Hawk Eye - South Africa v Australia v First Test: How best to bet Steve Smith?

Australia's Steve Smith
Smith has an extraordinary record in first dig
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Ed Hawkins analyses the Australia captain's game ahead of the first Test in Durban on Thursday and tells you where to put your money...

"It is slightly confusing that Smith is value for a half-century and a century but not to top score. Certainly the latter would suggest he would cop for top bat as well"

What's his true odds of top bat?

The South Africa-Australia clash will whet the appetite not just for the competitive nature of the teams but also the opportunity to make some money from Steve Smith's bat again.

Smith was unstoppable in the Ashes series and there is nothing to suggest that he will have a poor series here.

Still, we can't just blindly back the guy for runs. The price still has to be right. It is unfortunate then that our first port of call, the top Australian runscorer in the first dig, lets us down.

The Aussie captain is 2/1 with Betfair Sportsbook and [3.35] on the exchange. By all means have a wager but we cannot partake because he should actually be more like [3.5].

Sportsbook offer Smith at 7/5 to score a first-innings fifty and 4/1 for a century in the same innings. How does he fare on those prices? Since the start of 2014 Smith has made at least fifty 25 times in 44 innings. Break it down and it reports as seven fifties and 18 tons. An extraordinary record. He should be about 4/5 for a fifty. As for the century, that comes in as a 7/5 poke.

It is slightly confusing that Smith is value for a half-century and a century but not to top score. Certainly the latter would suggest he would cop for top bat as well. But I suppose it could be considered a positive not having to worry about any other Aussie.

Smith's player performance quote is over/under 105.5. That's one point per run scored, 10 per catch and 20 per wicket. We could look at his career stats here and give you the average but that wouldn't give the full picture.

He started his career as an all-rounder so the wickets column would boost it unfairly. He doesn't bowl any more. But, again since 2014, his average make-up is 91. So too high for us to get involved with. And considering we will be on his runs, it seems unnecessary to go under.

Markram marked down

Aiden Markram was thrown to the wolves rather by South Africa when having to captain against India in the ODI contests. His form suffered terribly when named as the second youngest captain to lead South Africa.

It was a bonkers call. Markram had only played two ODIs. And it was a classic example of too much too soon with the call influenced by administrators keen to push some highfalutin youth campaign. It was called Vision 2019. Whatever that is.

Markram, 23, didn't make more than 32 all series and South Africa went down 5-1. It seems to have affected Markram badly with coach Otis Gibson even suggesting so.

It is a shame because Markram had made a great start to his international career. In his first four Tests against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe he plundered scores of 97, 143 and 125.

However, against India in January he struggled, recording scores of 5, 34, 94, 1, 2 and 4. It doesn't bode too well for his examination by Messrs Starc, Hazlewood and Johnson. We can go under his first-innings runs at 24.5 with Sportsbook.

Hawk-Eye P-L

2018 - points p-l: -5.54 (25 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)

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