Cricket World Cup Preview from Pro Trader and former Sports Journalist Richard Futter
Hot on the heels of the Australian Open Tennis, comes another spell of sleepless nights for the insomniac trader.
A feast of cracking cricket is in store over the next seven (yes SEVEN) weeks as the World Cup gets under way in New Zealand and Australia tonight.
All the pre-tournament form points to a three-horse race – with South Africa, Australia and the Kiwis head and shoulders above the rest judging by recent results, and quite frankly I will be astonished if Australia and New Zealand do not get off to winning starts during the early hours of tomorrow morning.
So, rather than go for match predictions – which would be a mug’s game at this stage – I thought it would be good to look at a couple of possible trading angles in the opening two fixtures.
First up in Christchurch it’s the ebullient Kiwis against Sri Lanka – a team they recently soundly thrashed in a one-day series, so it’s no surprise that the home team are heavy odds-on favourites.
But I reckon there could be good money to be made here. New Zealand have a top seven of immense power and fortitude, while the Sri Lankan trio of Dilshan, Sangakarra and Jayawardene is the classiest in the business. So many traders will be expecting an avalanche of runs.
But the Hagley Oval is the newest international cricket venue in the world, and early signs are that it is far from a batsman’s paradise. A little over a month ago, the combined might of the New Zealand and Sri Lanka batting managed just 437 runs between them in 93 overs.
Add to that overcast conditions, the chance of rain interruptions and the return of limited over specialist bowler Lasith Malinga, and I reckon this could be a relatively low scoring game.
I think 250 could well be a winning score here. But I doubt the odds at the halfway stage will reflect that – especially if it’s Sri Lanka batting first. My play will be to look for a score of 240 plus and back the side with runs on the board. Their odds will quickly tumble if and when the wickets begin to fall.
Bizarrely enough in Melbourne, there is every chance of rain and that gives us another chance of a trading edge.
Personally, I don’t give England much of a chance of overturning recent form, but when it rains, the side batting second has a big advantage and their price always falls.
So, keep an eye out for possible rain in the opening innings and if it looks imminent lay the batting side, because once those covers come on their price will rocket.
Tell tale signs are shots of dark clouds hovering, or even better of the ground staff getting ready for their starting orders. No one knows better than them when the rain is likely to start at their beloved ground.
Another useful resource is the weather radar sites which often give an excellent indication of likely interruptions to play.
And finally, as ever, keep an eye out for those low-risk low-price lays which can offer a massive upside for very little peril on the downside. During the second innings, a bowling side’s price can often be way too low if they’ve taken a few wickets in mid-innings. With modern day equipment and field restrictions, as long as there are one or two big hitters still left in the hut, the best international teams are well capable of making quick runs and instigating a very profitable revival. Remember, you don’t need to think they’re going to win it – just get enough boundaries to push the price out 10-15 ticks which can greatly boost your profits.
Good hunting everyone.
Richard has been a Pro Trader on Betfair for over 10 years. A former local sports TV presenter at Anglia News, Richard has an incredible wealth of sports knowledge which luckily for us he is willing to share!