West Indies v England First ODI Betting: Gayle absence hurts the hosts

Root has found form in the West Indies
Root has found form in the West Indies

Ed Hawkins reckons Stuart Broad's team should prove too strong in the first of three ODI at Antigua's North Soun, starting on Friday afternoon

"The Windies have lost seven of their last ten without Gayle against top eight sides."

Back England at 1.834/5

West Indies v England 
Start time: 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports 2

West Indies
There is no Chris Gayle for the hosts. He has a back injury and will be rested so he can be fit for next month's World T20. The Windies have lost seven of their last ten without him against top eight sides. They do still boast some game-changers, however. Sunil Narine, the mystery spinner, is back in the Caribbean after playing in South Africa while Darren Bravo is a highly-rated batsman. His brother, Dwayne, remains one of the more eye-catching all-rounders although one wonders whether he has become rather lazy due to all the T20 cricket he has been playing. Denesh Ramdin, the wicketkeeper, has plenty of grit in the lower order. Kemar Roach, a tyro with the ball, is also injured leaving a rather weak pace attack.

England could hand debuts to three players, with Moeen Ali, Harry Gurney and Stephen Parry all called up to what is a young squad. Realistically, only one will probably play at a time and Ali, the Worcestershire batsman, is probably the first cab off the rank. Gurney's left-arm pace might be seen perhaps in the last game while Parry, a young spinner, must displace the experienced James Tredwell. Otherwise responsibility lies on Stuart Broad's shoulders. The skipper will be pleased to pick Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan as senior players. There is plenty of x-factor with the inclusion of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

Series odds 
We think England are good value for the win because of West Indies' poor record against top eight sides. They have won only two of their last 23 series against top eight teams. The series correct score offers the best bet with a 2-1 England win at 2.77/4. But the 1.981/1 that England win is perfectly acceptable. West Indies are 2.0421/20

Match odds 
England are 1.834/5 and West Indies 2.186/5. Given that West Indies' record is so poor and they are without their best player in Gayle it is a surprise that England are not much shorter. So we have to side with Broad's boys. It is not an easy position to be but solace is always sought in value. This could be a nadir for England if they slip up. That is saying something considering what happened in Australia but West Indies are such a rabble these days, incapable of stringing results together that they should have too much for them. It was only a few days ago that West Indies lost to Ireland in a T20. 

First-innings runs 
England looked comfy on the North Sound wicket in Antigua - where all three matches will be played by the way in a tremendous boost for punters. They posted 290 which is a big bite out of the average first-dig score. The average first innings score at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium is 231 and the average second time around is 203. There is a even toss split from the 10 ODI played at the ground and the highest chase is 248. There is some rain around in the morning but the skies are clear for the scheduled start time. A bit of moisture in the surface is more likely to help England. 

Top West Indies runscorer 
Dwayne Smith should open the batting for the Windies with Kieran Powell likely to partner him.  Darren Bravo is expected to bat at No 3. Bravo is 5.14/1 favourite with Smith and Powell both 5.39/2. Lendl Simmons is also in the mix and at 6.25/1 he has a good record against England.  He is a calm and stylish presence at the crease and a bet which comes off on him is a pleasant watching experience. 

Top England runscorer
If their tour match victory over UWI Vice Chancellor's XI is anything to go by England's top seven will look like this: Luke Wright, Alex Hales, Stokes, Joe Root, Morgan, Buttler and Bopara. It is tempting to side with Wright but the market is alive to his possible promotion at 5.39/2 and, besides, his record does not warrant support. Root is probably the stand out bet at 6.611/2 considering he scored a ton at a run a ball in that warm-up. Morgan is 5.39/2 and Stokes is hovering around the 65/1 mark. 

Recommended bet
Back England at 1.834/5

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