Cricket is one of the world’s oldest pastimes, dating back to the stick and ball games of the Middle Ages, and it remains popular all over the world. The sport also has a long relationship with betting. Back in the eighteenth century, games of cricket played at venues such as the Artillery Ground in London would attract thousands of spectators, and tens of thousands of pounds in wagers as wealthy and not-so-wealthy aristocrats gambled on the outcome.
How to Bet on Cricket
So, with millions of cricket fans around the world, we have put together a basic Cricket Betting Guide on how to bet on cricket.
Over the centuries, cricket has been played in countless different formats from timeless Test matches to the modern Twenty20 version. These days three main forms of the game in which you can place a cricket bet. Test cricket takes place over five days, while limited overs cricket comes in two main formats: fifty over games, that take a day to complete and Twenty20 cricket, which is usually played over around three hours.
Unlike some sports, such as football, cricket is dominated by international fixtures. Test cricket has been waning in popularity for some time, but there are still flourishing betting markets for most Test series, particularly the oldest and most historic series between England and Australia, known as ‘the Ashes’. Most of the fixtures in international cricket are played on the basis of bilateral series, with one nation’s team touring another’s and playing several games across all three formats.
The major exceptions are the two limited overs tournaments, which are held roughly every four years. The World Cup is a fifty over competition that has grown significantly since its inauguration in 1975, while the equivalent Twenty20 World Cup also attracts a lot of betting interest.
Cricket betting on most of the world’s domestic cricket competitions, such as England’s County Championship and Australia’s Sheffield Shield, tends to be confined to those countries, but the big exceptions are the two major franchise Twenty20 leagues; the Indian Premier League, held every spring, which attracts many of the world’s best players, and Australia’s Big Bash League.
The most popular cricket betting markets, as you would expect, are the Match Winners markets. There are some complications when betting on these markets, particularly in Test matches, where a game can end in a win for either side, a draw, a tie or an abandonment. Cricket is particularly vulnerable to the weather, so cricket punters need to become adept at predicting when and for how long it will rain.
From that perspective, limited overs cricket is simple to bet on as it doesn’t allow for draws, and uses a clever calculation known as the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method to produce results even in rain-affected games, while Twenty20 cricket employs a tie-breaking Super Over to settle ties.
Besides the Match Winners markets, there are Tournament Winners markets for all the major trophies and leagues, and a range of pre-series markets for Test series, including Series Winner and Series Score. It is also possible to bet on the best performing bowlers and batsmen in a game or a series.
One particularly popular form of cricket betting is in-play trading. Cricket, like tennis, is ideally suited to trading as the action proceeds in a very regular way, with pauses of several seconds between each delivery, enabling prices to fluctuate and traders to calculate and adjust their positions.
Specialisation is important in any type of betting, but it is particularly so for cricket punters. With so many matches taking place all over the world, it is impossible to be an expert on all of it. Some punters choose to focus on trading Test matches, while others focus on Twenty20 cricket.
As with most sports betting, it can often pay to look outside the main Match and Tournament winners’ markets in search of more obscure cricekt betting opportunities, such as the Top Batsman market. The key to this market is in understanding the effect of batting position, particularly in limited overs cricket. In a Twenty20 game, any batsman coming in lower than third in the order is at a significant disadvantage in terms of top-scoring so you need to adjust your price expectations accordingly.
There are a lot of factors to weigh up when considering a cricket bet, and with the wealth of statistics that cricket produces, that means digging into the data. At a minimum, you want to know the strengths and weaknesses of the players on both sides, and it always pays to research the scores and results of previous games at the ground in question. In some cases, batting first or second at a particular ground, particularly under floodlights, can have a significant impact on a team’s chances of winning.
Test match cricket is slower to change than limited overs cricket and certain patterns tend to hold true over many years. For instance, English batsmen often struggle on the kind of fast, bouncy pitches that can be found in South Africa, while batsmen from south Asia can find it hard to cope with the bowler-friendly pitches found in a typically wet English summer.
A great resource for checking on current form is the espncricinfo stat guru (http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html) where you can search player’s averages and recent form over all formats of the game.
Cricket is a rich and complex game that offers a depth and a degree of nuance that many other sports can’t equal. Its abundance of stats also makes it ideal for punters who like to dig deep for profitable nuggets of data, while the leisurely pace of the game means that cricket is perfectly suited for in-play punters. And for those who enjoy the game and who are prepared to do their homework, cricket betting can be a profitable and rewarding pastime.