Heading into what is expected to be an utterly thrilling six weeks of Test Match action, the two Cricket geeks on the top floor here at Betfred HQ in Manchester discuss their Prop Bet picks for the Ashes Series…
Top English Batter Odds:
Neil: I think Australia will use the brand new Dukes ball very effectively far more often than they don’t. This means I have England two or three down early throughout the five-match series.
Therefore I’m looking at Root, Brook or Bairstow to top the scoring chances as they will get more time in the middle against the older ball.
Out of the three, the value has to be with the man with the gloves. 8/1 for Bairstow after what he accomplished last summer seems awfully big and no, I never once considered Zac Crawley at 9/1.
Adam: Like Neil, I think the likes of Starc, Cummins, Hazelwood and Boland are gonna cause the top order a lot of problems. I initially toyed with Ben Duckett at 5/1, with the left hander in terrific form but his lack of willingness to leave the ball will be his undoing.
With that in mind, I’m gonna take the form man from last year, Harry Brook to lead the run chase on the counter attack at 9/2. He may have looked out of nick in the IPL but this is a whole new ball game and he was born for a series like this.
Top Australian Batter Odds:
Neil: Steve Smith came over to Sussex to get a bit of time in the middle in English conditions. What he didn’t account for though were several pretty average umpiring decisions.
That won’t be a problem in the Test matches due to DRS. 5/4 however is too short for my liking and anyone who’s watched Travis Head in recent months will have come away more than impressed. 5/1 feels good.
Adam: I also really rate Travis Head and similarly to Brook for England, he will be the fulcrum of the counter attack for the tourists.
However, I’m going for the man who saved his test career in 2022/23, Usman Khawaja to top score for the Aussies. After struggling to impress in the middle order and seeing a long spell out of the team, the left hander was inserted as opener and hasn’t looked back.
He scored over 1000 runs at 67+ in 2022 and has also started 2023 at an average of above 60. The 6/1 looks very tempting.
Top English Wicket Taker Odds:
Neil: Ollie Robinson leads the betting based primarily on the notion that Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad won’t play every game. England have a barrage of pace bowlers at their disposal and clearly go into the series with a plan to just go with whoever is freshest.
This makes this market tricky as I think Jimmy will have a signature series but will he play enough? My gut says yes he will, this might be his swan-song but he’ll go out having taken 25+ wickets and top England’s attack at 5/2.
Adam: I agree with Neil that Robinson looks too short at 6/4 but I’m going for the GOAT’s long time bowling partner Stuart Broad to be top wicket taker for the hosts at 7/2. The 36-year-old has already spoken publicly of his desire to play as many tests as possible.
Broad was England’s top fast bowling test wicket taker in 2022, with 40 wickets in nine matches, compared to 36 for Anderson and 23 for Robinson. There is life in the old dog just yet.
Top Australian Wicket Taker Odds:
Neil: This is an easy one for me only because he’s the captain, so is likely to play every game. Pat Cummins at 6/4 is my pick but I think Scott Boland will be the star of the summer.
Michael Vaughan has recently said that the England batters will attack him like a spinner. If they do, then they will be acting recklessly. The big Victorian has the make-up to destroy England. If he plays in four of the Test matches, he will top the Aussie charts. That however is a big if. He’s 7/2.
Adam: I’m gonna go a totally different route on this one. Against Baz-Ball, it sometimes pays to take pace off and with that Nathan ‘Gary’ Lyon will be thrown the ball, in an attempt to slow the onslaught down.
9/4 may seem fairly short for the off spinner but Lyon led the world in test wickets in 2022, with 47 – a whopping 11 wickets more than Cummins.
Ashes Series Winner Odds:
Neil: I have only gone into one Ashes series as an adult fully expecting England to be victorious. That was in 2010/11 down under and even I had a wobble after the first couple of days.
Neither team is weak in any particular area and both have strength in depth throughout their squads. The weather looks set fair for a hot summer and that might mean the spinners come into play more than expected. With that being said, I rate Nathan Lyon significantly more than I do Moeen Ali at this stage of their respective careers.
Lyon wins one Test match with a great spell of bowling and that alone might be the difference. Give me Australia 3-2 at 13/2
Adam: Jesus, this was a difficult pick. If you’d asked me last month I’d have gone for England every day of the week, yet Australia looked extremely impressive against India at the Oval in their WTC victory, last week.
The bookies have them extremely close at 6/4 and 10/11 respectively but I’m going to side with the home team, as I just don’t think they believe for one second that they can lose this. The self belief is frightening and whilst that make for some hairy scenes, it can get them over the line.
Enjoy what will be an amazing series, We will have comprehensive test-by-test match previews here on the Betfred blog.