Available in:United Kingdom
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.
In all forms of cricket, each "over" consists of six deliveries of the ball, whilst an "inning" generally lasts until 10 out of the 11 batsmen are caught or bowled out. As the shorter games involve a fixed number of innings, the batting team is encouraged to take far more risks than with Test matches, providing viewers with a much more lively experience. In Test games, however, both sides can afford to take their time and play a more tactical game, with players safe in the knowledge that they have a full five days in which to make their move.
All of the variety and tactical differences make cricket betting one of the most exhilarating past times for gambling enthusiasts, with plenty of different markets to get your teeth stuck into. When betting on a Test match, you can choose everything from the standard outright winner market to top runscorer and bowler. There's also a number of more interesting and lucrative options, such as “Highest Opening Partnership” and “First to Capture a Wicket”. Anyone hoping to be successful in these markets needs to keep a keen eye on the stats, with factors such as the type of surface and weather conditions having a real impact on individual player performances.
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.
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