The man of the match market can be a very lucrative market in cricket betting, with quite often games offering over double figure odds on practically every player and a very good pay out on whoever is selected as the man of the match.
Man of the match would fall into category of – not massive interest to punters and bookmakers alike with the match winner of a game by far and away the most scrutinised and bet on and where the focus of attention usually lies.
Very often the odds on the players in the field are based on a history of form and averages with runs and wickets over a period which is a reasonable indicator and never usually a million miles away on a general basis of who should be what price.
Cricket is a sport like no other where the pitch, weather and playing conditions can override the specific data amassed over time, with it not being relevant to a game in alien conditions to the previous 10 – 15 matches’, where a player’s runs and wickets have been measured/priced up.
One of the key elements to being successful in the Man of the match market is patience and match selection. The very nature of the market, where to select the one player from 22 runners who is going to be selected for the award and is going to involve plenty of fixtures where picking the correct player is like finding a needle and in a haystack and basically just guess work.
When selecting match’s, I prefer the 5-day test match, although there is also value and opportunity in the 50 and 20 over format – although with a fair bit more variance and volatility due to the shortness and unpredictability of the games. As touched on earlier the slight lack of interest in the market probably derives from the perceived difficulty of selecting one winner from 22 as opposed to a 2/3 horse race with the home/away or draw as available bets. Its then a case of deduction to narrow the field down from 22 to the one player who you think will be awarded the man of the match.
For match selection for a game to pick a man of the match, it’s often helpful to take a wicket or/and conditions that are going to be quite extreme – weather it be early season in England where the pitch’s and overhead conditions offer plenty of help to swing and seam bowlers, a subcontinent pitch that has and will massively favour spin bowling from nearly bowl 1 of the test or a fast, bouncy wicket in Australia that is going to be conducive to out and out fast bowling. The reasoning for this is that it can help narrow down what type of player or bowler will be effective in the conditions that are to be played on and sometimes equally important who the captain will look to bowl the most overs and offer the most opportunity to.
Once a match that is being played in specifically helpful conditions has been established, it’s then the important decision of which team is going to win the match? This selection can instantly rule out half of the 22 players to 11 or blow your bet with the man of the match invariably coming from the winning team and as such the MOTM coming from the victors.
An example of this came in a test match between England and West Indies in England last year at Lords. The pretext to this match was in the tests prior, playing conditions were difficult to predict. The first Test was the very first day/night test played at Edgbaston and was an unknown quantity, but proved to be a match that helped both batsman and bowlers in varying degrees with the wicket being good to bat on in the daylight hours and help under lights for swing and seam bowlers. This would classify as a game with too many runners in the field and too difficult to narrow down where the winner would come from, as it was, Cook’s double hundred game him the honours.
The second test at Headingly was again difficult to decipher a ground with a history of helping the bowlers with cloud cover, but a fast scoring, easy paced pitch when the sun was out. This proved the case with the pitch and match lasting the entire 5 days, runs and wickets available and the MOTM taken By Shai Hopes excellent 100s in each innings in a game the West Indies just shaded. Again, another match where there was not enough evidence or help to take the market on.
With the scored tied at 1-1 the decider was played at Lords. The timing of this match was the first ever test match played in September. Due to the wickets likely to contain moisture and help for the bowlers with an 11am start and far past the peak of summer to help dry the wicket out. The weather prediction was cloud and rain for a lot of the 5 days ahead and the feeling was that the wicket was going to be helpful for seam and swing bowling from the start and throughout the game. This felt like a game loaded in a specific type of bowler’s favour.
The next decision was to pick a winning team and reduce 11 candidates. The score was locked at 1-1 in the series, but England were really the obvious choice and the MOTM selection to come from their ranks. Which left the task of selecting and removing candidates from the 11 players.
The components of the England side consisted of 5 specialist batsmen in Cook, Stoneman, Westley, Root and Malan. Of these, three players were new to the side and very much untried and untested at the highest level and were easy omissions. Leaving Root and Cook further consideration. Keeper/Batsman Bairstow a fine cricketer and one of the very first names on the sheet for his consistency but certainly not one of the main candidates as a No7 batsman and obvious non-bowler, making another omission.
The specialist bowlers in the side were Broad, Anderson and Roland-Jones. Like the three new and unproven batters, Roland-Jones was an easy rule out in terms of who was most likely to be player of the match. This now left two batsman in Root and Cook, all-rounders Moeen Ali and Stokes and two specialist bowlers in Broad and Anderson.
From the players left, Cook was a rule out since he would be opening the batting and in tough batting conditions the toughest place to be batting was likely to be at the top of the order against a brand-new ball with the pitch at its liveliest and the bowlers their freshest. With regards to the all-rounders Moeen Ali had been having a golden summer and in the four tests against South Africa had scored more runs and taken more wickets in every test except for the third test where Stokes managed more runs although could not match Ali’s wickets for the game. The conditions however dictated that Moeen as a spin bowler was unlikely to get much opportunity and as such was a rule out on not being able to influence match’s as he had done all summer.
England’s two best pace bowlers Anderson and Broad were reasonably easy to separate on current from with Anderson being by far the most successful throughout the summer and therefore more likely to do damage with the bowl.
With 22 down to 3 – Root was the next to be omitted, in such bowler friendly conditions the chances of one of the remaining candidates to provide a match winning contribution was just more probable than a specialist batsman. This left a straight shoot out between Anderson and Stokes. A tough choice with Anderson having the ability and history to totally run through a side in favourable conditions and then become hard to look past for MOTM or Stokes, who with his seam bowling and dynamic batting (in what would be a low scoring game) had the potential to influence all four innings of the test match compared to Anderson’s two (when England were to bowl).
Fortunately, I went with Stokes and it proved to a close-run thing with Stokes taking a brilliant 6-22 with the bowl in the first innings followed by top scoring with a 60 in England’s first innings which just edged Anderson’s 9 wickets in the game including a 7-wicket haul in the West Indies second innings.
Obviously not all Man of the match selections go quite as smoothly as this one panned out, but hopefully a good example of the potential and opportunity that this market can present when the right conditions and criteria present themselves.
My Cricket Council service has been proofed daily to BetFan since the 10th November 2017 and it has in that time made +300 Points Profit. January is proving very fruitful with +139.08 points made in the first 3 weeks of the month.
Click the link below it would be a pleasure to have you on board and taking your share of the profits being made.