So the Cricket World Cup has come around and most of the teams have played at least one match now with the pre-tournament favourites, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand all looking pretty good. England and the West Indies do not look so good and it’s hard to see these teams making it very far in the competition. It’s also good to see Afghanistan play as it looks like they won’t be allowed into future competitions.
Note: For those who don’t know what cricket is, you can check out this explanation.
On a personal note, I have tickets to a couple of games including the semi final so I am optimistically hoping for an England and New Zealand match-up.
Of course, apart from playing and watching the game, betting on it can also be a bit of fun and these days it’s possible to trade cricket matches online using the sports betting exchange, Betfair.
How to trade cricket matches with Betfair
Betfair is a UK based sports exchange which may not be available to US customers but still it’s a great platform if you can get access to it.
There was a report a few years ago that at least 90% of those who use Betfair lose overall, so remember that what we are talking about here is high risk; it’s gambling after all.
So the first step to trading cricket matches on Betfair is to find an upcoming cricket match and check out the odds. So there’s a big match happening on Sunday which is between South Africa and India and you can see from the image below that South Africa are favourites with odds of 1.57 to back and 1.6 to lay while India are underdogs with odds of 2.66 to back and 2.76 to lay.
What this means is if you bet £10 on South Africa, you’ll get back £15.70 if they win. £10 (your initial stake) plus £5.70 (profit).
If you bet £10 on India, you’ll get back £26.60 if India win. Of course, if you’re wrong you lose the £10.
The neat thing with Betfair is that, unlike traditional bookmakers, you can place a bet (back), then sell it (lay) at any time before the match is finished. This includes when the match goes in-play.
And if you do this well enough you can then be sitting on a tidy profit, which ever way the result goes.
So we know how to place a bet, the next thing you need is a strategy and as with anything there are numerous options that come to mind.
First of all, you can do your homework on the two teams, compare their form, the quality of the players, the conditions of the pitch etc. and then make an outright bet on the team you think might win. This is the standard approach. If you want to get technical you could look at the cricket statistics, draw up all sorts of spreadsheets and analysis, compare the real odds to your calculated odds then use a Kelly calculator to optimise your bet size.
Trade the pre-market
Just like stocks you can also trade the pre-market, or in other words you can bet on either cricket team and hope to make a profit before the game even starts. If a key player gets injured, for example, this could change the odds significantly and if you bet the right way you can lock in some profits before the game goes in-play.
Trade the match in-play
Another option is to trade the match in-play and again there are numerous possibilities. You could simply watch the game and if you feel one team is in better form and more likely to win you can make a bet. If they start to tail off, you can then sell the bet for a loss or profit.
Alternatively, you could bet on a team after a significant event, such as after a wicket has fallen. In fact, there have even been studies to show that this could be a profitable strategy.
This research paper, for example, looks at in-play betting markets and shows one interesting idea. It says that when the team batting first loses a wicket, the betting markets often over-react to the event. Backing the first batting team when they lose a wicket is suggested to be a profitable strategy resulting in returns of ‘20%’.
Another idea is to use your judgement during the match. Look for moments where the odds look mis-priced then make a trade. Do some research into possible batting totals and match scenarios then look for moments of value.
For example, South Africa are a very good team, so if they happen to get off to a bad start, there might be value in betting on them then, because the odds will be much better.
The great thing about cricket one day matches is that they last a long time and they are often close and exciting. This means they tend to give a lot of opportunities to close out a bet. I used to read this blog of a Betfair trader quite regularly and there are some great tips on there about cricket trading and betting in general.
Just sit and watch
Whatever you choose to do, bet or no bet, just remember first of all to sit back and enjoy the game.