africa.
A special mention for Ryan Harris, along with Michael Clarke he is probably Australia’s only real world class player. He is the only other player who would have more than held his own in the recent great Aussie sides. It’s just a shame his fitness lets him down as often as it does.
The Ashes down under is not too far off now, there will be plenty of cricket betting opportunities available for the return series over the final couple of weeks in the build up to the series, so it’s better to bide your time and wait.