England v West Indies betting
After their disastrous tour of Australia, England have plenty of work to do to win over the doubters as they embark on a two-week trip to West Indies which will see them play three One Day Internationals, followed by three Twenty20 matches.
Despite travelling as favourites, England lost 11 and won only one of the 12 matches they played across all formats Down Under as they were ripped apart by the bowling of Mitchell Johnson, which brought a string of dressing room tensions to the surface.
The ICC rankings suggest that England are the stronger nation in limited overs cricket, placing them fifth - three above their hosts for this series. West Indies are also significantly weakened by the absence of Chris Gayle, who will miss out because of a back injury.
Nevertheless, most bookmakers rate the two teams equally, offering 10/11 on each side in the ODI Series Winner market. Betfred, BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill all offer those odds about England, while the Windies can be backed at even money with Sky Bet.
The response of the England selectors to their side's humiliation in The Ashes and the subsequent one-dayers has been to make sweeping personnel changes and there are several new faces in the squad. It's difficult to assess how they will take to international cricket and therefore to judge the accuracy of those prices.
From the original party selected to face Australia, out go Alastair Cook, Garry Ballance, Ian Bell, Danny Briggs, Michael Carberry, Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Woakes. Luke Wright, a regular in the T20 squad, returns for the 50 overs games along with Jade Dernbach, Moeen Ali, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Michael Lumb and Stephen Parry, who are all called up for the first time.
England's ODI defeats to Australia - they won only 2 of 8 completed in back-to-back home and away series - came somewhat out of the blue as they followed on from some positive performances at the ICC Champions Trophy, where England were runners-up to India. Earlier last summer, however, England were also beaten at home by New Zealand. So their record over the last year shows they have played 16 games and won only 6 of them.
The West Indies have warmed up for this series with some games against Ireland, winning their only ODI. Their most recent significant action in this format was a series in New Zealand last month which ended all square after two wins apiece. They were outplayed by Pakistan here last July, losing 3 and winning only 1 of their 5 matches.
Gayle failed miserably in that series, scoring only 61 runs in five innings, which suggests they might not miss him so much after all. The key men were Marlon Samuels, who made 243 runs at an average of 60, and young pace bowler Jason Holder, who took 8 wickets.
With two teams seemingly at a low ebb this is not an easy call, but it's not difficult to imagine the winner of the opening match really taking a grip of the 3 match ODI series. If you do think that's a possibility you can get odds of 5/1 on either side (England 3-0 or West Indies 3-0) with Stan James - no other firm offers that price on either team.
Stan James are also quoting a stand-out top price in the Top England Batsman betting, where they have big-hitting Wright priced at 12/1. The next biggest price is the 8/1 on offer from Bet365, while Paddy Power have cut him to 5/1 and others go 6/1. Wright averages just over 21 from 48 ODI appearances and in a team lacking confidence and experience there could be more than a touch of value in those odds.
The market leader is Eoin Morgan, who boasts the best average in the current squad of 40. Bet365 and William Hill both offer him at 4/1, while Sky Bet take a risk by quoting Joe Root at 11/2 given his average of 36 in this format. Root warmed up with a century in Monday's warm-up match and that will have given his confidence a welcome boost.
|West Indies||ODI Series - Winner
|Joe Root||ODI Series - Top England Batsman
|Luke Wright||ODI Series - Top England Batsman