Hawk Eye on England v West Indies Third Test: Tops wagers a test of courage

Last hurrah for Roach
Kemar Roach

Ed Hawkins keeps you up to date with the top performer win rates and says there's still value to be had for game three from Friday

"There are plenty of other betting options for Stokes. He is 11/10 for a first-innings fifty and 11/2 for a century in the same. How do these numbers stack up?"

Pope and Blackwood still in good shape

The Third Test represents a Test of mettle not just for mentally and physically-drained players but punters, too. Do we hold our nerve on statistically wrong prices or are we swayed by mitigating points?

For the action in Southampton and Old Trafford, we have wagered Kemar Roach for top West Indies bowler, split stakes on Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler for top England bat and likewise on Jason Holder and Jermaine Blackwood for Windies runscorer honours. Not a winner between them.

Roach has been a significant disappointment. He came into the series with a 47% win rate on top bowler in the last two years meaning that it was a no brainer that we wagered him at 11/4. It is a little unfair to get a sweat on about the batsman bets because of the size of odds. Pope has been 5s and Buttler 12s, Blackwood was 10/1 in the first test and then cut to 5/1 after his match-winning second-innings (typical!) knock while Holder has now been eased out to 12s.

With Roach we are wary that he has already bowled 80 overs in the series and with limited time to rest and recharge, he is now far from his best. It would be a relief if he was rested. Sportsbook, though, expect him to take the honours by making him 5/2 jolly. That's a cut. With fresher bowlers coming in and proof that bowlers who have been through back-to-backs suffer more (click here), it is hard to get involved for more than one point.

Pope is out to 11/2. We don't believe Pope is going to be those sort of odds for long in his career and would expect him to rival Joe Root and Ben Stokes for favourite status eventually. Sportsbook give him a 15.4% chance. After nine Tests he has a rate of 22.2%. It would be a surprise if the latter number was not more significant in time.

Blackwood remains at 5/1. With Kraigg Brathwaite having won twice in a row, we know that a hat-trick of wins in such a market is almost unprecedented. So do we go in again? With caution, yes. He has looked solid but the margin in our favour is getting smaller - now down to just 0.5%.

Holder and Buttler are in the same boat, suffering from a lack of confidence. Holder is more like an 8/1 chance on win rate but has a high score of 35 in this series and his last nine innings. Buttler is also an 8/1 chance.

England top bat wins/matches
Root 7/48
Stokes 9/39
Buttler 3/26
Woakes 1/22
S Curran 2/18
Pope 2/9
Burns 3/17
Sibley 0/8

England top bowl wins/matches
Woakes 1 5t/24
Anderson 8 6t/36
Broad 7 8t/44
Archer 2/8
S Curran 2 2t/18
Wood 2/8
Leach 0/4
Bess 1/4
Stokes 2/31

West Indies top batsman wins/matches
S Hope 2/22
Hetymer 3 t/13
Holder 2/18
Chase 3/23
K Brathwaite 5/23
Dowrich 1 t/22
Campbell 1/7
Blackwood 5/29

West Indies top bowler wins/matches
Gabriel 2 2t/209
Roach 8 2t/19
Holder 4/17
Chase 1/23
Bishoo 2 t/12
Cummins 1/8
K Brathwaite t/22
Cornwall 1/2

Is Stokes a bet?

Ben Stokes is all the rage and, like Brathwaite, is going for three top-bat honours in a row. Sportsbook make him 7/2 second favourite behind the persistently poor value Joe Root at 3/1.

It is probably time for Stokes to usurp Root given the numbers above. Sportsbook's rating is value on win rate but we can't ignore how hard it is to put three wins down in a row in this market.

There are plenty of other betting options for Stokes. He is 11/10 for a first-innings fifty and 11/2 for a century in the same. How do these numbers stack up?

Based on his performances in the last two years we rate him at 11/4 and 10/1. So why the big discrepancy? Stokes has now become such a reliable performer that it is no longer in the bookies' interests to give a close price. The man of the match price of 5/1 is also too skinny. He has nine wins in his 65-Test career.


For analysis and insight on the Third Test, check out the latest episode of Cricket...Only Bettor

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