Chennai start firm favourites
Spinners to thrive on slow pitch
Conway, Dube rate good value
Delhi Capitals v Chennai Super Kings
Saturday, 11:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
The final weekend of the group stage is upon us and, as always, the permutations seem endless. Every game matters to at least one of the sides. Qualification for the play-offs and gaining the critical advantage of a top-two finish may well be settled by net run-rate. Expect some teams to go for hell for leather with the bat in order to improve their numbers.
Chennai well-placed to finish top-two
That is precisely the scenario facing Chennai. With 15 points, they must win to be sure of qualification. Defeat would see them eliminated if Mumbai and RCB win their matches, and Lucknow merely edge ahead on run-rate. Win and only Lucknow can keep them out of the top-two, meaning two cracks at reaching the final.
In contrast, Delhi's only target here is avoiding bottom place. They are measurably the inferior side, by some distance. However CSK should take nothing for granted after Tuesday's formbook smashing result. Despite being eliminated with dismal batting numbers, they hit by far their best score of the season to end Punjab's hopes.
Back the superior side
Could lightning strike twice? I doubt it. For one, Chennai are a superior side to Punjab. More so than odds of 1.75 indicate, and that is before the motivation factor.
The most consistent franchise in IPL history have followed their tried and trusted playbook. Pack the batting with power and depth. They are full of aggression and runs down to Dhoni at eight and, if required, Mitchell Santner at nine. Whereas prior to Tuesday, Delhi's batting had been reliant on David Warner and Axar Patel, with the former scoring too slowly up top.
At the start of the tournament, their bowling was weak. However Matheesha Pathirana's arrival from Sri Lanka has made all the difference. His death bowling is outstanding, compensating for Tushar Deshpande's expensive, yet wicket-taking, figures.
Slow, dry pitch expected
I expect we'll get a slow pitch now we're at the end of the season. The Arun Jaitley Stadium has small boundaries and can yield big scores in the right conditions, but the converse is that scoring becomes hard when slow. Last weekend, Punjab easily defended 167 here, with spin playing a huge role in the second innings. That will likely be even more the case here as this is an afternoon match.
The toss will be interesting. Chasers enjoy a 16-10 advantage over the past five years but those latest conditions pointed to defending. But if Chennai have the choice, it might make sense to chase in order to potentially advance their run-rate.
Delhi to struggle with the bat
Regarding 1st Innings Runs, I will be happy to lay Delhi to score 160 or more at up to 1.7 if they bat first. If the opening line is higher, place an in-play lay order at those odds. I would swerve Chennai, though, as they have an incentive and the potential to defy a low par line.
Today's #OddsBoost batsmen are Devon Conway and David Warner, enhanced to 16/5 and 11/4 respectively to for Top Chennai and Delhi Batsman. Both make some appeal at those odds, because the best time to bat will probably be up top.
Plus taking these odds in each match would have yielded a profit. Conway has won five times in 12 innings, yielding a 75% profit at these odds, while Warner yields 44%.
Take the odds about Conway and also try another Chennai player in the Top Match Batsman market. 25/1 about Shivam Dube is simply too big - he's top-scored in three of their last five innings and could well be promoted to try and increase their run-rate.
*Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty