The Ashes – Preview and betting tips

By Online Editorial   

Ed Hawkins has been analysing the stats, trends and techniques to give you some tips on how to bet when the action starts.

Old faithful

The draw price behaves like a German car: reliable and always gets you where you want to be on time. Although not specific to an Ashes clash, this ploy will work for most of the Test matches involving England and is almost guaranteed to get your punting off to a profitable start.

Firstly, the draw price will be shorter on the morning of the first day than it was at least three or four days ago. The reason for the dip, which can be as big as 0.5, is that more punters are taking an interest on day one than in the build-up and with the stalemate a historic favourite wager, there is only one way for the price to go.

Also, the weather forecast is more reliable and comprehensive so a lot of punters won’t play until some bespectacled weatherman has had his say. Once play is underway, the price will usually drop even more – providing runs are being scored. From a start of around 2.40, the draw will be 1.95 if the batting side makes it to, say, 80-1 at lunch. A huge overreaction given the little amount of cricket played.

Good old Collingwood forever

This one is Ashes specific. When punting we want to know when runs will be scored and wickets taken. It would be fair to reckon that England will score their runs when Paul Collingwood joins Kevin Pietersen at the crease. Together they are a stellar partnership who have put many attacks to the sword, memorably of course in Adelaide in the previous Ashes series.

These two are the reason England, since 2007, average 49.20 runs for the fourth wicket, the best return of any wicket aside from the opening partnership, which is worth two more. Runs come quicker, though than Nos 1 and 2, a vital factor to get the price moving in the direction you want it to. Why not claim your free £25 bet at Betfair right now?

Vulnerable to the southpaw jab

If the above gives us a good indication of when the runs will come, we must give more than a doffing of the cap to when the wickets will fall. Despite that opening partnership record, we have to be wary about England up front. This is because of the threat of Mitchell Johnson’s 90mph left-arm swingers. Andrew Strauss is particularly dodgy.

Five times in five matches he has fallen to India’s Zaheer Khan, also a left-armer. Johnson should threaten the whole of the England line-up, however because of the doubts Zaheer has created in their minds. He has finished top wicket-taker in the last two series between the sides. Now, there is no point suggesting we should back Australia every time Johnson has the ball, so to be smarter factor in his strike rate of a wicket every 53 balls in the last 12 months.

Hughes got to be joking

With England 3.50 series outsiders and 4.20 for game one, we are desperate to know what they can do in-running to bring those prices down. Taking regular wickets will make the greatest dent in the early exchanges until the market is more comfortable with the ebb and flow.

Removing Phil Hughes, the opener who top scored in South Africa, consistently cheaply in the first two matches will bring England’s price down until everyone realises they were wrong to believe the hype about the left-hander. Expect him to struggle for runs.

He has a plethora of weaknesses which England should be able to expose: his back leg moves to leg in the trigger movement, his bat comes down at an angle, he has a tendency to play across the front pad and he is desperate for width to score. His performance against England Lions in the first-innings suggests one of these flaws will be exposed, and quickly.

Go hard … go home

Thanks to the fast and bouncy pitches Down Under, Australia’s batsmen like to throw their hands at the ball, playing through the line with speed. They call it ‘going with hard hands’. It is all very well in Australia but a recipe for disaster in England. Two of the ‘worst’ appear to be Brad Haddin and Marcus North, who could bat at No 6. They will learn. It might just take time. It makes them vulnerable to low scores in the first few Tests.

If they go with hard hands on English pitches which are slow, have seam movement and swing, then they will nick off or risk inside edges onto stumps. North is one to watch in particular against the spin of Graeme Swann. Swann, who gets the ball to turn away from the leftie, will relish bowling at North if the batsman tries to hit the cover of it. Simon Katich, another left-hander, has fallen 39% of the time to spin in his career. Gosh, that’s high.

Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. © The Sporting Exchange Limited

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