India, the one true giant of international cricket, has revenge on its mind as it prepares to play England in a four-match Test series starting on 15 November 2012.
The Indians have not been the best of travellers in recent years but even they were taken aback at the manner of their 0-4 away loss to the English. India opened up with a 196-run defeat at Lord’s and went downhill from there, losing by 319 at Trent Bridge, an innings and 242 runs at Edgbaston and an innings and eight runs at The Oval. It was a total disaster for the Test team with more than one billion supporters.
England’s four emphatic Test victories over the Indians in 2011 took the overall ledger between these two sides to 38 English wins, 46 draws and 19 wins for India but bookmakers are expecting the Indians to close the gap in 2012.
Ahead of the First Test in Ahmedabad – Mumbai, Kolkata and Nagpur will stage the subsequent games – India is trading at around 4-7 to win the four-match series, with England and the draw available at around 4-1 and 9-2 respectively.
And with Test draws relatively commonplace in India and other Asian countries, India 2-1 is the favourite correct score at around 5-1. Some bookmakers are quoting the 0-0 draw at 14-1, which is the equivalent of each game being a shade of odds on to finish without a winner. That is silly.
The series betting market is the one that attracts the most attention so it makes sense to start with it and it is very difficult to get away from India, even at around 4-7.
The Indians are formidable on their home pitches. They have won eight and drawn three of their last 11 home Test matches and they have a 14-7-1 record in their last 22 games on home soil. So one should turn a blind eye of their 0-4 loss in England and place greater emphasis on their home results.
With India having lost only one of its last 22 home Test matches – by an innings and six runs to South Africa in Nagpur in 2010 – and draws always a factor in Asia, there may be some value in dutching some series scores.
Bookmakers are offering around 11-1 about India 1-0, 11-2 about India 2-0, 7-1 about India 3-0 and 16-1 about India 4-0. If one puts a line through India 4-0, dutching the other three scores works out at better than 7-4. History suggests that no more than two draws seems likely so one could dutch India 2-0 and India 3-0 and get over 5-2.
There are some appealing plays in the England top batsman and England top bowler markets as well. It is important to note that top batsman markets concern the number of runs scored and top bowler markets concern the number of wickets taken. They are based on statistics rather than judgements.
Alistair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott are vying for England top batsman favouritism when, according to their current location-specific Test batting averages, the touring team’s captain deserves to be the clear market leader.
Trott (50.49) and Pietersen (49.48) have slightly higher Test better averages than Cook (47.84) but the England skipper goes up a few of gears in Asia, averaging 56.89 compared to Pietersen (44.92) and Trott (41.22). Asian pitches appear to suit Cook well, with him scoring four hundreds and six fifties in Tests on the continent.
Bookmakers have done what they think is the obvious thing with the England top bowler market, installing Graeme Swann as the favourite at around 15-8. Indian pitches are known to be spinner friendly and Swann is one of the world’s premier slow bowlers. However, dig beneath the surface and one can build a better value case for James Anderson at around 4-1.
Swann was England’s leading wicket taker on its last tour of India in 2008 but he only edged out Andrew Flintoff by one dismissal. England’s previous two tours of India had seen a fast-medium bowler, Matthew Hoggard, top the away side’s wicket-taking chart with nine victims in 2002 and 13 in 2006. Anderson is England’s best fast-medium bowler and he is the world’s finest exponent of reverse swing bowling. Swann should be the favourite but the head of the market should be something like 9-4 Swann and 11-4 Anderson.
Most bookmakers are betting on the four-Test series between India and England but they are highly likely only to unveil their special offers on the eve of the First Test and they will probably relate to the match in Ahmedabad.
Therefore, the most sensible course of action is to secure some of the free bets and deposit bonuses that are available to new clients of most bookmakers. Also, one should check out the world’s only specialist cricket bookmaker. Set up in 1999, Cricketbet operates out of both Australia and the United Kingdom these days. Cricketbet has a 20 per cent first deposit bonus applicable to new clients, up to a whopping maximum first deposit bonus of 1,000 British pounds or currency equivalent. Here are a list of the top rated bookmakers for betting on cricket.
Back England’s captain
Cook averages 56.89 in Asia, which is nine runs higher than his average with the bat irrespective of geography. Bet365 has framed a Cook series runs market and set the line at 310. Back Cook to go north of that number at around 5-6.
Lay the tourists
India’s home record is incredible, with no defeats in its last 11 Test matches and only one loss in its last 22, so if one does not mind playing at odds on, lay England on the betting exchanges before the start of every game.
Dutch series scores
Again, India does not lose home Test matches very often so dutch some of the series scores to come up with a bet that pays odds against about the hosts winning the battle. For example, India 2-0 and India 3-0 pays better than 5-2.