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Ashes Odds 2021: A Betting Guide ahead of the Test Series Down Under

The Ashes Preview: Can Joe Root lead England to their first win Down Under since 2011?
The Ashes Preview: Can Joe Root lead England to their first win Down Under since 2011?

The Ashes, which is the biennial test cricket contest between old foes England and Australia, is back! England are already down under and in less than three weeks will be involved in the first test at the Gabba in Brisbane. The premier display of the longer format of the sport is almost upon us and in this preview we'll give you all the key information you will need. From tour dates, format, squad news, predictions and of course Betting Odds. 

We'll be updating this page regularly to ensure you stay ahead of the game.

Before we start let's address the giant elephant in the room. English cricket and cricket in general is not in a good place! The Azeem Rafiq racism investigation has hit county cricket and subsequently English cricket hard and left it reeling. Several key figures in English cricket have been named as part of the scandal and cricket is in a huge crisis of it's own making. Hopefully the current England side can put some smiles back onto English cricket fans faces and unite a bitterly divided sport. 

As for Australia , we've had a separate scandal. Captain Tim Paine has resigned his position over some historical 'sexting' investigation dating back to 2017. It's awful timing with less than three weeks to go and Vice Captain Pat Cummins steps up to the main role and the wicket keeping will be taken on by Alex Carey. 

 

What is the history of The Ashes?

The Ashes is a test series played between England and Australia. The term originated from a satirical obituary published in a newspaper after Australia won it's first ever test match in England, in 1882 at the Oval. The piece stated that English cricket had died, and "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". The "ashes" became synonymous  with the following tour of Australia in 1882/83 when English captain Ivo Bligh and the English media spoke about the desire to 'regain those ashes'. 

A small urn was presented to Bligh after the England team had won two of the first three games of the tour and are reputed to contain the burnt ashes of as wooden cricket bail. Since those early days both teams have regularly competed for the right to keep the tiny Ashes trophy. In reality the actual original urn sits in pride of place in the MCC Museum in Lords. 

An Ashes series typically consists of five test matches and is played every other year in the opposing countries. To date there have been 71 ashes series of which Australia have won 33, England 22 and six series have been tied. 

What are the tour dates and venues?

  • First Test - 8th - 12th December, The Gabba, Brisbane
  • Second Test - 16th - 20th December, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
  • Third Test - 26th - 30th December, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
  • Fourth Test - 5th - 9th January, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
  • Fifth Test - 14th - 18th January, Perth Stadium, Perth

The series opens in Brisbane as usual and then travels to Adelaide, where we will see a day-night match. The traditional Boxing Day test will take place at the colossal MCG followed by the fourth test at Sydney. For the first time since 1994-95 the final test will be held in Perth. The crowds will generally be at 75% capacity due to local Covid protocols but the test in Melbourne will be at max capacity as Victoria has recently relaxed its laws relating to mass spectator events. Sadly, it looks unlikely that English fans will be permitted to enter the country as the Australian borders are still heavily controlled due to Covid.

In preparation for the games England will play two warm up games vs the England Lions in Brisbane. 

Todays Cricket Tips

What are the likely squads?

England: 

  • Joe Root (Captain)
  • James Anderson
  • Jonny Bairstow
  • Dom Bess
  • Stuart Broad
  • Rory Burns
  • Jos Buttler (Wicketkeeper)
  • Zak Crawley
  • Haseeb Hameed
  • Dan Lawrence
  • Jack Leach
  • Dawid Malan
  • Craig Overton
  • Ollie Pope
  • Ollie Robinson
  • Ben Stokes
  • Chris Woakes
  • Mark Wood

England are missing the pace duo of Jofra Archer and Olly Stone due to injury.

Australia:

 

  • Pat Cummins (Captain)
  • Alex Carey (Wicketkeeper)
  • Cameron Green
  • Marcus Harris
  • Josh Hazlewood
  • Travis Head
  • Usman Khawaja
  • Marnus Labuschagne
  • Nathan Lyon
  • Michael Neser
  • Jhye Richardson
  • Mitchell Starc
  • Mitchell Swepson
  • Steve Smith
  • David Warner

Who are the favourites and why?

The bookmakers have Australia as big odds-on favourites and are generally available around 1/3. England are widely priced at 4/1 and the draw is set at 8/1. Its usual for the home side to be favourites but Australia are far lower than they usually would be. Why?

Quite simply England have taken their eye off the ball in the red ball format. In their prioritising of world domination in limited overs cricket, which led to a World cup win in 2019, there has been controversial resting and rotation of players in big test series vs New Zealand and India. Couple that with the injuries of pace men Archer and Stone and the England squad looks ill equipped for an Aussie tour. Their only genuine pace option is Mark Wood and they have no quality spinner. Jack Leach is a fine bowler in English conditions or on a turning wicket but you have to question what his output will be on these hard flat Australian tracks. 

If we discount the greatness of Joe Root then the English batting line up has more questions than solutions. The tourists haven't had a solid opening pairing since the days of Sir Alistair Cook and Andrew Strauss and will be praying that the returning Haseeb Hameed can continue to build his bond with the gritty Rory Burns.

A potential middle order of Dawid Malan, Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler looks great in principle and certainly looks more solid than it did vs New Zealand and India in the Summer but there are still grave concerns. Malan and Bairstow both struggled in the recent T20 world cup and no one knows how Stokes will be upon his return to test cricket. 

Stokes won't have played any competitive cricket for almost six months by the time he takes the field at the Gabba and whilst his finger injury looks resolved the questions regarding his current mental health remain. In front of a completely partisan Australian crowd who are well known for being raucous and brutal, Stokes will have to shut out any jibes about his mental fragility. Anyone who knows anything about Stokes will be sure he's up to the challenge. He pretty much single-handedly dragged England back into the 2019 home Ashes series and his match-winning performance at Headingley will go down as one of the greatest Ashes innings of all time.(See Below)

The Australians have played very little cricket themselves due to Covid restrictions and their last Test series was on home soil last year against an inspired Indian outfit. They tend to raise their game for the Ashes, however, and coming off the back of their recent T20 World Cup win will head into this series full of confidence.

Any predictions for the outright markets?

Obviously with the Australians so short in the Outright Series Winner market they are also short odds for a comprehensive Correct Score win. Correct scores of 3-1/4-1 are the lowest prices at 5/1 and even a series whitewash of 5-0 is available at a staggeringly short 13/2. If you fancy the tourists to upset the apple cart then 3-2 England is 14/1 and if you want to back the impossible 5-0 is top priced 100/1. Keep your money in your pocket!

In terms of the individual player markets "Mighty" Joe Root is a huge favourite in the England Batsman markets. After a stellar 2021 in which he has scored 1398 runs at an average of 69.90, he's as short as 8/11 to top score for England in this series. Steve Smith heads the Aussie betting but is closely followed by his protégé  Marnus Labuschagne and the evergreen David Warner.

Veteran fast bowler and GOAT James Anderson leads the England Bowling markets but has notoriously struggled in Australia where his control of swing and lack of pace is highlighted. A better option could be his old pal Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson or England's one true paceman in this attack, Mark Wood.

The market cannot split the four-way attack of the Australians. Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyons are all around the 3/1 mark and it's a matter of not if, but who, will destroy the 'Poms' batting attack.

We will have a match preview ahead of the first test in Brisbane on the 8th December with Match and Series tips so please bookmark this page and keep all your Ashes betting in one place. What's without doubt is that this is going to be one Ashes tour that you just won't be able to take your eyes off...

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