Ed Hawkins has all the stats, trends and best bets for the World Test Championship Final from Friday at the Ageas Bowl
"In the 2020 series in New Zealand against India, Southee took 14 wickets in the two matches"
New Zealand v India
Friday 18 June, 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Kiwi pacers to the fore
Stick to what you know. This is a golden rule of betting. So ahead of the World test Championship final, what do we know? For absolute sure?
We know that conditions favour New Zealand. We know that India have not had a warm-up match. We know that the Southampton wicket, as discussed in our match preview, has been bowler-friendly.
By sticking to these truths, we should be able to make hay on the side markets. And avoid some unnecessary gambles. For instance, it is tempting to start backing two of the Big Four - Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli - for big runs but there are more sensible wagers to be had.
The first which ticks the boxes is Tim Southee to be top New Zealand wicket-taker. Southee is a master craftsman when it comes to seam and swing. And although Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson are also menaces, only Southee provides a whopping edge on win rate.
Sportsbook go 3/1. This is an edge of seven implied probability points in our favour. In the 2020 series in New Zealand against India, Southee took 14 wickets in the two matches at 13 with a strike rate of a wicket every 27.9 balls.
It's also worth noting the 10/1 about Southee for man of the match. He won in the first Test of the last series between the two. Jamieson won in game two and goes off at 14s. Boult is 10/1. Split stakes across the three.
NZ top bowler wins/matches
Southee 8 2t/25
Wagner 7 2t/27
Jamieson 3 2t/7
(t = ties)
NZ top batsman wins/matches
Flying by the seat of their Pant
There will be those who bet King Kohli regardless of what the data says. The good news for them is that the great man is a wager at Sportsbook's inflated 3/1 for top first-innings bat. He would still be a bet as short as 7/4.
And when we adjust our data filter from last three years to outside Asia he provides an 8.3% edge. The insurmountable problem, though, with 'known' factor providing better value elsewhere is his lack of preparation time. It is a mighty tough ask to come in cold in this situation and be in perfect sync.
The same applies for all India batsmen, of course. And this could make the top-bat market a more level-playing field. Rishabh Pant is giving us an edge of four per cent at a whopping 7/1 with Sportsbook.
India top batsman wins/matches
Pujara 5 t/34
India's top bowler market is also a close contest. Ordinarily we'd be betting Ravi Ashwin at 7/2 with Sportsbook but it is hard to imagine he will get much grip - or the number of overs required - in damp, swining conditions.
That's a shame. If the good weather had held in England, he would have fitted the bill because outside of Asia he still has a win rate (four wins and two ties in 15) that makes him value.
Jasprit Bumrah has a 0.8% edge outside Asia at odds of 5/2 but Ishant Sharma could be the man at 9/2.
India top bowler wins/matches
Ashwin 9 3t/27
Ishant 5 t/26
Bumrah 3 t/18
Shami 4 2t/28 7/2
(t = ties)
Is Kohli a busted flush? This week on Cricket...Only Bettor
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. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l