India v England ODI Series Betting: Fearless tourists can cause an upset

Root is ready for England
Root is ready for England

Ed Hawkins previews the three-match series which starts in Pune on Sunday and says Eoin Morgan's men are not to be taken lightly

"When one side is unreliable defending it leaves us in a quandary as to how to play the series market. These matches will be toss games where the chaser will have a strong advantage"

Whereas in Test cricket the protagonists change but everything stays the same, it is not true of the limited-overs format. England's one-day revolutionaries are proof of that.

Their resurgence after a dismal World Cup campaign has been one of the most thrilling stories in the global game in the last two years. Five of their last seven series have been won with carefree, sometimes reckless, hitting - the like of which their supporters have never seen.

Only Australia and South Africa have beaten England, and they did so with a flea in their ear by the odd game in five. England have come a long way. But they still have a long way to go - they are only ranked No 5 in the world by the ICC.

A three-match series in India, which starts on Sunday in Pune, represents their greatest challenge. Their previous one was in Bangladesh before Christmas. They passed. But this is the acid Test.

Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja, the spin twins who terrorised England in the Test series, are included in the squad after being rested for India's last ODI series at home while the talismanic MS Dhoni has been unleashed from the burden of captaincy. The new demi-God Virat Kohli takes over.

India have lost only two of their last 14 two-team home series so naturally they go off skinny favourites at 1.51/2. England are 3.185/40. It would be a mistake, however, to reckon that the hosts dominate like they do in Tests.

A plucky New Zealand were beaten by the odd game in five in October while the previous year South Africa came away with a 3-2 victory. Even a limited West Indies managed two victories in two three-match series prior to that.

India, clearly, are vulnerable. But England are really only capable of playing one way. They can chase, and chase well. Their batting is powerful and long and it means they are often terrific value with the toss on their side.

However, they are not to be trusted when defending a score. The nous is just not quite there in a pace attack comprising David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes. It has a tendency to go round the park in most conditions. In India, then, the pressure will be on spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali.

That is a heavy burden against India's strong batting line-up. Is it reasonable to expect these two to tie down a batting attack expert at playing spin? Probably not.

So instead of their age-old edge with the bat, it is with the ball where India hold sway. Ashwin and Jadeja are a major threat while we have been impressed by the emergence of Jasprit Bumrah and the raw pace of Umesh Yadav.

This is best evidenced by numbers. In the last two years England have posted 299 or more 12 times. But they have lost five of them. India have managed 299 or more seven times and lost only twice.

When one side is unreliable defending it leaves us in a quandary as to how to play the series market. These matches will be toss games where the chaser will have a strong advantage. On a game-by-game basis that is fine, because we advise with that huge caveat. But a three-game contest?

It is impossible to say India are the value at the odds. What if they lose all three tosses? Likewise England. So the smartest play could be backing 2-1 apiece on the correct score market. India are 2.35/4 and England 3.613/5.

England, with Eoin Morgan leading again after missing the Bangladesh trip, showed their strength in the warm-up match against India A this week. They conceded 304 but chased it down with ease, losing seven wickets in the process. They batted all the way down to No 10.

Sam Billings, confident after his Big Bash performances, was the star. He hit 93 from 85 balls. But he could lose his place to Joe Root, available after the birth of his child. Jos Buttler is the most destructive hitter on either team.

Dhoni was given a run out in the match, notching an unbeaten half-century. He batted at No 5, one place below Yuvraj Singh who is has made a surprise return. With these two India are hoping to replace the guile lost by Rohit Sharma's absence.

If India come unstuck there will be many calls for old stagers Dhoni and Yuvraj, who have defined their country's power in this format, to pass the baton to younger, fresher players. And allow Kohli to start a revolution of his own.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2017: +5.22
2016: +12.5
2015: +38
2014: +31.5
2013: +25
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 (1pt-5) introduced for 2017.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles