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Finish Him...

by ben 11. January 2011 23:42

England have had five whole days to reach the most important decision they have remaining on this tour: Should they finish Australia with the Jax Arm Rip or the Shang Tsung Soul Drain or maybe even go with the Sexuality!

It might not work out like that though, it could be a classic overconfident backfire situation for England who are still riding the high from one of the great series victories for any touring side in Australia.

Either way we can still bet on the game. First off the bat I really like the Australian openers over the English ones. Watson and Warner get to face Tremlett and Bresnan or Shahzad whilst Bell and Davies have to face Lee and Tait. You can back the Ws to outscore England in the first six at 1.85 at CricketBetLive.

I am perpetually confused by Michael Yardy. He's clearly not the most talented cricketer in the world but his performances have consistently helped the England T20 side and he's been a key part of the seven consecutive victories they have mustered going back to the World T20 last year. Whilst he bats at seven I really like the over on his points line of 26.5*.

Good luck.

* 20 points per wicket, 1/run, 10/catch, 25/stumping.

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My spinner is better than your spinner(s)

by ben 2. January 2011 10:51

For the first time since 1986/87 when I was but two years old we are entering a dead rubber test in the Ashes and England aren't the defeated team. For years I accepted the fact that England had two chances of victory in an Ashes series: the first test when all was still to play for but any win could be wiped out by consecutive thrashings thereafter; and the final test when the Ashes were already conceded and the victory was but a pointless fillip to watching fans.

Now, with the tables turned, I expect England to show no mercy to this weakened Australian side. Swann has had a relatively quiet series and it makes England's dominance all the more remarkable that they have achieved it without their premier bowler firing on all cylinders. I think Swann will come to the party at Sydney and continue the celebrations he started on Tuesday night. His line at CricketBetLive is 116.5 and I am on the over.

One man who will not be affected by celebrations, or jubiliation, or the glory of playing in a victory lap test at the SCG is Jonathan Trott. The balding Warwickshire man will remain in his little bubble and I'm on the over for his points* line of 72.5 at CBL.

To combat England's single great spinner Australia have tried to bring in two shit ones. As if the filth that we saw Piggy Smith chuck down at the MCG wasn't enough he's back for another opportunity to showcase his woeful batting technique and shithouse half-trackers. To back him up from the other end the Aussie selectors have gone with Michael Beer, a man who has never played a game at the SCG. He's only allowed in the side because Ponting isn't captain and therefore can't put his foot down about it anymore. Warne to Beer in four years, what a catastrophic fall. You can pick up the free money on their unders at 70.5 on both of them.

Good luck.

* 20 points per wicket, 1/run, 10/catch, 25/stumping.

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I've been a very good boy this year

by ben 24. December 2010 20:00

Ho, ho, ho. Here I am on Christmas eve bearing gifts from our friends at CricketBetLive.  Those lovely Aussies think that Steve Smith is capable of getting more than 63 points* at the MCG! Lunacy, the useless midget can't bowl, can't bat and can only pray for catches at third slip. As Manny said on a recent podcast:

"He used to be a bowler who bats a bit, now he's a batsman who bowls a bit"

Cricketers described like that almost always turn out to be able to do neither.

One man who came into the England side with a bit-part reputation was Paul Collingwood and he transformed that reputation into one of determination, bloody-mindedness and nerve. We now expect him to grind out a match saving 85 at the MCG, almost more so than we would if he had actually scored a run this series. I don't buy it, he's never been great against express pace despite his low back lift. His line is 68.5 and I am with the under there.

At the opposite end of the form spectrum is Ian Bell. Hendo's favourite has looked in wonderful touch this series and has been stranded a couple of times with the tail but still scored enough runs to edge over his points line. The indications are that he will not be promoted and I was swayed by my brother during a long late night argument last night into thinking that was the right thing to do. My brother also fairly pointed out that whilst he may have been left with the tail a couple of times what great cricketers do when they are in the sort of form Bell is enjoying, is score tons. The pressure is on him a bit but I'm sticking with him and going over 64.5.

It may seem a bit foolish to ask a man who comes down the chimney for Ashes but my note is written and my brandy left out. See you all tomorrow night when we can open our present.

Good luck.

* 20 points per wicket, 1/run, 10/catch, 25/stumping.

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Pigs might fly

by ben 14. December 2010 10:36

There's an easy option available to punters for the rest of this test series: back England. Back them to score more runs, take more wickets and win matches. For some inexplicable reason they are only just favourites for the 3rd test at the WACA (2.64 to Australia's 2.66 at CricketBetLive). England are the superior side in every single department of the game and whilst they're likely to stumble at some point they shouldn't be the same price as the hapless Aussies.

The Perth pitch was revealed today and is expected to be juicier than the lifeless surfaces which characterised the first two tests, afterall, Australia need results. I like Australia under 349.5 in the first innings which is currently 2.25 but you may be able to pick it up closer to the 2.45 I nabbed it at if you keep an eye out for CBL's periodic happy hours which they flag to their twitter followers.

In the last test my man Ian Bell was cruelly robbed of a beautiful spread-covering 70 by Strauss' declaration with him stranded on 68. Cruel fate indeed but I'm not turning my back on the oiled up little cover-driver just because his captain was a dick. Over 64.5 is a steal, especially given he is probably England's best bat in difficult conditions.

If the thrill of gambling isn't enough and you're looking for that bit more you could spark up a personal battle with a member of the Sofa. Our very own Sophia will undoubtedly be backing Steve Smith (whoops, not that one, this one) over 66.5 since she seems to think he is the greatest leg spinner to walk the earth as well as being a batsman to compete with Gooch or King Viv. Let's have a look at his stats:

  • A side destroying 41 first class wickets in 20 matches at 44.8
  • An awe-inspiring 221 runs in 8 first class innings this season
  • Most importantly of all, he has a whopping 62 Facebook likes on his Cricinfo profile

Is Smith going to get over 66.5? Pigs might fly. In the spirit of friendly competition I will be whacking a huge wedge on the under at CBL and am looking forward to taunting Sophia all the way to the bank.

Good luck.

* 20 points per wicket, 1/run, 10/catch, 25/stumping.

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How to pick an Australian Ashes XI - a new approach

by sophiajuliet 13. December 2010 15:18

Australia have tried a couple of different methods of picking eleven players to face England so far in this Ashes.

They went for the hackneyed tack of picking their best XI* players for the first test. With hindsight, I'm pretty sure they'll agree that they didn't do too badly with this approach, but at the time they thought they'd been a bit shit, so they decided to take a different approach next time.

At Adelaide, they took the "who's been taking first class wickets" approach to selection for the bowlers, and ignored the obvious holes in their batting. This brought them Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger, in place of the hapless yet historically successful Johnson, and the bland yet basically competent Hilfenhaus.

So what's next? Pretty much everyone from Shane Warne to my dead grandma - via the likes of Nathan Hauritz for heaven's sake - has been touted to play as a batsman, bowler, wicket keeper or physiotherapist for Australia in the next test.

I'd like to recommend a much simpler method for picking the next Australian side. Twitter. Out of the best Australian players on Twitter who are still at least theoretically playing cricket, I reckon I can make an XI that might just stand a chance of beating England (who have lost stuart Broad after all). Here's how it goes:

  1. Phil Hughes (@ph08) - he may have been pants against England on tour, but even with that on board he averages 50+ in test matches and first class cricket. Plus he's young enough to recover from the mental scars of being found out again by England's bowlers.
  2. Ed Cowan (@eddiecowan) - I like him mostly because of the way he says "fucken unbelievable" and I've never seen him bat, but he's pretty cool, avergaes in the 50s in the last two years in Shield cricket and Jarrod says he's brilliant.
  3. Damien Martyn (@dmartyn30) - this is bloody tenuous because he has pretty much retired, but he was decent enough in his time, has kept his hand in with IPL, and is as far as I'm aware the only Australian player who listens to the Sofa.
  4. Uzman Khawaja (@uz_khawaja) - everyone says he's brilliant, and he seems a cheery sort. He's in
  5. Geraint Jones+ (@gojones623) - I actually don't think there is a single decent, uninjured keeper in Australia, so I'm going for Aussie raised Geraint Jones. Let's face it, the guy gave the Aussies a fair amount of help last time he played down under, so maybe he can do a bit of magic for them again.
  6. Steven Smith (@stevesmith49) - I genuinely think Steve Smith is an extremely talented cricketer with a good eye and an even better attitude, and after 2 tests his bowling average of just over 27 compares pretty favourably with that of a certain SK Warne at the same stage in his career.
  7. Shane Warne* (@warne888) - the second of my three man leg spin attack. If Warne's fit enough to spend a night with the allegedly insatiable Madame Hurley, he's fit enough to bowl more than four overs on the trot. End of.
  8. Bryce McGain (@brycemcgain18) - this guy should play just because you know he'd never give up. And because it would be cool to field a team with three leg spinners.
  9. Nathan Bracken (@nbracken142) - he swings the ball and wears an alice band. These are two things I need in my Asutralian XI and if I have Bracken I get both in one player. Awesome. He hasn't played for ages but he is still only 33, and we'll ignore the fact that he's injured.
  10. Trent Copeland (@copes9) - no, me neither. Suffice to say he's 24, he averages 18 in his 10 first class matches. Sadly, his season playing for Shepley CC in the 2007 Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League was distinguished by him not being among the top 20 bowlers in the league.
  11. Dirk Nannes (@dirk_nannes) - don't make me justify Dirty Dirk.

Now, try and tell me that isn't the Asutralian XI you want to see on Thursday morning.

*Minus Hauritz of course; for the purposes of this post, let's just imagine Xavier Doherty is the best slow bowler in Australia because I can't be arsed trying to work out who might actually be a half decent spinner.

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