Ten of the last 12 matches at the Blundstone Arena were won by the team batting second. That, says Paul Krishnamurty, makes the table-topping hosts a bad bet at odds-on...
"Renegades definitely have the bowling resources to contain Hobart's power and won the reverse fixture easily."
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Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Renegades
Thursday, 08:30 GMT
Live on BT Sport
Both of these sides are already assured of a play-off spot, although there is still plenty to play for here. If Hobart win either this or their final group match, they are assured of top spot, home advantage in the semis and, if they get there, the final.
For a top-two spot and home advantage in the semi, Renegades need to win this and then hope Melbourne Stars beat Sydney Sixers on Sunday.
Have Hurricanes lost their edge?
Since qualifying with ease, Hurricanes have lost two from three and there must be a danger that momentum is lost. Both defeats came after what seemed like competitive totals were chased down with ease, so perhaps the bowlers lost a little intensity.
That is about the most promising argument for their rivals, because this powerful batting line-up continues to impress. D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade remain clear in the runscorer charts having amassed a remarkable 1054 combined. There's been plenty to like from Brian McDermott and George Bailey too.
Bowlers sparing Renegades batsmen's blushes
Renegades' route to success has been very different. They haven't hit 160 runs in an innings since the second match, sometimes because there was no need but also due to dire batting displays. They've either been bowled out or failed to reach 100 twice, and 130 two further times.
Their last innings was headed the same way before a gamechanging 51 off 22 from Cameron Boyce, batting at eight, took their score to a respectable 140. Plenty enough, as it turned out, to beat Thunder.
That win equally demonstrated their strength. Thunder were skittled for just 113 with top tournament wicket-taker Kane Richardson grabbing another three. Renegades can also boast five bowlers with an economy below 7.0, with spinner Boyce going for just 6.18.
Back big totals and boundaries
If Renegades do bat first, they will need to reach that 160 to set a competitive target. It was breached in eight of the last 12 first innings in BBL at the Blundstone Arena and only twice proved enough. This is definitely one of the likelier grounds in BBL to produce a very big score.
Hobart are obviously well equipped to score anything if Short and Wade tee off early. Renegades may not have scored heavily but they do possess a strong middle order. The likes of Dan Christian, Mohammed Nabi or even Boyce could take them to a big total if only the top order gives them space.
Given relatively low scores in the competition to date and the way previous Renegades matches have panned out, I'm hoping big totals will be under-rated on the run lines. The in-running plan is to back 170 plus and 190 plus at an estimated [2.7] and [6.0].
My favourite market at the Blundstone is Total Match Fours. The last three matches yielded 30, 29 and 35, with the first two coming in matches where the scoring was below average for this ground. Of the last 12 matches, ten beat today's Over 24.5 line.
Hurricanes worth opposing given toss bias
The toss bias at the Blundstone has been huge in recent years. Ten of the last 12 were won by the team batting second. Betting at odds-on pre-toss is therefore very risky and, on recent results, Hobart are too short at [1.75]. Renegades definitely have the bowling resources to contain their power and won the reverse fixture easily.
As always, Short and Wade dominate the Hurricane runscorer market at 15/8 and 5/2 respectively. However they must fail sometime and, if Renegades take wickets early as in the reverse fixture, it could again fall upon skipper George Bailey to rebuild. He's a 13/2 chance.
Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris are top-rated for Renegades, at odds of 9/4 and 11/4. If that big total is to arrive, it will probably need one of them to thrive but neither represents value in a wide-open market. Dan Christian is perhaps worth considering at 9/1.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
Paul's 2018/19 BBL P/L
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