The biggest rivalry in Australian sport is here. It’s not Origin it’s the Ashes!

I’ll make this preview short so we can get to the bets! The Australian team goes into this series with a massive shock through the squad. The immediate retirement of leading quick Ryan Harris is a MASSIVE out for the Australians. He is (or should I say was) one of the best bowlers I have ever seen, his ability to hit his highest level from ball one of a spell was invaluable to the Australian attack.

With Ryan’s departure it leaves Australia with a massive hole in its attack. It also opens the door wide open for Josh Hazelwood to announce himself to the cricketing world. He is the logical replacement opening bowler as opening with Johnson and Starc could become very expensive. Hazelwood’s high release point and simple action should get plenty of seam movement out of the English pitches and trouble the English batsman.

Earlier today Captain Clarke came out and gave his thoughts on the Cardiff pitch. A green seamer seems to await the Australians in the first test which could cause them to go in with a 4 pronged pace attack. Johnson, Hazelwood, Starc and Siddle with an all-rounder (Watson most likely) would be a great attack.

England have now come right back into contention this series due to some late form against NZ and Ryan Harris’s retirement. Cook has found some form and has started to make runs; Lyth is exciting and has a youthful flare about his batting. Root is utter class at the crease and Bell has the experience to guide the English in times of need.

The points of difference for the series:

First Drop:

Steve Smith vs. Gary Balance… This isn’t even a question for me; Steve smith has made runs all over the world against every attack since changing his technique and becoming a pure bred batsman. Balance on the other hand has a good record so far but it’s skewed from series against Sri Lanka, India and West Indies all sides who have B Grade pace attacks compared to the Aussies. Against NZ and Australia Balance averages just 9 & 12.5 respectively. Although a small sample size against these nations one has to wonder if he can handle a world class quick bowler.

Wicketkeeper:

Butler vs. Haddin…. On one hand we have a young imposing player that has put away class attacks in the past and has the ability to decimate attacks with his hockey style swing of a cricket bat. He hits the ball HARD almost as hard as anyone in the game today. In the Australian camp we have Haddin or as Clarke put it the captain of Dads army, the ageing wicket keeper needs to show he still has it with the bat or Australia could find themselves one destructive batsman short. Don’t discount how important Haddin was in the Whitewash of 13/14.

Verdict

I think the series ends 3-1 or 2-1 Australia’s way however the score line will flatter Australia. I expect England to fight in every test and would not completely shock me if England tie or even win the series.

Best Series bets.

Bet Odds Units Reasoning
Broad over 18.5 wickets 1.9 1 Think the Bookies have underestimated Broads bowling of the past 6-12 months. Add to that the hatred shared by the Australian team for Broad I think he will be England’s top bowler for the series. Pity little value in the market though
MJ over 20.5 wickets 1.87 1.5 MJ took 20 wickets in the 09 series at an average of 32.55 which is almost 5 points higher than his career ave which is shocking. In the 13/14 series he was bowling the England team out for less that 140 (Ave of 13.97 per wicket). Mitch only needs to put a performance just moderately better than horrific to cover this line.

 

Best 1st Test Markets (Taking advantage of Sports bets Promotion Score 50 runs or more but lose Top Team Run scorer market money back up to $50)

Bet Odds Units Reasoning
Root Top Team Run scorer 4 0.5 With the Sports bet special this is great value. Root has class and form which should see him negotiate the Australians without much trouble coming in at #5
Rodgers Top Team Run scorer 5.5 0.5 A veteran in English conditions. Plays late which is a massive + in English conditions would not surprise to top the runs for the series with consistent performances in the past in the 50-90 range he should activate the promo let alone top score on a seaming green deck more than 20% of the time.

 

All bets can be found on my Twitter @malonecricpicks please feel free to contact me with any queries on a bet or just to talk cricket. I will be releasing my Player Ratings and an explanation (like above) for each bet given on twitter around 6pm AEST.

Best of luck and happy punting!