New Zealand v India
Saturday 26 January 02:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Whopping edge for top-bowler bet
New Zealand failed trial by spin the first match in Napier with seven of their wickets fall to tweak in an all-out total of 157. It may set the tone for the series.
India are expected to hit them with spin again. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuz Chahal will, as ever, work in tandem, and we can not be surprised if Kedar Jadav gets more of a bowl than he usually does.
How New Zealand cope is open to debate. As we said in our match preview, it is is a little lazy to reckon that, for betting purposes, the contest is over. Against Pakistan in the UAE in November they stood up well to the challenge, coming away with a 1-1 draw.
Indeed, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are good players of spin. Taylor in particular who has been picking from the hand following eye surgery.
But it would make sense if our focus when finding a winner for top India bowler centred on a spinner, particularly at the Mount Maunganui Bay Oval where this style of bowler has done well. Ish Sodhi, the home wristspinner, has five wickets in three matches and Imran Tahir four in two.
Mohammad Shami, the pacer, is the 3/1 favourite. We understand why he heads the list but we can't agree with it.
Shami ripped out three Kiwi batsmen early on to put the skids on New Zealand's innings. It was enough to win him the man of the match award. But he wasn't top bowler.
That honour went to spinner Kuldeep who picked up four wickets. Admittedly some were cheap but Kuldeep is our favourite every day of the week on this market, especially on a track which could help him.
In the last 12 months, Kuldeep has won top India bowler eight times in 22 matches. That is an extraordinary hit rate. He also has four shared honours in that period. That he has been pushed out to second jolly at a value-busting 7/2 is terrific news for punters seeking a significant edge.
Shami, of course, hasn't played much in the study period and he is probably only in the XI because Jasprit Bumrah has been rested after exertions in Australia.
Rest assured, though, that Shami has not topped in any of the six games he played. He also has an inferior strike rate to Kuldeep at 30.3 versus 23.8.
Chahal is 5/1 and our initial reaction was 'get on'. He has three wins from 19 in the last 12 months with three ties. On his career numbers the price is out by a margin which would convince us to get involved - if there wasn't a bigger slice elsewhere. Jadav is 9/2 but we think that's too short.
Keep punting Henry
We go back in again on two bets from game one which retain value. That's New Zealand to hit most sixes - which they did in Napier despite a horror show with the bat - and Matt Henry to be top Kiwi bowler.
Before that game the Kiwis averaged 5.8 sixes per game compared to India's 4.3. We'll bet this market until the prices are right. Sportsbook go 5/4 Kiwis and there's no justification for that.
Henry is 9/2 from 5s for top bowler. We rate him at 13/8 considering the number of times he wins.
Henry is unlikely to play but it's money back if he doesn't. It would be irritating to miss out on the bet if the selectors had an unexpected change of heart.