Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Stars
Monday, 08:15 GMT
Live on BT Sport
Following Sixers’ win this morning, the two Sydney sides are opening up a gap at the top of the BBL points table. The next five teams however, are separated by just four points – the equivalent of one win plus the bonus point. Only Renegades are out of contention.
An intriguing state of affairs that should warn against trusting favourites. Take Melbourne Stars, the early favourites, matched down to just 3.65 for the title after winning their first two games. They’re now second from bottom.
Should Stars be favourites?
Indeed apart from franchise reputations, it isn’t obvious why they would start clear favourites for this clash. Adelaide are ahead in the points table (granted, having played one extra match) and are at their home ground.
Longer-term, Strikers do have a problem. This will be Rashid Khan’s last match of the tournament before heading off for international duty. Whilst their attack is far from wholly reliant on the Afghan – Peter Siddle and Wes Agar are also among the season’s top six wicket-takers – any side would be substantially weaker without Rashid.
Neither side has been too convincing of late. Strikers lost to Renegades last time and their only win in four came against the same opponents. Stars meanwhile have only one win in five, courtesy of a Marcus Stoinis special.
Batting first offers an advantage
By my reckoning, this is an even match and 2.186/5 at Strikers has to be the call. The toss, however, could be critical. 15 of the last 25 matches at the Adelaide Oval went to the side batting first.
Strikers know the drill here and have the tools to exploit a winning toss. Hit 170 and then defend it, with Khan coming into his own. Of those 15 successful defences, only five came after a sub-170 score. A significant in-running clue.
170 plus is the target
The Adelaide Oval is a relatively high-scoring ground and consistent too. Nine of those 25 first innings totals ended up in the 170s. 200 is possible, albeit rare.
From a batting perspective, there isn’t much to separate them. Strikers don’t have a gamechanger quite like Stoinis or Glenn Maxwell, but they are a solid unit with depth. Stars bowlers are much more expensive and could have trouble even defending 170.
With these thoughts about the toss in mind, I’ll recommend two plans to get with Strikers. If they win it and bat first, place a five unit order at 2.111/10 (shorter than the starting price – it might even get matched higher pre-match).
Alternatively if they bat second, try the 25% rule which in this case means placing an order at 2.77/4, for a smaller two unit stake.
Carey and Weatherald combo appeals
I think there’s some decent value around in the Top Adelaide Runscorer market. Matt Renshaw has been struggling as opener, averaging just 18. A reshuffle wouldn’t be a surprise and Jake Weatherald, relegated to four this season, could well return. Even from four, 5/1 is a reasonable offer.
So too the enhanced #OddsBoost to 10/3 about Alex Carey. This pair are the only Strikers batsmen with over 200 runs in the series. I’ll try the combo at 6/4.
Stoinis and Maxwell dominate the Stars market at 5/2 (enhanced) and 3/1 respectively. They’re both rather hit and miss though and good case could be made for several alternatives. Their order changes frequently but 11/2 for Nick Larkin, 13/2 for Nicholas Pooran and 8/1 for Hilton Cartwright are all fair.
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