Cricket - a guide to trading on Betfair
The spread of cricket through the former colonial world means the sport is played throughout the year. This leads to widespread TV coverage and international appeal for betting on the sport.
The very nature of cricket - long periods of play, games turning in a matter of balls or even nail-biting finishes - makes the sport ideal for trading. Just the like the prices of shares rise and fall, so can the chances of each result in a cricket match. Ride the fortunes of the team in control, switch allegiance to take a profit before the game changes course.
No longer restricted by bookmakers forcing you to pay for changing your position in a game, Betfair give you control - control over what price you want to take, how much you wish to bet and if and when you want to close your position.
Traditional betting is all about the final result - backing a horse and cheering it home, betting on a cricket result and sitting it out until the very end. That's the way it has always been - which is great if you back enough winners, but what about taking a profit early when the result's in your favour and saving yourself the sweat later on?
Betting should always be enjoyable whether you treat it as a pastime or something a little more serious. If you are keen to find out what else you can do on a cricket match, then read on...What to look for before you bet
The pitch and weather are key factors in a cricket match. Produce a dry, lifeless pitch in hot weather and bowlers are going to have a hard time taking wickets. Cloudy spells and showers mean the bowlers will be able to move the ball in the air, making the batsmen's task that much harder.
Look at the weather forecast and take note of previous matches at this venue. Are matches often high-scoring at this ground? What type of bowlers take wickets here - seamers, express pacemen, spinners? Does any particular player have a great or poor record here?
Are both teams at full strength? Key players can make a huge difference to a side - Glenn McGrath missed two Tests of the 2005 Ashes series, England won both of them and won the series. An English team without Kevin Pietersen loses most of its 'fear factor' for opposing bowlers.
Are the teams match-fit or tired from a busy touring schedule? After a string of international tours followed by one match on home soil, the star players may be tired or still expecting a completely different type of pitch. Professional athletes do need rest and time to adjust to different venues.
What are they playing for today? Is this the big event of the summer or do these players have their eyes on something bigger around the corner? A tournament like the Champions Trophy for example will always return disappointing results for a team like England if one month later they will be facing Australia for the Ashes, the pinnacle of cricket for those nations. Players aren't robots, motivation can be a factor and team selections may also be an indicator of how team management are approaching this game.
Note that this series of articles has been written specifically for Test cricket, but can be adapted for limited-overs matches.Research
As you'd imagine, cricket is a sport with an infinite amount of statistical information. Wisden started it all way back when, now Cricinfo is the number one source for data.http://wwwcricinfo.com/
CricInfo - the definitive international cricket database with daily information including news, live scorecards and commentary.http://www.howstat.com/
HowStat - another very thorough database site.http://www.iplt20.com/
Indian Premier League - official websitehttp://www.cricket365.com/
- all sports websites with a range of news, interviews and live informationTrading
Where do you start when analysing a match? Do your research and take an opinion. Is one side vastly superior to the other? Is there rain on the horizon, is there any play likely to be lost as a result? Remember that with modern attacking game plans, pitch management and starting early/finishing late to make up for lost time, losing one session of play early in a Test match should hardly make a difference to the market.
The toss is a key factor - the captain who wins the toss can be handed a big advantage, but they don't always make the right decision. Nasser Hussain made a colossal blunder in sending Australia into bat in the first Test of the 2002/3 Ashes series - the home side made 384-2 on the first day and never looked back. The side who wins the toss will usually shorten in price immediately after, but the effect of winning it varies between games - occasionally you will hear a captain say "I'm not sure what I would have done today, I'm glad I lost it."
If trading a cricket match, you are not focusing on the result but on putting yourself in a profitable position. What must happen for the value of your bet to be improved?
By backing the team batting first, you want them to get away to a safe start. Where do expect them to be at lunch, tea or stumps on day one? Any better than 80/2 at lunch on day one will probably shorten their price, more wickets will see the bowling side shorten in price while a wicket-free session with or without runs is likely to see the draw become more popular.
If you opt for the draw, what are you expecting to happen? Wickets are your main enemy, a slow pitch is helpful, but too few runs and a deficit can be turned over quickly.
Pitches and weather conditions vary, but the first session of a Test is when you would expect the most life to be in a pitch - fast bowlers making use of bouncy, grassy conditions before it starts to dry in the sun. As the pitch dries up and gets torn up by players' spikes, the latter two days tend to offer plenty for the spinners.Trading Examples
You choose to back England before the toss at 1.71 for £100.
The West Indies win the toss and elect to bat. The first session goes slowly, but the West Indies go to lunch at 70-2. The prices have hardly changed.
West Indies 9
You sit back on your bet and wait for another session of play. England's bowlers take control and wickets fall. The West Indies go to tea at 150-6. The market has now changed markedly.
Now what do you do? With the market in your favour, you have options:
- you can stick with your bet and cheer England home
- you can trade your bet back (by laying England) and leave the profit riding on England
- or you can trade your bet back and make a profit no matter which way the match goes
- or somewhere in between.
The choice is yours. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way with trading.Other Markets
Apart from the result, there are numerous other markets you can bet on within a game.
Innings runs and session runs are two of the most popular. These markets work in a different way to result-type markets, so we explain them further below.
Runs markets are listed as a series of individual lines - 225 runs or more, 250 runs or more etc. These are effectively individual markets, not single brackets. Thus as the innings continues, more markets become available to trade.
Note that because each page displays many different markets within the one page, the profit and loss is displayed differently to regular markets, as per the example above.Words of Advice
All forms of betting and investing are methods of gambling. Markets and prices can go up and down.
Betting should be regarded as an enjoyable pastime and undertaken with moderation.
Research may improve your chances of winning but will never guarantee a profit.
Never gamble what you cannot afford to lose.