Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat Tips: Strengthened line-up makes Heat the value

Brisbane Heat opener Chris Lynn
Chris Lynn's odds are enhanced for today's match

Paul Krishnamurty says the odds are the wrong way around for tomorrow's key match, as Brisbane Heat welcome back players from international duty...

"All of the above - their proximity in the table, Stars' tight schedule, the all-or-nothing nature of the fixture, Heat's restored squad, their head-to-head, leads me to think the match betting is wrong to make Stars such strong favourites."

Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat
Sunday, 08:15 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

This is last chance saloon for both sides. Nothing less than a big win will do if they are to retain hopes of snatching the last play-off spot. Even then, qualification will rest upon the performance of others.

Covid ruined both their title bids

It is impossible not to sympathise with both sides, whose seasons have been wrecked by Covid. True, Heat were never in a good place but they were in the game after beating Hobart in their eighth match. For the last three games, they've been scratching around to put any sort of team together.

Stars have had plenty of their own problems. Adam Zampa has lamented that their Jan 3rd derby fixture with Renegades should have been cancelled. Not only was their squad decimated but the result of other postponements has meant recent matches have been impossibly crammed. Indeed, this one takes place less than 48 hours after losing to Adelaide Strikers.

In one case, the fixture backlog resulted in Stars' taking the bizarre decision to drop an exhausted Joe Clarke down to number seven from opener, despite him top-scoring for four straight appearances and their need to chase 197. The explanation was that Clarke was suffering from Long Covid and tired, yet they still picked him as wicket-keeper!

Much stronger Heat line-up expected today

Both line-ups are now back to relative full-strength. The predicted line-ups, according to crictracker.com, are as follows.

Stars: Stoinis, Clarke, Maxwell, Burns, Cartwright, Webster, Hinchliffe, Daniyal, Rainbird, Zampa, Couch

Heat: Lynn, Lehmann, Duckett, Heazlett, McSweeney, Pfeffer, Bartlett, Prestwidge, Kuhnemann, Guthrie, Rahman.

However it seems that Heat could be strengthened further, because Michael Neser and Mitch Swepson have been released from international duty. The Heat website implies they'll play here but, if so, that would probably represent their strongest line-up of the season to date.

Fixture history favours the visitors

It may surprise to learn that, despite a far inferior tournament record, Heat have a clear advantage in the long-term head-to-heads. They lead 9-6, and by 4-1 in Melbourne.

All of the above - their proximity in the table, Stars' tight schedule, the all-or-nothing nature of the fixture, Heat's restored squad, their head-to-head, leads me to think the match betting is wrong to make Stars such strong favourites at 1.84/5 here.

Advantage to chasers at the MCG

There is also a potential toss-bias in-play to deter an odds-on bet. Using a 35-match sample, two-thirds of matches at the MCG are won by the chaser.

The Sixes line is not up yet but note the stats. The last six matches, and nine of the last ten at the MCG produced fewer than ten sixes. I'll therefore be happy to take 5/6 about Under 9.5.

Finally today's #OddsBoost batsmen are Glenn Maxwell for Stars and Chris Lynn for Sixers - enhanced to 11/4 and 3/1 respectively.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Profit/Loss:

-18.9pts

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