England favourites in the betting to make it 2-1 at Edgbaston

Despite the loss of Ben Stokes, England still go into the 3rd Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham as heavy odds on favourites.

The bookies make England a best price of 4/6 to win the 3rd Test and ensure that Alastair Cook’s men can’t lose the series. The draw is coming in at around 3/1, and a Pakistan victory at 9/2.

The hosts levelled the series in Manchester last week with a comprehensive 330 run win, to go into this weeks contest with the (best of 4) series all square at 1-1.

England will no doubt miss Stokes, abut his absence won’t upset the balance of the side too much, given the all round form of Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes.

Woakes is in the form of his life, and now totally looks at home at international level. He is currently streets ahead in the wicket taking charts in this series, with 18 wickets. Only Pakistan’s Yasir Shah is in double figures, he has 11 victims, with Stuart Broad and Moeen next with 7 wickets.

This just goes to underline the fact that Woakes has been the stand out performer for England all summer, and just why it took Alastair Cook so long to bowl him at Old Trafford in the Pakistani second innings is anyone’s guess. I would have thought he would be the go-to man if you’re looking for a wicket at the moment.

Woakes is currently vying for favouritism with Jimmy Anderson in the betting for top bowler in the 3rd Test, both can be backed at around 5/2 to 3/1 to be England’s leading wicket taker in this match. Top Batsman Betting in this match for England, is unsurprisingly Joe Root, at a best price of 5/2.

Pakistan shouldn’t be dismissed too lightly ahead of this match though. Edgbaston is well known for being receptive to spin, and with Yasir Shah in their ranks, Pakistan are well represented in that department.

Shah is as short as 2/1 with some bookies to be top Pakistani bowler in Wednesday’s Test, with Misbah and Azhar Ali joint favourites to be top batsman for the visitors.

If you’re trading the Test match, or looking to use any sort of betting system on the match, it starts at 11am on Wednesday, and is from Edgbaston in Birmingham. Coverage is live on Sky Sports.

Cricket Betting doesn’t usually throw up many enhanced odds opportunities that betting systems such as Bonus Bagging and Profit Maximiser can take advantage off, it’s generally football betting offers that gives punters the chance to make some money from sign up offers. That said, you can get the occasional new account offer from Betfair on the cricket, so they might be worth keeping an eye on this week.

England cut to win World T20 after record breaking win over South Africa

After their record breaking win over South Africa last week, England will be looking to consolidate their position in Group 1 when they take on Afghanistan in Delhi on Wednesday.

Eoin Morgan’s team were in serious trouble at the half way stage when South Africa amassed 229/4 in their innings, and with a second defeat in the group stages looming, England were on the verge of needing to reply on other results after only their second group match (having already lost their opening fixture to West Indies).

That was until they produced a sensational run chase, and not only won their first match of the 2016 tournament, but also sent out a serious message to the rest of the cricketing world that England are a dangerous side, that finally have to be respected (at long last).

After their first match defeat at the hands of Chris Gayle and West Indies, England had drifted out to double figures (around 14/1) to win the tournament. Now Paddy Power have them back in at 13/2 (still only fifth favourites).

The comeback on Friday was mainly down to the excellence of Joe Root – who surely now has made a valid case to be regarded as the best all round batsman in world cricket – and the explosive start produced by Alex Hales (17 off 7 balls) and predominately Jason Roy (43 runs off 16 balls).

Then it was the Joe Root show. The Yorkshireman was sublime, creaming the South African attack to all parts of the Wankhede Stadium, scoring his 83 runs off 44 balls, at a strike rate of 188.63, with six 4s and four 6s in his Man Of The Match winning knock. Root is now as short as 4/9 to be England’s top run scorer at the tournament.

West Indies look all but assured of a place in the semi-finals after just two matches (they have already beat England and Sri Lanka). Their remaining fixtures are against South Africa on Friday, and if they don’t secure qualification there, they will no doubt complete the job when they take on Afghanistan on Sunday 27th in Nagpur.

The final spot out of Group 1 seems to be a straight shoot out between England, South Africa and Sri Lanka, with Afghanistan already looking like the group’s whipping boys with two defeats from two matches so far.

England should have 4 points (assuming they beat Afghanistan) by the time they take on Sri Lanka, which will make it a must win game for Angelo Matthews’ team if they want to stay in competition.

Even if they do go on to win that match, they will then play South Africa in their final group game, meaning the defending champions will have to do things the hard way if they are to even make it past the group stages. Sri Lanka are currently 66/1 in the World T20 betting to defend the trophy and win the 2016 World T20.

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.

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.