Top 8 Betting Storylines Heading into the World Cup

By Matt Harris on May 27, 2019

There is less than a week to go until the first game of the 2019 Cricket World Cup gets underway. In the meantime, the bookies are making their final adjustments to the betting markets. It’s now time to make those pre-tournament bets on the World Cup outright winner, while considering a host of other options that are available.

World Cup Outright Winner Market

The first ball of 2019 Cricket World Cup will be bowled in anger on May 30. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at some of the best betting storylines ahead of the 2019 tournament. We will also outline our top tips to emerge atop of the 2019 World Cup outright winner market.

1. Tighter at the top

England remain favourites to win their first ever 50-over trophy, but the gap between the hosts and India looks to be closing. In fact, one bookmaker’s blog even puts Virat Kohli’s men narrowly ahead of England in their outright market.

In most cases, however, England remain in front, but only just. At the time of writing, Eoin Morgan’s men could be picked up as the World Cup outright winner at odds of 3.00 with Bet365. Meanwhile,  India, who had been more widely available at 4.00, are now at 3.75 with Betway. It’s only a small adjustment, admittedly. Still, it recognises that many tipsters are backing Kohli and his team to lift their third World Cup this year.

2. Windies Support

Two-time winners, the West Indies, have also shortened in the World Cup outright winner market although they remain a fairly distant option at 17.00 with Betway for their first title since 1979. That might be seen as an optimistic shout, but there is a lot of support for Jason Holder’s side. Consequently, odds of 7.00 with Bet365 on the Windies to reach the final are certainly worth a look.

There are a number of reasons for this sudden interest for West Indies in the World Cup outright winner market. Firstly, the West Indies matched tournament favourites and World Number One side England in a five-match series in March. Then we have the Chris Gayle factor: The big Jamaican scored heavily in that series and backed up those displays with some explosive efforts in the IPL.

With some good, raw pace bowlers added in, the 2019 West Indians could certainly go deep into this tournament.

3. Waugh Backing Warner

An isolated newspaper headline stated that former Australian Captain Steve Waugh was placing his bets on David Warner at the 2019 tournament. In fact, that headline is a little misleading as the story merely goes on to state that the elder Waugh twin feels Australia are a much stronger option with Warner and Steve Smith back in the squad.

There is no suggestion that Australia’s World Cup-winning skipper is parting with his own money, but it does suggest that we should be looking more closely at Warner in the tournament’s top batsmen betting.

The left hander is available at 11.00 with Betway in that top batsman market. And if we need any evidence of his form, we only have to look back at the recent IPL. Warner won the Orange Cap as leading run scorer – a remarkable feat considering he left the competition after just 12 games. From those 12 innings, the Aussie made 692 runs – 99 clear of KL Rahul in second place – so we should really be taking him seriously.

4. Arch Villain?

There were no surprises when England named Jofra Archer in their final World Cup squad. Having changed qualification rules ahead of the tournament, the host nation were looking to accommodate the Barbados-born paceman as long as he showed form in the ODIs against Ireland and Pakistan.

Archer has that ability to keep the runs down and that will be important for an England side who can concede heavily. It was tough on David Willey, who misses out and we’re not sure why the home side have included a third spinner in Liam Dawson. Nevertheless, Archer plays and he now becomes a genuine option in the tournament’s top bowler betting.

The Sussex and Rajasthan Royals seamer had been included in this market since it was open. The latest betting storyline, though, sees his price shorten to 17.00 with Bet365 and Betway. That puts him as joint second favourite with Kagiso Rabada, Mitchell Starc and Adil Rashid and there will be interest at that figure.

5. Battle of the Basement Boys

Betting on the 2019 Cricket World Cup isn’t always about finding winners. One of or recommended bookmakers, Bet365, has a market available on who will finish bottom of the group table and there are some good reasons to take a look.

Afghanistan are favourites at 2.00, having arrived for only their second ever World Cup. Back in 2015, the side won only one match against Scotland, but they are much improved and have the dangerous leg spinner, Rashid Khan, in their ranks. Bangladesh are next at 3.75, but they have just beaten West Indies in a tri-series that also included Ireland. Perhaps, therefore, we should take a serious look at Sri Lanka at 4.75.

The Sri Lankans are in poor form and have left the explosive batting of Niroshan Dickwella at home. Sri Lanka made hard work of beating Scotland in a rain-reduced ODI and they look vulnerable here.

6. Fastest Man

There’s a buzz around Jos Buttler right now. Furthermore, England’s powerful wicket-keeper batsman is providing some tempting storylines in the more obscure prop bets. Once again, we turn to Bet365 who are quoting markets for fastest century of the tournament and player to hit the most sixes.

Buttler returned after a break to provide a devastating performance in the second ODI against Pakistan in Southampton. He made a quickfire hundred and eventually finished with 110 from just 55 balls. That’s in an innings that contained no fewer than nine sixes.

For further encouragement, we can go back just a little further to Jos Buttler’s incredible 150 against the West Indies in February. That effort was even more remarkable – coming from just 77 balls and containing 12 maximums.

As you might expect, Buttler is favourite in both of those markets we mentioned. Bet365 have him at 8.00 to hit the most sixes, and 5.50 for the fastest hundred. However, they are reasonable prices that could be considered individually or taken together as a tasty double.

7. Expecting a Run-Feast?

Total Runs markets will be especially active after another few weeks of high scoring ODIs. Meanwhile, host nation England are setting the standard. In their recent series with Pakistan, England’s team totals consistently approached and exceeded the 350 mark. At this stage, we are not certain where the sportsbooks will set their total runs lines for individual games. However, we’d be looking for combined totals of 700+ – or would we?

Indian skipper Virat Kohli has sent some words of warning for anyone expecting those huge numbers to continue through such an important tournament. Referring specifically to England, Kohli said:

“These guys seem obsessed with getting to 500. They keep smashing from the first ball and keep going.”

India’s captain then warned about the pressures of the World Cup environment.

“260-270 at a World Cup is going to be as difficult to get as 370-380.

“Initially, some teams might get on a roll but as the tournament progresses, you will see even 250 defended. That’s the kind of pressure the World Cup gets.”

When Kohli speaks, we should surely listen and maybe those combined totals won’t be so great after all.

8. Does a Picture Tell the Story?

Back to the World Cup outright winner, and there were some interesting observations on social media following a photocall and press conference with the ten World Cup captains. All cricketers were kitted out in their respective country’s uniform, and it was a pretty relaxed affair. Nevertheless, some seemed more chilled than others.

To the left edge of the main photograph is a smiling Virat Kohli, no socks and stretched back in his chair. He’s also the closest to the ICC World Cup trophy, and many amateur body language experts are reading a lot into this.

To the left of Kohli is New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, who is almost out of the shot. He’s looking aloof, to suggest that the Kiwis may be the outsiders in this tournament.

Elsewhere, Afghanistan’s new skipper, Gulbadin Naib, is pensive and ill at ease leaving many to claim that his side will finish bottom of the group table. Based on those assumptions, it’s India to beat New Zealand in the final, with Afghanistan rock bottom.

As theories go, it might seem a flimsy one, but it’s not the most implausible outcome to the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

That’s it for today’s exploration of team’s most likely to becomes this year’s World Cup outright winner. If you’re tempted to place a wager, why not check out our top recommended cricket betting sites here.