Image source: Tim Felce / CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons
They’re heavily favored to win. Which only makes it more likely they’ll lose. England return to Test cricket with a series against the visiting West Indies. The three games will be played under extraordinary circumstances but will the cricket match them? Normally the first Test odds on England would suggest not. However, “normal” doesn’t really apply right now. This won’t be like any other series. So, taking advantage of UK gambling laws to back England could be an error.
Under the best of circumstances, in ideal conditions, England can throw away inevitable victory at the crease with unerring skill. So, those first test odds on England are, frankly, just begging for an upset. The Windies have been under lockdown for months and are chomping at the bit. That means whilst the West Indies get an almost insulting 14/1 to win, they could well be the better wager. Which of us has not seen England snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over the years?
Online betting sites in the UK like Bet365 give England just 1/9. First test odds on England like that would be fine usually. But what’s usual about any of this? They may well all be striving for a return to normality, whatever that is, but how successful can they be? Empty stadiums won’t look all that normal, won’t sound all that normal either. England are a fragile side at best. Capable of stunning brilliance but equally capable of tripping over their own bootlaces. They may not take to the new atmosphere.
Bet365 Has All The Odds On Test Cricket Now It’s Back
Perhaps the biggest concern for England is over the captaincy. Joe Root, who would normally lead the side out, may not play. This isn’t for reasons of bio-security, but because his wife is expecting a child at the start of July. Should he be unavailable Ben Stokes is ready to deputize. This has not met with universal approval. Some feel Jos Butler better suited to the task. Stokes probably wouldn’t agree. If he’s made captain, however, those first Test odds on England could shift.
First 2020 Test Odds
- West Indies – 14/1
- Draw – 9/1
- England – 1/9
It won’t, of course, be by much. Online sportsbook sites in the UK like Bet365 have to go by the book (pardon the pun). On paper, the Windies don’t stand much of a chance. They’re without two key batsmen and despite their formidable attack, will face Jofra Archer and co from the other end. England should wrap it up quite quickly. This almost guarantees they’ll not be able to. One can almost hear the excuses at the press conference afterward already. We’ve heard them before.
First Test Odds On England Stand At Just 1/9
“I understand where Joe is taking the team and how he wants to lead it.” Ben Stokes allayed fears as best he could. “So although I’ll make my own calls on the field and do the job as I see it as the game evolves, everything else will be very much the same as when Joe is there.” Which is fine as far as it goes. But Stokes is no Root. Their style is almost wholly different. So, those 14/1 odds on the West Indies could start to look far better than the first Test odds on England under Stokes.
England vs West Indies
- Date: Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
- Type: International Test Match
- Venue: The Ageas Bowl
- Location: Southampton, UK
- Bio-Security Regime In Effect
International cricket odds have always been tricky for the bookies to call. Test cricket betting is subject to more influences over those five days than say a football match over 90 minutes. Add in the “new normal” and you get a series that’s easy to assess but difficult to call. At the odds on offer a bet on the West Indies seems almost sensible. Those who like to bet on sports in the UK will tell you England are capable of winning convincingly. It’s just a pity they’re also capable of throwing this easy win away.
We take a look at why the first Test odds on England against the West Indies could be somewhat misleading under these “new normal” circumstances.