How to bet on cricket

Crickets earliest origins can be dated back to South East England in the 16th Century, from there being thrust globally with the expansion of the British Empire, its major support bases and “Test” Cricket sides still being either Commonwealth or Ex-Commonwealth Nations.

  • England (15 March 1877)
  • Australia (15 March 1877)
  • South Africa (12 March 1889)
  • West Indies (23 June 1928)
  • New Zealand (10 January 1930)
  • India (25 June 1932)
  • Pakistan (16 October 1952)
  • Sri Lanka (17 February 1982)
  • Zimbabwe (18 October 1992)
  • Bangladesh (10 November 2000)
  • Ireland (11 May 2018)
  • Afghanistan (14 June 2018)

How to play

The game is played between two teams of eleven players so much like football. It is played on a field which are all of differing sizes but at the centre of each there must be a 20 meter pitch with a wicket at each end. (A wicket is three long stumps with two bails balanced on the top). The “batting” side will have two players on the pitch at any one time, and they score “runs” (points) in several ways. They get one point for every time they each run from one wicket to the other, or if the ball hits the rope marking the edge of the field they score 4, or if the ball goes over the rope but has not hit the ground they score 6!

They can also get awarded runs if the bowler does not throw the ball correctly and it is judged to be a “no ball”. Which ever side has scored the most points at the end of the match is the winner. The “bowling” team has all eleven players on the field at the same time, and aim to get the batsman “out”, when a batsman is out he leaves the field and is replaced by a team mate, this continues until all the batting team have been used. To get someone “out” the ball can hit the stumps and dislodge the bails, or the fielding side can catch the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When bowling one player will throw the ball six times which completes an “over”, at the end of each “over” the batsmen swap ends.

Betting on Cricket is essentially no different to any other Sport, you have a winner and a loser, it is also possible to “tie” as well as more commonly draw if the match is not completed before the allotted time. There is also a huge range of proposition and spot bets available, highest scoring batsman, wicket taker, side A to win by x runs, etc etc. Like all sports each bookmaker will have slightly different variations on the rules and how to settle bets so it is prudent to familiarise yourself with the rules of the bookmaker you are using thoroughly.

Cricket is perhaps unique in the sporting world in that it has many different varieties, all with the same rules but lasting different lengths of time! Up until 1963 the game of cricket had changed relatively little in its three hundred year existence, a game was carried out over a set number of days (usually three to five) and each side was given two innings each to score more runs than and then bowl out the opposition. After 1963 it was also possible to play limited overs, or “One Day” cricket where each team would have a set number of overs, usually 50, to score as many runs as possible before giving the other side a go. 

This made the sport much more exciting and meant people could easily see the whole game in just a day without taking the week off work, (albeit they still needed a whole day!.) This was hyped up once again with the advent of 20/20 cricket in 2003. As the name suggests, each team now has just twenty overs, and it meant games were concluded in several hours much like an American football game may be, and was exciting all the way through. It bought the sport to the masses and its appeal on the sub continent, (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) can not be over estimated.

Cricket Variations

There are three main types of cricket which you can bet on, and each has slightly different nuances as to what factors effect the game and therefore the probability of each outcome. They are:

International Test Cricket is the hallmark of the cricket game. It is the oldest and the most prestigious and the one every player aspires to be involved in. The match is played over five days and spans 15 “sessions”, each day is broken up into “morning”, “afternoon” and “evening”, with each session having 90 scheduled overs. Because the match takes such a long time one of the major factors to monitor and predict is the weather, as firstly this can effect the game and secondly it is likely to a variable which changes.

For example the Batting could be tricky on the first morning if there are cloudy, humid conditions in a morning session could make batting particularly tough, with the ball swinging and seaming around. If the batsman survives a tough spell such as this, he could be rewarded post-lunch in the afternoon session when the sun comes out. Clear overhead conditions, an older ball and a tiring attack could make batting several times easier than an hour or two previously.

One Day cricket (or List A cricket as it is otherwise known) has a fixed number, or “limited number” of overs. It was developed through the 1960s in English domestic cricket. The first One Day International (ODI) wasn’t played until 1971 and although there have been several attempts at altering the rules from the ICC, ODIs have pretty much stayed the same. They are usually played as a day and a night session (first innings in late afternoon, second innings at night played under floodlights) each side bats for 50 overs and the winner is whoever has scored the most runs.

There are regular ODIs played all through the year, every year, as well as two ODI global events. These are both played every four years, one is the ICC Champions Trophy, and the other is the ICC Cricket World Cup. Cricket betting tips for these two events are not in short supply, as the interest in gamblers across the World in the outcomes here is huge.

T20 cricket is the variation of cricket growing at the fastest rate, with many international sides altering their schedules to fit in more of the short format games. Since the TV companies realised that T20 could offer short time buzz that modern day sports fans demand, it was inevitable that these events would begin to play a greater and greater role. To bet on this format of cricket most if not all of it should be done before the match starts, there is very little time to accurately assess the situation and recalculate as the game goes on. Betting “in play” on Test Cricket is more like betting during a 26 mile Marathon where as 20/20 cricket is like trying to bet “in play” on the 100m sprint final at the Olympics!

Cricket Betting

When betting on cricket if you want to be profitable long term, much like any other sport, you must bet when the odds you receive are higher than the probability of the event happening. When you achieve this you are betting on what is known as “value”. A value bet wont necessarily win, in fact it may well frequently lose, BUT long term, the returns from the bet when it does win will outweigh the losses and you will be a profitable gambler! So how do we know if a bet is value?

Firstly select your market, say you are considering England to beat Australia in the next 20/20 match they play. Find the bookmaker who is offering the highest odds on this bet, for example it may be Bet365 who will give you 2.5 in decimal odds. (This is the same as 6/4 for those who use fractions). This means that if you bet £10 on it the bookmaker will return to you £25, now £10 was yours originally so you have made £15 profit. Now to find the implied probability of this bet winning (Basically what chance do Bet365 think it has of happening) then take:

1 / 2.5 = 0.4 so a 40% chance.

Now you calculate what YOU believe the chance of England to beat Australia are. Factors to consider are:

  • The likely weather conditions, which in Cricket is the biggest variable factor beyond either teams control.
  • The venue, and the history of that pitch. Although it will vary year to years certain pitches are known to favour either batsman or bowlers (and different types of bowlers).
  • Notably for cricket the recent form of each team and individual players, is definitely a factor, but not necessarily more so than the weather and pitch!

If after looking at past results and weighing up the above using your own analysis and any other knowledge of factors you feel are significant you give the English only a 38% chance of winning, or anything under 40%, then it is not a “value” bet. If there is a 42% chance of winning then you will consider backing them. It is a “value” bet at anything over 40% but because everyone is not perfect at assessing the odds, many people set a % difference before they bet, so for some 42% may be enough of an edge, others may want 44%.

There are many different aspects of the game which you can bet on, much like football it is not limited to who will win the game, although that is often the most popular choice. In large tournaments such as the Cricket World Cup you can also obviously bet on the tournament winner but also games of International Cricket are often played in “Series” (The most famous being The Ashes) and you can bet on the Series winner too. On individual matches you can bet on the top wicket taker or the top batsman (run scorer). It is also possible to bet on either teams 1st innings runs total, 2nd innings run total and even who will win the toss! At the end of the day that is up to you.