JOE Drabble (@Joe_Drabs), assistant producer at Sky Sports Cricket, takes us through his best outright bets ahead of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Cricket World Cup | 14th February – 9th March 2015 | Sky Sports 2
My approach to betting on the 2015 Cricket World Cup: Keep It Simple.
The best players, playing on the best pitches in what should be a predictable tournament in terms of results; expect the favourites to come to the fore.
Outright Winners – Australia (2/1 William Hill)
Let’s get our banker, and this price, in the back pocket as quickly as possible. It will only shorten.
The most explosive batting line-up plus the most intimidating bowling attack plus playing in their home conditions = Australia’s fifth World Cup crown.
South Africa are their greatest rivals in terms of ability and the formbook, however the Aussies shrugged the Saffas aside 4-1 in a recent ODI series between the sides and the Proteas are renowned for (cough cough) lacking the minerals to see the job through at the business end of major tournaments.
Name The Finalists – Australia v South Africa (13/2 Betfred)
Sportingbet’s top price 10/1 on an all-host nation final between Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne offers appeal but I am banking on the trans-Tasman rivals meeting in the semi-finals after finishing P1 & P3 respectively in Pool A and therefore ending up in the same half of the knockout draw.
England and Sri Lanka progressing in third and fourth. South Africa, playing in the much weaker Pool B alongside UAE, Ireland, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Pakistan and India, should cruise to the quarter-finals where they are likely to meet and beat Sri Lanka, leaving a last four clash with New Zealand or India to negotiate. They should be too strong for both.
Top Batsman Analysis
Batting in Australia is fun, especially on the beach, and with true pitches, quick outfields and fielding restrictions in place, as well as some rather mediocre bowling, expect an absolute run-fest over the next seven weeks.
History points to an opening batsman winning this market (they have done in each of the last three World Cups) so, as I mentioned previously, let’s keep it simple… while also looking at an outsider or two for some each-way value.
David Warner (10/1 Paddy Power)
We’ll start with one of the opening batsmen from the team who we are backing to go all the way, the quiet and unassuming Australian street fighter David Warner.
With only three ODI hundreds to his name at an average of 32, it’s hard to back Warner in this market with any great confidence, but he’ll certainly give you a run for your money based on his form leading into the competition, not to mention his undoubted talent.
After an unbelievable year with the bat in Test cricket, Warner is one of few batsmen capable of reaching 200 inside 50 overs. Playing at home and trusting the flat pitches will certainly suit his care-free batting style and assuming Australia do go all the way, he’ll get at least nine chances to pile on the runs.
He starts the tournament on the back of two one-day hundreds in the last month (one a warm-up fixture v India).
Hashim Amla (9/1 Titan Bet)
South Africa should rack up the runs against lesser opposition during the group stage and, after topping their pool, are likely to play another modest bowling attack, Sri Lanka, in the quarter-finals.
A route to their first World Cup final since reintegration in 1992 will then depend on the outcome of a tricky semi-final against either New Zealand or England but one man who should profit heavily is in-form South African run-machine Hashim Amla.
He averages 56.41 in ODIs and comes into the World Cup on the back of scores of 66, 153*, 61 and 133 in his last four innings against West Indies. The one reservation, only one of his 19 centuries to-date have come in Australia… surprising, given that Amla thrives on pacey, bouncy wickets.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (33/1 e/w SkyBet)
The winner of this market four years ago is starting to regain his form with three centuries and a knock of 81 in his last seven ODIs.
At 38-years-old there may be reservations over his fitness, but should Sri Lanka bat first in matches against minnows Scotland, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, Dilshan will be merciless.
We are banking on Sri Lanka losing to South Africa in the quarter-finals, though, so Dilshan will have two knocks less than his rivals to fill his boots.
Glenn Maxwell (80/1 e/w Bwin)
We all love a long shot and at 80/1 the ‘Million Dollar Man’ Glenn Maxwell could bank us a payday of our own. Likely to bat at No.6 for Australia, he’s priced up accordingly.
However, fitness concerns over Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, as well as the option of promoting him as a pinch-hitter, make Maxwell an attractive outside bet. Thrown in the fact, he’s also a bloody good player.
Top Bowler Analysis
Here we are going to look at bowlers who operate at the start and end of the innings, where batsmen are most vulnerable and carefree.
I am immediately disregarding a spin/slow bowler winning this market as there is a real dearth in quality in this area and once again the favourites take my fancy.
Mitchell Starc (10/1 William Hill)
An unbelievable strike-rate of a wicket every 25.5 deliveries in one-day cricket, Starc rightly heads the betting. Despite being favourite, he also represents decent value at 10/1.
His current S/R suggests he will take roughly 20 wickets in nine matches – comfortably enough to scoop us a winner. Will not only cause issues with the new ball, is also a huge threat when it begins to reverse.
Dale Steyn (11/1 888 Sport)
Given that South Africa ARE joining Australia in the final… Steyn should also bowl more deliveries than virtually everyone else in the competition.
Charging in and firing down 90mph thunderbolts at the batsmen of UAE, Ireland and Zimbabwe will yield huge rewards, while Pakistan and West Indies are notoriously charitable. A strike-rate of a wicket every 31.4 balls.
Steven Finn (33/1 e/w 888 Sport)
Looking for outside value, and some English cheer, let’s have a dabble on England’s beanpole paceman Stevie Finn.
He appears to have rediscovered some rhythm and pace in recent matches and although he probably won’t bowl at the top of the innings, he will almost certainly be deployed at the death.
His pace and steep bounce should shake up a few batsmen on quick, bouncy wickets in Australia and he should produce some nip when England head over to New Zealand.
Chris Woakes (50/1 e/w Bwin)
Another Englishman who could thrive in these conditions and is beginning to hit the heights many predicted is Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes.
He will open the bowling for England alongside James Anderson and is the only England player to have taken two six-wicket hauls in ODIs. Comes into the World Cup on form having taken eight wickets in the recent Tri-Series against Australia and India.
To Reach The Quarter-Finals – Ireland (Price TBC)
Pakistan look under-cooked, West Indies vulnerable. Ireland could nip through the back door in Pool B.
Australia to win the Cricket World Cup (2/1 William Hill)
Name The Finalists – Australia v South Africa (13/2 Betfred)
Top Batmsan – David Warner (10/1 Paddy Power)
Top Batmsan – Hashim Amla (9/1 TitanBet)
Top Batmsan – Tillakaratne Dilshan (33/1 e/w SkyBet)
Top Batmsan – Glenn Maxwell (80/1 e/w Bwin)
Top Bowler – Mitchell Starc (10/1 William Hill)
Top Bowler – Dale Steyn (11/1 888 Sport)
Top Bowler – Steven Finn (33/1 e/w 888 Sport)
Top Bowler – Chris Woakes (50/1 e/w Bwin)
To Reach The Quarter-Finals – Ireland (TBC)
What’s your best Cricket World Cup outright bet? Do you agree with Joe’s selections?
Let us know your views in the comments box below.