iBet: The Ashes, Betting Preview

Gareth Purnell

The Ashes, Betting Preview

If this five-match series were being played in Australia, the first Test would be in Brisbane, where the Ozzies are all but unbeatable. However, for some reason the ECB has decided the first Test should take place at Trent Bridge, where England’s record is dodgy. The problem with Trent Bridge is that the pitch tends to deteriorate and so it therefore favours the team batting first. It makes the toss more important than any gulf in quality and those thinking of backing England at odds on should note that there is not a ground in the country where England have a worse win:loss ratio. Out of the last nine tests played there over 10 years, six have been won by the team batting first.

Indeed if Australia win the toss I would be very tempted to get with them at the available 3/1, although no doubt that price will shrink if they do. I wouldn’t get carried away with any talk of a series whitewash for the home side either, which is as short as 10/1 in places (2-1 to England at 8/1 appeals more). England have better players in most departments yes, the statistics prove this. But Ashes series are what make Australian international cricketers tick and I see the late replacement of their coach with the gutsy Darren Lehmann as a major positive. They have a fine captain in Michael Clarke and a bowling attack led by James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc which is not to be underestimated. England are good, but they are not unbeatable and certainly not as good as the magical Australian side the dominated cricket in the 1990s up to about 2005.

Trent Bridge tends to favour fast bowlers and especially those who can swing the ball. James Anderson is 9/2 to be the top wicket taker there with James Pattinson and Stuart Broad 11/2. Kevin Pietersen can be backed at 12/1 to be Man of The Match.

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