Ed Hawkins does a deep dive on the data and picks four pure value wagers for the action from Paarl on Saturday
"Ngidi, who was terrific in terms of wicket-taking in the T20 series, looks to be fit and firing after finding his way back from injury against England"
Favourites stack up
The big question to answer about the side markets ahead of this opening match is: are Quinton De Kock and David Warner value to top score for the respective teams?
It's a 'yes', at least as far as their two-year win rates are concerned. Sportsbook make De Kock 2/1, giving us a 4.1% edge on implied probability. At 13/5, Warner is less roomy with 2.9%.
De Kock is likely to prove more popular because there is very little to beat. Warner's task is tougher with Aaron Finch, a monstrous hitter when he gets going, and Steve Smith problematic. But neither of those two are priced incorrectly.
The worry with De Kock is an average of 34 against Australia, as opposed to a career average ten runs higher. There is also a niggle about his record against left-arm pace. Trent Boult and Mitchell Starc have dismissed him nine times in 21.
We're keen to note the 10/1 offered by Sportsbook about Heinrich Klaasen. That looks chunky about a man who has the skills to launch a rescue mission if the top order is blown away.
One favourite we will take on for sure is Kagiso Rabada for top South Africa bowler at 11/4. Our database has him down as a 4/1 chance. That's because Lungi Ngidi has been so reliable in this market.
Ngidi, who was terrific in terms of wicket-taking in the T20 series, looks to be fit and firing after finding his way back from injury against England. He is a shade of value at 10/3 when the data rates him at 3/1.
Top SA bat wins/matches last two years
De Kock 13 t/35
Miller 3 t/34
Top SA bowler wins/matches last two years
Ngidi 6 5t/24
Rabada 7 6Ft/36
Shamsi 1 1t/12
Phehlukwayo 4 4t/34
Top Australia bat wins/matches last two years
Top Australia bowler wins/matches
Hazlewood 3 2t/11
Starc 5 3t/21
K Richardson 1 3t/14
Cummins 5 3t/31
Zampa 3 5t/28
Aus have more muscle
South Africa lack batting power and Sportsbook might not have gone short enough on Australia for most fours and most sixes at 4/6 and 5/6 respectively.
As per the data below, Australia should outmuscle South Africa here, who are at least a batter short having decided to rest Faf Du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen. The Aussies average almost four fours more and 1.3 sixes more per game.
It is true that Australia are without Glenn Maxwell but this is negated by the loss of Van der Dussen and Du Plessis for the hosts. The pair are second and fourth respectively on their most sixes list.
Fours/sixes average per game last two years
South Africa 20.3/3.1