West Indies and England begin their five-match one-day international series in Bridgetown on Wednesday.
The hosts are ranked ninth in the 50-over format ahead of this series. Eoin Morgan’s England are the best side in the world right now and the favourites to win the World Cup this summer, per 888sport’s cricket betting markets.
West Indies stunned England in the Test series, though they fell to a defeat in the third match. A combination of controlled fast bowling and disciplined batting saw England crumble, giving the hosts an invaluable victory.
England’s Test form has been patchy in recent years (as we saw recently), but they are a side to be feared when the white ball is involved.
Morgan saw his side win by 171 runs in their warm up match as Joe Root and Jason Roy hit centuries. England dominated Sri Lanka in their last 50-over series, winning 3-1.
West Indies have the talent to cause England problems. Their recent form in the format is not great, though, including a 2-1 series loss to Bangladesh in December.
The hosts have lost nine of their last 12 ODIs. They lack firepower with the bat, scoring under 200 in two of their last three matches.
The coming weeks will see Chris Gayle play his final one-day internationals in the Caribbean. Gayle is only 273 runs from becoming the 14th player in history to score 10,000 in one-dayers.
The ‘Universe Boss’ will retire after this summer’s World Cup, leaving the new generation of West Indian batsmen a platform to dominate like he has over the last two decades.
Few entertain like Gayle in full flow, and he might be the only batsman England’s bowlers will truly fear heading into this series. Gayle is the 5/2 favourite to be West Indies’ top scorer this series.
Kemar Roach, who had a marvellous Test series, shares the top bowler odds with Oshane Thomas. Roach has only taken one wicket in his last four ODIs but will be full of confidence after his performances with the red ball.
A lot will depend on the conditions for Roach, particularly against an England line-up that has destroyed plenty of fast bowlers in the recent past.
Off-spinner Ashley Nurse is an interesting top bowler bet at 4/1. He is not a big spinner of the ball and has not taken more than two wickets in an ODI since April 2017, but the pitches could help him upset the timing of England’s batsmen.
England will go after Nurse, which will give him opportunities even if he goes for plenty of runs.
It’s no surprise to see Root atop the batting betting for England. He scored a superb century in the Third Test and continued that form in the warm-up match.
His 5/2 price is perhaps on the short side, though, considering the strength of the competition to be England’s top scorer.
Jonny Bairstow scored 46 in the warm-up game and is set to open the batting with Roy. His 3/1 price to be England’s top batsman is definitely worth considering.
Bairstow had a brilliant ODI series against the West Indies a couple of years ago and has only improved as a white-ball cricketer since then, averaging nearly 50. He is playing well enough to keep Alex Hales out of the side and is a key man in the visitors’ deep line-up.
After a brilliant spell in the Third Test, there were more encouraging signs for Mark Wood in the warm-up match.
The Durham right-armer is bowling in the nineties on a regular basis. Wood may get rested for a match or two, though, as England monitor his workload, so the 4/1 price is not great value.
Adil Rashid will play all five matches – providing he doesn’t get injured – and deserves his place at 3/1 to be top bowler.
He’s ranked as the eighth-best ODI bowler in the world right now and could cause the West Indies batsmen plenty of problems with his variation and control as they look to tick over in the middle overs.
England’s 1/5 price to win the series is obviously too short to interest anyone. The longer odds on correct series score are where the value lies. England’s superiority makes the 7/4 on a 4-1 series victory the best of the five options.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*