England v South Africa First ODI Betting: Have faith in tourists to show class

Du Plessis is South Africa's most consistent runscorer in the last 12 months
Du Plessis is South Africa's most consistent runscorer in the last 12 months

Ed Hawkins previews the first of three ODIs at Headingley on Wednesday, where expects the No 1 side in the world to show their superiority...

"South Africa are tight with the ball and are superior when posting a total. In short, they are a much more reliable all-round team"

Recommended Bet
South Africa at 2.1211/10 (3pts)

England v South Africa
Wednesday, 14:00
Live on Sky Sports 2


England
England hope that this summer they will confirm their status as one of the best ODI sides in the world with a Champions Trophy victory. But first there's the not insignificant challenge of taking on the world's No 1 team.

They are a full-strength. Eoin Morgan, the captain, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler have warmed up with stints in the IPL. Joe Root is their top-ranked batsman.

It is with the ball where they have a weakness. Their pacers have a tendency to go round the park so it will be interesting to see what combination they go with, although Chris Woakes is considered the attack 'leader'. Mark Wood, fit again, looks a starter as the selectors have been keen to get him back.

David Willey, Liam Plunkett and Jake Ball will compete for two other spots. Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali provide the spin options.


South Africa
South Africa have won their last seven two-team series' and it is hardly surprising considering the players at their disposal.

AB De Villiers is the No 1-ranked batsman in the world as South Africa boast four in the top 11. With the ball they also have the No 1-ranked bowler in Imran Tahir. Kagiso Rabada is at No 5.

They have terrific middle-order and lower-order power options. Farhaan Behardien, David Miller, Chris Morris and Wayne Parnell can all pack a pounch but not all of them will get in the XI.

Unusually for modern-day tours, South Africa have had excellent preparation. They have fitted in two warm-up matches against county opposition, beating Sussex and Northamptonshire.


First-innings runs
There have been only eight ODIs played at Headingley since 2006. The average first-innings score in those matches is 295. More than 300 has been breached three times and the lowest score was Pakistan's 247 last summer. England's 275 for 4 against South Africa in 2008 is the second-lowest. Australia made 299 in 2015 which England chased with three wickets to spare. We would expect both teams to bust 300 first up.


Match odds
England are 1.865/6 and South Africa 2.1211/10. As we said in our series preview, we don't think England are a good enough team to be trusted at odds-on against the definitive article. South Africa have beaten the lot.

We do recognise the danger from this England team, though. They are terrific with the bat and if they were to bat first don't be surprised if they go big enough to significantly reduce those odds. It's just that they don't have a good record when defending.

South Africa are tight with the ball and are superior when posting a total. In short, they are a much more reliable all-round team. We would happily back them at the break in achase if they were going after up to 330.

We get that England are favourites because of home advantage but these two should be much closer and in our book it is a choice affair.


Top England runscorer
Root is 3.9 jolly which is fair enough considering he is their most reliable. It was Stokes, however, who top scored against Pakistan on this ground last year and he is one of two underrated in the market. The 8.88/1 appeals while the 7.26/1 about Buttler is also eye-catching.


Top South Africa runscorer
Although De Villiers is the best in the world, it is Faf Du Plessis who has most runs in the last 12 months. Granted he has played more runs but tellingly his average is bigger, too. Still, there's not much fun about the 4.03/1 price. De Villiers and De Kock are the same price with Amla 4.3100/30. Soemthing has to give here so maybe Du Plessis could be pushed out.


Recommended Bet
Back South Africa at 2.1211/10 (3pts)

Ed Hawkins P-L

2017: +11.41pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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