Cricket has been associated with betting for centuries, and the modern global game with its three distinct formats offers a host of interesting betting opportunities.
When did cricket betting start?
In 1972, English county cricket grounds began introducing betting marquees. It was, according to The Observer Book of Cricket, an innovation, ‘that brought wide-eyed surprise from the traditionalists.’
And yet, some 25 years before internet sports betting became a thing, these on-site betting facilities proved a highly practical addition to accompany some spectators’ enjoyment of the game. A bet placed, say, at lunch on what the total might be at tea could be placed at ease and collected long before the conclusion of the day’s cricket.
These betting tents, the equivalent to bookmakers’ boards at the races, may have looked odd in the genteel tea-and-scones world of county cricket. However the roots of cricket betting actually extended several centuries further back than 1972.
When did it become legal to bet on cricket?
The year 1664 heralded the arrival of the Gaming Act, allowing legal maximum bets of £100 (the equivalent of around £20,000 today). The idle rich would have bankrolled whole teams in the hope that they could win back their outlay through the success of their team.
Some cricket historians note that for much of the 18th century, cricket reports tended to focus far more on the size of the bets being struck rather than the actual sport being played.
W.G. Grace, a celebrated player from the Victorian era who was also a hard-nosed mercenary, was once deeply involved in a match in Australia where his team were in trouble. He promptly used the newly installed telegraph to warn his friends in London to lay off as much of their bets as they could.
How do you bet on cricket today?
In the modern era, the popularity of cricket in the Asian sub-continent, where online betting remains prohibited, has led to widespread corruption that has been exposed from time to time. In 2000, South Africa captain Hansie Cronje was bribed by an illegal bookmaker to ensure a match against England would not finish as a draw.
Such flagrant behaviour is thankfully rare these days owing to strict regulations put in place by cricket’s global administrators.
The arrival of online fixed-odds and exchange betting in the past 25 years has given access to a wide range of international and domestic games to cricket bettors.
Cricket is perfectly suited to exchange betting and trading in-play. A Test match, straddling five days, offers loads of betting opportunities. Even the ultra-short format Twenty20 matches can produce generous enough fluctuations over the course of three and a bit hours to provide plenty of interest to cricket traders.
What cricket matches can you bet on?
A truly global sport, professional cricket is scheduled every day of the year with a peak between November and March, which coincides with the summer season in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Domestic tournaments such as the hugely successful Indian Premier League (late March to mid-May) as well as international Test matches, one-day internationals and Twenty20 fixtures are all on BetConnect.
How does cricket betting differ?
As a preamble to explaining the BetConnect markets, there are two things that really stand out.
Unlike in almost any other team sport, a few drops of rain bring the players off and can severely restrict the playing time window. It’s important to have some accurate forecasts and live rain radar data to assist your punting strategy at all times. Prolonged light rain is bound to increase the chance of a draw in a Test match, but a short heavy shower will have little effect in moving markets.
2. The toss
Half an hour before scheduled play, the captains toss a coin and the winner chooses whether to bat or field first. In some scenarios, for example a green wicket in a Test match, winning the toss is hugely advantageous and can move the odds quite significantly.
In a Twenty20 match on a flat batting wicket, it is less of an issue unless, for example, one of the teams has a poor record of chasing a target as opposed to setting one. The toss is also the moment that all-important team news comes in.
Cricket betting at BetConnect: How it works
1. Match result
Bet on the winner of a match. Take into account all relevant form. Bet pre-toss for potential added value, wait until after the toss if you prefer to have the added assurance of knowing the team make-ups and who is batting first.
In a Test, the draw is very much in-play at the start though statistics suggest unless there are major weather interruptions a stalemate is a rare occurrence and often over-bet.
In a limited-overs match (one-day or Twenty20) the tie is not offered as a result. If the match is tied then ‘dead-heat’ rules apply. Ties are relatively rare, but check our rules section for more on this.
2. Best batsman/bowler
Bet on the highest wicket-taker or run scorer from each of the two sides in four separate markets. Again, our rules may differ from other bookies here so do consult them first.
These markets are the most popular with BetConnect Pros, many of whom use modelling methods to anticipate the best-value selections in view of the match and pitch conditions, the rest of the playing XI and the opponents.
Again, these markets are likely to move a little once team news is in but if you bet on a player before the toss and he is not selected in the playing side, your stake is returned.
3. Most sixes
In this market, you’re simply betting on the team that strikes the most sixes. It’s a pretty arbitrary bet in a Test match, but a fun side-bet in a limited-overs contest.
Teams with a bigger make-up of noted powerful hitters will tend to be shorter in this market than they might be for the match odds but it’s probably best to look at the bowling attacks too. The side with inexperienced and/or weaker bowling is likely to serve up the most hittable deliveries.
Cricket betting explained: Over to you!
Like in all sports, studying the form, getting hold of all the relevant information and generally being able to “read” a game of cricket are invaluable to being a successful cricket punter.
Sign up for a BetConnect account now. BetConnect is the only exchange that lets you back selections at bookie odds with no restrictions, and lay the selections of other account-holders commission-free. Not sure how it works? Read this simple guide.