Ed Hawkins wonders why sixes are priced so high for the contest in Jo'burg on Sunday and says low is the only way...
"In 25 matches at The Wanderers betting over 14.5 sixes would have won you money just seven times. That’s a 5/2 chance. Instead, overs are priced at 8/11"
Winning at betting is hard. Some people bet on hunches, others statistics. But most should bet when they believe the odds to be wrong. Either of the first two 'systems' can lead to the latter.
This column's system is maths. We painstakingly, eye-bleedingly, check scorecards and spreadsheets to try to find the true odds for something happening in a match. That could be a top runscorer wager or the number of fours to be struck.
It is proving tricky in 2018. We're down following a successful 2017 and are smarting from a defeat yesterday in which Jos Buttler, rated by us as a 4/1 chance in line with the number of time he actually top scores, managed only two when going off at 6/1.
It hurts. But there's a lesson there. Just because the mathematics say that Buttler is underrated for honours, doesn't mean he will actually top score. There is no real relationship between us having a wager and Buttler nicking off or not, a catch going down, an umpire's decision reversed.
The point is, though, that if we consistently, rationally bet when the odds are incorrect then we should, in the long run, win. It just depends how long that run is. Strange things happen, and we just have to retain faith that normality will out. Take New Zealand's win against England on Sunday as an example - more sixes were hit than fours. That doesn't happen very often.
It is six appeal which has our juices flowing for today's contest. Betfair Sportsbook rate total match sixes over/under 14.5.
Now, what's your initial reaction? Maybe it's 'that seems a bit low'. And why not? AB De Villiers can certainly give it a tonk. And David Miller. Farhaan Behardien, in the middle order for the hosts, is a terrific striker and is capable of making a large dent on his own.
Then there's the India's Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. A top three of class and power. Then there's the muscle of Hardik Pandya, who if he frees his arms could smite four or five.
The Wanderers wicket is also a good one for batting. The track is flat and true, allowing batsmen to hit through the line with confidence. By comparison, bowlers will be wary of getting their line and length only slightly wrong and disappearing into the stands. Sounds all pretty logical doesn't it?
Now, let's consider what the numbers say. In 25 matches at The Wanderers betting over 14.5 sixes would have won you money just seven times. That's a 5/2 chance. Instead, overs are priced at 8/11.
The average number of sixes per match is 11.3. In all matches in South Africa in the last three years the average number of sixes per match is 11.8. In the last five it is 11.7.
What about the teams? South Africa average 7.2 in the last 12 months and 6.8 in the last two years. India's numbers are 5.6 and 4.6 respectively.
So which way are we going to bet? Are we going to bet on the hunch? Or the numbers?
2018 - points p-l: -4.7 (20 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)