The vast majority of those who bet on cricket do so for recreation. They have their favourite teams, follow the careers of individual players and enjoy having a flutter to add a bit of extra excitement to matches. There is certainly nothing wrong with fans backing their teams, but for those who are serious about making a profit off the sport, developing a cricket betting strategy is an absolute necessity.
Indeed, cricket is one of the toughest sports to handicap. It offers a huge selection of markets, including in-play live cricket betting opportunities as well as ante post offerings. One of the dangers of not having a strategy is the temptation to make speculative bets without thinking through selections carefully.
Focus on Specific Markets
When making the transition from recreational betting to professional-level wagering, the first step is to limit the scope of one’s stakes. No matter how savvy a bettor may be, it is impossible to have a detailed knowledge of every league, team, player and tournament available. The International Cricket Council alone boasts 105 members, including ten full members playing Test matches, 35 associate members and 60 affiliates.
A good starting point might be to focus on domestic play, which is well reported in the press and online. For example, the Indian Premier League (IPL) currently has ten teams to follow, each with a minimum squad strength of 16 players and engaged in at least 14 tournament matches each season — easily manageable numbers for any serious punter. By the time the round robin phase of play has concluded, only four semi-finalists emerge for the knockout matches, each of which will be well known to handicappers by then.
Use Websites for News, Stats and Research
Bettors can use the off-season to study up on team histories and statistics, which are readily available online. This is true for international cricket as well as domestic. Numerous websites compile and provide information on teams and top players, including the official web sites for each club, which post press releases on trades, drafts and management changes. Look for evidence of team form, any weaknesses, historical trends and instances where certain players do particularly well or badly against particular opponents. Become an expert in the area selected.
By beginning the season armed with detailed knowledge, it is possible to examine head-to-head data for individual matches in context. This will result in more reliable match betting along with opportunities to identify players poised to be top runscorers and top bowlers.
Among criteria to consider before wagering on a specific match is the condition of the ground and pitch. A “fast” or “slow” outfield can affect defences and the number of boundaries scored. A pitch that tends to break up over the course of a match may favour certain bowlers. Weather conditions can have considerable impact pre-match as well as during play. In short, look for any indications that the playing conditions may suit one side better than the other.
Shop Multiple Betting Sites
Searching the web sites of various bookmakers pre-match is also an essential part of any good cricket betting strategy. Bet365 is good place to start. Strong teams will produce low odds across a broad range of markets, but the differences between books can be highly significant. Whether odds are studied manually or by using a comparison service, it should be a high priority to locate the best prices on various selections, including any free bets, bonus cash, potential rebates or odds guarantees that may be available.
When researching web sites, be sure to include betting exchanges, such as Betfair (aka the Sporting Exchange Limited) and the Canbet Cricket Exchange, which allow bettors to get on either side of a market. In other words, exchanges make it possible to lay odds on teams in cricket matches as well as to back them. However, please note, it is very difficult for Indians to deposit with both Betfair and Canbet. To avoid the frustration we recommend the sites listed above.
Types of Cricket Bets
One effective aspect of cricket betting strategy is to lay bets on the outcome of a Test match, which covers not only a win by the opponent but also a draw. Another benefit is the possibility of backing underdogs at high odds pre-match and then laying the same markets in play when matches are particularly volatile; this approach can be especially applicable to Twenty20 cricket, which tends to be unpredictable and subject to upsets.
Of course, there is no need to limit wagering to Match Betting or Series Betting. Because the odds tend to be quite low, correctly predicting the outcome of a match or series will pay only a small return unless a great deal is staked on the result. Higher odds are offered for picking the Outright Winner of a tournament or season. With so many teams to choose from, this is no easy feat. One good strategy is to split the amount to be wagered among two or three likely winners, thus ensuring a profit no matter which one of the selections succeeds.
Another way to supplement Match and Series Betting is wagering on “propositions.” These include any bets on events other than the final outcome of the match or series, such as Most Sixes, Over/Under Scores and Player Performances, among many others. A more complete list of potential proposition markets can be found in the “Types of Cricket Bets” section of this web site.
Most professional cricket handicappers will avoid any propositions based on results that cannot be predicted statistically. That includes markets such as which team will win the coin toss (Win Toss) and whether a team’s final score will be an even or odd number of runs (Odd or Even Run Scores). Apart from the element of luck required to win such bets, they pay out at low and less than true odds, typically 10/11. Money wagered on them would be better invested on Match Betting.
On the other hand, where historical and statistical data can be used to make forecasts, propositions offer moderate risk for potentially high rewards. Such categories of wagers include Top Batsman, Top Bowler, To Score 50 Runs and Batsman Matches, among others. This is where all the previous study and research bears fruit. Knowing a certain player is achieving at his peak can lead to excellent values.
How much should be staked on such bets is not simply a mater of guesswork. Money management is at the heart of professional cricket wagering. A good strategy is to bet no more than 10% of one’s bankroll on a single match and splitting the stakes 50-50 between the outcome of the match/series and a selection of props. This reduces risk and provides the possibility of bigger payouts.
Helpful Cricket Betting Tips
Following are several specific tips on betting garnered from successful cricket handicappers.
Keep Focused — There are many, many cricket betting markets. Bet only on those that are familiar, well understood and thoroughly researched. Avoid speculative or exotic wagers. Decide the types of bets to be made and the maximum amount to be risked in advance of each match. If unsure, don’t bet.
Trust Form — Knowing how teams have performed in their most recent matches is the best way of predicting their future performance. Winners tend to continue winning, just as losing teams find it difficult to break out of a slump. Betting against trends may be tempting because the odds are high, but the fortuitous payouts rarely cover the losses if such a strategy is regularly employed.
Emulate Bookmakers — Before logging on to a Sportsbook to see what odds are being offered on an upcoming match, study the data and try to predict what the odds should be. Compare predictions with the bookmaker’s actual odds and see how closely they correlate. Where big differences occur, try to figure out why. Become proficient at oddsmaking and true opportunities to profit will almost immediately be recognisable.
One Day Internationals — ODIs can be a great place to hone one’s skills as a handicapper. A vast amount of statistical information is available for determining form, trends between teams and how venues affect play. Draws are not a factor in Match Betting, and all results are known quickly.
Test Cricket — The stability of team and player form makes this a useful opportunity for betting on series outcomes, top runscorers, and other popular betting markets. Consider laying the underdog rather than backing the favourite, especially when the match-up seem particularly one-sided.
In-Play Betting — As much fun as it can be to have a stake in every over, ball-by-ball betting is a lottery at best. Wagers on Next Batsman Out, Method of Next Dismissal, Runs Off Next Ball, etc. have a very low probability of success. Be judicious in making live cricket bets. Stick to markets that can be predicted with data, not those based on intuition or gut emotion.
Hopefully this article has given you some insight to cricket betting strategy. If you’re ready to wager online see our article on cricket betting sites, or get started immediately at our favourite online bookmaker Bet365.com.