CRICKET expert Josh Healey (@JoshHealey04) talks us through his best bets for the 1st ODI between Pakistan and England on Wednesday.
Pakistan v England | Wednesday 11.00 | Sky Sports 2
We return to Abu Dhabi, the scene of the largely tedious first Test, for the start of what should be a fascinating ODI series. A traditional-looking Pakistan side will do battle with a versatile and aggressive England side.
Twenty-eight ODIs have been contested at Abu Dhabi, 16 of which have been won by the side batting first. From 2012 onwards the bias has been more pronounced, with the team batting first winning 8/11. The first innings average is 250.71 and the second innings 215.07; 300 has only been breached in 2/28 games.
Given the above stats, it’s unlikely we will witness a run fest, whilst there is an apparent advantage in batting first. With an average of 7.14 wickets falling in the first innings and 7.82 in the second, we could be in for a gritty encounter with bowlers dominating.
Onto the betting, and I had a fantastic value bet lined up for this one, but just as I’d finished penning the preview both the line and the price had moved out of favour. As a result I’ve had to reassess.
First up, I’m backing David Willey to score 40 & over performance points at 5/6 with Bet365. It’s a bet that would’ve landed in 4/5 ODIs and 2/2 T20Is. The point tallies he accumulated across those seven games averaged out at 53.29. Although a small sample size, Willey’s impressive start is hard to ignore.
Pakistan have lost 211/270 wickets at Abu Dhabi, an average of 7.81 per game. There should be enough up for grabs for the ex-Northants man to get in on the act. The 6/5 offered by Coral for Willey to take over 1.5 wickets may be more appealing to some, but I prefer to have all three facets onside in what is admittedly a more cautious pick.
If the wickets do indeed fall in this game, Willey could finally get a chance to showcase his batting talent. He is also an excellent fielder, having taken 53 catches across 152 domestic white-ball games, and two in seven for England so far. A cameo, a catch, or both are not out of the equation.
Secondly, I’m opting for a simple, value selection in Joe Root to score over 25.5 runs at 9/10 with Coral. Root has scored 26 or more runs in 33/55 (60%) ODI innings, including 20/30 away from home. The bookies perceive this bet as having a 52.63% chance, and to me that is an underestimation of England’s best batsman.
Of course Root cannot deliver in every single game, but in the last year or two his failures have been few and far between, and he has bounced back well from the few he has endured.
Strangely enough, his scoring of just 10 runs in the final Test at Sharjah actually reinforces my confidence in this bet, as he’s had one slip-up and now normal service can hopefully be resumed.
Pakistan v England – David Willey 40 & over performance points (5/6 Bet365)
Pakistan v England – Joe Root over 25.5 runs (9/10 Coral)
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