It seems like the covers have only just been put on after the summer’s Ashes Series but a scheduling quirk means that England’s cricketers are already Down Under preparing to do battle with Australia once more for the Urn they only retained three months ago.
Alistair Cook’s troops eventually prevailed 3-0 but in truth the series was plenty tighter than that scoreline suggests and with question marks over the form of some of England’s top order batsmen, it looks set to be another close one over the forthcoming five matches.
With more of a settled line-up, the tourists are BetVictor’s 11/10 favourites to frank the form of their success on these shores while the Aussies are 7/4 at Stan James to gain revenge and it’s 9/2 (betway) to finish all square – an outcome that shouldn’t be ruled out given how little there was between the sides at times over here.
Indeed the possibility that the series will be drawn is underlined by the fact that at 13/2, bet365 consider 2-2 to be the most likely scoreline and there’s further evidence that bookies feel the teams are evenly matched, Stan James pricing both at 15/8 to take a 1-0 lead in this week’s First Test at the Gabba (although the weather forecast has seen the draw backed in to just 13/8 with Skybet).
That should sound alarm bells for punters, who might be better served avoiding outright wagers and seeking value where individual players are concerned.
Ian Bell enjoyed a tremendous summer series, racking up 562 runs including three centuries and with the Aussies seemingly unable to work out how to dismiss the England batsman, he’s huge at 9/2 with bet365 to amass the most runs for his side. Skipper Cook (7/2, Stan James) heads the betting from Ladbrokes’s 4/1 shot Kevin Pietersen.
With the ball in hand, James Anderson is Skybet’s 9/4 favourite to take the most wickets for England, BetVictor price Stuart Broad at 11/4, but that honour went to Graeme Swann over the summer and with spin likely to play just as big a part in the Southern Hemisphere, Swann has already been backed into 4/1 (Stan James).
From an Australian perspective, Shane Watson struck the most runs for his country on English soil but the class act with the bat in the Baggy Green’s line-up is captain Michael Clarke (5/2, Betfred). Bet365 rate Ryan Harris at 9/4 to be the hosts’ best bowler.
Ian Bell to be top England batsman in the series – 9/2 (bet365)
Michael Clarke to be top Australian batsman in the series – 5/2 (Betfred)
Graeme Swann to be the top England bowler in the series – 4/1 (Stan James)