The highly anticipated 2018-19 Big Bash League season gets underway this Wednesday with the Brisbane Heat taking on the Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba! We will be bringing you comprehensive previews and betting tips for all 56-regular season BBL08 game plus the three finals.
14 Rounds of four games each make up the 56-game regular season and we’ll be providing a full tips article for each round starting with the Round 1 action below!
The Strikers will look to get their title defence off to a hot start when they travel to the Gabba to take on the Heat in the opening game of the season. The Strikers will run back largely the same team that won the title in BBL07, with a few additions in the likes of Matt Short and Cameron Valente. Travis Head will be out of the side due to international Test duty but the Strikers still possess a dominant batting lineup with the likes of Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald, Colin Ingram and Jake Lehmann holding up the top order.
The Heat will once again be relying heavily on the star batting tandem of Brendan McCullum and Chris Lynn, but should have more talent at their disposal with a significant lack of international duty hinderance to start the season. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne all would have been in the selector's eyes for the Tests against India but all will likely be available to start the season for the Heat, which will be a massive boost.
Tough game to call here between two pretty even sides. The Strikers are the reigning premiers for a reason and their side will most certainly be strong again held up by star spinner Rashid Khan and an above average pace attack. However, we like the Heat at home with a full-strength batting lineup.
The Melbourne Renegades were successful in making the finals in BBL07 for just the second time in their history. They couldn’t get past the Strikers in the semi, however, and are still hunting their first ever appearance in a BBL final. They’ll head into the 2018-19 season with a new look team after losing some key pieces in the likes of Dwayne Bravo and stalwarts Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge. The Renegades bring in Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian and Pakistani spinner Usman Khan Shinwari, however, their batting lineup looks a little thin, especially with Aaron Finch still on Test duty.
Perth have been the powerhouse of the BBL since its inception having never missed the finals and racking up a record three titles along the way. There are some worries for them in 2018-19, however, particularly their top order. Only Michael Klinger, Cameron Bancroft (who wont return until Dec 30) and Shaun Marsh (who will miss the majority of the season through Test duty) are listed as frontline batsmen on their team roster, while the rest of their runs will need to come from all-rounders such as Hilton Cartwright, Mitch Marsh, Ashton Turner and Ashton Agar.
The Scorchers do, however, possess easily the most lethal pace bowling attack in the league. Six of their quicks have international experience in David Willey, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye which will give them a massive advantage on the bouncy Perth Stadium wicket. In Melbourne, however, with a very undermanned line-up, we think the Renegades take a home win here.
The Sydney Thunder pulled off one of the marquee signings of the BBL off-season this year when they acquired English super-star Joe Root. With a break in the English international calendar, Root should be available for the majority of the BBL season, which gives the Thunder a star top order batsman in the absence of Usman Khawaja.
After many were picking them to take the title in BBL07, the Stars had a year to forget, finishing on the bottom of the table with just two wins from 10 games. They will need to surprise the experts once again in 2018-19 if they wish to return to the finals, as many have predicted them to be one of the bottom sides this season. The Stars lose five key pieces that saw them make the finals in the first six seasons of the BBL in Kevin Pietersen, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Rob Quiney and Luke Wright and have replaced them with a few interesting pieces headlined by Dwayne Bravo.
The Thunder start as slight favourites at home, which we think is about right given the massive turnover the Stars have had in the off-season. As is always the case with the Stars, they seem to have the talent readily available in T20 specialists Glenn Maxwell, Ben Dunk, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and Bravo, it's simply a question of whether or not they can mesh well in their first year. The Thunder’s bowling lineup is a bit of an issue for us, so we are opting for the Stars here.
The Scorchers will be on the road for the second time in Round 1 as they travel to Sydney to take on the Sixers in a Saturday afternoon match. Scorchers are yet to play their first match against the Renegades at the time of writing, so we’ll have a better idea about their form after Thursday. As we mentioned above, with no Marsh or Bancroft in the team at the moment, the Perth batting lineup looks thin, however, the all-rounders will likely have the tools to put up a winnable score against a Sixers team we have finishing on the bottom of the table this year.
The Sixers waved goodbye to Johan Botha, Doug Bollinger and Nic Maddinson in the off-season and will be without recruit John Hastings for the whole season due to illness. They have an extremely young and exciting line-up which we are sure will win a few games this season, but should be pretty inconsistent, especially at the start of the campaign.
A little too much relies on the likes of veterans Moises Henriques and Daniel Huges at the top of the order and the Sixers bowling attack lacks star power. Back the Scorchers to win this one away from home.
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