For those who love cricket, the fact that the World Cup starts on Valentine’s Day couldn’t be more apt. The tournament lasts for seven weeks, with 14 teams looking to lift the trophy, although one look at the odds will quickly show you that there are only 8 teams who can realistically lift cricket's biggest trophy.
In this betting preview I start by looking at the format of the tournament and explain why it has attracted some controversy. I then take a look at both of the groups in the event from a betting, before concentrating on the outright markets. I finish by looking at some of the other popular bets on the cricket world cup.
The Tournament Format
The format is somewhat standard, featuring two round robin groups of seven. The top four teams in each group will make it through to the quarter finals of the competition, where the competition reverts to a straight knock-out format. What this might mean in reality is that the quarter finals will likely feature the best eight teams, and this might make the group stage a little predictable – the tournament only coming to life in the quarter finals. If this is the case, the 49 match tournament might only have seven really meaningful games, all of these at the end of tournament. As a viewer I hope there are some big upsets early on which might make the group stages more interesting.
The two favorites for group A are the two host countries. Australia lead the way at a best priced 11/10 (Sporting Bet) to win the group, with New Zealand next best at odds of 10/3 (Coral). England (7/1 with BetWay) and Sri Lanka (15/2 with Paddy Power) are the other expected qualifiers from the group. Bangladesh are generally available at 100/1 to top the group and Afghanistan and Scotland can be backed at four figure odds.
South Africa are the clear favourites for Group A available at just evens (Stan James). India are seen to be the most likely challengers to South Africa at 3/1 (BoyleSports). Pakistan and the West Indies are the other likely qualifiers from the group, available at 17/2 and 14/1 respectively (both at Paddy Power). Zimbabwe and Ireland are both available at odds of at least 150/1 in several places and the UAE can be backed at 1000/1.
Outright Betting on the Cricket World Cup
The lead up to the World Cup has seen both Australia and South Africa being backed. Australia now available at a top price of just 2/1 (favourites) and this strengthening in price is down to the dominant way in which they won the tri-series against England and India. South Africa are a best price of 7/2 (Stan James) and they are certainly good enough – although historically they have always had troubles at a World Cup, so it will be interesting to see if they can exorcise these demons. New Zealand lead the chasing pack (6/1 Stan James) and certainly look in good shape, joint home advantage definitely giving them a good shot at becoming World champions. England, India and Sri Lanka are on offer at 10/1, 12/1 and 12/1 respectively and Pakistan (20/1) and the West Indies (28/1) are the last of the two ‘fancied teams’. The longest odds you’ll find for the tournament are 5,000/1 if backing Afghanistan, Scotland or the UAE.
The name the finalists market is an interesting one – the host nations meeting in the final is available at 10/1 (Sporting Bet), an England/Australia final at 14/1 (Paddy Power), and for a very old sporting rivalry, an England/Scotland final at 5000/1. You’ll also find markets for individual teams to make the final as well as qualifying for the semifinals.
Paddy Power also offers a ‘to go undefeated’ market, which will require a team to will win all nine games during the tournament. Australia are available are 13/2.
The player markets make for some interesting betting and can give you something to focus on if the group stages do become predictable. South African Hashim Amla is the favourite to be the top scoring batsman (9/1 TitanBet) with Australian David Warner just behind at 10/1 (Paddy Power).
Australia’s Mitchell brothers (Starc and Johnson) are the favourites to take the most wickets alongside South Africa’s Dale Steyn – all three available generally at odds of 10/1.
Other interesting player bets include which player will score the fastest 50, the fastest century and which bowler will be the most economical.
The final player bet available is the ‘Player of the Tournament’ the only bet available on the tournament which is not actually decided by direct performance – a panel of experts declaring the winner of this award.
Cricket World Cup Betting Preview – Summary
The World Cup starts in Christchurch on Saturday the 14th November where New Zealand host Sri Lanka, this being the start of seven weeks of cricket viewing. Whether or not the group format works, we are all guaranteed some fascinating games in the knockout phase. Study the markets, place your bets and hopefully collect on the 29th March.
For the biggest range of bets and ultra-competitive prices, check out the Cricket section over at www.paddypower.com