Is the price Taylor-made?
For much of last summer's World Cup we argued for a select group of batters to be skinnier to top score for their respective teams when they were listed alongside numbers out of kilter with their true chances of winning. Ben Stokes, Rohit Sharma, Quinton De Kock to name but three. Another was Ross Taylor.
Stokes, of course, is no longer a secret. He was 9/1 before the World Cup final to top score. The sort of price which, now after an extraordinary rise to the top, people just wouldn't believe was true. If he was playing in England's current ODI series in South Africa he'd be half that.
It's always tinged with sadness and regret that the layers have cottoned on to the value and snatched it away. And on first look at Taylor's price for top Kiwi in Hamilton we felt a similar pang. In the absence of Kane Williamson, who has a shoulder injury, and worthy form for Martin Guptill, Taylor has been installed as 3/1 favourite.
Then the database whirred into action. Seems prohibitive. Is it? Well, on the same two-year data which unearthed Stokes' real odds, Taylor is still a bet. He wins 29.2% of the time, and that number includes matches with Williamson playing. Sportsbook are rating him at 25%. He is the only Kiwi priced out of line with his two-year record.
We're also happy to report that Taylor top scored in the series overall for New Zealand against India last year. So he should feel happy to be taking them on again.
Better still, Taylor has a terrific record at Seddon Park in ODI. He has an even money record for passing fifty in 16 innings, including three centuries. In six of those knocks he took top bat honours. Taylor might also appeal for man of the match (two gongs in that spell) at 12/1.
Guptill will be considered a threat because he has razed bowling attacks at the venue but we can't get involved because the 16/5 on offer is not a wrong price. He has a hit rate of just shy of 16% in the last two years.
NZ top bat wins/matches
De Grandhomme 1/29
NZ top bowler wins/matches
Sodhi 3 2t/13
De Grandhomme t/29
Neesham 2 t/21
Kohli to skinny
Rohit Sharma is consistently value for top India bat because of Virat Kohli taking up a chunk of the book out of line with his prospects. With Sharma absent, can we get with the great man?
Alas not. Sportsbook's 21/10 is too skinny. We would have been sorely tempted by 5/2 but that's unrealistic with Rohit (and Shikhar Dhawan, too come to think of it) absent.
India top batsman wins/matches
India top bowler wins/matches
Bumrah 8 9t/48
Kuldeep 12 13t/57
Chahal 7 4t/45
Shami 6 2t/25
No sixy time
The total sixes market is always a favourite play for us, particularly after two wins on the underrated muscle of the Kiwis in the T20 series. They are outsiders again with Sportsbook, who go 7/5 New Zealand, 4/5 India and the tie 6/1.
It's hugely tempting to get with New Zealand. Unfortunately the numbers don't stack up. Surprisingly it is India who have been more brutal, a direct contrast to their six-hitting ability in T20.
The last 12 months show a big disparity. We were hoping for the two to be much closer with the absence of Rohit Sharma providing us with the edge. Sharma is the most destructive six hitter in the world, topping the lists with 80 in his last 48 innings.
Averages sixes per game Last 12 months
New Zealand 5.4
Last two years
New Zealand 4.5