JOSH HEALEY (@JoshHealey04) talks us through the best betting angles for England’s first ODI with South Africa in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
South Africa v England | Wednesday 11.30 | Sky Sports 2
The first in a series of five ODIs gets underway in Bloemfontein on Wednesday morning. Including full games dating back to 2000, the hosts have a good record at this ground – W8-T1-L2.
Bloemfontein is not frequently used by the Proteas and so it’s fair to assume the groundsmen will be keen to serve up a wicket offering an abundance of runs, so as to put on an entertaining spectacle.
Only 15 full games have been played here since 2000, and I do not believe we can read into the stats too much. The first innings average is 237.44, but if a good deck is served up, 300 will likely be par.
South Africa have surpassed 300 in their last three matches here, batting first each time, however they were facing weak opposition on two occasions (Zimbabwe and Kenya). In first innings post-World Cup, England notched 300 plus in 4/7, with South Africa doing so in 9/17 throughout the whole of 2015.
I have scoured the markets much more meticulously than usual, and there’s not much value on offer. Calling the first game of a series is always tough, especially on a ground that does not host much international cricket. On the contrary, it can be worthwhile investing in in-form players while the lines and prices are favourable.
Firstly, Hashim Amla can be backed at 5/6 with Betway to score Over 30.5 Runs, and this offers a smidgen of value. This bet would’ve landed in 68/123 (55.28%) of Amla’s innings, including in 20/36 (55.56%) in his first game of a series. But that only gives us a very slight edge, so it’s worth digging deeper.
I decided to investigate how Amla transfers from the Test to the one-day arena. It turns out he has played in seven ODI series which immediately followed on from a Test series. Of the 27 games contested within those series, Amla notched over 30 runs in 17 (62.96%), including in 5/7 (71.43%) in his first game; a sizeable leap from his overall career percentages.
Additionally, there have been three instances where Amla has entered a one-day series after surpassing his career average in the previous Test series (as he is doing now). The opener scored over 30 in 10/15 (66.67%) matches played within those series. This, to a reasonable extent, reinforces the notion that Amla can carry his form well from red-ball to white-ball cricket.
It’s an angle I’m keeping a keen eye on and am happy to put some money down in the first outing, given the value on offer. Let’s hope he can regain the robotic-like consistency that largely deserted him in 2015.
Secondly, Kagiso Rabada can be backed at 7/2 with Boylesports to claim Top South Africa Bowler honours. Coach Russel Domingo has said the youngster will be rested at some point this series, but there is no need to worry – if Rabada does not play, our bet will be voided.
Rabada has burst onto the international scene in spectacular fashion, most notably with 13 wickets in the last Test match versus England. It was a stunning series for the 20-year-old, as in just six innings he claimed 22 scalps at an awesome strike rate of 29.90.
The paceman has played 10 ODIs, notching top bowler on three occasions and finishing joint-top (which results in a dead-heat payout) twice. That’s 50% of games he’s paid out in.
At this early stage in his one-day career, Rabada averages 2.1 wickets per innings while possessing an outstanding strike rate of 24.9. He is no longer an unknown quantity, but still holds an advantage in that batsmen have not had time to become fully accustomed to him.
When taking all of the above into account, accompanied by the absence of South Africa’s premier bowlers, Rabada looks better than a 7/2 shot. Boylesports’ price sticks out like a sore thumb here, and provides us with a decent edge.
South Africa v England – Hashim Amla to score Over 30.5 Runs (5/6 Betway)
South Africa v England – Kagiso Rabada top South Africa bowler (7/2 Boylesports)
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