At the start of this 3 match 50 Over series, the bookmakers are struggling to separate West Indies and England in the betting, at the moment just favouring England at 10/11 in the outright series winner betting.
In general, I would have expected to see West Indies as favourites for this series. They are at home, and they are up against a struggling England side. But West Indies are without the injured Chris Gayle (for the series), and have just struggled in their series against Ireland.
As for England, this is pretty much their T20 squad that is playing in the 50 Over series. There is no Alastair Cook (the regular 50 Over captain), and as a result Stuart Broad is getting a rare chance to hone his captaincy skills ahead of the World T20.
To be honest, Cook probably won’t be missed judging by his Australian performances, and he obviously also needs a break.
West Indies can be backed at a best price of 11/10 with Ladbrokes to win the series. There are a few bookies who can’t separate the two sides, but on the whole England are favourites with the majority.
The best price available on an England series win is 10/11 with Coral (who have a £50.00 free bet available to new customers), some bookmakers go as short as 8/11 on England.
Onto the 1st ODI later today, and again England are the marginal favourites, the best price currently available is 4/5 with Paddy Power. England have doubts over Eoin Morgan, so I suspect that price could change if Morgan is ruled out.
West Indies are a best price of 11/10, and you can pretty much take your pick from any bookmaker at that price.
I’m not sure I could be backing a demoralised looking England side at odds on. Have they had the chance to pick themselves up from their thrashings in Australia? I doubt it. They also struggle on slow pitches, and I’m not convinced they will play Sunil Narine too well either.
I know Narine hasn’t had things all his own way lately (far from it), but what better series coming up for him to find his feet again.
That said, if England can bat first and post a decent total, I have no doubt they have the attack to defend it.
Ben Stokes is one England player who will be performing with some confidence at the moment. He will probably be batting at number 3, and he will also get a significant amount of overs with the ball in hand, with this in mind the 12/1 with Bet365 on him being Man of the Match might not be a bad bet.