Let's nip this in the bud early doors: we want to be on Virat Kohli for runs in Adelaide but not because of some bizarre idea that he will be trying harder because it will be his only appearance on tour. There is no 'extra motivation' nonsense allowed if betting him to go well.
Kohli has ground form at the Oval - and then some. In all, he has four centuries at the venue, three in Tests and one in ODI. Two of those tons came in the same game in 2014, notching 115 and 141 in a losing cause. His 116 two years previously was a 'I've arrived' moment.
Ground form is not to be underestimated for rationale for wagers. With so much going on inside the head, that twin comfort rug of familiarity and past success can relax a player. So how best do we get with him?
Kohli is 11/5 for top bat honours with Sportsbook. On almost three-year form, we rate Kohli as a 40% chance. Sportsbook reckon he is 31%. That is value from the word go.
But on an expected flat surface, with the reliable Chet Pujara enjoying ground form, too (as discussed here), and Rish Pant and Hanuma Vihari hitting warm-up tons, we could be in a situation where the great man gets runs, but doesn't get enough.
Sportsbook make him 11/10 for a first-innings fifty and 7/2 for a first-innings century. On three-year form the former is out of line on percentage win rate by 4.3 points but there is value on the century market. The 7/2 is rated at 21% and Kohli is copping at a rate of 26%.
India top batsman wins/matches
Ashwin 1/21 -
Labuschagne looks good
For Australia, Marnus Labuschagne is giving us six points on win rate compated to Sportsbook's 7/2. Steve Smith is the right price at 15/8.
But we could argue that Labuschagne might be better followed for a fifty or century. He has only played in 14 Tests but his record is extraordinary. In 13 first innings he has made four centuries and four fifties, meaning the 5/1 and 6/4 on offer are perfectly acceptable wagers.
Labuschagne also has ground form. In five first-class games at Adelaide he averages 45 with two fifties and one century.
Australia top bat/wins
Paine 1 1t/27
Nervous about pink ball
We would like to bet Pat Cummins and Ravi Ashwin on win rates for top Australia and India first-innings bowler. But we are worried about the impact of the pink ball.
Notably, in Cummins' case Mitchell Starc is the most potent wicket-taker in the world in this format so Cummins' superior hit rate means we may have to swerve Sportsbook's 12/5. Starc is the same price.
Ashwin is by far and away India's most reliable bowler in this market and we would be all over the 4/1 normally. But keep fingers crossed he keeps his pwder dry for the contests to come.
Australia top bowler wins/matches
Lyon 8 4t/42
Hazelwood 7 4t/34 1
Starc 9 2t/33
Cummins 10 4t/29
India top bowler wins/matches
Bumrah 2 t/13
Shami 3 2t/25
Ishant 5 t/23
Ashwin 7 2t/21