Cricket World Cup final bets make England favourites to win on Sunday. Favourites yes, but they shouldn’t be that price…

It’s not often that ahead of a World Cup final – in any sport – you come across a price that looks totally wrong. After all, it’s one thing a tennis match at Challenger level or an obscure Greek football match being priced up wrongly but surely not a game of cricket watched by hundreds of millions of fans worldwide. Only not a billion plus, because India aren’t in the final.

So given we’ve watched these two each in action ten times over the past few weeks, know everything about all of their players and are extremely familiar with the wicket at the most famous cricket ground in the World (Lord’s), how did we each the point where we can say beyond any shadow of a doubt that Cricket World Cup final bets offered by the bookies are totally wrong?

 

Cricket World Cup final bets: What are the odds?

 

England are a best price of 1.36, on the Betfair Exchange. New Zealand are 3.75 with Betfair. To say England are short enough at that price is putting it mildly. They’re even a tad shorter with most other betting companies. The main reason why they’re so short is that as the pre-tournament favourites, all the money is already on England.  The bookies don’t want to be adding any more liability to what is probably a losing outcome for them already.

 

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Meaning the answer is to offer a pretty stingy price on England so that if the favourite prevails, they at least reduce the total payout on Eoin Morgan’s men created by all the pre-tournament punts on the hosts.

All well and good but that all this book-balancing creates an opportunity in terms of Cricket World Cup final bets. An opportunity to back New Zealand at an excellent price.

Let’s take a moment to consider the odds here. The Kiwis are 3.75 (in decimal odds), or 11/4 (fractional odds) or in percentage terms, a 26.7% shot. So just bigger than a 3/1 chance or to put it another way: if this final was hypothetically played 100 times, Kane Williamson’s men would be expected to win it 27 times.

The gulf in prices is absurd. And here’s why:

 

New Zealand hold the edge with the ball

 

Jofra Archer and Lockie Ferguson have almost identical numbers so far this tournament. Archer has 19 wickets at an economy rate of 4.61, Ferguson 18 at 4.87.

Mark Wood and Trent Boult cancel each other out as well in terms of having 17 wickets each but Boult trumps him on economy rate:  4.62 plays 5.19.

It’s an almost identical story when Matt Henry comes up against Chris Woakes. Both have 13 wickets but Henry goes for less runs- 5.0 to Henry, 5.38 to Woakes.

Jimmy Neesham has taken more wickets (12) than his all-rounder counterpart Ben Stokes (7) but Stokes has been cheaper. It’s a similar story with spinners Mitchell Santner and Adil Rashid.

Conclusion: New Zealand are at least as good, if not better, than England with the ball. That much was obvious in the first few overs of their match against India.

 

Pressure all on England

Morgan was right when he said he’d rather his side go into the tournament as favourites than outsiders. The rationale was as simple as it was logical. The fact they were favourites was a good indication of how well they’d played in the past two years or so. Better go into the Cricket World Cup in form than out of form. All well and good but that was six weeks ago. What about now?

Is it easier to play when everyone expects you to win or when you’re under no pressure and have already exceeded expectations just by getting to the final? The answer to that should be obvious.

 

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Kiwis the better fielders

 

There’s been plenty of chat about the fielding at this World Cup. Plenty of matches came down to one dropped catch that badly cost the fielding side or one brilliant catch or run out that swung the momentum away from the batting side.

In New Zealand v India; Jimmy Neesham’s catch to dismiss Dinesh Karthik or Martin Guptill’s brilliant run out to send MS Dhoni packing, for example. Mind you, Jos Buttler’s run-out of Steve Smith was pretty good in the other semi.

But New Zealand have better gun fielders: Ross Taylor is as good as anyone in the world in the slips, Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill are brilliant in any position, Trent Boult catches anything that’s humanly possible to catch on the boundary. Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme are probably a little less athletic in general but are good catchers with strong arms, the pair of them.  What they don’t have, are any passengers in the field.

For England, Stokes is brilliant. As is Jason Roy, although given he’s struggling with an injury, he’s not quite as mobile as usual. Then there are a few who are decent- Jonny Bairstow, Morgan, Joe Root and then there’s not much to write about after that. Adil Rashid is a passenger, Mark Wood isn’t the best…

 

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Black Caps fresher

It would have been even better had New Zealand finished their match on Tuesday, although a match reduced in overs would have helped India’s cause more than theirs and they probably wouldn’t have qualified for the final. But still. Having had an extra day’s rest can only play into the Kiwis’ hands.

It’s worth remembering the most important thing of all about betting. Value. The key to the game of betting is to take odds that are bigger than they should be. Betting on what you think will happen is for suckers. Betting based on the genuine respective chances of something happening in comparison to the odds on offer is for those looking to make a long-term profit. That can all only mean one thing: bet on New Zealand.

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