It may surprise a lot of people that cricket is now a sport played all around the world 12 months a year, in all corners of the globe and in a variety of different formats. The increasing volume of cricket being played and ongoing growth of the new 20/20 leagues all around the world mean there has never been a better time to bet on the sport.
Aside from the sheer volume and opportunity to bet on cricket, it may also surprise people that it’s almost certainly the sport with the biggest array of markets and options to bet on specific matches. It’s these sub markets on a cricket match that I am going to write about and highlight opportunity’s that are exploitable and not as well maintained or ascribed the same diligence by bookmakers as the most popular and at times only seen market of which team will win a match.
The best way to demonstrate the use of these markets and the disparity that can occur with them and the match winner market is to highlight a recent Test series between India and Sri Lanka.
To give some pre-match context to the fixture – India are the No1 side in the world, have not been beaten in 5 years in a series at home. This is predominately due to the unique conditions that cricket in India is played in.
5 day test matches are regularly played in heat touching 40C, on wickets that bake, break up and crumble under the heat and assist their fine spin bowlers in ultra-helpful spin bowling conditions. The bookmakers made India pre-match favourites at odds of 1.20.
This sort of mis-match and odds really present no opportunity, like Manchester City playing at home against a struggling side. A day before the test started there was a dramatic shift in the odds with unexpected news that heavy rain was going to being hitting a lot of the 5 day test match saw the bookmakers move quickly to drift the India odds to close to even with the draw not far behind with the potential that so much play will be ruled out not leaving enough time for an Indian win.
The onset of heavy rain aside from bringing the draw into play, would, to a keen student of cricket (especially in India) dramatically effect playing conditions as and when there was play. As I briefly touched on, Indian conditions for decades now have involved their wickets being played on dry pitch’s that break up in the heat and assist spin bowling. The news of heavy rain and cloud being involved throughout the 5 days would now flip entirely and make conditions like those in England where quick bowling dominates and the spinner hardly bowls at all, certainly not as a real wicket taking threat.
This is where the sub markets come into play, unlike the match winner odds that had moved with the news of the weather and changing conditions there were a vast array of sub markets with different bookmakers that had just remained the same and were now totally wrong with the situation that was likely to occur (quick bowling to dominate and spin bowling not having a big role). In this instance I was able to find 6 different bets from the sub-markets at prices that were clearly wrong and getting prices well above even money for what were now bets that were almost dead certs.
The bets I managed to acquire were as follows –
1 – Sri Lanka’s left arm spinner Herath to take under 4 wickets in the first innings at odds of 2.40. Herath only bowled 12 deliveries and took 0 wickets as the seamers dominated and he wasn’t required.
2 – India spinner Ashwin to take less than 3 first innings wickets at odds 2.25. Ashwin took 0 wickets and only bowled 8 overs as the Indian quicks took all the wickets.
3 – India spinner Jadeja to take less than 3 first innings wickets at odds of 2.20. Jadeja took 0 wickets and only bowled 1 over.
4 – Ashwin to score less than 145 player points (this is a score acquired from a mixture of runs and wickets) again he came nowhere close with hardly bowling at all.
5 – Jadeja to score less than 145 player points, the same scenario as Ashwin above.
6 – No century to be scored in either teams first innings? Excellent odds of 5.00 which had not moved at all despite the changing playing conditions.
These are bets that can always fly under the radar with the bookmakers preoccupied with the mass volume of money in the match winner markets of which the bookmakers would have made a killing with large sums of money going on India and the game ending up a rain effected draw and very happy with their work for the test match and no real concern for the hardly used sub markets.
Another example of exploiting the sub markets came in the very next game between the two sides. This time the weather was predicted to be fine for the whole 5 days and India were again 1.20 and red-hot certainties to win this match. Leaving the question how to find value and profit from such a one-sided match and such horrible odds. Again it was a case of digging into the sub-markets and finding some different angles to extract value and profit.
In usual Indian conditions (that these were) Indian batsman have dominated and wracked up massive scores. With some searching of different bookmakers and their sub markets a standard and somewhat lazy price of 8.00 was offered on each of the top 4 Indian batsman individually Rahul, Vijay, Pujara and Kohli to score 100 runs in the first innings. With their form at home and the lack of power in the Sri Lankan bowling line up this was an excellent opportunity to back all 4 players with the knowledge of one reaching three figures making a very healthy profit. As is happened 3 of the batsman made first innings century’s and again proved a fine pay out from deviating from the more traditional angle of betting.
I’ve been a cricket tipster for nearly 10 years now and just recently started a service on Betfan after a successful period proofing on Tipster planet. I rarely bet on the match winner of a cricket match as the I feel the market is certainly efficient and offers little to no value.
The vast majority of bets will be side markets to a cricket match which I feel certainly offer opportunity and value. The examples I’ve given just past are for 5-day Test match’s. We are currently in the middle of a massive 20/20 tournament in Australia (The Big Bash). 20/20 cricket offers a different challenge to finding different bets but are certainly available to someone who potentially watch’s and reads more cricket with greater diligence and intensity to a bookmaker.
An example I can provide (and is a bet I put out there in my proofing period) was in the “Top run scorer in a team” market. Bookmakers enjoy a certain advantage in assigning the odds they want that suit the nature of their book for a market. They are at a disadvantage against good knowledge though in the fact that they must price up their book a few days in advance of a game and with incomplete knowledge into the fluid thinking and movement that selecting a 20/20 side and batting order can entail.
In the first few games for the Melbourne Renegades they won match’s with only a few wickets down and no real certainty of what the rest of the batting order would be. Mo Nabi was priced up as 55.00 to be the Renegades top run scorer based on a lack of knowledge on his batting prowess and the assumption he would be batting at 9 or 10 in the order.
Having seen him bat for Afghanistan he is a genuine all rounder and watching the early Renegades match’s closely, a few interviews and discussions floated the idea that the batting order could be changed and a player like Nabi could be promoted up the order. This came into fruition in the very next match where Nabi was promoted up the order and top scored with 52. Infuriatingly I was a game out and unable to get on the bet where this came in!
There are numerous examples of such opportunity that I will probably write on in future as well as going into greater detail of what the different markets are and how I link them to specific bets. With my service Cricket Counsel I will always provide insight and analysis to each bet and to the thinking and angle that I am coming from.
I hope this has given you a flavour of how cricket can be effectively used as a profitable part of a betting portfolio.