Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders: Conditions in Chennai demand backing unders

Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell is making an impact for RCB

Batting has been very hard at Chennai so far and Paul Krishnamurty says the betting still doesn't reflect the trends...

"Considering he's sure to bowl at the death, in what have been extremely difficult conditions to bat, Russell is fair value at 4/1 to be Top KKR wicket-taker."

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunday, 11:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

After only two rounds of the league, RCB are the last team with a 100% record. They're down to second favourites to win the title. Could 2021, finally, be Virat Kohli's year?

There's little reason to question it on what we've seen so far. Their batting looks better than ever with a beefed up middle-order and the days when their bowling was a ruinous weakness are history. Especially, it seems, at today's ground.

RCB bowlers thriving at this ground

Both wins came at this M A Chidambaram Stadium, primarily because they bowled so well, with Harshal Patel, Shabhaz Ahmed and Mohammed Siraj taking ten wickets for 120 runs.

KKR also played both of their matches at Chennai - beating Sunrisers by ten runs before losing to Mumbai by the same margin. The latter was nothing short of a catastrophe. At one stage they needed 70 off 67 balls with all ten wickets remaining.

In-play extreme unders bets paying off

Well done to anybody who laid them at well below 1.11/10 in-running - the extremity of the collapse was unlikely, but it wasn't entirely unpredictable. In every match here at this ground so far, scoring slowed up dramatically in the late overs.

In the first match, bets were landed above 100/1 on Mumbai failing to reach 160. In the second, KKR scored 187 after looking set for 200 plus. The third saw that collapse to Mumbai and in the fourth, Sunrisers were turned over at even shorter odds chasing 150.

Even small targets proving problematic

Follow the trend and go unders on runs, late in the first innings, then look to lay the chasing side if they go short odds-on.

It is hard to predict exactly where these odds will be but, as a guide in the last match, 43 or more off the last five first innings overs was available to lay at 1.422/5.

The 1st Innings Runs line could well be below 160 for the first time in the tournament - 12 of the last 20 first innings here finished under. Plus this may be a used pitch, offering even more assistance for spinners.

Rather, therefore, than recommending a pre-innings bet, try this in-play strategy. Place an order to lay 165 or more at 1.75/7. That line went shorter in all four first innings so far.

If similar conditions do materialise, it is hard to dispute the market assessment that RCB are 1.84/5 favourites. Their bowlers look much likelier to contain.

Batting first seems an advantage

As usual it makes little sense to play the match odds pre-match. The toss presents something of a conundrum. The stats say batting first is an advantage yet, as in every match, the toss winners opted to chase.

Considering he's sure to play and to bowl at the death, in what have been extremely difficult conditions to bat, Russell is fair value at 4/1 to be Top KKR wicket-taker.

Sixes line is usually too high

Keep an eye on the Total Sixes line too - they are relatively thin on the ground at Chennai. Ten or fewer were hit in 14 of the last 20 matches here, and in six of the last seven. That ten or under line was trading around 4.03/1 in the earlier matches.

There are two significant #Oddsboosts on offer. Kohli is 12/5 to be Top RCB Runscorer and Nitish Rana is 7/2 to top-score for the third straight match for KKR.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul's 2021 IPL Profit/Loss

+8.5 units

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