Only once has the best team actually won the Big Bash - Perth Scorchers in 2017. That is, of course, if your definition of the best team is the one that triumphed in the group stage.
So when perusing the outright, we're not looking for the best team. Or we shouldn't be. In the play-offs, anything can happen - apart from the No 1-ranked team winning.
Last year Stars won most battles but lost the war. We thought they were the best team before a ball was bowled, bet then for the outright and lost.
This year we think Perth Scorchers, as discussed in our team-by-team guide, are best. But we won't bet them at 5s with Sportsbook for glory. Instead we take the 5.409/2 on the exchange that they top the group.
Our top-rated wager is a lay of Brisbane Heat to make the top five at 2.01/1. In a highly-competitive league, we rate Perth marginally better to Hobart Hurricanes who could come with a late surge, the Heat are by far and away the worst. They have almost no redeeming features and, as discussed on Cricket Only Bettor below, they should finish bottom - a 6/1 chance.
Big Bash top three tournament runscorers/wicket-takers
19-20 Stoinis, Hales, Philippe/Sams, Morris, Curran T
18-19: Short, Wade, Stoinis*/Richardson, Abbott, O'Keefe
17-18: Short, Carey, Weatherald/Rashid-Bravo (tie), Tye
16-17: Dunk, Finch, Klinger/Abbott, Stekette, Boland
15-16: Lynn, Khawaja, Pietersen*/McKay, Adil Rashid, Russell
14-15: Klinger, Pietersen*, Maddinson/Hastings, Behrendorff, Yasir Arafat
13-14: Dunk, Katich, Wright/ Gannon, Hazlewood, Laughlin
12-13: Marsh, Pomersbach, Hodge*/Laughlin, Malinga, Cutting
The criteria for finding the top runscorer winner is simple: he has to open and he has to be an Aussie. Never has a winner come from outside the top two in the order (and only four times has an opener made the top three).
So we can cut a swathe through most names on Sportsbook's list. And we can narrow it down further by filtering runs per innings averages over the last two years as opener only. This shows that favourite Marcus Stoinis is the man to beat. No wonder he is 5/1.
Two-time winner D'Arcy Short is only a smidge behind, though, and rates value at 9/1. Behind him are two Australians who are the only other openers to breach 30 runs per inning. They are Aaron Finch (6/1), Shaun Marsh (14s).
Sixers' Josh Philippe is on the cusp at 14s but you may prefer Sportsbook's 7/5 that he outscores his team-mates only. Strikers' Phil Salt appears to have little to beat at 7/2.
Probable openers by team (runs per innings last 2 years)
Stars Stoinis (40)/Fletcher (21.3)
Sixers Philippe (29.2)/Hughes (22.2)
Strikers Salt (27.1)/Weatherald (25.3)
Scorchers Inglis (28.7)/Roy (26.9)/Livingstone (28.4)
Renagdes Finch (31.3)/Marsh (36.1)
Thunder Khawaja (23.5)/Hales (28.4)
Hurricanes Short (39.9)/Will Jacks (22.2)
Heat Bryant (20.3)/Lynn (26.3)
Look out Lalor
The good news is that the top bowler market is similarly easy to read. A pace bowler, specialist at the death and Australia. So no overseas stars to waste a wager on and definitely no spinners - only Rashid Khan has ever made the top three, sharing top spot with Dwayne Bravo in 2017-18.
By filtering pacers and death bowlers only who have taken 20 wickets or more in T20 in the last two years, and ignoring overseas bowlers, we come up with this lot...
Death bowlers by team (strike rate last two years)
Stars Coulter-Nile (22.1)
Scorchers Tye (20.3)
Sixers Dwarshuis (20.3)
Thunder Sams (14.4), Cutting (16.6)
Strikers Siddle (16.1)
Heat Laughlin (19.7)
Hurricanes Faulkner (16.5)
Renegades Richardson (16.09), Lalor (16.1)
Daniel Sams, last year's winner with 30 victims, is the obvious favourite at 8/1 with Kane Richardson a fair second jolly at 12s. But given the strike rates doesn't his team-mate Josh Lalor rate a rick at 80-1? Or you could bet him at 15/2 for top Renegades.
Big Bash Preview Part II on Cricket...Only Bettor