Ed Hawkins crunches the numbers to reveal a big-priced wager for top Pakistan batsman in the first Test on Christmas Day night...
"With so little to beat, Yasir Shah suddenly looks a fancy at 33s. There is a strong chance an undercooked top order could be blown away"
New Zealand are in Test action again which means we once more have to sound the Kane Williamson no value alert on the top Kiwi first-innings runscorer market.
Williamson may be a nice guy with a winning smile and new baby in tow - and a darn good batter to boot - but his genial qualities mean Sportsbook are not going to take any chances on him copping. So he is artificially short for honours. On win rate, Williamson wins 26% of the time. Sportsbook's odds imply he wins 30% of the time. The man to take him on has been Tom Latham in the last couple of years but, alas, Sportsbook have wised hp to that. He is 7/2 when we need 4/1.
The oddsmen are giving nowt away on Williamson for a first-innings fifty. They go 10/11 when he has an even money record. The 3/1 for a century is hopelessly mean. The 4/1 that Latham manages a century in the first-innings is spot on.
For top Kiwi bowler Tim Southee's win rate plays odds of 31.3% versus 28.6% respectively. That means Sportsbook's 5/2 is value. Southee has an excellent record at the venue with his 12 wickets costing just 20 apiece. It is incredibly competitive, though. Trent Boult, Neil Wagner andKyle Jamieson are all live runners. Wagner gets the biggest edge thanks to the 10/3 but we tend to shy away from him on surfaces which demand more artistry.
NZ top batsman wins/matches
De Grandhomme 0/23
NZ top bowler wins/matches
Southee 7 2t/22
Wagner 7 2t/24
De Grandhomme 1 t/13
Jamieson 1 2t/4
Yes, sir Yasir
Babar Azam is absent for Pakistan with a finger injury. Not that we would have bet him anyway for top batsman. He is a class act but overrated.
The market, though, is wide open. Azhar Ali and Mohammad Rizwan look poor favourites at 3/1. Azhar got to grips with a seaming and swinging ball eventually in England in the last Test of the summer so he may need time at adjust again. Rizwan is gutsy but should never be as short.
Shan Masood, the opener, also knuckled down for big runs in the final Test of the summer. He has appeal at 5s. Masood looked organised in those conditions but he will face stern test from ball one. With so little to beat, Yasir Shah suddenly looks a fancy at 33s. There is a strong chance an undercooked top order could be blown away. He also rates value at 3/1 for top Pakistan bowler.
Pakistan top bat wins/matches
Azhar Ali 4/21
Abid Ali 1/6
Sarfaraz 2 t/13
Top Pakistan bowler wins/matches
Afridi 3 4t/11
Abbas 3 2t/16
Yasir 5 2t/16
Naseem Shah t/7
A Boxing Day betting bonanza on Cricket...Only Bettor