Since I last wrote about cricket betting for the upcoming Ashes series, we have seen the announcement of the Australian squad, the return to competitive action of Graeme Swann, and a more worrying injury diagnosis of Kevin Pietersen.
This hasn’t had any great impact on the Ashes betting, as with the exception of a handful of bookies slightly trimming England, the betting odds have pretty much stayed the same.
Nearly all of the UK and Irish based bookmakers now have England at 4/9, which sees a slight drift from a couple of weeks back, when a few of them had England at 2/5. Michael Clarke’s men are still the same price, 3/1 to 4/1, with the majority at 7/2. And a drawn series is still 5/1 to 11/2, the majority offering 5/1.
In general the betting odds are still pretty much where they were about 3 weeks ago when I wrote my last piece about this. The only thing that has really changed is that some bookmakers have fallen into line with the ones that were offering longer odds on England, and shorter odds on Australia and the draw.
Taking that into mind, the consensus has to be that the punters are slightly moving away from England at the moment.
In a way I’m not too surprised, I don’t really see England as great value at 4/9 as things stand. Yes, I believe England should win the series, but do I think 4/9 represents good value? No, not really. And 2/5 certainly wasn’t.
Why? Well I’m not convinced Kevin Piestersen will make it, I’m not convinced Stuart Broad is 100% fit (and I believe England may well stick with him, even if he is not performing well), and I also genuinely believe that Australia aren’t as bad as everyone wants to make them out to be.
Make no mistake, the Aussies have a seam attack that will cause England problems in English conditions. It will (in my opinion) rip through the English batting on occasions this summer (assuming we can call it that). It just remains to be seen if the Aussie batsmen can back the seam attack up.
I do think England will need to be at their best to beat Australia, at the moment I am expecting a close series. The upcoming test series against New Zealand starting later this week should provide a good marker as too where England are at.
Will we see the England that beat India on Indian soil? Or will we see the England that recently toiled in New Zealand? Only after I see this, will I want to make a serious judgement call.