Cricket is a sport which has continued to grow with popularity, and global influence has spread over the last half century, making it a primary spot for the prudent punter. With the advent of T20 events and the international rise in popularity in south and south east pacific countries, along with the scope and reach of the internet, making bets on cricket has never been so accessible. This article will provide a brief guide made up of 5 steps for beginners wanting to get started in the world of betting on cricket; from the raw basics of getting started, to odds, expected value and the meta-factors that you’ll need to know if you want to find your edge and start betting today.
Setting yourself up to bet
If you are a punter already you can probably ignore this section, but it is worth mentioning the raw basics if you are just a fan of cricket and haven’t ever taken a bet before. Not all bookmaking sites are equal, so understand that although (increasingly) numerous, that there are sites that might refuse to pay your wins or con you in other ways. Your best bet is to find companies that A) have a good track record, and have been around for ten years and, B) have major sponsorship/marketing campaigns. The bigger they are, the less they can afford to be dodgy, so if you’re betting on a bookie, bet on his rep! In addition to this you will want to find a site that A) has the best odds and B) has the types of bets you want to take. A) is only necessary if you want to take this more seriously and are looking to shop for better lines or enter smaller markets; where-as B is at the discretion of the booky and will require shopping around on your part.
Picking and event
This leads to the next point that you’ll want to consider when you break into cricket betting; what type of events and bet’s do you want to take? The event types as you probably know range from domestic to international events, T20 style short events all the way to annual, multi-day test match events. It is important to understand that the type of game you are betting on is going to affect your research and your decision making. The factors that play a part in Twenty20, for instance, are going to be quite different to those in test cricket, which last multiple days with exposure to changing conditions. Likewise, international events are liable to conditions that might be different to those at home. Pacific states like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are going to be at the mercy of rainy seasons as well as shorter day light hours, where lost overs to rain will be difficult to make up. In addition to this, you will want to consider the type of bet. Apart from ‘match outcome’ bets, which most sites have (i.e. who wins and who loses), there are a variety of propositional bets that differ depending on booking site and event. Some common ones are ‘leading run scorer’, ‘leading wicket taker’, ‘number of boundaries’ ‘man of the match’ and even ‘coin toss winner’. The variety of bet types available means that a prudent bettor is able to zero in on value bets with clinical precision depending on the edges that he has identified in any given event or game. If you are interested in taking your research and betting a step further than ‘highest scorer’ or ‘match winner’, than you may want to shop around on various sites so that your expected value has a greater reach.
Things to consider when making a bet
Also, if you’re thinking of taking this even remotely seriously, there are variety of factors to consider when researching for your bets. No game is affected as much (especially test matches) by weather, where humidity, cloud cover or dryness can affect the pitch and dramatically affect the effectiveness of either the bowling side (favoured by cloud cover) or the batting side (favoured by a drier, more consistent pitch). The history of the stadium at which the game is going to be played at can be an important factor as well, if there are any historical statistics that show patterns of how certain sides have performed in certain conditions, you may be able to identify how the conditions of the pitch may weigh in on the game and whether the coin toss (and who bats first) will have any bearing on the game. Some basic things to consider are; whether or not the ground is cracked, as over time these cracks will expand leading to variation in bounce; colour of the pitch, is it yellow and dry looking or green and lush? Dryness will assist batters whereas softer ground will make batting more difficult. Another thing to consider is how a given team is performing; if an underdog is coming off of a multiple winning streak they may perform better than an underperforming favourite, and obviously a team plagued with injuries of key players is liable to effect results.
The basics of odds
With that said, concepts like ‘expected value’ and ‘odds’ are important concepts that the prudent bettor needs to understand, especially if you are venturing into international markets which use different measures. The three main types are fractional, decimal and money line. Fractional is the most common in the UK, expressed as a fraction; e.g 8/3 where the number on the left is what you will win for risking the number on the right. In order to find the probability, take the number on the left, divide it by both numbers added to each other (in this example, 8+3=11) then times that by 100 (in this case8/11X100= 72%).
Translating analysis into Positive Value
Now you know how to bet and where to do it, and have a basic understanding odds’ it’s time to find an edge. There are two parts to do this; one is to do your own independent research and guess as to how factors (such as weather conditions, injured players etc) are going to effect the game or certain factors. The second is to take what you’ve researched and figure out if the odds that you give a team are misaligned with what the bookie is taking. This is called finding ‘positive expected value’, ‘+ EV’ or just ‘Value’, and is the corner stone of professional punting. It is important to understand this because the only way to make money betting long run is to beat the bookmarkers odds, and not simply to ‘pick the winning team’. So, let’s take a hypothetical example where all bookmakers are offering 19/1 (5%) for Worcestershire against 1/100 (91.01%) for Leicestershire. Let’s say that you happen to know some people at Leicestershire, and you find out there are some injuries with key bowlers, and you happen to work at the national weather bureau and you know before anyone else that conditions are going to be dryer leading up to the match. You deduce from your analysis that the probability of Worcestershire winning is as good as 30%, which would put them 2.3/1; giving you a massive 25% gain in value, or +EV.
The most important thing to remember when starting out is to bet responsibly and have fun. Only bet what you can afford to lose and try to find value where you can; a little bit of research won’t always deliver the goods, and you’ll need more than a 5 step article to improve. However you can get better with practice and you’ll do better to consider your position than to go in blind.