Steve Smith Total Ashes Series Run Spread

The Ashes is upon us, with the 1st Test starting at Cardiff’s Sophia Garden/Swalec Stadium tomorrow (Wednesday 8th July).

Australia’s Steven Smith will be looking to continue his remarkable run of form throughout the Ashes. A run which effectively started at the Oval back in 2013, when Smith scored his first century for Australia, and which has culminated (so far) with him becoming the World Number 1 ranked Test batsman.

Smith is favourite to be top Ashes run scorer, and obviously that makes him favourite to be the top Aussie run scorer. To top the overall Ashes series run scorer charts, Smith is a best price of 4/1 with Betvictor.

While to be the top Australian Ashes batsman, Steve Smith is a best price of 9/4 with bet365 (you can open a bet365 account here and claim a £200.00 Welcome Bonus).

Personally, I don’t think Smith can continue this form for much longer. He has just been promoted to Number 3 in Australia’s Test side, and with the possibility of him coming in early on in English conditions, I believe he might find the swinging Dukes ball not to his liking.

Steve Smith’s Ashes run spread with Sporting Index, is to Sell at 445, and Buy at 465, that means he would have to score (on average) around 45 runs every time he bats, assuming he bats 10 times (if you haven’t got a Sporting Index account, you can open one here and claim their £100 Welcome Package).

Coming in at Number 3, whether Australia dominate the series or not, it is pretty much a certainty that Smith will bat twice in all 5 Test matches. Depending on match situations, in the 2nd innings he will either be batting properly to possibly save a Test match, throwing the bat Warner style to set a target (like in most of the last Ashes series in Australia), or chasing a small target to win a Test match.

So unless it is a scenario where Australia are chasing a very small target to win a Test match, it looks like Smith will at least have the opportunity to fill his boots every time he bats.

I think it would take a brave punter to Buy Steve Smith’s runs at 465. I would probably leave this one, but if pushed to make a call, I think I would be selling Steve Smith’s runs at that particular spread.

If you are new to spread betting and a bit unsure, we have an information page on how Spread Betting works.

Josh Hazelwood Top Ashes Bowler Betting

Most of the attention seems to be focused around Mitchell’s Starc and Johnson, but sneaking in slightly under the radar is Australia’s latest fast bowling sensation, Josh Hazelwood.

A few weeks back, before the Australia tour of West Indies to be precise, most observers were of the opinion that Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, and one off Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, or James Pattinson would make up the three man seam attack in England, but the arrival of Hazelwood on the scene has totally blown that belief out of the water (Pattinson didn’t even make the Ashes squad).

Hazelwood made his Test debut against India late last year. He has only played in 5 Test matches to date, taking 24 wickets at an impressive 19.08. Such is the impact he has already made, there is already talk that the pace trio for Cardiff will be Hazelwood, Starc, and one other, suggesting that Hazelwood has already overtaken Mitchell Johnson in the pecking order.

This doesn’t seem to be totally lost on the bookies in the top Australian Ashes bowler betting. They are obviously expecting a close contest between the three, as they make Mitchell Johnson the 3/1 favourite, with Starc at 10/3, and Josh Hazelwood a close third at 4/1 with bet365.

New players can open a bet365 account here and claim a £200.00 welcome bonus. As well as this great sign up bonus, Bet365 customers will have access to plenty of in-play markets throughout the Ashes, as well as a vast selection of pre match markets to choose from.

In the overall Top Ashes Bowler Betting, Hazelwood is fourth favourite at a best price of 15/2 with Stan James, with only England’s Jimmy Anderson breaking up the Aussie trio in the betting.

Hazelwood is also regarded as the most ‘English type bowler’ in the Aussie ranks, which also adds to the belief that he is a serious contender to take a glut of English wickets this summer.

Personally, I believe if Josh Hazelwood takes more wickets than Johnson or Starc, he will probably also be ahead of Jimmy Anderson and any of the other English contingent. This makes the 15/2 available in the Top Ashes Wicket Taker Betting, a better value bet.

Gillespie still favourite for England job, despite latest ECB fiasco

The cats finally out of the bag, as a combination of Michael Vaughan been interrogated on BBC 5Live and an ECB leak to the Mirror’s Dean Wilson, have all but confirmed Alastair Cook put the block on any potential Kevin Pietersen return to the England Test team.

While on 5 Live’s Tuffers and Vaughan show on Tuesday night and under heavy questioning from presenter Mark Chapman, Vaughan finally admitted that during his conversations with Tom Harrison about potentially becoming England’s new Director of Cricket, that it would be a discussion he would need to have with the current captain (rather than Harrison) if he wished to recall Kevin Pietersen at any stage.

That confirmed to me that Cook was the real reason behind Pietersen’s omission. Then if any further evidence was required, it emerged on Thursday when Dean Wilson reported that Cook has issued a ‘Me or Im’ ultimatum to the ECB, and that the ECB had felt they had no option but to back Cook for the time being.

This can be further backed up by the fact that Strauss admitted that beyond this summer who knows what might happen regarding Pietersen playing for England again, suggesting that Cook might not be in the job for much longer, and if this situation arises, all bets are off and Cook’s Pietersen veto would be in the past.

If you interpret things this way, it is hardly a ringing endorsement for Cook as a Captain from his bosses, but it all adds up.

I personally think this Pietersen issue is far from over. If he keeps his own and Piers Morgan’s mouth shut (a very big if), keeps his head down and continues to score runs, then I can see him back in the England fold if Jason Gillespie takes over.

All this uncertainty doesn’t seem to have made much change in the betting for the next England coach, as Jason Gillespie still heads the betting at 6/4. This is despite reservations from the likes of Matthew Hayden and Yorkshire Captain, Andrew Gale, who both suggested that as his own man, Gillespie might not be interested in a job that come with preconditions attached.

And added to that, who knows if Gillespie would want to work with a captain like Cook anyway? Given his Yorkshire connections, and his known preference for attack minded cricket, Gillespie might insist on Joe Root being England captain instead, thus reopening the door to Pietersen, and yet another humiliating u-turn by the ECB – now who could see that coming?

The bookmakers currently offering 6/4 on Gillespie to be next England cricket coach are bet365 and Ladbrokes (both bookmakers who’s free bets can be used to make risk free money using the Profit Maximiser service). Also making Gillespie favourite are Paddy Power at 5/4, and Betfred at 11/8.

Next in the betting comes Justin Langer at 5/1 with Totepool and Betfred, with Paul Farbrace at 6/1.

If you are considering a bet on this market, it could be worth deciding whether you believe the ECB want a ‘yes’ man, or whether they are prepared to be bold and go for a coach who will probably want full control?

England take on New Zealand in a two Test series starting at Lord’s on Thursday (21st May). England are currently 6/4 to win the 1st Test, with the draw at 2/1, and the Black Caps are 12/5 to get the series off to a winning start.

New ECB low in handling of Peter Moores’ Sacking

Before moving onto the issues of who will be the Next England Cricket Coach, I’d just like to say that I believe the handling of Peter Moores’ sacking – in my opinion – was an absolute disgrace, and I couldn’t agree any more with Michael Vaughan’s take on this issue.

Whether you rate Moores or not, he didn’t deserve to be sitting on the balcony/in the dressing room at Malahide while news was circulating of his sacking to all and sundry. Just imagine how this must have felt for – what seems on the surface – a thoroughly decent man to get news, probably from his agent, that his sacking was imminent, while he was still in charge of the team at a game? It’s absolutely disgusting, and this sort of behaviour from the ECB has to change.

It’s also interesting to see that outspoken critics of Moores’ such as Pietersen and Boycott, alongside supporters such as Andrew Flintoff, seem to be queuing up to condemn the ECB’s handling of the whole affair.

Over the last 18 months we have had the Pietersen affair, when news leaked out he would be sacked, followed by numerous subsequent leaks. Then we had the sacking of Alastair Cook as ODI captain, another badly handled affair in which the player found out first through the media, and now this latest sorry affair regarding Peter Moores.

I know it is probably hard to always keep these things under cover, but it is only a handful of people making these decisions, so why is the media always all over this information long before the individuals in question are informed?

Some might deem it good journalism, some might think it’s a hell of coincidence. I firmly stand on the side of the latter. Is having a mate/contact on the inside tipping you off now regarded as good journalism? Probably, in the eyes of some journalists!

I hope things improve under the Colin Groves regime. He is spoken off in very high regard by people who know him and who have worked with him, and whatever I think of how the decisions have come about, he seems to be making the required changes on the cricketing side of things.

Things have got off to an indifferent start for Graves though. For any positives on the cricketing front, there have also been the negatives of the West Indies comments, followed by the poor handling of Moores’ sacking. In fairness to Graves, he has barely got his feet under the table though, but when he starts the job and has full control, I hope he gets a full grip of these types of issues.

With a vacancy for a new English cricket coach again, it will be interesting to see what develops from here. Most observers seem to be suggesting that nothing much will change under Strauss, and that any chance of a Pietersen comeback is now dead.

I’m not so sure though, can you really see Jason Gillespie or Justin Langer being told who they can and cannot select? I can’t.

At the moment, Jason Gillespie is the 6/4 favourite with bet365 (more info on bet365 offers for new customers here), followed by Justin Langer at 3/1, and Paul Farbrace at 11/2.

The next coach selection will go a long way to showing what the real intentions are. If it is a safe selection with others pulling the strings in the background (ie you can have the job, but you can’t pick these guys) then it will show nothing is really changing.

Or will it be a bold selection, where a new coach will come in and totally change the dynamics, doing things his way, and making his own decisions? Only time will tell.

English Cricket Humiliated Again

Yet another atrocious performance from England as they lost their second cricket world cup match, this time to New Zealand by just the 8 wickets and with more than 37 Overs to spare.

England have now lost to arguably the two best teams in this world cup (South Africa might well contest that). Given the quality of the two teams, losing to Australia and New Zealand is not such a bad thing and no major surprise, but it’s manner of the defeat that is the real problem.

In both matches it was embarrassing. Everyone thought the defeat to Australia was bad enough, but the New Zealand one was arguably worse. Against Australia, the defeat was mainly down to the bowlers, against New Zealand it was clearly the fault of the batsman (although Steven Finn did himself no favours). Both disciplines have badly misfired so far in this tournament.

So where do England go now?

The main benefactor from the latest calamity will probably be Ravi Bopara. I’ve been a serious critic of his over the years, and if he is only in the team as a batsman, I would continue to question his involvement. The fact is that England haven’t used him as a bowler in recent matches, and if they are not going to bowl him, I believe he isn’t worth a place in this team (yes, even this team). I have no issue with Ravi playing as an all-rounder, my issue is simply with him playing solely as a batsman.

I would now bring Ravi Bopara back into the team, and I would use him as a bowler. England need something different, both Finn and Broad are too similar and batsmen can get set against them. Bopara will give Eoin Morgan a different option.

About 12-18 months back his bowling was a major plus point for England. He was taking wickets and was bowling with a reasonable economy rate.

Last year in England’s 4-1 ODI series defeat in Australia, Bopara bowled 25 Overs in five matches, taking three wickets, with an economy rate of 4.52 an Over. I know that’s nothing world beating, or it’s not anything to build your team around, but it isn’t a bad return for what is effectively a fifth-sixth bowler, playing as an all-rounder.

Another bowler who has done nothing wrong, but who will still not get the nod to play is James Tredwell. An experienced ODI performer and his economy rate for England is exceptional.

Due to negativity though, England just won’t play a second spinner. The space freed up in the team by Moeen Ali’s versatility gives England options, but they just use it as an excuse to pick an extra seamer to go to all parts of the ground bowling slower ball bouncers. If we didn’t have a guy with an economy rate like Tredwell, I could understand not playing him, but we do!

All this will be rendered irrelevant if you are going to bat like England did last night though. You can have Holding, Marshall, Gardner, McGrath, etc, and even they would struggle to defend scores of 123.

England’s saving grace is that this is a long tournament. Their hardest group stage fixtures are now behind them, and England can start focusing on qualifying from the group and rebuilding their confidence. By the time the quarter-final fixtures eventually come around (starting on 18th March), England could be in a totally different place.

Confidence and form can turn around very quickly in this game. And although I am not advocating running out and betting on England winning the World Cup, it’s not impossible that England could turn their form around and be in a totally different place come the world cup quarter-finals.

ICC Cricket World Cup – The Bowlers To Watch

It is often said that One-Day Cricket is a batsman’s game, with seemingly endless powerplays making the job of the bowler something of a thankless task.

But in the favourable conditions of the World Cup’s host countries; Australia – where pacey, bouncy wickets offer as much to the bowler as the batsman, and New Zealand – with its lush, green pitches and prolific cloud cover, it’s fair to say that the bowlers could influence the outcome of more matches than usual.

So when considering the top bowler market, what should you be looking out for?

An Opening/Death Bowler – it is during the opening powerplay that the batsmen really look to score heavily in order to lay the foundation for a big total. This, in itself, can lead to a wicket goldmine. Similarly at the death, when so many games are won and lost, bowlers can really come to the party and pick up some cheap scalps.

A Seam Bowler – as previously mentioned, the conditions in Australasia tend to favour the quicks rather than the spinners. This isn’t a guarantee of wickets though; they still need to bowl with a bit of cunning and guile, or in some cases just raw aggression and brute force.

Plays for a Team Likely to Go Far – a bit of a betting bread and butter this one, but naturally you need to look for the bowlers likely to be there or thereabouts come the final on Sunday March 29th.

In Good Form – there’s no place to hide for bowlers coming into the World Cup without any form. Realistically, you need a bowler that is going to be able to hit the ground running from ball one.

So based on this logic, you’d expect the following to be in the mix:

Mitchell Starc

The bookies favourite and with good reason; the lanky Starc enjoyed a phenomenal 2014, and ended the year with a better ODI strike-rate than any other bowler in world cricket.

He has taken 61 wickets in 32 short-form internationals so far, at an average of 20.62 – that’s a better record than Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath and Mitchell Johnson had at the same stage of their careers.

No less-of-a-judge than Wasim Akram is backing him to do well too: “On these wickets he’ll be impossible to play. If I had to pick one of them with the new ball I’d definitely pick Mitchell Starc,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

With Australia hot favourites to cruise through to the final – a run in which Starc will spearhead the attack – he has to be considered a strong contender.

Mitchell Johnson

A bloke likely to push Starc all the way is his Australian compatriot Mitchell Johnson.

A bowler who loves to take wickets and terrorise batsmen, Johnson is capable of fizzing the ball through at chest height or pitching it up and letting the swing do the talking….and all at 90mph.

Not content with humiliating ‘the Poms’ during the Ashes catastrophe, Johnson also demolished the England top-order in the final of the recent Tri-Series too. A man in top form then – and one that’s hungry for success.

Dale Steyn

On his day Steyn is practically unplayable, and he fits all of the criteria outlined above: delivering rapid out-swingers with the new ball and toe-crushing yorkers at the death, and playing in a South Africa side tipped for big things.

Bowling in the pool stage at the likes of Ireland, UAE and the West Indies should yield stacks of wickets, and at 31 this could be Steyn’s last World Cup – so expect him to go out on a high.

Tim Southee

Of the three-pronged New Zealand pace attack it’s Tim Southee who catches the eye. A veritable veteran of the One Day game, Southee has pedigree; his 18 wickets in World Cup 2011 led the Kiwis to the Semi-Final, and landed him third place in that tournament’s top bowler stakes.

In a format that requires a bit of thought and craft to go with pace and bounce, Southee has all the ingredients to go close. His four wickets so far have put in a good position too.

Mohammed Shami

Fans of extreme value have perhaps already noted the very agreeable odds for Mohammed Shami, who was the leading ODI wicket-taker in world cricket in 2014.

He picked up four wickets in India’s opening Pool B triumph over Pakistan; a performance that has sent his original 50/1 price tumbling. Shami is the key man in an otherwise friendly Indian pace attack, and that should guarantee that he gets through a lot of overs

Who will be the World Cup’s top run scorer?

The ICC Cricket World Cup is under way and is going to be a marathon battle to decide the best one-day international (ODI) team in the world. We can expect a glut of fours and sixes, but which batsmen do the bookmakers believe are likely to fight it out to be the top run scorer in the competition?

Hashim Amla (South Africa)

It’s hard to believe but at one stage in his career, so-called cricket experts believed Amla wouldn’t be a big hit playing one-day international cricket. He’s certainly proved them wrong and is currently ranked the number two ODI batsman in the world and reached 5,000 ODI runs in record time. He’s played more than 100 One Dayers and has an average of over 56 with a highly impressive 19 centuries. A strike-rate in the 80’s shows he’s no slouch and can push the score along when it’s really needed. Last year he was the top run scorer for South Africa in both Test matches and ODI’s including back-to-back centuries on the tour of Sri Lanka. Another impressive performance in the coming weeks looks likely.

David Warner (Australia)

Getting off to a good start is vital in ODI cricket and with Warner in top form over the past year or so, he’s an important player for co-hosts Australia. Surprisingly he only averages 32 in ODI’s and has only hit three centuries. Warner is one of those players who attacks right from the start and that could be his undoing sometimes but his game has really improved recently making him a batsman to fear every time he comes to the crease. Although he only got 22 in his World Cup opener against England, he recently hit 127 against the same side earlier this year. If he keeps that kind of form up he’ll be a key player in this tournament.

AB De Villiers (South Africa)

This hard-hitting batsman is capable of taking any attack apart. For proof, just ask any of the West indies bowling line-up who he constantly destroyed in their recent one-day series. That included a world record for the quickest ODI century off a staggering 31 balls. 19 ODI centuries, over 7,000 runs scored and a strike rate of 95 indicates just why he’s currently ranked the number one ODI batsman in the world. You’ll struggle to find any bowlers who will be keen on tackling this South African if he’s anywhere near top form. This is one batsman who you never know what he’s going to do next with his revolutionary shots that would make most cricket traditionalists turn over in their graves, though probably with an admiring smile on their face.

Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)

If co-hosts New Zealand are to come anywhere close to winning the World Cup then McCullum has to be at his devastating best. His strike rate is 91.73 but his average is only in the 30s. That’s no real reflection on his ability though: It’s the past year or so that has seen his batting improve beyond all recognition, not just in ODI’s but in test cricket. His most recent ODI century came this year against Sri Lanka, his first three-figure score in one dayers since 2012. In all he’s managed five centuries, but only two against test playing nations, and his 65 in New Zealand’s World Cup win over Sri Lanka on Saturday was a solid start.

Aaron Finch (Australia)

If his opening 135 in Australia’s battering of England in the World Cup opener wasn’t case enough, Finch is a real powerhouse of a batsman. If both he and David Warner hit form then Australia will more than likely win this World Cup. He’s a devastating hitter in all short forms of the game and broke into the Australian ODI team in 2013. In the 2013-14 series against England he hammered two centuries and will be relishing playing in his World Cup. He already has five centuries in 41 ODI’s and a strike rate of 86.18.

Paddy Power Cricket World Cup Money Back Special

The cricket world cup is finally upon us, and throughout the whole of the six weeks of competition, Paddy Power are offering one of their famous money back specials on every single match. And this offer is open to all Paddy Power customers.

First up, if you haven’t already got a Paddy Power account, you can open one here and claim a massive £50.00 Free Bet. Once you have done that, you will be able to take advantage of all of Paddy Power’s money back specials.

The cricket money back special is available on every single match of the world cup. It the match you are betting on is decided in the final over, Paddy Power will refund losing Match Winner bets on that match as a free bet, with the maximum refund £100.00, or currency equivalent.

This offer applies to losing bets placed pre match on the Match Winner market. The team bating second must be within 36 runs of the target score going into the final scheduled over of the match to qualify for the refund. The refund also doesn’t apply if the innings of the chasing team is reduced to less than 15 overs. If you do get a refund, it is valid for seven days and has to be used on cricket.

This looks a pretty good offer for the matches between the Test playing nations. A lot of these matches could be close, and this promotion gives you a possible third option, win, lose, or lose with your money back. Keep checking back for more Cricket World Cup Betting offers.

Moeen Ali Top England Batsman Enhanced Odds

There is just a few hours left to go until the start of the cricket world cup in Australia and New Zealand, and in that limited time there is an enhanced odds offer available on Moeen Ali to be top England batsman.

This offer ends on Friday 13th February at 10pm, the start of the world cup, so you need to act now if you wish to get this offer. Anybody opening a new 888Sport account through this link can get 12/1 on Moeen Ali to be England’s top world cup batsman/run scorer at the cricket world cup. The standard cricket betting odds on Ali is 4/1, so the 12/1 price enhancement is huge.

The maximum bet on Ali is £10.00, and your new account needs to be open and your bet placed before 10pm on Friday, after that he will revert back to the standard odds of 4/1.

This is a great value offer in such a tournament because with group matches against (so-called) minnows, Ali and Ian Bell might be the only two guys who get a bat if England end up chasing low scores. There is also practically no chance of Ali getting dropped, as he is also England’s spin bowling option.

Picking Moeen as an all rounder frees up an extra space for another seam bowler, or Ravi Bopara as an extra batsman. England seem to have a blind spot when it comes to picking James Tredwell and Moeen Ali, so if it comes down to one or the other, Moeen will always win as he can open the batting.

Money Back From Boylesports if England win world Cup

With the ICC Cricket World Cup fast approaching, and England – possibly – heading in the right direction at long last, a bet on England to win the Cricket World Cup might no sound as daft as it did two or three months back – and if you do fancy England’s chances, you will like the sound of Boylesports cricket world cup promotion.

Boylesports are offering money back on outright winner bets of the cricket world cup, should England win the world cup. This applies to all outright winner market bets placed before the tournament starts at 10pm on Friday February 13th, UK and Ireland time (which is the 14th February in the southern hemisphere). If you don’t have a Boylesports account, you can open one here and claim £50.00 worth of free bets.

The offer is listed on Boylesports’ Promotions page, under the title of England Cashback, here you can find full details of the promotion. To sum it up briefly, this offer is open to both new and existing Boylesports customers in the UK and Ireland, the maximum refund is £50.00 or currency equivalent, you can’t use free bets on this offer, and – as already eluded too above – all bets have to be placed before the start of the tournament, as the England Cashback offer finishes once the tournament starts.

Following the better late then never sacking of Alastair Cook as the 50 Over Captain, and his subsequent dropping from the team, England look to be a team heading in the right direction, even if they are still a hell of a long way from the finished article.

England are 9/1 with Boylesports in the cricket world cup betting. A bet on England to win the world cup a few weeks back would have been laughed out of town. Things have changed a bit now as England now have Ian Bell in form at the top of the innings, and they have the middle order hitters to beat anybody on their day, and you only need to have a couple of red hot days in the knock-out stages and they could find themselves in the final.

Team spirit must also have improved following Cook’s removal. Imagine how annoyed (to put it politely) certain players probably were at having to sit things out while Cook was continually failing, knowing full well they were far more worthy of a place in the side than the (then) skipper was. I’m not for a minute suggesting England are going to win the world cup, but at least they have a punchers chance now that Alastair Cook has gone.

I would expect that this isn’t going to be the last world cup promotion. Boylesports had a money back special running on every match of the recent Big Bash, so I would be very surprised if they didn’t have a similar promotion running throughout the cricket world cup. I also expect there to be plenty more Bonus Bagging offers from other bookies offering free bets over the coming six weeks, so keep it here for the latest cricket betting promotions.