Ed Hawkins picks bets at 7/2, 13/2 and 9/1 for the final game of the T20 series from Southampton on Saturday
"Malan has been Mr Reliable for us on this market so we're more than happy to take an extra risk"
England v Sri Lanka
Saturday 26 June 14.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
How big can England go?
Get the golden rule book out for another uncompetitive offering from these two, this time from Sportsbook. What do we know?
Well, we know that England are going to win (as discussed in our match preview). We know that there is a chasm between the teams, illustrated by the eight places which separate the pair on the ICC rankings and admitted by Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur.
This does not mean we are going to start advising a pile-on to England's price of 1.152/13. Of course not, although big hitters will sport the 1/4 offered for England to win and hit the most sixes with Sportsbook. Surely the same bet? We have to be smarter. With England set to dominate, is there value to be had in working out how big they can win by? Possibly.
Sportsbook, good sports they are, have offered a much-needed winning margin market. For example, a repeat eight wicket win from game one for England is priced at 17/2. Another five-wicket win is 6/1. Runs are, of course, included. It's eight wickets or 71-80 runs and five wickets or 41-50 runs.
Below is a list of Sri Lanka's defeats, dating back three years, against the established nations.
Sri Lanka defeats by margin
30 runs v England Colombo (RPS) Oct 2018
35 runs v New Zealand Auckland Jan 2019
16 runs v South Africa Centurion Mar 2019
45 runs v South Africa Johannesburg Mar 2019
5 wickets v New Zealand Pallekele Sep 2019
4 wickets v New Zealand Pallekele Sep 2019
134 runs v Australia Adelaide Oct 2019
9 wickets v Australia Brisbane Oct 2019
7 wickets v Australia Melbourne Nov 2019
7 wickets v India Indore Jan 2020
78 runs v India Pune Jan 2020
25 runs v West Indies Pallekele Mar 2020
7 wickets v West Indies Pallekele Mar 2020
4 wickets v West Indies Coolidge Mar 2021
3 wickets v West Indies Coolidge Mar 2021
8 wickets v England Cardiff Jun 2021
5 wickets v England Cardiff Jun 2021
What is noticeable is that betting Sportsbook's margin of four wickets or 31-40 runs would have resulted in four wins at a hefty 7/1. But few would be tempted into such a wager at the Ageas Bowl. Could a feeble Sri Lanka batting line-up really get within 31-40 runs if they were chasing a target set by the fastest scorers in the world?
The eyes immediately go to prices for nine wickets/81-90 runs and 10 wickets/90 or more at 14/1 and 9/1 respectively. The latter is surely a better wager pre-toss because if England were to get a chance to bat first the slim run margin on the former is grim. England by six wickets/51-60 is 11/2 and England by seven/61-70 is 7/1.
Big hitters big value
We're going to look for big prices on the top match batsman market instead of the individual team honours this time. We'd probably be wagering Jonny Bairstow (at an inflated 3/1), Jason Roy and Dawid Malan for honours anyway so why not factor in that awful visiting batting?
Bairstow is actually only slightly bigger at 10/3 for the whole shebang so we're not hugely enamoured. But Roy at 7/2 and Malan at 13/2? Those are wagers which have decent appeal. Malan has been Mr Reliable for us on this market so we're more than happy to take an extra risk.
As for other England players outside the top three, it is shrewd to wait in-play and bet them for team honours. Value will be greatly enhanced. For example, Moeen Ali is 8/1 for top England bat but 16/1 for top match bat. You'll get the 16s (and more) about top England bat with a partnership.
Top England bat last two years wins/matches
Top England bowler wins/matches last two years
Jordan 5 3t/26
Rashid 3 5t/25
T Curran 1 3t/20
S Curran 1 4t/15
Wood 1 2t/14
Stokes 1 2t/11
Top Sri Lanka bat wins/matches last three years
West Indies v South Africa T20 preview on Cricket...Only Bettor