Cricket Test Match Betting Tips, Rules and Odds
For cricket purists, Test match cricket remains the pinnacle of the game. Contested by the best international teams (the 12 nations with Test status) and scheduled for five days, Test matches provide an ebb and flow like nothing else in sport. That's why punters love betting on test cricket at the best cricket betting sites.
If you're having a flutter on Test action you'll need to tailor your cricket betting strategy specifically to this version of the historic bat-and-ball game. That's why we've put together a handy guide specifically covering Test cricket betting tips - so you, the bettor, can place cricket wagers with confidence.
Test Cricket Betting Tips
Test cricket bettors are always trying to work out what a good score is - but the truth is that it is impossible to know until both teams have batted. For that reason, it is often wise not to make a snap judgment about a team batting first. Or to perhaps analyse why, for instance, they only made 170. Was the bowling particularly accurate or good? Was the pitch very helpful and likely to make things difficult for the side batting second as well?
Raw numbers will give far from a complete picture of what’s going on when it comes to Test cricket. But thankfully there are a number of things bettors can do to improve their chances of winning Test cricket bets.
Watch Matches on Betting Sites with Live Streaming
Any bookmaker offering a facility to watch the match live is going to be one which assists you, the bettor. Some of the top online betting sites will allow you to watch cricket live when you sign up for an account. Sometimes you just need to see the action to understand more about a team's score.
If you see that one team has recorded a high score in a particular innings, you then need to figure out whether that was due to ideal batting conditions or whether it was down to an inspired performance by a number of batsmen/women. Indeed, it could be a combination of both, or one player could have delivered a virtuoso performance.
It will be much easier to work out how a total was achieved if you watch the action unfold live. bet365 is one of the prominent online betting sites that offers live streaming on a variety of cricket competitions - so you'll be able to watch loads of cricket matches if you sign up for an account with that world-renowned sports betting operator.
Search for In-Play Test Cricket Betting Value
Things can change in an instant despite the fact that a cricket match stretches over five days. Watching the match live will assist you with in-play betting and you can find great live betting opportunities if you keep an eye on the in-play odds for a Test match. For example, a savvy cricket bettor will be particularly interested in the in-play odds when a new ball is about to be introduced to the match.
A new ball is introduced after every 80 overs and it can provide a big advantage to the bowling team as a new ball tends to move more. Conversely, a new ball can sometimes suit the batting team if other conditions are favouring the batsmen. It's often easier to make clean contact with a brand new ball when compared to an old, worn ball. If a bookmaker fails to take the new ball into account, an in-play bettor may look to find an edge here. That's just one example of how live betting can give you an advantage and there are many others that will come with punting experience. The best in-play betting sites should be your first port of call when looking to place live cricket bets - with William Hill among the most prominent.
Check Weather Forecast and Ground Conditions
Weather and pitch conditions are hugely important in Test cricket. Overcast conditions will favour swing bowlers, while pitches with decent coverings of grass will assist seam bowlers. To look at an example, having been set 182 at Lord’s to win against England in 2019, Ireland came out to bat under gloomy skies, ideal for swing bowling. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes swung the ball prodigiously, and they bowled out the visitors for just 38. It was hard to imagine any team getting close to the victory target in those conditions on that day.
Pitches vary markedly throughout the world. Those in the Indian subcontinent tend to have less grass so are more conducive to spin and less helpful to seamers. While Australia is dominated by fast, bouncy tracks, the one at Sydney Cricket Ground has traditionally been spin-friendly. Teams often pick two spinners here, although recent matches suggest it is more batter-friendly than anything else these days.
As the match goes on, a pitch will wear and cracks could appear which help spinners and prompt variable bounce. A ball that hits a crack may keep low and become nigh-on impossible to play. Patches of rough from fast bowlers’ follow-throughs will also help slow bowlers with the ball gripping and turning out of those areas. A team batting last on the final day will always find life difficult against a team with at least one good-quality spinner.
During England’s tour of India in early 2021 a turning pitch in Ahmedabad saw Indian spin twins Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin rip through the tourists. In the first of two Tests played there, a day-night match with a pink ball, part-time English spinner Joe Root took 5-8 which he said, “summed up the wicket”. The match was over in five sessions.
In terms of match result betting, always look at the team batting last and how strong their spin department is. Even 150 can be very hard to chase on a deteriorating pitch against useful slow bowlers. Variable bounce means quick bowlers can also be tough to face.
We shouldn't neglect to mention here, of course, that rain will stop play in Test cricket. While an effort will be made to make up for time lost, that can have a big impact on a match as a draw will result if both teams have not completed their innings within the scheduled match time.
Understand Importance of the Toss
The coin toss can have a huge effect on the outcome when it comes to Test cricket. For example, if a pitch looks like it is starting to deteriorate, a captain may decide to bat first so that his/her bowlers have the advantage of starting on a cracked pitch. If a team has multiple high-quality swing bowlers in its ranks, and the weather is overcast, a skipper could decide to bowl first to take advantage of ideal conditions for swing bowling.
Cricket Test betting is all about looking for these small percentages, so it's wise to keep an eye on the odds before and after the toss and try to work out what the captain who wins the toss is thinking. Commentators and TV cricket experts will help you here and you may even see movement in the betting odds based on the outcome of the coin toss.
Study Test Cricket Form
Any sports betting aficionado should know the importance of studying form before placing a bet. Do your research and check out how teams and individual players are performing. Again, take into account the conditions and study the past results of teams in different environments.
The good news here is that cricket bettors have more statistics at their fingertips than ever before. There are tonnes of websites where you can find detailed stats, or, better still, a match prediction from a cricket statistics guru. A cricket tip for any specific Test match should be easy to find - but just make sure tips are backed up by the formbook before placing a bet. 888sport is one of the sites that presents bettors with graphical statistics before and during cricket matches.
What to Know About Cricket Test Betting
Test cricket may lack the fast-paced action of its limited-overs siblings, but it still offers a vast array of opportunities for cricket bettors. There are numerous markets before the coin toss and in-play.
Generally speaking, batters take more risks than in the past in part thanks to the growth of Twenty20. This has led to increased scoring rates and more wickets falling which, therefore, means more results than in the past. Test matches seldom go into the fifth day with batting collapses and innings’ defeats also more common.
The hope is that a Test match will see an even contest between bat and ball. The main difference between Tests and limited overs cricket is that the emphasis is on wickets (taking and preserving) rather than runs. While 20 runs in an over might prove decisive in a limited overs match, it won’t matter too much in a Test. However a hat-trick in a Test (a bowler taking three wickets with consecutive balls) would be a game-changer.
Captaincy is a major factor in Test cricket betting. An aggressive captain may go for a victory rather than a draw, by employing attacking field settings or declaring sooner in order to move the game along. A more defensive skipper will opt to accumulate more runs to rule out the likelihood of defeat, while also reducing their team’s chance of victory. Knowing how a captain will deal with the game situation is important for seeing how a match will turn out.
Test Cricket Betting Odds and Markets
There is a wide range of betting markets to get stuck into before a Test match and in-play. We take a look at the main betting options here:
To Win the Toss: Simply which team will win the coin toss before play.
Match Odds: All three eventualities (Team A win, Team B win and the draw) are priced up here. Top online bookmakers and betting apps also offer Draw No Bet (DNB) - where you get your money back in the event of a draw - and Double Chance, which covers odds for one team and the draw. In the event of a tie (which has only happened twice in the history of Test cricket) dead heat rules apply with the draw being a losing bet.
First Innings Lead: Which team will lead after the first innings. Some bookmakers price up the tie while, for others, dead heat rules apply in that eventuality.
Highest Opening Partnership: Which team will have the highest opening stand in the first innings. Again, some bookmakers price up the tie while dead heat rules apply for others.
First Wicket Method: Six methods of dismissal are priced up here: caught, bowled, lbw (leg-before-wicket), run-out, stumped, and others. At the fall of the first wicket, this turns in-play to ‘Next Wicket Method’. Some online bookmakers also make this a two-way market: caught or not caught.
First Ball of Match: Simply what will happen on the first ball of the match? The options are dot ball, each run score possiblity (excluding five), bye or leg bye combined, wicket, wide, and no ball.
First Over Runs: This is an over/under market with a number of runs, eg. 1.5. This then applies in-play for all subsequent overs under the 'Next Over Runs' heading.
Score at Fall of First Wicket: This is an over/under market with a number of runs, eg. 22.5. After the first wicket falls, this turns in-play to ‘Score at Fall of Next Wicket’.
Wicket in First Over?: A simple yes/no market, and one which becomes ‘Wicket in Next Over?’ when play starts.
Top Team Run-Scorer/Wicket-Taker: Simply pick which player will be the top run-scorer or wicket-taker in their team in the first innings. Dead heat rules apply in the event of a tie and players who are selected but do not bat/bowl are losers. There are often also odds on the players to score a 50 in the first innings, and to score 100 (a century) in the first innings.
Top Bowler: Some bookies offer a top bowler market rather than top wicket taker. Instead of a dead heat when one or more bowlers take the same number of wickets, the winner is decided by which one concedes fewest runs. Make sure to check the rules thoroughly to be sure of the difference before you bet.
Player Performance: Certain players will be priced up in this over/under market based on what they achieve during the match. The scoring system is one point per run scored, 10 points per catch, 20 points per wicket, 25 points per stumping. No points are awarded for run-outs.
Hundred in the Match: A simple yes/no market with odds on whether a batter will score a hundred in the match. Some bookmakers will also offer a ‘50 in the Match’ market (at prohibitive odds).
Player of the Match: Simply who will receive the official Player of the Match award after the Test match ends.
Test Cricket Betting Rules
As mentioned, top run-scorer and wicket-taker bets are usually for the first innings only, although some bookmakers offer markets for ‘match runs’ for a batter (and they are stated as such). Bets will be voided when fewer than a certain number of overs are possible due to weather or other external factors. These vary between bookmakers so make sure to check. As mentioned, dead heat rules apply in several match bets when the tie is not quoted.
Of course, there is also a large range of futures/antepost betting markets such as series score, top team run-scorer and wicket-taker, and top series run-scorer and wicket-taker.
Test Cricket Basics
The first ever Test cricket match, between England and Australia, was held in 1877. Tests remained the only form of international cricket before one-day internationals were inaugurated in 1971. With the advent of T20 in recent years, Test cricket has faced challenges because of its comparatively slow pace being something of a turn-off to newer fans. That said, it still has a hardcore following and the Ashes – the Test series between England and Australia – never fails to generate hype and excitement, with Ashes betting still proving to be extremely popular.
As mentioned previously, Test cricket is only played between international teams and takes place over five days. Each side is scheduled to bat twice with a coin toss deciding who bats first. Unlike limited overs cricket, there are no fielding restrictions other than that there must be no more than two fielders behind square on the leg side. This is to stop the overuse of short-pitched bowling, or bodyline tactics, as infamously employed by England in Australia in 1932-33.
There are three sessions in a day each lasting two hours. The traditional red ball is used, which can offer significant movement in the air (swing) to bowlers. England use the Dukes ball for home matches. This brand of ball has a pronounced seam offering movement off the pitch and more help to the bowlers than both the Kookaburra and SG balls used elsewhere.
Unlike limited overs cricket, a team can declare if they feel they have scored enough runs or want to have their bowlers attack the opposition’s opening batters. An hour at the end of the day could be enough to take a couple of wickets and tilt the match decisively.
If the team batting second fails to get within 200 runs of their opponents’ first-innings total, the team in front can enforce the follow-on and make them bat again. This means the team batting first also bats last and chases a score, unless the team following on fails to at least draw level and suffers an innings defeat.
If, after five days, neither team has won, i.e. the team batting fourth (or third in the case of a follow-on) has not been bowled out or passed the victory target, then the match is a draw. If the team batting last is bowled out with the aggregate scores tied, the match is a tie. This has happened just twice in the history of Test cricket. A match with a team winning is sometimes called a result with a pitch which gives a good chance of their being a winner known as a ‘result pitch’.
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