There's plenty of value on the Sixers' top bat and bowler markets so that's where we're putting our cash ahead of the big Sydney derby, says Jamie Pacheco...
"He’s the team’s second top runscorer on 282, maintained a healthy strike rate of 135 throughout this year’s BBL and is a class act, as shown by his brilliant 96 against the Stars a few games ago."
Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder
Friday January 22, 08:15
TV: live on BT Sport 1
Returning duo further boost winning side
The good new for Sixers fans is that they look nailed on for a Top 2 finish after opening up an eight point lead over the next-best- the Scorchers and the Stars - and a nine-point lead over their city rivals, the Thunder.
They'd pretty much have to lose all their remaining three games and see two of those teams just below them win their own remaining games while also picking up a couple of bonus points for the Sixers to miss out. They won't be thinking far too ahead right now; they'll be thinking 'win this one and we'll have two bites of the cherry at making the final' or something along those lines.
The even better news is that they can call up two of their best and most experienced players if they wish. Moises Henriques and Sean Abbott have been injured on and off since the start of the BBL but wouldn't have been able to play anyway because they weren't released from Australia Test duty.
They're ready now and Henriques should slot in at number five with Justin Avendano likely to make way and James Vince and Dan Hughes both moving up a spot. Abbott should come into the bowling line-up with Jackson Bird or Jake Ball taking a breather.
Thunder cracking at just the wrong time
The Thunder have somewhat lost their mojo of late. They've now lost their last three, one of them against the Sixers, and from a position where they were almost certain of making the Top 2 themselves, would probably be very happy to settle for third or fourth now.
As worrying a problem as their form is the loss to injury of Daniel Sams. He's been one of their best bowlers and a vital man with the bat, forming an explosive lower-middle order with Ben Cutting and normally out-batting his more famous fellow all-rounder.
Sams got injured in his hand last time out and will now only be available for the back end of the Playoffs, if they make it that far. They have players who can do a similar job with the ball but not the bat as well. They've just been deprived of their trump card.
It also doesn't help that after a bright start to the tournament, youngster Oliver Davies is going through a bad patch with the bat. He's scored 2, 0 and 0 in his last three outings.
Sixers should win but...
This one's at the SCG, the first game played there this season. Last season it was the sort of ground where 155 batting first had you in the game, 165 was very competitive and 175 was almost always a winning score.
The Renegades' win over the Stars on Wednesday was a reminder about the dangers of taking shortish prices pre-toss. Not only did the Stars have an excellent head to head record pre-match but the men in red were dead and buried with six overs to go in the chase before a partnership got them back in the match and then home and dry.
So 1.84/5 is a decent price about the Sixers, the table-toppers, and their task will be made easier by the absence of Sams for the Thunder.
But if we don't need to make choice between the two on this market, we won't.
Hughes real value
Josh Philippe is the favourite for top bat for the Sixers at 9/4 and that's hardly surprising given he's the tournament's top scorer in addition to being just the Sixers'.
Henriques, despite not having played a game yet, is just 7/2. A poor price if ever we've seen one for someone batting at five who hasn't had a proper knock since a T20I against India in early December.
That short price has meant the Sportsbook increased the odds on Dan Hughes.
He's the team's second top runscorer on 282, maintained a healthy strike rate of 135 throughout this year's BBL and is a class act, as shown by his brilliant 96 against the Stars a few games ago.
As we said already, the inclusion of Henriques and promotion of someone else to open means Hughes should bat at three, worst case scenario at four, as per usual.
That should give you a good run for your money at a very attractive price.
Put your cash on Carlos
The Sportsbook obviously really respect the two returning players because in his first match of the season, Abbott has been chalked up as 11/4 favourite for Sixers top bowler. He's excellent in this format but can't have done much T20 style bowling in the nets (or anywhere else) recently after being with the Test squad for the past six weeks. If he's top bowler on the day, good on him, but I can't be backing him as favourite given he's going in 'cold'.
That opens up opportunities on other players. At 10/3 you can back the extremely consistent Steve O'Keefe who is their top wicket-taker with 14 and at 3/1 Ben Dwarshius who started really well but has been injured for a couple of weeks.
But I'd rather go with Carlos 'Remember the name' Brathwaite.
Their second highest wicket-taker in the team with 13, boasting a brilliant strike rate of 14.3 for the tournament, he has the added advantage of bowling at the death and despite all this, goes off as 4/1 seventh 'favourite'. That will do just fine.
BIG BASH 2020-21 P AND L
Points Staked: 27.5pts
Points Returned: 32.2
P and L: +4.7