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England vs. New Zealand First Test Odds: Bet on bowlers to be on top

Joe Root scored a Century three times last summer but we think it may be a low-scoring affair at Lord's
Joe Root scored a Century three times last summer but we think it may be a low-scoring affair at Lord's

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The Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum era gets underway on Thursday morning at Lord's and with plenty of inclement weather in the forecast, Neil Monnery has some odds against prop bets he’s eyeing up…

England vs New Zealand First Test Tips:

England vs. New Zealand First Test Match Odds

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Being an England cricket fan has been somewhat of a roller coaster in recent years but when just looking at the red ball game, the downs have very much outnumbered the ups. The Ashes Tour was a debacle from start to finish last winter and the reboot in the Caribbean when the decision was made to go to the West Indies without our two best bowlers continues to look ridiculous in hindsight.

In time I have no doubts whatsoever that Brendon McCullum will change the attitude of English Test Cricket. I would argue that he’s been the most influential player in the modern game and despite being seen by most as more of a white ball specialist, the brand of cricket the Kiwi’s played in all formats was enjoyable to watch. For too many years English batting has been turgid and I fully expect that to change under his tutelage.

Those changes however will take time and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Only two newcomers are involved in the squad with Yorkshire’s Harry Brook seemingly battling Jonny Bairstow for the spot at number five and Matthew Potts looking to make his debut. Both players have impressed in the County Championship so far this campaign, so it will be interesting to see if either start on Thursday.

New Zealand are the reigning World Test Champions and are still following the path Brendon McCullum laid out many years ago. Ross Taylor has retired, leaving an experienced hole in the middle of the order but the return of captain Kane Williamson from injury means the number three position is in more than capable hands.

All logic points to the England team wanting a green seeming pitch. Seeing the way the County Select XI skittled the Kiwi top-order in the second innings of their tour match last week, it would come as no surprise if a juicy pitch is produced. The poor weather in recent weeks certainly won’t help the batsmen.

Both bowling attacks are proven at this level. The return of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad means the home side have a more than reliable opening partnership. In Neil Wagner and Tim Southee, New Zealand have very similar as Trent Boult will miss out as he was still playing in the IPL on Sunday. The veteran left-arm seamer should return for the second test.

Paddy Power have priced up both English stalwarts at odds against to pick up three or more first innings wickets. Anderson is 11/10 with Broad 6/5. This surprises me as I fully expect them to return with a bang. Tim Southee (6/5) and Neil Wagner (5/4) are also odds against in the same market. If a green top is produced as expected, I like all four to top three wickets in the first innings but I’ll single out Anderson and Wagner as the best bets of the four.

The other market I like is whether a Century will be scored in the match. With weather around and two excellent bowling attacks, the 11/4 on offer for ‘No’ seems like a value play. Joe Root was the only English batter who scored three figures in the home series against India last year and in the two Test matches against New Zealand at the start of last summer, only Devon Conway hit that plateau. I really like a low-scoring test and therefore this market.

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