Round 4 of the BBL08 season runs over the New Year period, kicking off this Sunday with the Hurricanes hosting the Scorchers. Our BBL betting tips for Round 3 were on the money as we start to get a better feel for the trends of what has been a tricky season so far. The Scorchers started the season slowly but bounced back at home, with the Thunder, Renegades and Hurricanes the other teams starting the season well. The jury is still out on the Heat, while the Strikers and Stars will want to get things moving before they drop off the pace. As for the Sixers, well, it looks like it could be a long BBL08 for the men in magenta.
Let’s take a look at our BBL08 Round 4 Betting Tips!
This shapes to be a cracking game to kick off the round in Launceston on Sunday night. The Hurricanes are on top of the BBL ladder after amazing run chase against the Thunder on Friday night. Set a challenging 194 to win, the Hurricanes blasted their way to the 4th largest BBL successful run chase in history on the back of a brilliant 120-run opening stand between Darcy Short and man-of-the-match Matthew Wade. Ben McDermott and George Bailey also chipped in to get the Canes home in a brilliant batting display. They were probably chasing more than that should’ve after a woeful fielding effort with several dropped catches and misfields which cost them dearly. James Faulkner and Jofra Archer were also off the boil, so they will want to bounce back here.
Meanwhile the Scorchers started to show glimpses of their best when they rolled the Strikers at home. The bowling depth of the Scorchers is incredible, and they seem much stronger playing the four/five quick bowlers rather than using Usman Qadir. It’s a different approach to every other BBL team who try to make use of a couple of different spin options in their team. Jason Behrendorff has been at his best with the new pill, causing havoc with his pace, swing and accuracy, while Jhye Richardson cashed in with three wickets last game as well. There’s still question marks over their batting with Michael Klinger failing in the first three games, and the likes of Ashton Turner and Ashton Agar yet to showcase their talents. However Cameron Bancroft is set to be recalled which should ease the burden, but it's a big ask for Bancroft to perform in his first game back from suspension.
It’s a strong batting lineup against a strong bowling lineup, and the toss will be crucial to the chances of both teams. Perth are a better team at home, so I’m not sure how much they will like the trip to Launnie, so we’ll give a small lean towards the Cane Train to roll on.
The traditional New Years Eve BBL match in Adelaide will see the Strikers host the Thunder in front of what is expected to be a full house.
The Strikers really need to win this one to avoid slipping to a 1-3 record. After a good away win against the Heat to start the season, the Strikers have followed up with two disappointing losses. They let slip a golden opportunity against the Renegades before they were steamrolled by the Scorchers pace attack. Their batting is definitely a concern with a heavy reliance on their top order. The problem is that if Alex Carey and Jake Weatherald fall early, and Colin Ingram continues his poor form, then their weak middle order is exposed. With the ball, Rashid Khan has been utterly brilliant, but the rest of them have been pretty terrible. Peter Siddle has been released from the Test squad to play which should give their attack the boost they need, otherwise Liam O’Connor could to be brought in to provide another spin option.
The Thunder are going to be tough opposition for the Strikers to overcome. The Thunder won their first two games pretty well, before posting 193 against the Hurricanes only to see it chased down. Their batting looks really strong with Jos Buttler and Joe Root in the order, and Daniel Sams playing so well as an all-rounder at number 6. With the ball, Fawad Ahmed is as dangerous as ever but their bowling depth was exposed in Hobart. Sam Rainbird and Nathan McAndrew aren’t exactly front-line pace bowlers, and with Shane Watson not bowling, it puts all the pressure on the spinners.
The Thunder are a dangerous team with the bat, but I think the Strikers have better depth across the board and they will be desperate to win this one at home. The Strikers are undefeated on New Year's Eve and I think that streak will continue.
Update: Rashid Khan's father passed away on the eve on this match, so the Strikers' price has drifted due to this news. It's unconfirmed if Khan will play but it's now hard to back them confidently if the best T20 bowler in the world is unavailable so tread carefully with your bets.
New Year’s Day brings us a double-header kicking off with the Heat hosting the Sixers on the sunny Gold Coast at 3:00pm.
The Heat are languishing on the bottom of the table with no points from their first two matches, so this match is a crucial one for them to get their campaign going. However the Heat have come up against the Strikers and the Hurricanes so far, and they are both likely to be finals contenders this season, so perhaps their form isn’t that horrible. They welcome back James Pattinson to the squad after missing the last match for a wedding. He’s a vital cog in this lineup with his extreme pace and solid lower order batting. The much-talked about top order are due to fire with Chris Lynn and Max Bryant threatening, while Brendon McCullum is yet to get going at all. One of them needs to make a big score. Last match it was Ben Cutting who landed his highest ever score to almost pinch a win, so with Cutting firing and Pattinson in the side, you know the Heat are going to be all guns blazing. Sam Heazlett is one who has struggled so he might make way for Alex Ross as a possible change.
The Sixers are sitting 2-2 despite having one of the poorer-looking squads on paper. They somehow conjured up a victory against the Renegades in their last match by defending just 132 at Marvel Stadium. The Sixers bowled well but perhaps that win was partly down to the poor efforts of the Renegades batsmen. Steve O’Keefe tops the tournament leaderboard with 9 wickets so far this season, and he was well supported by debutant Ben Manenti who claimed the man of the match for 2-13 off his four overs. Somehow I don’t think the Bash Bros are going to take it so easy on him! The Sixers are desperate for some runs from their top order, and you’d think they will try a re-shuffle of the order. Perhaps Josh Philippe gets a crack at the top and Jack Edwards drops down the order. Joe Denly has been very disappointing so far and needs to give them something more. They can’t rely on Jordan Silk or Tom Curran to dig them out of a hole every time.
I think the Heat have way too much firepower for the Sixers. Their batting is dynamic all the way down and they can post a massive total here that I can’t see the Sixers getting close too.
The final match of the round is the Melbourne derby coming to us from the MCG at 7:15pm on New Year’s Day. We should see a massive crowd so hopefully the pitch is better than the Test match and we get to enjoy a good spectacle.
The Stars nabbed their first win of the season against the Sixers, easily chasing down a target of 130. Peter Handscomb made the world of difference at the top of the order with a classy 70 from just 35 balls opening the batting. He’s back with the Australian Test squad for this match, so it’s a massive hole for the Stars to fill. Also missing will be Jackson Coleman for personal reasons. He was also very good in the last match with 3-18 from his three overs. When you take the best performing batsman and bowler out of the side, it’s a real blow for the Stars. Seb Gotch and Jonathan Merlo have come into the squad. The Stars will need Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis to start to fire. Maxwell has been threatening a big score while Stoinis has done nothing so far in BBL. Why not throw him in to the opening position? They are the guns that need to fire if the Stars are to post a big total.
The Renegades have also made changes with Tim Ludeman finally running out of chances. Sam Harper will most likely take the gloves while the opening batting spot may be Harper or perhaps Mohammad Nabi. Jon Holland and Andrew Fekete have been called into the squad. The Renegades won their first two games as underdogs, but then let slip a perfect chance to go 3-0 after a pathetic batting effort against the lowly Sixers. They seem to have options with the ball, but their batting is frail. Mackenzie Harvey looked good on debut, but Tom Cooper and Cameron White need to do more as the senior members of the side.
Given the personnel changes, I have to lean to the Renegades. Ludeman should never be playing, so dropping him is a positive step, and if they throw Nabi in at the top, it might get their batting off to a better start. The Stars do have match winners, but they will find it hard covering for the loss of their best batsman and bowler from last week.
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