Cricket remains one of the most popular sports in the world and the rise of T20 leagues has made it more relevant than ever, especially in the countries of the big three England, India and Australia.
England’s T20 and ODI series against India attracted huge crowds as the two sides had split success, with the tourists triumphing in the shortest format of the game, while the Three Lions emerged victorious in the 50-over contests.
Those high-profile matches, along with the Ashes, remain the pinnacle of the game, while the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash have introduced new audiences to the sport.
As a result, we'll now give a breakdown of how you can bet on the sport, highlighting the best markets.
What Is Cricket Betting And What Are The Different Kinds Of Wager?
Cricket betting is no different from punting in other sports. The bettor can place a wager on the outcome of the match along with other markets specific to the game, using odds provided by the bookmaker.
Simply pick which side will win the game. It can be simply off intuition, the form guide or conditions. It’s fairly routine and just the same format as any other sport.
Once again, this is fairly routine. Select the batsman that will score the most runs in the innings or match. This can be divided into three markets: top batsman in the match, top batsman from Team A and top batsman from Team B.
The same process follows for the top bowler, simply select the bowler that will take the most wickets. This can be divided into three markets: top bowler in the match, top bowler from Team A and top bowler from Team B.
These are the main types of bet that can be punted on before the match and are the usual markets that bettors look for. However, there are other markets available.
Mode Of Dismissal
Punters can bet on the leading form of dismissal during a match. There will be odds on batsmen being bowled, caught, lbw, run out, stumped or any other method.
This can be over an entire innings or a specific period in the game. For example, in a Test match, a bettor can place a wager on how many runs the opening partnership will score and so on for all 10 wickets.
However, it can also be used for how many runs scored in a particular session. In the shorter forms of cricket, popular run markets include how many runs can be scored in a powerplay when fielding restrictions apply in the early over of the match.
This can follow the same pattern as runs scored, but replacing runs for wickets. When will the first wicket fall or how many wickets will fall in a period of play?
Man Of The Match
As with any sporting event, there is a market for the man of the match. Simply pick the player that you think will be man of the match, with the available odds.
Betting Strategy For The Three Formats
We'll now guide you through what you need to know about each format of the game as there are huge differences in style and players that compete.
Test Match Betting Strategy
This is the oldest and still the most important format of the game. It’s a true test of quality over five days. The elite players in the world are established and a cricket fan should know by sight the men that will dominate the fixture during the contest.
For example, for England matches, Joe Root, Alastair Cook, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson will play a central role.
In our previous breakdown of the betting markets for the top batsman bet, Root, Cook and Bairstow will feature at the top of the list with the shortest odds.
They’re the most established players in the side and have performed well over a number of years for the Three Lions in the Test match arena. However, there are circumstances that can affect their odds such as form and conditions in the ground. Some players fare best in familiar surroundings, while others travel well.
Although Root has been a quality player for England, displaying consistency at the crease, he has struggled to make huge scores.
Therefore, it would not be prudent to back him to top score in the match. Cook has had issues with his consistency but has the ability to churn out big innings. There’s always a decision to weigh up when making a punt and most of it can be purely a gut feeling.
It’s the same for bowlers. Anderson is dominant in England and has travelled well of late. His odds to lead the wicket column in home conditions will be short, while he will have longer odds should a match be played in India, where the pitch suits spinners rather than seamers.
In Test matches, conditions are becoming more prevalent as teams travelling abroad are struggling to win. England are a strong unit on home soil, but have not won on the road since beating Bangladesh in 2016. That will reflect in their odds.
For Test matches, more than the other formats, conditions are crucial in deciding the outcome for betting markets across the board. England are strong at home and should be considered favourites for the majority of their series, including next year’s Ashes.
What You Need To Know About ODIs
Given the time parameters of the game, the markets can be swayed differently in this form of cricket.
Using the example of England once again for the result, the Three Lions have developed into the leading side in the world since being humiliated at the last World Cup. They now play an attacking brand of cricket that has seen them eclipse India and Australia at the top of the format.
However, given the nature of their brand of play, it does make them vulnerable in one-off matches. England’s result in the ICC Champions Trophy in their defeat to Pakistan on home soil proves that even the best can be beaten.
The Green Army went on to win the tournament, despite a number of issues and playing in unfamiliar conditions.
The white ball is far more unpredictable and can be an equaliser for playing surfaces, making results in India and Australia far more attainable such as England’s 4-1 trouncing of the Baggy Greens in 2018.
Their form has seen them installed as favourites for the 2019 World Cup, which will be held in England.
The top batsman market is skewed in the favour of the openers, who will have more time at the crease than their teammates lower down the order in theory.
Players such as Bairstow and Jason Roy have capitalised on their position to make huge scores, although there’s still value to be found lower down should Jos Buttler dismantle opposition bowlers late in the innings.
Bowlers are in the same boat, as the opening tandem theoretically have a greater opportunity to lead the wicket column.
Time is more prevalent than the batsman market, though, as players bowling at the end of the innings have a greater opportunity of picking up more wickets as the batting team attempt to push their score up as high as possible.
There are a number of factors to consider in ODIs; even the size of the ground can play a decisive role where the difference between a four and a six can mean so much.
The Unpredictable Nature Of T20s
This format of the game is the hardest to predict as any result can happen on a particular day.
The game can change in one ball, making the outcome almost impossible to decipher. The most prevalent example was the West Indies’ triumph over England in the ICC World T20 final.
The Three Lions looked set to win the crown for the second time as Brathwaite needed 20 off the final over the secure the victory for his team.
Brathwaite became the hero as he swatted Ben Stokes, who had been England’s gun bowler in the last over, for four sixes on the bounce. This unpredictability is why the odds for the leading sides in the world are so close for the next major competition.
Strike rate is more important than averages in this form of the game, in complete contrast to the other two. Although players such as Root and Cook are marvellous technicians, they’re not as valuable as Buttler or Alex Hales in the T20 side.
A score of 30 off 15 deliveries can be more important than an innings of 50 off 45 balls. As a result, the format favours players that can strike the ball out of the ground with regularity. It’s why Buttler gets paid a lot of money in the IPL.
Bowling falls into the same format, where drying up the runs takes priority over wickets.
Usually, that leads to success in the wicket column, but the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga have been able to carve out impressive careers in the shortest format, despite their deficiencies compared to a bowler of Anderson’s ilk.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*