With the Big Bash about to start, it’s time to start putting our money down on the best bets before it all kicks off and first up, we’re going to be tackling the winner market.
So, who will win the Big Bash League? And where should you bet on the winners?
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Why this year’s Big Bash is particularly tough to decipher
First up, there’s the whole Coronavirus issue.
Yes, there will be fans at the game but we don’t know how particular players and teams as a whole will react to the change in the landscape, complete with quarantines, Bio-bubbles and all sorts of other restrictions.
Apart from anything else, it would be a big surprise if at least one player does not contract the virus and miss games as a result.
Then there’s the fact that it’s not so easy keeping up with all the different overseas players coming in and out and when they’re ready to play after the 14-day quarantine period.
Speaking of overseas players, there are now three per team rather than two, which muddies the waters.
There are also changes to the rules such as only four mandatory Powerplay overs now and then, of course, there’s the Supersub.
Who knows how all this can affect proceedings?
What we look for in a Big Bash winner
Here are the things we consider most important to win the Big Bash League
- Good coach and experienced, clear-headed captain
- Smart choice of overseas players, hopefully with the same three available throughout
- Opening batsmen who can score quickly
- At least two six-hitters in the lower-middle order
- Classy all-rounder who can change game with bat or ball.
- Champion spinner to bowl in the middle overs
- Good balance between batsmen and bowlers
- Don’t lose too many players to Australia duty.
- Sharp in the field with few slow fielders.
Sydney Sixers ticking the most boxes to win
BEST ODDS: 6.5 with 10CRIC
The defending champions are arguably the team who tick the most boxes.
They don’t come more experienced than coach Greg Shipperd and skipper Moises Henriques, who’s been playing in the T20 series against India.
They’ll probably open with Josh Philippe, who had an excellent tournament last time, and the steady Englishman James Vince.
A middle-order of Dan Hughes, Jordan Silk and Henriques himself should get the job done with the bat and if they don’t, they have a duo of big-hitting all-rounders who probably can: Dan Christian and Carlos Brathwaite.
That’s probably as powerful a 6 and 7 combination as we’ve ever seen in the Bash. And that’s without even mentioning Jason Holder (see below).
And they’ll be hoping that Sean Abbott, the Big Bash’s second wicket-taker ever, misses out on Test selection. He always takes wickets and then there’s the twin spin threat of Steve O’Keefe and Lloyd Pope.
Better still, when the Test series against India ends in mid-January, they’ll be able to count on Test trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. Fine, maybe not all three at once but they should have them available for the Playoffs.
There is just one fly in the ointment. English bowling all-rounder Tom Curran, brilliant last season, has decided to withdraw because of the stress and discomfort of life in a Bio-bubble and has opted to stay in England with his family. The solution? The Sixers had already brought in West Indies Test skipper Jason Holder as a short-term replacement for Curran so the obvious play is to keep Holder for the whole tournament now.
That’s the captain, coach and players taken care of but above all is the fact that this is a proper all-round team with a good track record in the BBL. They’re the defending champions, no less.
Perth Scorchers are hot this year
BEST ODDS: 5.5 with 10CRIC
The Scorchers are a rather different side but could be just as potent.
A top four of Liam Livingstone, Josh Inglis, Colin Munro and Jason Roy could really lead to some fireworks although we note that Roy has been somewhat out of form for England.
There’s plenty of class in the middle-order with Cameron Bancroft, skipper Mitch Marsh and Ashton Turner and even all-rounder Ashton Agar can play some good innings on his day. Agar will form an economical spin partnership with veteran Fawad Ahmed.
But they’re not even the ones that batsmen will most be wary of. The all-Australian pace quartet of Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson, Joel Paris and Jason Behrendoff seem like they’ve been around forever but that’s hardly a bad thing. It just means they know this competition inside out.
There are two lots of good news for them regarding player availability. The first is that they’re unlikely to lose anyone to the Australian Test side at all unless Marsh gets an unlikely call-up. The second is that once English batter Livingstone has quarantined and joined the team, there are no further disruptions.
We said the Sixers were very consistent but they’re not the only team to have won the Big Bash three times: the Scorchers are. Yes, it’s been a lean few years since their last title win and they weren’t great last year but they look a far better team this time round.
We actually make the Sixers the better team and they’re available at bigger odds so are our top bet for the tournament. But the Scorchers are certainly worth a punt, as well.