India v England
Thursday 4 March, 04:00
TV: live on Channel 4
Ash: Turn baby, turn
The key to betting on any sport is, perhaps, sticking to what you know. Try to guess as little as possible. Do your research. Be studious.
And that's all well and good. However, there are occasions when as punters we are left with a gaping knowledge hole. And we're faced with such a situation for game four from Ahmedabad. We don't know what the pitch is going to do. And having been burned in the third match at the same venue when we (not unreasonably for a rebuilt stadium making its second 'debut) expected batting to require a modicum of skill on day one, we are nervous.
Could we see another two-day test? Surely not. Could we see another raging turner making the toss crucial? Very possibly. Or could India produce a road to ensure England have no chance of drawing the series 2-2? Of course.
We have discussed the pitch in detail on our match preview, opting for a small stakes wager on 200 or more being scored by both teams in the first-innings. It is hardly a massive gamble on the pitch being one or the other. A score of 201 does not require a road, even for England's beleaguered batsmen.
So we are grateful to Sportsbook for taking away some of the doubt by price-boosting Ravi Ashwin to 5/2 for India wicket-taker in the first-innings (dead heat rules apply on a tie). It goes to the very heart of 'sticking to what we know'
We know that Ashwin is the premier spin bowler in the world. We know that England have a weakness against spin. We know that Ashwin is India highest wicket-taker with the new ball since his debut. We know that he has the best strike rate of any bowler (50 wickets or more since his debut) in the world in the first 15 overs. We know that he is fourth on the all-time list for highest percentage of wickets for his team. And most importantly we know that on win rate on this market in the last three years, he should be priced at 2/1. Sportsbook are giving us six implied probability points. That is huge for a bowler of such ability.
India top bowler wins/matches
Ashwin 9 3t/26
Ishant 5 t/25
There are spots of value elsewhere on Sportsbook's side markets using our win rates as a guide.
James Anderson at 7/2 (yes, he let us down in the pink-ball Test) offers up a shade over one per cent on probability. Dom Bess looks a very dodgy favourite indeed at 7/4 for top England wicket-taker.
Staying with the tourists it would be remiss not to point out that Zak Crawley, Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope are all 'wrong' prices on their respective win rates at 7/2, 9/2 and 10/1. Crawley topped in the third Test with a fluent fifty but we swerve players for back-to-back wins. As for Stokes and Popes they have looked abysmal against spin.
We also note that Virat Kohli is big value at 5/2 for top India bat on win rate. But we're wary of putting all eggs in one basket on this market in case it is a road. Chet Pujara is 13/8 for a first-innings fifty. That's almost seven points in our favour on three-year form at home.
England top bowl wins/matches
Anderson 10 6t/43
Broad 9 9t/51
Archer 2 t/13 -
Bess 3/10 - 7-4
Leach 0/11 - 15/8
India top batsman wins/matches
Pujara 5 t/33
England top bat wins/matches
Don't miss Ed Hawkins's live in-play blog from day one
Best bets for the 4th Test on Cricket...Only Bettor