Cricket is widely regarded as one of the most complicated sports in the world. As you may expect, then, cricket betting is not always the easiest entity to understand – the basics are as follows.
Cricket is played throughout the year; our winter will see England venture to the Southern Hemisphere to take advantage of temporarily sunnier climes. The English domestic game runs from early April to early September, and is the only domestic market featured by bookmakers such as Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Bet365.
Essentially, there are three types of cricket match, the longest of which is the traditional five-day Test match - these are generally the most competitive international games, with teams battling out over four "innings".
In addition to Test matches, cricket betting enthusiasts can also enjoy shorter One Day games, as well as the relatively modern Twenty20 format. Whilst teams are expected to be calm and calculating throughout the length of a Test match, these shorter forms of the game encourage a more attacking style of play, with each side attempting to outscore the other over a fixed period of "overs" - the number of “overs” is set at 50 and 20 for One Day games and Twenty20 matches respectively.
Regardless of the specific game format being played, cricket follows a general pattern of play. An "over" always lasts for six deliveries of the ball, and an innings continues until 10 of the 11 batsmen are out, most commonly achieved through bowling or catching them out. The quicker versions of the game involve a set and specific number of innings, meaning teams have an incentive to take more risks than in traditional Test matches. As a result, these versions of the game provide much more entertainment value for live audiences and television viewers alike. Test matches, on the other hand, allow both sides to take advantage of the full five day play time and take their time.
These variations and how they alter play strategies bring added intrigue and excitement to the betting arena, something that is supplemented by the bevy of different cricket betting markets available. Wagering on a Test match there are the obvious markets relating to the overall winning and losing sides, but individual player and event markets such as top bowler or runscorer are available.
Additionally, there are a variety of more unique and niche betting markets worth exploring for the adventurous punter. Markets like whether or not a team's first wicket will be caught or whether any player in the match will score a century bring extra twists and potential value to any cricket match. Those looking to succeed in these markets would be well served to do their research before laying down a bet.
Whilst it's entirely possible to pick out an outright winner of a Test match with some small degree of certainty, the shorter forms of the game are much more difficult to predict. Individual One Day and Twenty20 matches can be won or lost by one shaky performance, so it can be a great idea to look to other markets. "Total Match Fours" and "50 Scored in First Innings?" are solid options, with decent odds available on sites such as Paddy Power cricket betting. Listening to the pundits and keeping on top of individual player form is extremely important for these shorter games, so keep your eyes peeled in the run up to any big matches.
In any single match or, indeed, across a whole series, punters are given the option to bet on a variety of different outcomes from a team perspective. The most obvious – and most popular – is who will win the match (or series), though it’s worth noting that draws and ties can also be backed. However, you can delve deeper into who will win the toss, how many runs will be scored per innings (four innings if betting on a Test Match or domestic County Championship game) and how many wickets each team will take.
You can also bet on individual performances; which batsman will score the most runs, which bowler will take the most wickets, who will win Man of the Match/Tournament etc.
If you go even further, because cricket matches are broken up either into sessions or Power Plays, you can bet on how many runs or wickets you think a team will score or take in any given period. With limited overs cricket, you can place a wager on how quickly runs will be scored or how many overs it will take to bowl out a team.
Furthermore, bookmakers offer odds on how many runs will be scored in a partnership between two batsmen, or how many wickets two bowlers may take in tandem. The number of different wicket types registered in an innings can also be predicted in cricket betting.
Most bookmakers offer cricket betting odds according to recent team and individual form, plus a number of other variables. For example, for an England Ashes tour to Australia, bookmakers will analyse the England squad, attempt to ascertain who will feature heavily during the series and compare the team’s batting and bowling figures to those of the Aussies. What’s more, the bookmakers will take into account the conditions typical of a match in Australia – heavy sun, hard, flat pitches that may not always respond to spin – and adjust their cricket betting odds according to how well they think England will fare.
Of course, these odds will change as the series goes on and different variables come to light. For example, England’s opening batsmen may be notching up hundreds while their bowlers are cleaning up the opposition for fewer than 250 in both innings. As such, England’s odds will significantly shorten; while you may have got a good price on an England series win two months before travelling down under, by the third or fourth test you will want to look into more specific, niche markets to try and make a profit.
During a game, a cluster of wickets or dominant batting display can dramatically affect things, too. The longer nature of the game of cricket inevitably means that in-play betting is a hugely popular feature of cricket betting.
The world of cricket betting can be a complicated one if you don’t understand the game. However, bookmakers such as Betfred Sports offer as many explanations as possible to try and keep things easy for the uninitiated.