Bets For The Vitality Blast

| May 29, 2019 | Reply

Vitality Blast 2019

A preview of this season’s competition, along with recommended bets, is underneath. At the top of this page there will be regular updates of individual fixtures and selections. Bets on other markets (such as Top Batsman/Bowler) are likely to follow once line-ups are clearer after a few matches.


All updates will now be on this page:


Thursday 1st August


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

6.15 Middlesex 1.8 (55.6%) V Kent 2.2 (45.5%)

7.00 Essex 1.91 (52.4%) V Hampshire 1.95 (51.3%)

7.00 Glamorgan 2.5 (40%) V Gloucester 1.61 (62.1%)

Comments and Selections

There weren’t any bets for last night, but one of the pre-tournament bets to be Top Runscorer, D’Arcy Short, scored 70 to (temporarily) lead the scoring table.

Middlesex are finally at full strength with Eoin Morgan (England), Paul Stirling (Ireland) and AB de Villiers (missed last two games after injuring one hand and then the other) all available. While that’s the case and with openers Dawid Malan and Stephen Eskinazi making excellent starts they have arguably the strongest batting line-up in the competition.

They come up against a Kent bowling attack that’s also been impressive though. However, Kent are still without key batsmen Sam Billings and Joe Denly which means there’s a considerable gulf in quality between these two batting line-ups and given the speed that the Middlesex batsmen naturally score at, they should be capable of posting or chasing a total beyond Kent.

Pakistani paceman Mohammad Amir, who was very impressive in the World Cup, is available for the first time for Essex after Visa issues. However, it’s an otherwise unexceptional bowling attack and their batting is weakened without Chopra and Bopara.

Hampshire are at full strength and should be favourites here with a wider range of potential match winners, deeper batting and a superior all-round bowling attack.

Glamorgan are really struggling with the bat and were in deep trouble against Gloucestershire before being saved by rain when they met a fortnight ago. There won’t be many times this Gloucester side are heavily odds on, but such are Glamorgan’s struggles- other than Lloyd and Ingram they are collectively 265 for 26 wickets this season- and with little in their records to suggest a turnaround is likely, Gloucester are still worth backing.

Middlesex. 1 point win. 1.8 SportingBet/Bwin, 1.73 various

Hampshire. 1 point win. 1.95 BetVictor, 1.91 various

Gloucestershire. 1 point win. 1.61 SportingBet/Bwin, 1.6 BlackType, 1.58 Unibet

Tuesday 30th July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

6.30 Surrey 1.8 (55.6%) V Kent 2 (50%)

Comments and Selections

Surrey have Jason Roy, Rory Burns and Sam Curran away with England, plus Jade Dernbach and Liam Plunkett out with injuries, although Ben Foakes is likely to return. As mentioned previously, they look a batsman short and now without three key bowlers they are looking weaker all round, as most sides would if missing half of their first choice XI. In their last game, Will Jacks opened the bowling despite only bowling two overs in thirteen previous T20s.

Kent have their regular bowling attack all available and one of their three missing batsmen, Heino Kuhn, returned in their last match.

Considering he batted at number 4 (with Sam Curran at 3) when last available, Ben Foakes looks the value call to be Surrey’s top scorer. Prior to that he’d passed 50 in 5 of Surrey’s last 6 matches, so was in decent nick. If he doesn’t play then stakes will be returned.

Kent. 1 point. 2 various bookmakers

Surrey Top Batsman. Ben Foakes. 0.25 points. 7 SkyBet/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook/BetFred


Sunday 28th July (no games on Monday)


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

2.30 Derbyshire 2.75 (36.4%) V Lancashire 1.55 (64.5%)

2.30 Northants 2.5 (40%) V Yorkshire 1.67 (59.9%)

2.30 Worcester 1.67 (59.9%) V Durham 2.38 (42%)

2.30 Somerset 2.11 (47.4%) V Sussex 1.8 (55.6%)

Comments and Selections

Derby/Lancs looks like being affected by the weather. That could mean a reduced overs game which can narrow any gap in quality and tip value towards outsiders but with the likes of Maxwell and Livingstone, Lancashire would still be the most likely winners.

Yorkshire have the same squad available that narrowly lost to Lancashire. Northants did pull off a surprise against Birmingham but that was affected by rain and was a first home win for two years.

Last year’s winners Worcester are probably marginally the more likely against Durham but at the same time not strong enough to offer value at this price and Durham’s openers (including D’Arcy Short, one of our 4 selections to be the tournament’s top scorer) are too much of a danger although their bowling remains weak.

Somerset have a strong side but their overseas bowler, Jerome Taylor, is struggling. Following expensive opening spells in the first two games, his last 9 balls went for 31 against Hampshire as they chased down Somerset’s total in the last over from a seemingly impossible position.

Alex Carey is available for Sussex although Jofra Archer is unavailable after his call-up to England’s Test squad.

Yorkshire. 1 point win. 1.67 SkyBet, 1.63 various


Friday 26th July


6.30 Glamorgan 2.38 (42%) V Middlesex 1.63 (61.3%)

6.30 Lancashire 1.8 (55.6%) V Worcestershire 2.2 (45.5%)

6.30 Leicester 2.2 (45.5%) V Durham 1.73 (57.8%)

6.30 Northants 2.3 (47.5%) V Birmingham 1.7 (58.8%)

6.30 Somerset 1.8 (55.6%) V Hampshire 2.11 (47.4%)

7.00 Derbyshire 2.41 (41.5%) V Notts 1.67 (59.9%)

7.00 Kent 1.8 (55.6%) V Essex 2.1 (47.6%)

7.00 Sussex 1.73 (57.8%) V Surrey 2.2 (45.5%)

Comments and Selections

It’s hard to see Glamorgan or Northants winning many this year and they are worth opposing while the bookies continue to price cautiously. For Middlesex, A B de Villiers was ruled out late last night with a finger injury but may return if able but otherwise there are no changes. Glamorgan were bowled out for 44 last night but only scored 71 in 12 overs in the middle of their innings against Somerset and were 96/8 against a modest Gloucester attack before rain rescued them.

With big players returning ahead of schedule, Lancashire look a well balanced side again, while Worcester have lost Moeen Ali to England duty.

Somerset have struggled when bowling in the Powerplay and it’ll be worth keeping an eye on whether their approach changes tonight.

Kent have Kuhn back but are still without Billings (plus Denly).

Surrey have been too short of runs and without Jason Roy and the injured Ben Foakes they look a batsman light again although it’s just a matter of time before the likes of Finch and Pope come good.

Without a televised game tonight, other markets are not widely available enough.

Middlesex. 1.5 points win. 1.62 various bookmakers

Lancashire. 1 point win. 1.73 various

Birmingham. 1 point win. 1.7 Unibet/888Sport, 1.67 various


Thursday 25th July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds (chance of winning these odds imply).

 2.30 Gloucestershire 2.3 (43.5%) V Middlesex 1.67 (59.9%)

6.30 Surrey 1.53 (65.4%) V Glamorgan 2.62 (38.2%)

7.00 Yorkshire 1.91 (52.4%) V Lancashire 2 (50%)

Comments and Selections

Due to the early start in the first game and the need to press on with the weekend’s horse racing, I’m just going to add the selections on this occasion. (I’ll add a link to results spreadsheet over the weekend.)

Middlesex win. 1 point. 1.67 Sky/Hills/SportingBet/Bwin

Surry win. 1 point. 1.53 Unibet/Victor/888/Marathon

Yorkshire win. 1 point. 1.91 BetFred/Sky/Coral/Lads/Victor/BlackType

Nicolas Pooran. Top Yorkshire Batsman. 0.5 points. 7 SportingBet/Bwin, 6.5 Bet365, 6 SkyBet/Ladbrokes/Coral



Wednesday 24th July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

6.30 Nottinghamshire 1.53 (65.4%) V Northants 2.62 (38.2%)

7.00 Birmingham 1.62 (61.7) V Derbyshire 2.38 (42%)

7.00 Sussex 1.82 (54.9%) V Hampshire 2.01 (49.8%)

Comments and Selections

Yorkshire were comfortable winners last night and Surrey again went for too many runs and were always up against it after losing Finch early. At time of writing, the Joe Denly bet as England’s Top Batsman has just been successful at 5/1 with England skittled before lunch against Ireland.

A bit like Yorkshire against Leicester last night, Notts should be too good for Northants. The hosts have the same side available but could opt to boost their bowling with Luke Fletcher available. However, their form hasn’t been strong enough to back them at this price.

Birmingham Bears have lost Colin de Grandhomme and Grant Elliot as their overseas players from last season, are also without Chris Woakes and Oli Stone due to England duty and have five other squad players unavailable. Fidel Edwards has joined on loan and made an instant impact by taking three weeks in the first over of the game against Leicestershire that led to a comfortable victory.

The ease of that victory may mask the fact that this year the Bears are not likely to be roaring as loudly as normal and this short price is perhaps a result of the combination of that start and historical strength. Derbyshire are able to name the same side that beat Yorkshire in their opener and the price between these two sides should be closer.

Sussex and Hampshire are both strong sides, but the away side’s batting is marginally stronger and as Sussex are without Archer and Chris Jordan- their only two pace bowlers to take more than 7 wickets in the whole of last season- the same applies to the bowling attacks.

Delray Rawlins made his T20 debut last year and despite only playing 9 games was Sussex’s 4th highest scorer and scored his runs at a rate of 146 per 100 balls. He’s batted at number 4 previously, scored a century in Sussex’s last Championship game, following a half-century against Australia A. A player batting in the top four who is in form and scores quickly is worth a small stake at these odds.

Derbyshire win. 1 point. 2.375 PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook/Marathon

Hampshire win. 1 point. 2 various bookmakers

Delray Rawlins. Sussex Top Batsman. 0.25 points. 8 (7/1) Ladbrokes/Coral/SportingBet/Bwin


Tuesday 23rd July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

6.30 Leicestershire 2.75 (36.4%) v Yorkshire 1.5 (66.7%)

6.30 Surrey 1.91 (52.4%) V Middlesex 1.91 (52.4%)

(11.00 Wednesday. England V Ireland.)

Comments and Selections

Hampshire were probably a few runs short of the desired total on Sunday but had Kent in trouble at 41/4 and behind the rate all the way. Needing over 10 an over with the tail at the crease, it looked to be Hampshire… then 16 off the final over… 12 off the last 3 balls… 2 sixes and the game was Kent’s.

Leicester were stuffed by Birmingham at the weekend, a game that was as good as gone in the first over with Leicester losing 3 wickets, including golden ducks for both openers. Yorkshire also lost, albeit from a winning position, and need to sort their batting order out as Pooran is wasted at 7, but should have Tim Bresnan and Duanne Olivier back to significantly strengthen their bowling today. They are heavily odds on today, but with Leicester losing Ben Rainne, Mohammed Nabi and Cameron Delport, and with them most of last season’s runs, Yorkshire are still not short enough against a side with a tough month ahead of them.

Surrey came across a once in a career innings from Delport (now with Essex) in their opener, but there won’t be many times their bowling attack will struggle as badly. However, they made a valiant attempt in their chase despite a mid-order slump due to the need to score quickly. That’s a big positive in having a lower-middle order capable of scoring runs and doing so at a good rate. Liam Plunkett returns, along with Ollie Pope and out go Rory Burns and Sam Curran.

Eoin Morgan comes in for Paul Stirling for Middlesex. There are a few uncertainties in the batting order for both sides- Middlesex may just shift up one, with Nick Gubbins opening but will AB de Villiers come in at 3 or 4 and for Surrey will Will Jacks open again, where will Ollie Pope bat (Sam Curran came in at 3 with Ben Foakes at 4 against Essex)- so those markets are best left alone at the moment.

England have named a strangely unbalanced squad to face Ireland. The top 4 will be Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Denly and Joe Root. Otherwise, there’s Bairstow as wicket-keeper/batsman and a collection of bowling all-rounders. This will be Roy, Root and Bairstow’s first innings for some time in the longer format, whereas Joe Denly was released b England and returned to the 4-day game in county cricket, warming up for this with 154 for Kent against Hampshire, following 88 against Surrey and 167* against Notts last month. In a shortened batting line-up and as the outsider of the top 5, according to the odds, Denly looks the value call.

Yorkshire win. 1 point. 1.5 various bookmakers

Surrey win. 1 point. 1.91 various bookmakers

Joe Denly Top England Batsman. 0.5 points. 6 Betfair Sportsbook/BetFred/SportingBet/Bwin/BetWay/Spreadex



Sunday 21st July (No games on Monday)


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

2.30 Birmingham 1.62 (61.7%) V Leicestershire 2.5 (40%)

2.30 Hampshire 1.67 (59.9%) V Kent 2.38 (42%)

2.30 Lancashire 1.5 (66.7%) V Durham 3 (33%)


Somerset played badly last night, first in their bowling during the Powerplay after Kent had lost a couple of early wickets and then giving their wickets away in a soft fashion during a middle-order slump. However, Kent’s bowling attack was impressive and once they have their batting line-up restored they will be a very competitive side. That’s still not the case at the moment and while there may be little difference in the quality of the two bowling attacks today, Hampshire do have the stronger of the two batting line-ups by some margin and odds implying they will win 6 out of 10 times still underestimates this gap. (Bookmakers have corrected their odds for Top Batsman today and Zak Crawley is 4/1 rather than 8/1.) Kent have the same squad as last night. Hampshire have James Vince and Liam Dawson back from England’s World Cup squad, Sam Northeast from the Lions and Chris Morris from South-Africa’s World Cup side.

The other two favourites today do have absentees and without key players don’t look to offer value at these prices, neither can they be easily opposed given limited strengths of their opponents today.

Hampshire. 1 point win. 1.67 WillHill/SkyBet/SportingBet/Bwin


Saturday 20th July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

2.30 Derbyshire 2.62 (38.2%) v Yorkshire 1.62 (61.7%)

7.00 Kent 2.3 (43.5%) v Somerset 1.73 (57.8%)


Kent are without Joe Denly, Sam Billings and Heino Kuhn, which means they are without three of their top four runscorers from 2018 (the trio scored 1091 collectively while the rest of the squad only amassed 758 between them). Somerset are without Lewis Gregory, who has joined up with England since their win over Glamorgan on Thursday. But, with Kent’s weakened batting line-up and their own top four all starting brightly, they should be a shorter price then this to add another win to their campaign.

Kent’s Zak Crawley looks an attacking talent to follow. He’s quickly been called up by England Lions after a century (111 off 173 balls) and two fifties in recent Championship matches. With their other absentees, the 21 year-old opener looks too big a price for tonight.

Somerset 1 point win. 1.73 SkyBet/WillHill

Top Kent Batsman: Zak Crawley. 0.25 points win. 9 SportNation/RedZone/BetHard/Bet365


Friday 19th July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

2.30 Gloucesterhire 1.73 (57.8%) V Glamorgan 2.2 (45.4%)

5.15 Worcestersire 1.8 (55.6%) V Birmingham 2.3 (43.5%)

6.30 Durham 1.8 (55.6%) V Northants 2.2 (45.4%)

6.30 Hampshire 1.91 (52.4%) V Sussex 2 (50%)

6.30 Leicestershire 2.4 (41.7) V Lancashire 1.67 (59.9%)

6.30 Yorkshire 2 (50%) V Nottinghamshire 1.91 (52.4%)

7.00 Essex 2.2 (45.4%) V Surrey 1.8 (55.6%)


A tricky set of fixtures which was always likely to be the case for most team’s first T20 of the season and exacerbated by a number of key players missing due to injury, being rested or visa issues which has narrowed the gap between the favourites and underdogs in a number of cases.

Yorkshire look strong in all departments, Nicholas Pooran adds excitement to their batting, Duanne Olivier adds genuine pace to their attack and Dominic Bess, on loan from Somerset, can contribute with both bat and ball and adds a threatening spin option in Adil Rashid’s absence. This is on top of an experienced squad and they should be favourites here.

Notts have been struggling lately- yet to win in the Championship, having lost 7 times- and they allowed Worcester to score too many late in their innings last night, then only Alex Hales made an impact with the bat as they never looked like reaching their target, falling 29 short on 133/9.

Despite the absence of Liam Plunkett and Jason Roy tonight, Surrey still have a squad full of internationals and are able to call on the Curran brothers, Adam Finch, Ben Foakes, Rory Burns and Imran Tahir. AB de Villiers tore the Essex attack to pieces last night and they needed Ryan ten Doeschate’s 74 to post a respectable but still insufficient total.

Yorkshire. 1 point. 2 UniBet/Spredex (fixed odds)/SportingBet/Bwin

Surrey. 1 point. 1.8 SkyBet, Spreadex (fixed odds), 1.78 Expekt, Betclic


Thursday 18th July


Time, Home Team, Best Decimal Odds (chance of winning these odds imply), Away Team, Best Odds.

18:15 Middlesex 1.73 (57.8%) V Essex 2.2 (45.45%)

18:30 Glamorgan 2.375 (42.1%) V Somerset 1.61 (62.1%)

19:00 Nottingamshire 1.73 (57.8%) V Worcestershire 2.375 (42.1%)

(As always we want to be backing the team with a better chance of winning than the odds imply.)


Lewis Gregory is available for Somerset before joining the England squad next week and both overseas players, Babar Azam and Jerome Taylor should also feature. With no major doubts, Somerset should be too strong for Glamorgan.

Somerset win. 1 point. 1.61 Bet365/Coral/Ladbrokes/RedZone


Season Preview

What’s that? The drama of the ICC Cricket World Cup, consisting of 48 games over 7 weeks, a twice-tied final, champions crowned largely due to a ricochet off a throw at the stumps, an umpiring error and the application of a peculiarly obscure rule that had never been used before and few people knew existed, wasn’t enough for you?

Okay then, how about a domestic Twenty20 tournament with 18 teams, 133 matches over two months and a finals day with both semi-finals and the final played in the space of ten hours?

The Vitality Blast returns on Thursday evening. The easiest way to think about this is that it’s the 18 first-class counties split into two groups of nine, divided geographically into South and North, who play each other twice, home and away. The top four in each group then go into the knockout quarter-finals.

Of course, this is cricket so it can’t be that straight-forward. Instead, there are 17 counties plus Warwickshire calling themselves Birmingham, while Northamptonshire find themselves in the North group and having to travel to Durham, Lancashire and Yorkshire rather than walking down the road to take on southern rivals. Also, each team plays 14 group games, rather than 16, meaning they play 6 teams twice and 2 teams once.

Should the final be tied due to the ball being caught by a drone, then the match will be resolved by the two captains attempting to guess the number of sweets in a large jar.

Meanwhile, next week Australia will play a 12 against 12 match amongst themselves that will be used to finalise their squad for the Ashes, while England take on Ireland in a one-off Test that will also go a long way towards deciding the opening team and squad for The Ashes that begins the following week. Both of these matches will involve a number of players who would otherwise be involved in the Vitality Blast and lead to some returning and others not.

The first six overs of an innings only allow two fielders outside the 30 yard circle, whereas five are permitted for the remainder of each innings. This is going to make for early fireworks and is going to be a key consideration when looking at top scorers markets.

Here are the leading contenders:

South Group

Somerset topped the South Group last year and have Babar Azam as an overseas player to bolster their top order. His effortless stroke play coupled with Taunton’s small ground and true surface should see him amongst this year’s top run makers. Despite losing captain Lewis Gregory to England next week, that is only likely to be temporary and with a collection of seasoned performers behind him, he should be able to lead Somerset into the knockout stages once more.

With England suddenly having an abundance of pace bowlers in contention for a place against Australia- it could be a contest between Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes to join James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes- Surrey could benefit by having Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Sam Curran (after next week) and Jade Bernbach available, with South African Imran Tahir’s leg-spin completing a very strong attack.

Adam Finch, second top scorer in the competition in 2018,  hasn’t made the final 25 for Australia’s consideration which gives another boost, this time to Surrey’s batting, but England’s love of playing one-day players in Test cricket looks likely to deny then of Jason Roy’s runs.

Jofra Archer and Alex Carey’s performances in the World Cup may deprive Sussex of two key players. However, they do have last season’s top scorer, Laurie Evans, and Rashid Khan’s spin variations will surely have more success against country players than he’s had in the last two months against internationals. Phil Salt is one to watch with the 22 year-old so far having a career strike-rate above 150 per 100 balls.

Middlesex will have their moments due to a batting line-up including AB de Villliers, whose on/off retirements are currently off, Eoin Morgan and Dawid Malan who did feature for England earlier in the year. However, a moderate bowling attack may mean few totals are safe.

Sam Billings’ shoulder injury and Joe Denly’s England involvement have dented Kent’s hopes, although Mohammad Nabi looks like a positive signing and will be one of the competition’s most economical bowlers.

North Group

Notts have made the semi-finals in two of the last three years and with Alex Hales, Ben Duckett, Joe Clarke, Samit Patel and Harry Gurney, they have a collection of unfulfilled English talent in their ranks and a solid enough squad to be strong contenders to go deep into the tournament.

Defending champions Worcestershire have their dangers at the top of the order with Martin Guptill, Callum Ferguson and Riki Wessels, plus last season’s leading wicket-taker Pat Brown and Wayne Parnell leading the attack. However, they’ve lost Joe Clarke and Moeen Ali’s availability is likely to be limited.

Yorkshire look strong in all departments. Nicholas Pooran is an exciting signing, albeit probably not for the duration of the Blast, Adam Lyth, Garry Ballance, Tim Bresnan, David Willey and others, quite possibly including Adil Rashid if overlooked by England, mean there’s no shortage of experienced game-changers throughout their squad.

Lancashire have two dangerous Aussie’s in Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner alongside highly-rated England Lions Liam Livingstone and Saqib Mahmood. The question will be whether they get enough support.



This is an even more forgiving tournament than the World Cup- both England and New Zealand were able to reach the final after losing three times- and the four sides selected should be able to finish in the top 4 of 9 in their groups. At the higher prices, Somerset and Yorkshire look to offer the best value while the strengths of Surrey and Notts make them worth keeping on side.

Somerset. 1 point. 12/1 various bookmakers

Yorkshire. 1 point. 12/1 various

Surrey. 0.5 points. 8/1 various

Nottinghamshire. 0.5 points. 7/1 various

Top Batsman

The obvious quartet are Babar Azam, Adam Finch, Alex Hales and Martin Guptill but these are also the four with the shortest odds.

I want to be looking for a player at the top of the order- otherwise may be denied opportunities if only getting to the crease later in an innings or in small chases.

Of others at more appealing odds, Liam Livingstone in next in the market and a contender but will be coming back from injury. D’Arcy Short, the 2017/18 Big Bash top scorer, will get plenty of opportunities for Durham and has not made Australia’s 25 for next week. Varun Chopra had a good 2018, scoring 503 and finishing 6th. He’s back at Essex again and looks generously priced. Phil Salt has already been mentioned and is likely to progress. Gloucester captain Michael Klinger completes the list after 431 runs last year, over 5,000 career T20 runs at an average of 34 and a strike-rate of 124.

D’Arcy Short. 0.25 points each-way. 20/1 BetVictor, 16/1 Boyles and BetWay

Varun Chopra. 0.25 points each-way. 40/1 BetVictor, 33/1 Boyles and SkyBet

Philip Salt. 0.25 points each-way. 25/1 SkyBet/Boyles/BetWay

Michael Klinger. 0.25 points each-way. 66/1 BetVictor, 40/1 Boyles and SkyBet

Good Luck!























The One-Day Cricket Word Cup starts tomorrow and I have a few tips for the tournament for you. I don’t have any track record to support what’s below and of course it’s up to you whether you follow suit or not, but here’s what I’ll be backing and why. (There’s a summary of the recommended bets at the bottom.)

The tournament features ten teams who will all play each other once and then the top four will progress to the semi-finals.

A slight tangent to begin with:

Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY)

It’s a massive summer for England’s cricket teams with a One-Day World Cup and then The Ashes. They’re currently favourites for both and if victorious in one or the other then the headline maker is going to stand a strong chance of also winning SPOTY.

Only around half of the members of the respective squads are likely to be the same for both formats and that will give those involved in both to have two bites at the cherry.

Jos Buttler is one of the most explosive batsmen in the world, scorer of England’s fastest two centuries and an improving Test player. He comes into the World Cup in top form and if he comes off in the crucial moments of the tournament then he’ll be high in the highlights reel.

Joe Root is less spectacular, but holds a key role at No. 3 in the One-Day side, as the glue that holds an innings together, rotating the strike and allowing the big-hitters to push the tempo along, and as leading batsman and captain of the Test team. If he has a good summer then it’s is also likely that England will too. If he’s an Ashes winning captain having led from the front then he’ll be a strong contender for this award in December.

These two are preferred to other possibles such as Eion Morgan (captain of One-Day side but won’t feature in the Test series), Ben Stokes (consistently plays an important part but recent contributions have tended to be in assistance rather than starring roles), Moeen Ali (similar to Stokes), Adil Rashid (may not play in the Ashes due to only one spinner being the norm at home), James Anderson (headlines could have already have been made by the time he enters the spotlight later in the summer).

Top Tournament Batsman

Because of the ten team, round robin group stage followed by semis and final, six teams will play 9 games, two will play 10 and two will play 11. This narrows the gap in terms of number of games played compared with previous formats and means there’s a chance of the leading scorer coming from any of the ten teams, rather than just those that go deep into the tournament.

The stars of the leading teams head the market, with the likes of Root, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson among the nine batsmen at odds of under 20/1. However, none of these open the batting and playing for stronger sides may actually count against them because there may be games when they are chasing small totals or they follow lengthy opening stands which reduces their chances and, with strength beneath them too, there may be times when their own accumulation is sacrificed in pursuit of the highest possible team totals, whereas in weaker sides those two goals become one and the same.

In other words, I’m looking beyond the big names and the favoured teams for some hidden value:

Babar Azam (Pakistan)– A star of the future, Babar has averaged 51 in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) so far, passing 50 in over a third of his innings. In warm-up games he’s scored three centuries and four fifties from 9 innings.

Martin Guptill (New Zealand)- New Zealand’s highest scorer in T20 Internationals, has 3 ODI centuries to his name already this year. Plenty of experience with Derbyshire of playing in England and averages 51 in ODIs in this country. A big-game player – scored 237 not out in the quarter-final of the last World Cup.

Tamin Iqbal (Bangladesh)- Opener who had an excellent Test series in New Zealand earlier this year, scoring at a one-day rate – had made 126 out of Bangladesh’s 180 when he was out in the 1st Test. Has taken to English conditions before – 5 centuries and 5 half-centuries in 25 Test and One-Day International innings.

Shai Hope (West Indies)- comes into this in fine form, recording scores of 170, 109, 30, 87, 74, 21 in the recent tri-series against Bangadesh and Ireland, then added 101 against New Zealand.

Top Bowler

Whereas most sides like to bat first and set a total, England are better chasing and therefore are more likely to bowl first than others. In turn, this means they will either bowl sides out or have them attacking through to the end of their innings. (Whereas a side fielding second may have games when the result is clear before the end. It also means they are more likely to bowl their overs if rain interrupts proceedings.) This could give England’s bowlers a slight advantage in this market (which is based on most wickets taken).

Adil Rashid (England)- is trusted to bowl most of his overs in the second half of an innings when there is most attacking intent and more wickets fall. Opponents will fear England’s batting and not settle for moderate totals, increasing Rashid’s chances of picking up cheap wickets.

Matt Henry (New Zealand)- Henry has lurked under the radar, probably because he hasn’t been able to get into New Zealand’s Test team on a regular basis despite commonly being in the squad, due to the success of the Boult, Southee, Wagner attack. However, he has one of the best ever strike-rates in ODIs and should be used to the conditions after a successful season in county cricket last year. This may make him a spot of value, worthy of a small stake at a big price.

Tournament Winner

It’s hard to argue with the top three in the market being England, India and Australia and, given the format of the competition, their overall strength should see them through to the knock-outs, allowing for one or two off days.
Behind them, South Africa and West Indies may not have enough batting or consistency to make it through.

New Zealand look to be a more backable side at the prices with an experienced upper-order of Williamson, Guptill and Taylor and a threat with the ball from Boult and Southee. They look the most likely to make it through alongside the favoured three and from there could be traded out or reviewed according to the updated circumstances.

England’s Top Batsman

The value call here looks to be Jason Roy.

Fellow opener Jonny Bairstow and No. 3 Joe Root hold similarly strong cases due to their positions high in the order but with Roy back to top form in the build-up to the tournament, there shouldn’t be such a difference in their prices, especially as Roy has warmed up with scores of 87, 76, 114, 32 and 89* in his last five innings. There’s little difference in their prices to be the top batsman, but there’s enough of a gap here for a bet.

To Finish Bottom

Afghanistan are the obvious favourites here, but they did beat Pakistan in a warm-up game and continue to improve at an incredible rate.

Bangladesh have had the better of West Indies in the last few weeks and are capable of picking up a couple of wins. Sri Lanka are also strong contenders here but are priced accordingly.

Meanwhile, Pakistan are on a long losing streak and have a knack of missing out in tight games. They can also struggle with batting depth, leaving them vulnerable if losing early wickets. At the prices, they are worth a small stake in a tournament where the weakest are stronger than normal.

Summary of bets

SPOTY Winner:

Jos Buttler 1 point win. 40/1 various

Joe Root 0.75 points win. 20/1 various

World Cup Winner

New Zealand 0.75 points win. 12/1 Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook, 10/1otherwise

Top Batsman (4 places standard, 5 with Fred and Boyles)

Babar Azam 0.25 points each-way (0.5 points total) 25/1 Betfair Sportsbook, 22/1William Hill, 20/1 various

Tamin Iqbal 0.25 points each-way. 66/1 various

Martin Guptill 0.25 points each-way. 28/1various

Shai Hope 0.25 points each-way. 33/1 various

Top Bowler (4 places standard, 5 with Fred and Boyles)

Adil Rashid 0.5 points each-way. 16/1various

Matt Henry 0.25 points each-way. 100/1 Sporting Bet, Bwin, Coral, Ladbrokes, William Hill

Top English Batsman

Jason Roy 1 point win. 5 Betway, SkyBet, BetFred

To Finish Bottom

Pakistan 0.5 points. 20/1 Black Type, 18/1SkyBet

Good Luck!



Category: Betting Advice

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Not yet a member? Join Betting Rant free and get access to all the members only content including free betting systems!

Already a member but haven't registered yet? Please follow the links to the registration page in any email issue of Betting Rant from 12th July 2012 onwards.

Discover five proven ways to beat the bookies for FREE

Sign up here and I'll immediately email you Five ways to get a mathematical edge on the bookies, worth £40, COMPLETELY FREE of charge… what's more you'll also receive my e-letter, The Betting Rant… and again, it's COMPLETELY FREE.

I respect your privacy and will never pass
on your email address to anyone else.

© 2019 Betting Rant. All rights reserved. | Market Breakers Ltd, Registered office: Curzon House, 24 High St, Banstead SM7 2LJ | Registered in England No. 3303666. VAT No. GB 629 7287 94

Gambling is high risk, never bet with money you cannot afford to lose. Please gamble responsibly, for information and advice visit the gambleaware website at: This content is not intended for audiences under the age of 18 years of age.