Ed Hawkins finds the best way to bet one of the most reliable ODI batsmen in the world in Bridgetown on Tuesday.
"West Indies opener Hope is one of the most dependable and undervalued batsmen in ODI."
If we have nothing, at least we have Hope. Shai Hope that is. In the hardest game in the world nothing beats the combination of reliability, consistency and bookmakers not recognising either.
West Indies opener Hope is one of the most dependable and undervalued batsmen in ODI. So for game one between these two in Bridgetown we just have to work out the best way to bet on him.
First port of call is his price for top West Indies runscorer. Sportsbook go an inflated 16/5. We were expecting 11/4. On two-year win rate we'd have still been wagering the latter. Hope is winning at a rate of 38% in the last two years. Incredibly his career win rate only dips to 32%. He is some player.
But he is also a conundrum. Hope cannot make the West Indies T20 set-up. And he has also been discarded by the Test team with technique against the moving red ball an issue. He has found his home in ODI, averaging 73 in the last two years. The demand for extreme hitting in ODI is not as great as in T20 and the white ball barely moves off the straight.
That top-bat price gives us an edge of almost 14 implied probability points. That is in line with the edge we saw on Kieron Pollard for top T20 runscorer in the recent series. Pollard, of course, never played because of injury so fingers crossed Hope stays healthy.
Such a whopping edge is rarely going to be beaten. But it is worth wondering whether that is the smartest wager? We want a winner after all. On flat surfaces - which is expected at Bridgetown as discussed in our match preview - the gulf between the regular winners and the also-rans is reduced. His opening partner, Evin Lewis, is far from shabby in the market with four wins in 14. He goes off at 7/2.
Hope is available to bet at 15/8 for a half-century. It's a more relaxed wager to watch. We have to worry about one man and one man only. On a batting paradise that is no bad thing.
And would you believe that at the odds, the edge is enhanced? Smashed even. Hope has ten scores of 50 or more in his last 18 in two years. That's 20 percentage points in the black for us. Even on career rate Hope gives us almost four points at the price.
Top West Indies runscorer wins/matches last two years
Spinners in the game
Spin has been a weakness for Australia for a generation or more. They are likely to fret in a chase if West indies pair two at the same time.
There could be a gamble to be had on top Windies bowler with Akeal Hosein and Roston Chase dangerous. Akeal is 9/2 and Chase 5/1.
At the odds Hosein looks a little underrated on win rate, although six games in two years is hardly long enough for a study period. Chase is the sort of bowler to pick up enough action for a tie.
We were hoping for a bit more than 7/2 on Alzarri Joseph with Sportsbook. On win rate it is absolutely bang on. He is their most potent bowler and should be capable of giving Australia the hurry up.
Top West Indies bowler wins/matches last two years
Joseph 4 2t/18
Cottrell 2 2t/12
Paul 2 t/8
Hossein 2 t/6
Mohammed 1 t/6
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