iBet: England’s Woes Fully Priced Into The Ashes Markets
England’s Woes Fully Priced Into The Ashes Markets
The Ashes Markets
Well England have got themselves into a fine mess in Australia haven’t they – 2-0 down already, can’t handle Mitchell Johnson and now they head to his home ground – the Waca – where England haven’t won since the Old King died. The performance in the second test was probably worse than the first. The pitch at Brisbane was full of bounce and played into Johnson’s hands. But at Adelaide England collapsed on a good batting pitch that Australia subsequently proved it was possible to score over 500 on. On the face of the games so far, 8/11 about another home victory looks a good price. But all the doom and gloom is fully priced in now and this is the time we need to take a step back and take a deep breath. Here goes. England have not become a bad side overnight. Indeed it should not be forgotten that while the Ozzies certainly look on the up, they are coming from their lowest ebb for many years and England are still comfortably above them in the world ICC rankings. Neither should we forget that it is not that long ago – indeed earlier this year – that several experts were talking up the chances of a 10-0 whitewash for England in the back-to-back Ashes series. Now all the recent money has been for Australia to whitewash England 5-0 downunder – that eventuality is now the 4-1 joint favourite alongside 4-0. England are 11/4 to win at the Waca, and even money not to win at all in the series. They are now 9-1 to retain the urn, which they can do by drawing the series 2-2. However, despite the recent gamble and lots of negative comments in the press, if England lose this series 5-0 they should hang their heads in shame. As Geoffrey Boycott has rightly pointed out, this is not a vintage Australia cricket squad by any means. Losing badly to the great Australia sides of the 1990s and 2000s (as they did in the 2006/07 series) was always a possibility. That teams was littered with world class players – Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting to name but three. This side isn’t, with skipper Michael Clarke the exception. Clarke has looked superb so far, and unruffled too. He’s 11/10 with Ladbrokes to score a 50 in either innings. England do have to knuckle down though. There are not many bowlers in world cricket who can bowl as consistently fast as Johnson and he has surprised them. He’s 4/9 with Paddy Power to be named player of the series and even that short price seems fair to me. However, a bowler like that cannot bowl long spells, and England’s top batsmen need to see him off. It’s unlikely that skipper Alastair Cook – who averages nearly 50 in Test cricket – if going to play ten bad innings in a row and if he can win the toss and get some support from a couple of the top order, the match will look different. In Ian Bell they have the top batsmen from either side in the 2013 Ashes series so far, averaging over 60, and Kevin Pietersen also averages just under 50 in Tests and looked up for a battle in the second innings in Adelaide. Pietersen is my pick to be England’s top batsman in the third Test at 4/1. And on paper at least, bowling is England’s strength. It was fielding that let them down in Adelaide, which is very unusual for this England team that has proved time and time again that they are fighters. They need to step up now for what is their biggest test so far. Before this series started, England were favourites with the spread firms to score more runs and more ton-ups than their opponents. You can now buy England ton-ups at 125 with Spreadex from an opening price of 255. It’s currently making up at zero and admittedly no-one has looked like getting 100 yet, but will they go all series without a couple of centuries at least? In my view all the bad news is fully priced into the markets now – it’s as if the bookies expect it to end 5-0. Although that could of course happen, England have proved their class before and on value grounds this could be the time to get with them. You can lay 5-0 at 4.9/1 with Betfair.
Juventus are the new 11/2 favourites with BetVictor to win the Europa Cup after being knocked out of the Champions League by Galatasaray, with unlucky Napoli 10/1 and Spurs a best priced 8/1 with Coral. In the Champions League Bayern Munich remain the 5/2 favourites, with Barcelona 9/2 and Real Madrid 11/2. With history telling us that no-one ever retains the Champions League and Barcelona struggling without their talisman Messi, who has a troublesome hamstring injury, the value there is with Real Madrid who seem to be improving now that Gareth Bale has found his feet. Of the longer priced runners, Paris St Germain (16/1) and Manchester City (14/1) could represent the value.
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