Ed Hawkins has three tops bets which pass the value test for the action from Leeds starting on Thursday...
"Yet even if Warner was the right price at 4/1 we would take the unusual step of swerving because he was last seen in the gloom on Sunday night in St John’s Wood searching for his off stump"
England v Australia
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Who will top with Smith out?
Steve Smith was copping 36% of the time in the last two years for Australia on top bat so although he was not going to be a bet at 15/8 before he was ruled out, it is safe to say his absence blows the market wide open.
With Smith rightly sitting this one out with concussion, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of ruling out pretty much everyone. David Warner is a point too short at 3s. Yet even if he was the right price at 4/1 we would take the unusual step of swerving because he was last seen in the gloom on Sunday night in St John's Wood searching for his off stump.
Poor old Cameron Bancroft doesn't even know what that is while Usman Khawaja, as smooth as he can look at the crease, still wins this market only 10% of the time. The 7/2 is stinking the place out.
We're left with a good old fashioned gamble, then. None from Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade or Marcus Harris have played enough matches over the last two years to get a clear idea of their chances. Tim Paine has one win in 19.
But as we said in our match preview, we believe Head and Harris are underrated on ability. Sportsbook go 13/2 and 11/2 respectively. Sure, the big value has gone but neither man has much to beat.
Take advantage of boost
Perhaps Sportsbook have taken pity on us. We are grateful for the generous (crazy?) price boost on Pat Cummins for top Australia bowler. They have added some points to make him 11/4 from 23/10.
Don't tell them, but we'd have taken the latter anyway. Cummins, who has been superb since ball one in this series and is probably the smartest bowler in the world, has a 38% win rate. If he doesn't win outright, he usually snaffles a tie as he has done twice at Edgbaston and Lord's.
Of course we respect Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc (if he comes back in) but there's a whopping 12 percentage points swing in our favour on Cummins so it would be folly not to get involved for a Headingley wicket which is hardly going to hurt him.
Stokes and Buttler again
If you'd backed Joe Root for top England bat honours in each of the first innings of Tests in the last 12 months to £100 level stakes you'd be down £1,800. Ouchy. No surprise, then, that we won't be recommending him at 3/1.
Ben Stokes is our man again. The secret is out with Stokes and his price is disappearing fast but he remains value at 5/1 when he should be closer to 7/2. For Lord's we split stakes between Stokes and Buttler and although both men passed up a golden opportunity to cop, we probably have to keep the faith. Buttler is 6/1 but is closer to 9/2 on actual win rate.
2019 - points p-l: +42.03 (93 points staked)
2018 - points p-l: +9.86 (89 points staked)
2017 - points p-l: +5.29 (26 points staked)