Cricket is a sport with many formats and many variables to affect successful betting. Beloved of statisticians as well as sports fans, there are a huge number of markets to bet on in any given International or televised game. Ahead of the biggest of all Test Match confrontations, England against Australia for the Ashes, here’s a guide to how to bet on cricket for profit.

Here on Betpal we will have regular betting updates for the Ashes series, and this article explains some of the principles behind the recommendations we will suggest.

Cricket betting is a lot more than which you think is the stronger team. Knowledge of which is the stronger team is always perfectly reflected in prices, and to find an edge many other variables come into play.

Lets look first at the three major cricket formats, their characteristics and betting implications

T20 – Twenty overs a side, start to finish in under three hours. A whole huge segment of the betting industry opened up with T20 in 2003. As we have seen with the IPL, this has not always been for the best for the punter.

One Day Internationals – Fifty overs a side over a day, as the name implies. Slower burn than T20s, and marginalised in betting terms since the advent of T20

Test Matches – Five days, the domain of the cricketing traditionalist. Not the betting volumes of T20, but often the area particularly “in running” where the greatest mis-pricings occur

The key point here is the shorter the format, the more random the result is likely be. Over Twenty overs a side an unexpected playing condition, a change in the weather invoking the legendary and undescribable Duckworth-Lewis scoring adjustment, or a single extraordinary performance can change a result.  As such I regard T20 gambling as precisely that. Quick fix gambling where any amount of research can be waylaid by a rogue result. I tend to keep stakes small and concentrate my efforts elsewhere.

When I first began to gamble on cricket, watching English county cricket around the country, an old sage told me thus

“Betting on cricket is a case of looking down and looking up”

Well what does that mean, and why did the statement stick with me?

Betting on cricket is not about what the Bookmakers know, its about what they can only guess.

What do they know?

-a) the teams

-b) their form, both short term and long term performance

-c) Which teams are well supported and fashionable

What do they not know when they set prices?

a) The weather in which the game will be played (Look Up)

Will the weather be overcast, or muggy and aid swing bowling. Will it rain, making conditions damp? Will the sun beat down on a Test Match pitch for four days, making spinners unplayable later? Of course a lot of these influences are important for Test Matches, but difficult weather can make the Toss (another variable a bookmaker setting a price before the match cannot predict) very important in a One day match. Typically in an interrupted match with calculations under Duckworth-Lewis, chasing a target is better than batting first.

b) The characteristics of the Pitch the game will be played on (Look Down)

Is the pitch hard or soft? dry or damp? Is it cracked? All these are questions that will influence the way the game is played, and the way it develops. Which bowlers will the prevailing conditions favour? What is a likely first innings score on the pitch provided by the groundsman?

So, the unpredictable variables are to do with the weather and the pitch and these are the variables captains take into account when winning the toss. Bat or bowl?

Cricket has 150 years of statistics to fall back on too. Certain grounds favour certain types of bowler for example. Allied to these statistics, use of probability analysis helps narrow down a list of potential outcomes at various times of the game. For example certain totals are, freak occurrence aside, not possible to be achieved when chasing a victory

Cricket being an outdoor game played in a variety of circumstances gives you a multitude of betting opportunities if you can assess these variables quickly.

Generally you will not get rich quick backing one team to beat the other at cramped odds in an efficient market. The opportunity lies in sub markets and in the Ashes series, for example the types of markets I will be looking at, by game and for the series are

- Top Bowlers by team

- Top batsman by team

- Runs in the day

Look out for Ashes cricket posts throughout the summer on Betpal