While some adrenaline junkies might claim that cricket betting is too dull for their tastes, nobody could say that England's cricketing performance over the years has been boring. It's been an exciting series of highs and lows, with the recent Tri-Series performance serving as a rather unwelcome reminder of an England not at its best.
The upcoming test against New Zealand promises to be an interesting one. England have a few aces up their sleeve, especially in the form of Ben Stokes, but New Zealand are on their home turf. The warm ups are underway and already have their fair share of drama, which will no doubt affect the odds for the match.
The England side has already been plagued with injuries during the warm ups. Star player Ben Stokes, who gives the team a much-needed boost, was rumoured to be unable to play due to a back injury. It goes without saying that this would have a huge negative impact on the squad. Rising star Mason Crane is already out of the tests thanks to injury, so if the team lose Stokes as well they could be in serious trouble.
While it's unfair to place the fate of the game purely at Stokes' feet, it's also important to remember how the team performed without him during England's dreadful Tri-Series. Luckily for England, the most recent news at the time of writing seems to be that Stokes will be able to play after all so bettors should continue to follow this story.
Playing on home turf is always an advantage in Test cricket. The New Zealand team are familiar with the climate and grounds, and know exactly how to exploit them to their advantage. While England will have some time to get used to the weather and grounds, it'll be hard to compete with the opposition's years of training there.
Currently it looks like rain is a possibility (perhaps good for England, given the weather in the United Kingdom), but the temperatures could stay fairly high as well which doesn't bode as well for England. The temperature and air could be a killer for England, as the Blackcaps will be used to the expected humidity.
New Zealand have started the 2018 calendar year with a fairly solid win ratio so far (8 games won, 5 games lost). The wins and losses this year give them a win percentage of around 60%. England have had some good victories so far as well, against New Zealand no less. England have a strong batting game at the moment.
Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Jason Roy, not to mention Joe Root and Eion Morgan are all perfectly capable of smashing a six and handling almost any ball played at them. Combined with Ben Stokes to round off any weak points, the team has great potential. New Zealand, on the other hand, have a strong player at the head of the team.
Kane Williamson looks like he's back on track to cause problems for England, and stalwart Ish Sodhi is returning too. The problem is both teams have beaten each other in pretty equal amount. This makes it hard to predict a winner accurately, which is why other aspects will now start to affect the odds moving forward.
The current odds are leaning towards a New Zealand victory, with William Hill offering odds of 6/4 on a New Zealand win. England are at 11/10 odds at the time of writing. If you're looking for a safe bet for a match win, then following the odds is probably wise. While there are good returns to be made on some markets, they are quite risky.
As an example of the risky odds being offered on the Test, a double chance on New Zealand or England is at odds of 1/7. All in all, it's certainly a tough one to call. The two major things that are likely to affect the game (and the odds) however, are the conditions on the day and whether Ben Stokes is able to play or not.