West Indies v Australia
Tuesday 13 July, 00:30
TV: live on BT Sport
Chopping and changing
We are three games in and picking out the value on the side markets is getting tougher. Odds are up and down as, just like punters, the bookies adjust their views and data to what is happening on the track at the Darren Sammy Stadium.
Ashton Agar is a good example. We were on him in the first two matches because we fancied the spinner would go close to a top Australia bowler win. His success rate was strong and he had a wicket which was conducive to style. One wicket later (just one) and a tie in game two sees him chopped to 7/2 by Sportsbook. That's pretty brutal.
Betting on him again after enjoying 5s is the equivalent of trying the steak at the Savoy and then switching to Subway. The mouth just doesn't water in quite the same way. There is an edge there - a disappointing 1.2% - so if you weren't involved in the first two matches there are worse wagers around.
Lendl Simmons, the Windies opener, is another fancy who has not quite produced what we wanted. In the second match we made the fatal mistake of starting to count our winnings at 3/1 as he raced to 30 off 21. Then he was caught behind.
It's not quite the bitter pill with Agar. Simmons still enjoys a brilliant win rate out of line with his odds so we will go in again at 16/5. There is the threat, however, that with West Indies changing their options up front he might be rested.
Here's a thought, though: why not drop Chris Gayle? They could then combine Simmons-Lewis-Fletcher in the top three. Gayle now has zero wins in eight innings since his return to the side on the top bats. When quibbling about Simmons' odds, it's worth reminding yourself of the truly awful value like Gayle's 7/2.
Another strange price move is Kieron Pollard's top-bat price. He started the series at 13/2 and has twice been cut despite not playing a game. He is now 5/1. The edge remains huge. If he doesn't play we get our money back.
West Indies top bat wins/matches last two years
Australia top bat wins/matches last two years
M Marsh 3/11
If there is one player in the world who has consistently and persistently confounded this data column it is Australia's Aaron Finch.
Finch holds all kinds of records and tops all kinds of charts as one of the most dangerous T20 openers around, but can we ever back a winner on him to win top Aussie? Nope. It's never happened.
Despite a healthy win rate of 23.8% (and we have wagered him when it has been much, much higher) Finch has never won for us. Our timing is always off with the big man. A sage might suggest that he is a player who we should just leave alone.
And that is probably true. And then we see his price. A chunky 7/2. That is big for a player guaranteed to open. And one who knows he will have to hit hard in the first powerplay. We'll take a half-point risk, recognising that the win rate edge is not the biggest.
West Indies top bowler wins/matches last two years
Thomas 3 2t/8
K Williams 2 3t/8
Pierre 1 t/7
Walsh 1 t/10
Pollard 1 3t/24
Bravo 2 2t/15
Allen 1 3t/16
O McCoy 4 2t/9
Australia top bowler wins/matches last two years
A Agar 4 4t/19
Zampa 2 3t/21
K Richardson 4 3t/17
Swepson 1 t/3
J Richardson 1/5
Hazelwood 1 t/4