How to Hit the Bookies for SIX betting on the Cricket
With its beginning’s harking back to 16th century England, Cricket is one of the oldest, and most traditional, of all the sports in the world. It is also the most widely played and watched. Indeed, in terms of sheer weight of numbers of those who participate, be they players or spectators, cricket lies only behind football in global popularity. This popularity stems largely from the growth of the game on the Indian sub-continent, where the sound of willow meeting leather can be heard with greater regularity than anywhere else on the planet.
Cricket is also a sport which has moved with the times significantly over the years. We still have the grand spectacle of the five-day international test matches upon which the growth of the game was founded. With the advent of one-day matches, Twenty20 and the lucrative Indian Premier League also on offer, the game with such archaic beginnings is now not far from being a 365 day a year sport; now boasting a dose of glitz, glamour and razzmatazz no doubt unimagined back in Britain in the 1500’s.
With popularity comes both extensive tv coverage and of course the main focus of this article – cricket betting. Be it fixed odds, betting in play, or on the spreads markets, there are fewer games which lend themselves so readily to a wide array of punting options.
Before examining the types of bet available, let's outline the formats of the game, both on the international and domestic stage.
Test matches are played up to five days, with each side having two innings at bat. It is the most traditional form of the game and arguably – to many purists at least – the best format. The Ashes Series played between England and Australia is one of the most famous cricket games in the world and played in test format. So too is England’s County Championship which uses a four-day version of the test game.
One Day Matches
As the name suggests, these games are completed in the space of a day with each side permitted 50 overs to bat. Unlike in test cricket, there are certain fielding restrictions which apply in One Day matches, designed to aid the scoring of runs. The prestigious ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup are each played in this format.
Fast and furious action with each side having only twenty overs in which to rack up a winning score. In common with One Day cricket, fielding restrictions are enforced to provide a more entertaining spectacle. Due to the relatively short duration, this form of the game seems to increase in popularity year upon year, both with fans and the TV companies. The majority of the major cricketing nations now boast a T20 competition, with the Indian Premier League being the most prestigious and lucrative of them all.
Having now taken a broad look at the modern cricketing landscape, what bets should we place on cricket? As with most sports these days, the answer is almost anything you can think of when it comes to a cricket match. Some of the most popular options being:
The most straightforward bet and still the most popular. This is merely a bet on a named team to win an individual match or come out on top overall in a series of games. In One Day and T20 cricket, there are two options available - either side to win, or in test cricket, the draw is also a possibility.
This is bet on the player you believe will score the most runs in a given match or innings.
Top Wicket Taker
A bet on a named bowler to take the most wickets in a given match or innings.
A bet on whether a teams or players run total will fall under or over a specified number. The volatility of this form of betting makes this a particularly popular option with spread bettors.
Man Of The Match
This is a simple bet on which player you believe will be named the ‘Man of the Match’.
There’s plenty more besides, such as the number of fours and sixes hit in the game to which opening partnerships in bat will record the highest total of runs, and everything in between. The options on the list above nevertheless remain the most popular with cricket betting enthusiasts.
Lights Out for the Team Batting with the Lights On
In our opinion, this option is possibly the number one value bet when it comes to wagering on cricket, and it couldn’t be much more straightforward. Look to back the team batting first in a one day or T20 game when the latter part of the match is scheduled to be played under floodlights. Not only is the ball that fraction harder for the batsman to make out in an unnatural floodlit environment, but it also tends to swing more later in the day - two factors in favour of the bowlers. This strategy has been backed up by the stats time and time again. Betting first in a game which starts in the day and ends at night is a big advantage.
Second is Better than First in the Day Time
Should a limited overs match be slated to take place solely in the daytime, we should generally aim to adopt the reverse of the strategy outlined above, and lend our support to the team batting second. The logic here is that unlike the team batting first, the second batting side will have the luxury of knowing what total they need to reach precisely in order to win. The team can adjust their strategy accordingly; playing more aggressively if required, or safe and solid if only a relatively low total is needed. This knowledge of the approach a side needs to take can be worth its weight in gold to the team in question – and those who have backed them.
In Play The Way To Profit
The thing to remember when betting on a cricket match – particularly a test match – is that the game lasts a very long time. Often, however, the market may react dramatically to events over a relatively short period, like a few wickets in the space of a couple of overs for example. Excellent value can often be found in backing the side where events are seemingly conspiring against them in the short run. More often than not the match will even up again at some stage, and provide an excellent opportunity to secure a profit by backing both sides at odds against at different stages in the match.
Wait for the Result of the Toss
In a game where conditions can play such a pivotal role in the outcome, the decision on whether to bat first or second, which is conferred upon the winner of the pre-match coin toss, can have a considerable bearing upon the result of a game. Generally speaking, it is advantageous for a team to bat first due to the wear and tear that the wicket will endure over the course of a game. A worn, scuffed wicket favours the bowlers, and so it makes sense to choose to bat first when the terrain is comparatively smooth.
By all means, assess the form of the sides and have an opinion on whom you would like to support with a bet in the game, but we recommend waiting for the result of the toss before striking that bet. The strategy is to stick with analysis but to a reduced stake should our side lose the toss, and increase the stake correspondingly should the coin come down in our favour.
Check The Weather Forecast
This can be particularly important when betting on the shorter formats of the game. Keep an eye on games which the weather forecast strongly suggests may well be shortened by rain – and look to support the team batting second.
The result of a cricket match shortened by the weather is determined by a complex mathematical formula known as the Duckworth-Lewis method. The calculation effectively uses the total runs a team has scored up to the point at which the match is abandoned, to predict then what their final total would have been had the game reached its conclusion. This works in favour of the team batting second as they can calculate what sum they need at the end precisely for every over up until the rain does arrive, and so adjust their strategy accordingly. With storm clouds brewing and a side needing ten runs from the next over, expect to see the batsmen swinging for the fences if they are to prevail on Duckworth Lewis when under normal circumstances they would likely have played more cautiously.
Cricket grounds may all appear to be much of a muchness at first glance, but looks can be deceiving. True, the general layout is indeed very similar, but when we look a little deeper, we find that the characteristics of the grounds in the game can be very different. Some wickets respond very well to spin, while other tracks seem not to turn at all. Some tracks are slow, while others are quick and bouncy and so favour the faster bowlers. Always be sure to assess whether the side you are considering backing will be suited by the ground at which the match is taking place. As with all things betting – it pays to do your homework.
Form, Form, Form
If a team or player is playing poorly or in a slump, the chances are that they will come out of it eventually. As with most sports, the best guide to how a side will fare in a given match is how they have performed recently. The common-sense approach works best here. Stick to players and teams who are at or near the top of their game at present, and look to oppose those who can’t seem to buy a run or wicket.
Overall adopting an approach in line with that of a seasoned test batsman can reap its rewards when it comes to betting on cricket; namely maintaining your patience and discipline while being ready to spring into action when the time is right.
With so many matches available to choose from, there’s no need to swing at every ball in a manner of speaking. Plan your strategy in advance, wait until the factors – including those outlined above – are in your favour, and you will be well on your way to adding another profitable string to your betting bow.