England Ashes Odds Barely Move Despite Ben Stokes Selection

England Ashes Odds Barely Move Despite Ben Stokes Selection
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Ben Stokes’ inclusion in England’s Ashes squad for this winter’s series in Australia has seen the tourists’ chances of reclaiming the famous urn increase by just 3.3%.

That is according to the best online betting sites, who have only slightly cut their odds on England delivering a stunning series victory Down Under.

The 2021/22 Ashes series begins on December 8 at The Gabba and is due to wrap up in Perth in mid-January. Problems over coronavirus and the fitness of some of England’s key players have dogged the build-up to the series.

What’s more, England are the heavy underdogs heading into the five-match contest. They have won just one away series since 1986 and were humbled 4-0 back in 2017/18.

All-rounder Stokes is one of England’s core Test stars and was initially a doubt for the upcoming series following a second operation on a fractured finger. However, he has since been cleared by his consultant to return to the game.

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Stokes Impact

“To be able to confirm to [captain] Joe Root that I would be available to join the tour from the start was a great moment,” Stokes said.

“I feel much better about everything from my finger to my mental well-being and can focus on playing my best cricket.”

Stokes’ inclusion is certainly a benefit for England. The 30-year-old was England’s leading run scorer in the 2019 Ashes series, averaging 55.12. He has taken 163 Test wickets in his career and averages 31.38 with the ball in hand.

England now have their strongest available squad heading to Australia, with the likes of captain Root, veteran bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and Rory Burns and Jonny Bairstow in the side.

England Odds Barely Move

Yet while Stokes certainly offers England a greater threat both at the crease and in the bowling attack, his inclusion has barely nudged the Ashes odds.

According to cricket betting traders, England’s odds of winning the Ashes have fallen from 5/1 to 4/1 since Stokes confirmed his availability. Yet that amounts to a 3.3% shift for the tourists, who now have a one-in-five chance of beating the Aussies.

As usual, Australia are the Ashes betting favourites to win the series on their home wickets. In fact, at 1/3 they have a 75% chance of doing so, according to the bookmakers.