Matt is one of the most successful cricket traders anywhere in the world, so it’s worth getting his take on the World Cup T20 in India from a betting perspective.

Punting Insights

  • Matt’s take on each of the top eight teams
  • His suggestions for top tournament batsman and bowler
  • The day-to-day (and sometimes night-to-night) lifestyle of a professional trader
  • Why T20 games are such good betting propositions
  • How and why bookies make mistakes

Today’s Guest:

Matt’s Sports Bets

Additional info:

The Super 10s starts Tuesday evening:

Group 1
1 England
2 South Africa
3 Sri Lanka
4 Group B Winners (Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Scotland or Zimbabwe)
5 West Indies

Group 2
1 Australia
2 India
3 New Zealand
4 Pakistan
5 Group A Winners (Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands or Oman)

Dave Duffield: The T20 World Cup’s kicked off, so tell us what you like about betting on the T20 matches?

Matt: Oh, I just love the volatility. From a personal perspective, trading it on a day to day basis, it’s pretty straightforward. Well, it’s not straightforward, but it’s one of those markets where you can get a few things wrong and come out in front, which is always a nice feeling. Because if you trade in a soccer market, for instance, if you back a team, and the other team scores, that could be game over for you. Whereas if I’m on a batting team, and a couple of wickets fall, there’s plenty of scope for me to turn it around. The markets, towards the end of the game, if it’s close, are just insane.

From a trading perspective, there’s nothing to rival it for me, cricket-wise. Test matches are great, but from a pure volatility perspective, and a volume perspective, with liquidity, on the biggest tournaments, I’d say T20 internationals are the most profitable medium for me to make money.

Dave Duffield: It’s not a set strategy, either, is it? Every game’s different, and you approach it differently.

Matt: Yeah, exactly. Some people, since I’ve started doing this, they’ve asked why I don’t tip a lot of money line bets on T20, and it’s simply because you can be in front for 90% of the game, and then some guy just wanders in at number nine, and smashes a couple of balls out of the ground, then you’ve lost. It’s really … If anybody can make money on the money line markets, pretty much in T20, I’d be very surprised. It’s really tough to do. That obviously makes it great for in play traders.

Dave Duffield: Over the next four weeks, what’s your lifestyle, dealing with a couple of games each night from India?

Matt: It’s not the best, I’ll be honest. I’ve had a very good run, obviously. Aussie summer’s been great to me, and the life of a pro trader is just like this. You’ll have months where it’s a great life. You’ll start work at ten in the morning, you’ll finish at six at night. Then certain times of the year, when the cricket moves on, you’ll start at ten at night and finish at six in the morning. It’s just one of those things. India isn’t terrible, from a time-wise perspective. The first games, the early games, will start at 8:30, which is great for the casual viewer. That’s pretty much prime time for the early games in Australia. Late games start at one in the morning. They’ll finish at about 4:30. It could be better, but it could be worse. If they started at, say, 10:30, and run until eight in the morning, that’d basically write my entire day off the following day. Yeah, it’s not too bad.

In terms of Champion Picks, it’ll be pretty consistent, like it was with the Big Bash. I will finish work at four, five in the morning, sleep, get up at lunchtime, look through the day’s games. There’s usually two every day. There’s a few days where there’s one. It’s pretty much two, most days. I’ll write the previews for those. They’ll go out to members, early evening. Then 8 o’clock will roll around, and I’ll crack on again, another day.

Dave Duffield: One of the beauties of a tournament like this is there’s a lot of interest. There are a lot of betting options, but it also its quite difficult for the bookies. They don’t have large teams doing the pricing and there’s a fair bit of copy and pasting going on. There’s also a few market mistakes. Just as one example, you might want to talk about the South African batsman that was put down as a bowler.

Matt: Yeah, let’s see if it’s still there. they’ve got him up quite fast, if you refer to them, which is a lot better than a lot of the bookies do, but their top team … Yeah, it’s still there. Their top team wicket taker market is fascinating. It’s headed by Tahir and Rabada. Tahir is basically a really good spinner for South Africa, and he’s the shortest price. Rabada we got on at $6.50, and he’s been cut to four. He’s going to be an absolute star. Could easily finish top wicket taker for the tournament.
The interesting one is David Miller, down at the bottom there, at $13. In theory, taking out seven or eight percent of the market. In practice, it’s like 150% market, so it’s not quite that much. The boy has played 184 T20s, I think? Never taken a wicket. Bowled 18 balls in his life. He’s a gun batsman. Doesn’t bowl. Crownbet having $13 for a top South African bowler. As I said to the members earlier, it’d be a bad price at $13,000, because he won’t bowl a ball. That’s just one example of how bad they are, really.

Dave Duffield: The futures bets are often framed at 140, 50, 60 percent, but that doesn’t stop you from getting involved, because there’s still mistakes there.

Matt: Yeah, exactly. Rabada’s a case in point. Again, pretty standard, 120, 130 percent market, but every single book other than Crownbet had him at $4. $3, $4, and $4.50. Crownbet had him at $6.50, which just … Just ludicrous. Even though 90% of the market is a bad value price, there’s pretty much always a good value price.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ladbroke’s markets came out. I figured they were waiting to see whether Australia got TV coverage, and then they did, so they shoved all their markets out. To be fair, they got 99% of it right, but Ishsodi the New Zealand spinner, was $9 for top New Zealand wicket taker, which is just, again, ludicrous. He’s about a $4 or $5 chance. He will probably play every game, just because they’re turning back to India. They don’t really have much of a choice. He’s a leg spinner. Leg spinners tend to get a lot of wickets, since right-handers are trying to hit them over mid-wicket. Should be $5, maybe, and he’s $9. That’s an excellent value price. Not sure it’s still there now, to be honest.

Dave Duffield: Let’s run through the teams we might as well start at the top of the market, and India. They’re the highest, and they’re the favourites.

Matt: Yeah, pretty solid. It’s hard to see them not making the semi finals. They just won the Asia Cup, beat Bangladesh in the final, comfortably. Pretty rock solid in the market, but plenty short enough for a tournament where they’re going to have to win, obviously, two knockout games, and they’re going to have to win two games in the groups, as well. $3.25. It’s one of those prices that you’re probably better off backing than laying, but I’m not overly interested in any of that. I debated a saver on them for our outright markets, but I think I’m going to …

I’ll still debate it for the next few days, but I’ll probably just leave them as it is.
I’ll probably be taking them on in the semis and in the final, just because they have … Their weakness is pretty much their lower order hitting, which is where the games are usually won. They have absolute guns at the top with Kohli and Sharma and Dawan et cetera. If they need 50 off five, which is very common in T20, and you play a bad innings, you make three of six or something, then that target becomes very, very tough. Their lower order isn’t the best. I’ll probably take them on in the knockouts. Yeah. Pretty solid price, about the right price they should be, Ithink.

Dave Duffield: I don’t want to hear right price. I want to hear back or lay, starting with the Saffas. Which way would you go?

Matt: Sadly, they’re no value right now. They’re my idea of the winners, but their main problem is that they notoriously choke from winning positions. They were almost $9. They’re into $6 now. The value is pretty much gone, I’d say. I couldn’t dream of laying them. I will be against them, at short prices, in the knockouts, as usual, because as they showed in that T20 against Australia at Johannesburg a couple of nights ago, they’ve just found ways to lose. They find ways to get beat, which … It’s an interesting one in terms of what we’ve backed, because there were a whole host of teams that I could have backed, or basically everyone from Saffas down, I could have backed. Stuff’s changed in the last couple of months, so we just stuck with a couple. South Africa, not a back or a lay, sadly. We’ll get to a value price, but these two, pretty solid, ahead of the market. Nothing for me at the moment.

Dave Duffield: I’ll put words in your mouth here, but Australia, around about 6.50 or so. I’m thinking you’re going to want to be laying them rather than backing them at that price.

Matt: Yeah. Again, you don’t get rich laying 6.50 shots, but I’ve just no idea how they can win, which obviously won’t be popular in this country. If you look at the teams around them, they have a couple of gun seamers and a very good spinner. At least one, India have two. South Africa have Tahir, England have Rashid. The West Indies have Badri. Pakistan, very good bowling side. Australia don’t have anybody that I would back to stop an onslaught in the middle overs. If a team is even 90 for 1 going into the last seven or eight overs, they’ve just got license to tee off. You miss your length by a few inches, and that 94 becomes 190, 200 then. They’re not chasing those balls in India. It’s never going to happen. I could look like a right fool in a month, if they just waltz home with the trophy, but I would be amazed. I have them probably double the price. I have them around $11, $12.

Dave Duffield: If you do look like a right fool, there’ll be plenty of people to point it out.

Matt: That’s the game.

Dave Duffield: I thought it interesting, in terms of the tactical side of things that if you were Darren Llehman you’d said to me before that you’d encouraged him to go bananas in the first six overs, because we’ve got an extra opener or two, and oddly some weaknesses after that. You don’t think they’ll do that, but that’s the way you’d go?

Matt: I would love that. That would be incredible if they did that. People my age, 30 and over, will remember when Sri Lanka brought Jayasuriya and a couple of others in, and they changed, one day, cricket. They went insanely hard in the first ten overs, and then they just held on for the rest of it.
If Australia picked four openers, they may or may not do. I didn’t think they were going to pick Finch, but I couldn’t call it now. They’ve got Finch, Warner, Khawaja and Watson. If they were to pick all four of those, and perhaps Smith at five, and Maxwell at six, they could realistically be 80 for four after six overs. Just going totally bananas, and hope to hang on, then. Say they were 80 for four after six overs. If you bat into the eight overs, at a run a ball, that’s 130, after 14 overs, and then you can manufacture a 170, 180 score from there.

To me, that’s their only real chance. Their openers against pace bowling with a brand new ball, on small grounds, in India, that’s exactly what I’d do. I’d tell Khawaja to bat, and I’d tell Watson, Warner, and Finch, just go mental. Then you’ve got Smith to hang on, and Maxwell can hit a few late. Mitchell Marsh, blah blah blah. The problem is, that’s just not going to happen. People aren’t radical enough. They’d be terrified of being 30 for 6 and everyone laughing at them, but they’re not going to win a tournament being 45 for 2 after six, and then 100 for 4 after 15. It’s just not going to happen.

Dave Duffield: It’d be interesting to see, but like you said, unlikely. You’re leaning towards a lay of Australia at the current price. The are $8.50 and if you tell me they’re a back at that price, there might be a few listeners who want to have a chat with you.

Matt: No, they’re not. Absolutely not. Again, this market three months ago was one of the best value markets I thought I’d seen. The West Indies were a bigger price than they are now. England were $13, $14, and they were both really good prices. I wanted to back them both. England, $8.60. Probably a shade short. They’ve got some good players. They’re a much better T20 team than they are a 50 over team. They’re a bang average 50 over team. They have some extremely good lower order hitters. They have Rashid, who’s very good in the Big Bash. I worry about Rashid if someone gets on top of him early. His head goes down. He’ll have a sulk, and he could go for an awful lot … They do have that very good leg spinner in the middle overs. He’s a lot better than Zampa. They’re definitely not a back. They could be a lay, again, but you’re going to have to …

If I was to create a book, I would have zero on India. I would lay Australia. I’d probably … South Africa’s value’s gone. I’d lay England. I’d probably be level on New Zealand. A bit on the West Indies. A bit on Pakistan. It’s wide open. It really is, because the West Indies now are a shorter price than they were before all their gun players decided to pull out, or got injured, or whatever. Which is mental. $16 three months ago was a brilliant price on the West Indies. $14.50 now is a bad price, I’d say.

Dave Duffield: Yeah, you might try and expand on that, because, yeah, a month or so ago, you were saying it might be one of your bigger futures bets you’ve ever had, based on the talent of the West Indies, but they’ve self destructed since.

Matt: Yeah, sort of. You just don’t know what the actual reasons are. His comment in the media was he wasn’t comfortable bowling after his action had been changed. He felt like it was too early. Chances are, it’s something to do with money, or who knows. Simmons, the opener who plays for the Mumbai Indians, is an excellent player. He’s out. Gayle is very hit or miss. They’ve got people like Andre Fletcher, Samuels. They’re missing … I think they’re missing Pollard. Hang on. Let’s have a quick look. They’re missing huge amounts of players who, when I wrote down the playing 11, two or three months ago, I couldn’t quite believe how good it looked on paper. It was just insane. But Darren Bravo’s withdrawn, who’s Dwayne’s little brother who played for the West Indies over here in the summer, and he was basically the only shining light for the West Indies. Nerein’s out, Pollard’s out, Simmons is out.

They have people like Jason Holder and Jerome Taylor who are going to play. They’re still dangerous, but at the same price as they were, I just can’t back them, given the people they’ve lost, at the same price they were a month ago.
Again, probably gun to head, I’d rather back them than lay them at $15, but I’m not a big fan. Like I say, I’m already on, actually, from three months ago. Not massive, but a few quid on. If they’d have had all their players fit, they’d have been my idea for the second favorites for the tournament, and you’d have still got $12 about them, which would have been an absolutely insane price.

Dave Duffield: Speaking of $12, the Kiwis are around about that mark, as we’re chatting. Which way would you lean, at that price?

Matt: Probably lean on a back of them. Just. Again, another weird one. McCullum retiring six weeks before a World Cup, in a format that he’s best at. If McCollum was there, they were $11, $10, I’d be all over that. They have a very destructive side. Colin Monroe, didn’t know much about him. He’s come into the team at 3 and just smashed everyone everywhere. Williamson, we all know about. Guptill excellent, excellent player. Corey Anderson hits it miles. Henry Nichols, I’m not really sure. Ross Taylor, just back from injury, savvy bowl. Good side. Will probably get exposed at the sharp end, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the semis. Again, wide open, so wide open.

Dave Duffield: Even the Paki’s are a chance?

Matt: Aw, yeah. In such a wide open competition, I would take the team with the best bowling, and Pakistan’s bowling is very good in these conditions. They’ve got guys that can bowl 90 mile an hour yorkers. They’ve got Irfan who’s seven foot two, so he’ll be coming down from 12 feet, and they’ve got Afridi who bowls very, very good leg spin. And 3 part-time offies and a slow left-hander.

They’ve got so many options, and when you compare them to, say, New Zealand, or Australia, the options that they have … If it’s going wrong for Australia, they don’t really have anyone to turn to. They basically have medium fast bowlers, Faulkner and Zampa, whereas if it’s going wrong for Pakistan, they have seven or eight bowlers in the side.

Dave Duffield: What about a quick comment on Sri Lanka?

Matt: Nah, not for me. They always over perform, but they’ve lost Jayawardene and Sangakarra and Malinga is injured.

Dave Duffield: Top run scorer? Got a preference there, or something you can tip the boys into?

Matt: Let’s see if there’s any value about still.

Dave Duffield: Oh, just while you’re doing that, I’d say Sharma, Kohli and De Villiers are all around about $10.

Matt: Yeah, I’ve got it… Kohli’s a good favourite. Sharma’s a good favourite. De Villiers, there’s a rumour that he’s going to drop down to three, which makes his price a lot worse. If they bat Amla at the top and De Villiers bats three, that $11 isn’t a good price. Warner could easily bat 4th that’s an all right price, I guess, but he’s … You know, you know how the Gayles are like. De Kock we’re on, at a fancy price. I think we’re on at 25, or something like that. Then your problem with Khawaja or Finch is one of them probably won’t play, so obviously if you take evens on one of them playing, that makes Kuwaja’s $17 into $8, which looks terrible. Finch at $10 also looks terrible.

Stats basically say you’re almost guaranteed an opener to win this, so you can draw a line through a bunch of people like Joe Root or Stephen Smith. We got on Hales at a decent price. I’m not convinced he’ll win it, but he’s an all right price. Amla’s an interesting one. If that $26 holds after he’s confirmed to open, that’d be a very good price. Dhawan’s another interesting one, because he’s going to open for India. It’s more than likely he’s going to bat every game. They’re going to make the final. Williamson for a place is probably an all right price as well.

The tips that I sent through to the members basically revolved a lot around India and some good value elsewhere, just because in a tournament that’s five games long, or six games long, or whatever it is, that extra game is huge. In the IPL, the winning team will play, say, 16 games, and the team that doesn’t make the final might play 13 games, or 14 games. It’s not that big a deal, but when you’re playing five or six games, that extra game is huge. I’d be very surprised if top five didn’t consist of three or four of the finalists, and India are obviously the big favourites to make the finals. Dhawan’s an all right price, but Kohli and Sharma are rightful favourites.

Dave Duffield: For the top wicket taker … I won’t get you to go into too much detail, but is there one standout bet? Just to put you on the spot?

Matt: Not really. Again, Indian seamers we got Bum … I think we got $40 on Bumrah and $34 about Nehra. They’re very good prices. That duo, I can see on the screen right now. Amir is an interesting one, but probably short enough. Ashwin we got $15 but I’m not convinced. $8 is a terrible price. Absolutely terrible price. Gun to head, I’d probably say a leg spinner wins it, but it’s another really open market. I’m not doing very well here, with the tips.

Dave Duffield: Nah that’s OK it’s early days. We’ll actually wrap it up there, for now. Hopefully we get a little bit more good luck in this tournament than we did in the Big Bash, which was very profitable, but also things didn’t really … We didn’t really get the rub of the grain, you might say.

Matt: That’s true. Couple I’ve written down. I do a millionaire maker and I make it pretty much every tournament, which is basically a multi of a bunch of top team batsmen or bowlers, but I will do in the next 24 hours, send it through to you, and you can stick it in the newsletter. It’d probably be a two to three thousand to one shot, but it’s well worth doing. We’ve been close a couple of times before. It will only cost $10 to maybe make yourself an awful lot of money, so that’ll be worth doing.

Shazad has been confirmed as an opener for Pakistan. He’s $5, with Bet365 currently that’s a decent price. Ladbrokes have my boy, Andre Russell, at $17 for the top West Indies batsman, which probably won’t win, but is … In the industry, we call that a good value loser. It should be probably $8 or $9.

Dave Duffield: Excellent. Thanks again for joining us on the show, Matt, and good luck for the tournament. Good luck to all the members, because we’ll have a number of pre-match bets and I know you do like overs for runs and 6’s so it’s good to cheer on.

Matt: Yeah, especially in India. Small ground, big bats, it should be a run fest.

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