Ed Hawkins says punters should be wary of the chaser at Newlands on Friday in the Mzansi Super League.
"Without the toss bias we would be all over the Giants price as there is no evidence that the Blitz are as strong as the Giants in any discipline"
Cape Town Blitz v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
Friday 6 December, 15:30
Live on BT Sport 3
Cape Town Blitz's hopes of a top three finish and qualification are on the slide. Three defeats in their last four allied with the surge from Durban Heat means defeat will make their chances thinner than gossamer.
They did win on their last outing, though. They were grateful for the toss bias at Newlands helping them to defend 157. Or maybe that's harsh on Dale Steyn. His three for ten blew the Spartans away.
The tricky nature of batting second in Cape Town probably highlights why the Blitz have gone all-in on pace. Wahab Riaz, Vernon Philander Anrich Nortje and Sisanda Magala support Steyn. Sometimes they come off, other times the Blitz are desperate for some variation. Mohammad Nawaz and Liam Livingstone were their spin options against Spartans and they were hurried out of the attack after Spartans took a liking.
It is, frankly, one of the worst balancing acts we've seen. Philander at No 5? Good grief.
Possible XI De Kock, Malan, Bedingham, Livingstone, Philander, Nawaz, Wahab, Mgijima, Magala, Steyn, Nortje
Giants getting it right
The Nelson Mandela Bay Giants are holding on to joint-top spot alongside Paarl Rocks. Despite a wobble with the bat here and a wibble with the bat there, punters will feel confident they are at the summit on merit.
Compared to the balance of Blitz, they look like masters of the high wire. They have three bowlers (Imran Tahir, Junior Dala and Chris Morris) in the top seven wicket-takers. Ben Dunk is second on the runs list. With Morris at No 8, they bat deep.
There is still room for improvement. Jason Roy, averaging just 19, has had a poor time, likewise opening partner Matt Breetzke. Roy made way for Dunk last time. We would also much prefer if left-arm pacer Nandre Burger played instead of the expensive Beuran Hendricks.
Possible XI Breetzke, Dunk, Smuts, Kuhn, Marais, Ten Doeschate, Morris, Dala, Hendricks, Burger, Tahir
The scores in the last 12 T20s at Newlands (1-2 denote match won by side batting first-second, most recent first) read: 157-1/181-2/163-1/183-1/133-1/150-1/152-1/134-tie/192-1/113-2/161-2/144-1/196-1. There's a 53% bias for the side defending in all T20, a trend which is holding up over the study period,
The match odds market looks like settling at 1.8810/11 Blitz and 2.186/5 Giants. Without the toss bias we would be all over the latter price as there is no evidence that the Blitz are as strong as the Giants in any discipline.
Instead we'll keep our fingers crossed that the flip goes the way of the Giants, they bat first and make the eight an over required which should guarantee victory. If Giants do bat, we can expect the market to flip flop. Even then it is still a good wager on the visitors.
We're bored of being burned by Quinton de Kock for top Blitz bat. Almost every game he has raised hopes (his best effort is a shared honours) only to fall just when he looks likely to go on and land the knockout blow. Sportsbook's 21/10 is a swerve. They also offer over 24.5 at 4/5. Going over that mark was a loser four times in seven. Jannie Malan is deserving of favourite status given he is outscoring the entire tournament. He gets a 3/1 quote.
With the ball, it's a surprise Sportsbook can't find an outright favourite for Blitz bowler. Steyn averages a wicket every 12.8 balls over eight games. Spinner Gregory Mahlokwana is averaging a wicket every 12 over half the study. Khewi Gumede hasn't played. All three are priced at 5/2.
Ed Hawkins P-L
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 (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back Giants batting first at 1.8810/11 or better (2pts)