Hawk Eye on England v West Indies First Test: Windies trio offer big value

Holder could be celebrating
Jason Holder
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Ed Hawkins returns with his statistical analysis of the side markets for game one from the Ageas Bowl from Wednesday...

"Pope looked in good touch in the warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl, stroking a fifty. It is arguable that he has very little to beat"

England v West Indies
Wednesday, 11:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Pope must fly

One could be forgiven for thinking that the absence of Joe Root blows the England top-bat market wide open. But considering he barely won anyway, not so much.

Without Root, it merely means that Ben Stokes is chopped to prohibitive numbers. Gone are the days, possibly forever, that he was value on this market. Betfair Sportsbook's 7/2 is implied probability of 22.2%. On three-year data he has a win rate of 18.9%.

We would like to wager Ollie Pope, the coming Stokes if you will. It surely won't be long until the 5/1 that Sportsbook offer is also a distant memory. On most algorithms and models, Pope is England's best batsman. Alas he has played only seven Tests so we have to take a flier and ignore our rule about players needing at least 15 Tests under their belt before we make a judgement call.

Pope looked in good touch in the warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl, stroking a fifty. It is arguable that he has very little to beat but if you are more cautious the 17/10 that Sportsbook offer about a first-innings fifty might make more appeal.

The only England batsman who fits the bill of a wrong price with the requisite number of games is Jos Buttler. Sportsbook go 8s when he should be 7s.

England top bat wins/matches
Burns 3/15
Sibley 0/6
Crawley ¼
Stokes 7/37
Buttler 3/24
Denly 3/14
Pope 2/7
Woakes 1/21

England top bowl wins/matches
Woakes 1 4t/23
Anderson 8 6t/35
Broad 7 7t/42
Archer 2/7
S Curran 2 2t/17
Bess ½

Don't miss Roach

The West Indies top-bat market is hugely competitive, probably the most fiercely contested in the world. With 11/4 favourite Shai Hope having as many wins (and in more matches) than 15/2 Jason Holder, it is a tantalising prospect.

Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich catch the eye at 11/2 and 10/1 because they are organised and durable, less so Kraigg Brathwaite despite a solid record against England. The 4/1 is too short given his recent win rate.

Hope, of course, is the most naturally gifted of them all and anyone who recalls his extraordinary ton at Headingley to win West Indies the game in a fourth-innings monster chase will not bash Betfair Sportsbook's ears. Brathwaite also notched a ton, by the way.

But those with even better memories might recall Jermaine Blackwood's gutsy half-century to top score in Birmingham in the same series. Blackwood is significantly underrated at 10/1. Split stakes on Blackwood and Holder who sneaks in as value.

There's no need to divvy up stakes when it comes to top bowler. For the entire lockdown we have been waiting to bet Kemar Roach for top bowler. As you can see from his win rate, the 5/2 is no way near skinny enough.

West Indies top batsman wins/matches
S Hope 2/20
Holder 2/16
Chase 3/21
K Brathwaite 3/21
Dowrich 1 t/20
Campbell 1/5
Blackwood 5/27

West Indies top bowler wins/matches
Gabriel 2 2t/19
Roach 8 2t/18
Holder 3/16
Chase 0/21
K Brathwaite t/21
Cornwall 1/2

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