Go hard or go home
It used to be said that a team couldn't win a T20 tournament without a crack bowling unit. But if that was a reliable maxim for punters we'd have been betting Sunrisers Hyderabad religiously. And they've drawn a blank for the last five years.
Fitting, then, that just as the Indian Premier League has gone through its biggest evolution in its 15th season, that bettors need to have a rethink, too. We have two new franchises - Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Lions - and the ten teams will be split into two groups.
Post mega-auction with players switching allegiance for big dough, we need to cling to something. And it could be shrewd to hold tight to the chest the belief that it is hitting power that can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Hitting boundaries is likely to be the most significant metric. Chennai Super Kings won the 2021 tournament by finishing as the No 1-ranked team for batting boundary percentage and at No 7 for fewest boundaries conceded. The previous season Mumbai were first and third respectively. The No 1-ranked bowling team has won once in the last seven editions.
Big-bat power is king. Moreover, intent is king. Be aggressive and a team is rewarded. Seven of the tournaments since 2012 have been won by a team with a ranking in the top three for boundary percentage. And four of the last five have been won by the franchise hitting the most sixes.
Naturally our focus when it comes to finding a winning wager on the IPL is to decipher not only which teams can hit, but ones which will. The handbrake should be off from ball one.
Boundary % rankings
Average boundary percentage from possible top 6
KKR fit the bill
Kolkata Knight Riders are the No 1 on our pre-season batting boundary percentage rating. And we know with Brendon McCullum in charge that they will not be shy and retiring.
The Knight Riders are no better than 11/2 with Sportsbook but as big as 10.09/1 is available on the exchange. Sportsbook clearly recognise that batting power we're talking about. Exchange users are probably worried about bowling depth, which has long been considered a weakness and wasn't really solved in the auction.
A safety-first approach is the 2.3211/8 available that KKR make it to the play-offs in a revamped structure. KKR are grouped with Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants
Each team will play teams in their group twice and one team from the opposite group twice, while facing the remaining four team once. The top two qualify. It is a bonus for KKR that they will play Sunrisers Hyderabad, possibly the weakest team in the competition, twice from the opposite group.
Check our team-by-team guide here for every teams strengths and weaknesses analysed.
The other pot (Group B) hosts Chennai, Bangalore, Punjab, Gujarat and, of course Sunrisers. It appears to be an easier section.
And that is why we fancy Punjab to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since 2014. They have recruited excellently in the auction, managing to secure high-level, premium domestic batting power in Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal. England pair Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone are also great pick-ups.
It's the smartest squad they have picked for years. It's also the best-balanced. It's no coincidence that they are using the same data analysts which oversaw Birmingham Phoenix's run to The Hundred final.
Punjab are 10.5019/2 on the exchange for glory and 6/5 with Sportsbook to qualify. Depending on your betting strategy, both rate as value.
There are some stinkers out there, none more so than 9/2 joint-favourites Delhi Capitals who rank bottom on our batting list. Their best chance of a first title appears to have gone after a mediocre auction. Relying on David Warner and an injured Anrich Nortje doesn't look so shrewd.
On that basis there's a case for betting Mumbai Indians at the same price. They are No 2 on batting power and despite a couple of slots for two unproven home players, this is arguably the most dangerous power unit they have assembled. Tim David and Kieron Pollard as finishers is frightening.
Sportsbook go 16/1 that Mumbai win the title and hit most sixes. Given our earlier stats that is outstanding value.
Chennai, who are 7/1, have lost key pacer Deepak Chahar to injury and might struggle to reproduce 2021 form. Bangalore would be our pick if they had the guts to drop Virat Kohli. But his presence in the side means they're untouchable at 6/1.
If we've read the room wrong, Rajasthan Royals could be the surprise package. They have a solid squad and batsmen with more than enough ability to make our calculations look foolish. They are are 8/1.
Kohli kills RCB on Cricket...Only Bettor