While many Australians are currently enjoying the winter delights of AFL and NRL competitions, cricket purists have been sitting patiently through the chilly months, waiting for their moment for the sun to shine. Now, they are finally rubbing their hands together at the prospects of a winter Ashes series in enemy territory. The 2015 Ashes is finally upon us as England hosts the Aussies in a best of five Test series starting this Wednesday.
The 2015 Ashes series is going to be an intense physical and mental battle. While we love nothing more than Australian domination, I think most of us genuinely hope for a tight, tough series. An even contest between bat and ball. A game of swings, emotions and excitement!
Many are predicting an Australian victory and that certainly looks the most likely outcome, but the English team have enjoyed a mini-resurgence in the lead up to this series after a good showing against New Zealand. Their confidence is high and they will definitely enjoy periods of play where they gain the upper hand over their old foe. The question will be if they can sustain that pressure for five full days to take twenty wickets and gain a victory.
Alastair Cook will lead his men into battle once again, but early failures will again heap pressure on his captaincy. It is vital that he starts the series well. If he doesn’t then don’t be surprised if he doesn’t see out the entire series.
Joe Root is the up and coming talent of the English team. He is technically sound and appears to have the mental toughness to compete on the biggest stage. He will need to rise to the challenge if England are to have any chance. Ian Bell and Gary Ballance will also be important with the bat while keeper Jos Buttler is capable of taking a game away from his opposition.
The interesting inclusion in the squad for the 1st Test is leg spinner Adil Rasheed who was not even part of the training squad that travelled to Spain for four days together. Clearly the Poms feel the pitch in Cardiff will take spin with Rasheed included to provide options and support for allrounder Moeen Ali.
The familiar sight of Stuart Broad and James Anderson will lead up the attack, and at times will be devilishly difficult for the Aussie bats. Allrounder Ben Stokes is another match winner with both bat and ball, and with confidence high, he will be one to watch for. Meanwhile youngster Mark Wood brings the X-factor. It’s the first time the Aussies will see Wood and word is that he’s pretty slippery so he might get a few jumping.
The other interesting twist to the English outfit is new head coach in Australian Trevor Bayliss. He will bring a very calm, calculated approach to the table with plenty of insight into the Australian’s strengths and weaknesses. This is Bayliss’ first major series as coach so it will be interesting to see if the team brings a different approach with his leadership.
Meanwhile the Australians arrive full of confidence after a comfortable Test series win against the West Indies and a perfect start in their two warm-up matches in the UK. There was however one major loss when warhorse Ryan Harris announced his immediate retirement after complications to his knee injury. It was always going to be Harris’ last tour, but his grunt during hard times will certainly be missed. It also exposes the depth of Australia’s fast bowling stocks a little. The front four all looked very interchangeable, but if there is now an injury or two, suddenly Peter Siddle could be a starter and Pat Cummins potentially exposed. The Poms would be much more comfortable against that sort of attack.
The front line trio of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood have to perform and stay fit. If they do, it will go a long way to securing an Australian victory. There are talks of English curators producing lifeless decks to try and curtail the influence of the Aussie pace battery, but that approach will probably just cause the English team more harm than good.
If there is some turn, Australia have the best spinner of the two teams in Nathan Lyon. They also bring a far different mentality towards spin than last time they were in England when they tried to shock by playing the uncapped Ashton Agar. Lyon will bowl well and provide excellent support as usual to the quicks.
While the Aussie bowling looks strong, it’s the bat that has let them down in the past. Top and middle order collapses are what cost Australia the Ashes last time in England and they will be desperate to rectify that. All the talk has been about Steve Smith and his role at number three. So far he’s done nothing to suggest that he won’t continue to flourish in that role. His numbers have been outstanding in all formats against all opposition. Will his technique handle the swinging ball? It will be a true test but it seems that he’s up for the fight.
While David Warner and skipper Michael Clarke will be craving runs, it’s a couple of other veterans who loom as important cogs in this line up. The aging Chris Rogers has been maintained in this team specifically to handle these conditions. Over two decades, Rogers has plundered County attacks in England, so his experience will be crucial to blunt the new ball. Likewise middle order batsman Adam Voges will be an important piece of the puzzle. He also has plenty of first class experience and he may get the nod in the middle order ahead of Shaun Marsh at some stage in the series.
Another interesting decision will be with the allrounder spot. Shane Watson is under immense pressure to hold his spot with Mitchell Marsh looking fit, scoring runs and taking wickets. The time really does seem right to pick Marsh and back his natural attacking ability, but the selectors may give Watson first opportunity and then bring in Marsh at a later point during the series.
Verdict: England will have moments where they have the Aussies under pressure and even in trouble. The question will be, can they do it over five days? And over five Tests? I can’t see it happening. I think Australia will win the 1st Test and clench the series with relative comfort with a 3-0 or 3-1 result.
Not only do Palmerbet have great odds for Australia to win the 1st Test match, but they also have a great promotion that will give you a bonus bet up to $100 if Michael Clarke scores a ton and Australia lose the match. A nice little insurance policy.
Australia to win 1st Test - $1.93 at Palmerbet (3 units)
Leading Wicket Taker – 1st Innings
Big Josh Hazelwood is our top pick to do well this series. His bounce and zip should produce excellent results on English decks. The Poms will be worried about the speed of Starc and Johnson, but it’s Hazelwood who will be the perfect foil.
Josh Hazelwood - $4.00 at Sportsbet (3 units)
Leading Run Scorer – 1st Innings
We’ll be taking advantage of the great offer from Sportsbet for our 1st Test leading run scorer bet. If your 1st innings top runscorer makes a 50 but your bet loses, you’ll get a cash refund up to $100!
Chris Rogers - $5.50 at Sportsbet (2 units)
Australia to Win Series – Enhanced Price
The stand out bet for the 2015 Ashes is offered at Ladbrokes who are offering enhanced odds of $2.00 for Australia to win the series and retain the Ashes. These odds are enhanced from $1.38 and is for a maximum bet of $50. We believe the Australians should win the series, and win it well, so this is clearly the best bet of the series and we highly recommend you jump on board for a full $50.
For the purposes of our tally sheet, we’ll treat $50 as a 1 unit play.
Australia to win series – Enhanced price of $2.00 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Correct Series Score
Top Series Run Scorer - Australia
Chris Rogers - $7.50 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Leading Series Wicket Taker - Australia
Josh Hazelwood Most Series Wickets - $4.00 at Luxbet (2 units)
Batsmen Series Scores Over/Under
Very keen on Chris Rogers to do well this series, and it’s interesting to see a large discrepancy in his over/under series numbers across the sports books. Some are as high as 370-380 so you can even pay the vig and create a nice little window to scoop both sides. For us, we’re going to jump all over the line at Ladbrokes as that looks a great play for a guy who, barring injury, should be batting ten times in the series.
Chris Rogers Over 300.5 series runs - $1.88 at Ladbrokes (5 units)
Adam Voges and Shane Watson may not play every Test with selection still up in the air, so happy to play the unders on them for the series. Note that they must play at least three matches for the bet to stand.
Our tailenders can bat and there’s nothing more fun that watching them swing at the end of the innings. If you want a fun sweat then jump on these bets. Nathan Lyon’s line is only one cheeky innings while Mitchell Starc will get plenty of opportunities to reach his number.
Head-to-Head Player Bets
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
There’s been plenty of fantastic tennis played over the past week at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, but now just two players remain in hope to be crowned champion. Check out our best bet for Thiem vs Tsitsipas right here! read more
The main lead up to next month's Hong Kong International Races takes place at Sha Tin today, with three Group 2s on the program! Check out our preview of the key races on the card here. read more
The Donald Cup headlines a big day of provincial and country racing right around Australia this Sunday! We've taken a look at the feature, along with our best bets for Canberra and Geelong here! read more
In the third instalment of our Betfair instructional series, we take a look at understanding staking plans and how they can be used to stay in control of your bank roll read more
In our next strategy guide for the Betfair platform, we take a look at understanding how the Betfair markets work and what different types of backs and lays you can place with Betfair! read more
Unlike your ‘normal’ betting agency where it’s you versus the Bookmaker, Betfair is a peer-to-peer wagering platform. Betfair allow you to both ‘back’ and ‘lay’ bets, which gives you complete control and a totally unique betting experience. View how full guide to backing and laying here read more
There are approximately 90 Group 1 level harness races in Australia and New Zealand each year; we've highlighted some of most high profile races on the annual racing calendar here. read more
The Melbourne Cup has transformed from the race that stops the nation into the race that stops the world in recent years, and Palmerbet are giving punters more bang for their buck with boosted odds on all Melbourne Cup runners this Monday! read more
The Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops a nation, but is quickly becoming the race that stops the world! There's 42 horses left in contention for the 2019 Melbourne Cup, which will be held on the first Tuesday in November. Check out the latest betting odds for the race here! read more
Get fantastic odds of $4.50 for Te Akau Shark to finish in the top five in Saturday's Cox Plate thanks to Palmerbet. read more
The lottery is one of the more fun ways to gamble, and who hasn't dreamt of one day striking it mega-rich by landing a jackpot! What are the odds of winning the lottery, and is there anything you can do to improve your odds? We take a look at the luck involved with playing the lottery! read more