The Ashes 2019 Betting Preview, Odds and Tips
- Steve Smith to be top Australia batsman at 2/1 with BetHard
- England to win first Test at Evens with Bet365
- England to win series 4-1 at 8/1 with Betway
- England to win series 5-0 at 33/1 with Unibet
Hot on the heels of the Cricket World Cup comes another treat for cricket betting enthusiasts. The Ashes are here again with England and Australia doing battle for the most prestigious trophy in Test cricket.
Australia hold the old terracotta urn having won 4-0 Down Under in 2017/18. The home side has held sway since England ended 16 barren years in the 2005 Ashes. The one exception is 2010-11 in Australia where Alastair Cook inspired England to a 3-1 series win. The opener appeared in every Ashes series since 2006-07 and his retirement last summer leaves a hole which is as yet unfilled.
Of course, England are cock-a-hoop after winning their first World Cup earlier this month. And you have to go back to South Africa’s visit in 2012 for the last time they were beaten at home in a Test series comprising three or more matches. Australia’s last Ashes success in England was back in 2001.
England are a best-price 4/5 with the best cricket betting sites to triumph this time, with Australia trading at 15/8 with Black Type and the series draw is currently 13/2 with Bet Victor. As far as the Ashes themselves are concerned, England are 8/11 with Betfair to regain them (take the 4/5 with William Hill about them winning the series instead) with the tourists 11/10 with SportNation to retain the urn.
An Unfair Contest?
In days past, touring sides had weeks to prepare and acclimatise. They would face the cream of the counties in warm-ups and hone their games to enable them to be in tip-top shape come the first Test. This is no longer the case.
Yes, many of the Australians have played in England in the World Cup. But that was with the white Kookaburra ball. In this series, they will use the red Dukes ball with a pronounced seam offering considerable lateral movement and swing which Australian batsmen have struggled against in recent years.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad tormented them four years ago, and could do so again despite their advancing years. Broad’s memorable 8-15 to help skittle Australia for 60 on the first morning at Trent Bridge showed just how vulnerable the tourists were against the moving ball. With all-rounder Ben Stokes established in the side, plus the likes of Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and possibly Jofra Archer, vying for a starting place, England boast a formidable pace attack.
Comparing The Sides
England’s main weakness is at the top of the order with World Cup hero Jason Roy set for his Test debut in the Lord’s warm-up against Ireland. Even before Cook’s retirement, the openers were a source of major concern and Keaton Jennings has now been jettisoned.
Rory Burns is the man in possession and he should partner Surrey team-mate Roy in the first Test at Edgbaston. Joe Denly could fill the troublesome number three spot but England’s middle order looks strong with captain Joe Root to be followed by Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. Moeen Ali, so often the scourge of left-handers, may come in on pitches conducive to spin.
Australia have been boosted by the return of Steve Smith and David Warner after ‘Sandpapergate’. They were two of their brighter lights with the bat four years ago but, Chris Rogers aside, the rest of Michael Clarke’s squad was found badly wanting in English conditions. With Rogers and Clarke now retired, the pressure on the pair will be immense especially as the rest of the batting order looks far from decided.
With Usman Khawaja doubtful after injuring a hamstring during the World Cup, much will depend on a four-day Australia v Australia A clash taking place in Southampton before the Ashes. Marnus Labuschagne has excelled with Glamorgan, becoming the first man to pass 1000 runs this season. That should see the South African-born batter make the starting line-up. Travis Head averages over 50 in Test cricket but has played just eight matches and this will be his stiffest task yet.
There is a bet to be had here on Australia’s top runscorer for the series. Unless Labuschagne can carry his form from the County Championship Division Two to the Ashes, this looks a two-horse race. Smith was the overall top batsman in the 2015 Ashes with 508 at an average of 56.44 while Warner managed 418 at 46.44. In 2013, Smith averaged 38.33 in five Tests against Warner’s 23 over three Tests.
Smith was originally priced up at 11/4 before being quickly cut to 2/1, with Warner 3/1. I would argue the 2/1 with BetHard still looks a big price as Smith is clearly better in English conditions. Warner has failed to score a century in 15 Test innings in England while Smith has compiled three tons in 23 innings.
The bowling is more settled with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood - who impressed in 2015 - spearheading the attack. Pat Cummins was Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the last Ashes series, but he only played a couple of tour games four years ago. James Pattinson, Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle present alternative pace options while the admirable Nathan Lyon is the main spinner.
But there is a real danger the tourists could come into this series underdone. The non-World Cup players, including Test captain Tim Paine, have played twice for Australia A in England. A 10-wicket win over a weak Sussex side was followed by a draw with England A for whom Sam Curran and Jack Leach both claimed five-wicket hauls. Head and Matthew Wade both made centuries at Canterbury.
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Back England, But How?
Remember last summer when India came to England as the top-ranked team in Test cricket boasting the best batsman (Virat Kohli) and bowler (Jasprit Bumrah, although he missed the first two Tests through injury) on the planet? They went down 4-1.
This time, England look superior in every department. Even if Anderson and Broad cannot play every match, the back-up bowling looks strong enough to do damage against Australian batters whose experience has largely come on wickets where runs are easier to come by.
The 4/5 with William Hill about England winning the series actually looks more than fair. The first Test is at Edgbaston where England’s record since 2010 is won six, drawn one. As a result, an England win in Birmingham at Evens with Bet365 looks huge.
The second Test is at Lord’s which has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Australia. We will know more about the sides’ relative strengths by then, but one market I want to get involved with is the series correct score.
The great British weather used to guarantee at least one Test per summer ending in a draw. But since the advent of T20, scoring rates have increased to such an extent that the draw is now extremely rare. England’s last 18 Tests at home each yielded results with the hosts winning 12 and losing six.
I believe there is something of a gulf between the two sides at present. And unless Warner and Smith score big runs from the off on their return to the Test arena, I can see this being pretty one-sided. My main pick would be England to win the series 4-1 at 8/1 with Betway.
I also think the 5-0 whitewash at 33/1 with Unibet is worth a dabble largely on mathematical grounds. If England were even money for each Test, you would only get 31/1 if you played up your stake and winnings from the opener over the series. They are even money for the opener and a comfortable win, which is very possible, would see their price shorten for subsequent matches making the 33/1 a value bet.
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