The 13th edition of the Big Bash League officially kicks off on Thursday night as the Brisbane Heat take on the Melbourne Stars from The Gabba. Check out our full preview and betting tips for the season opener below.
Also, if you're interested in Daily Fantasy competitions, make sure to check out our free expert Heat vs Stars fantasy tips! Our fantasy experts have you covered with all the best plays as well as a suggested lineup for Thursday night's game.
BBL13 Betting Tips
Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars
The Gabba, Thursday 7th December, 7.15pm
The Heat have had a relatively quiet off-season as far as big signings go. Paul Walter makes his way into the squad as an international signing from England while Aussie Jack Wood is the only other notable inclusion.
Players on the way out for the Heat include James Bazley, Sam Hain, Sam Heazlett and fast bowler Mark Steketee, who would be lining up for the Stars on Thursday night if not for a call-up to the PMXI for the tour match against Pakistan.
The Heat stunned a majority of BBL fans last season by reaching the final only to go down to the Perth Scorchers. You have to have the feeling that they slightly over achieved last season, and they have definitely lost more talent than they have gained, on paper, this off-season.
Predicted XI: Khawaja, Brown, Labuschagne, Munro, Billings, Bryant, Walter, Bartlett, Wildermuth, Kuhnemann, Swepson
On the contrary to their Thursday night opponents, the Stars were active in the off-season window. On the way in is Sam Harper, Joel Paris, Scott Boland, Mark Steketee and three internationals in Haris Rauf, Usama Mir and Liam Dawson.
Making way for the influx of talent is Liam Hatcher, Joe Clarke, Trent Boult, Luke Wood and one of the more important players, spinner Adam Zampa, who defected to cross town rivals in the Melbourne Renegades.
Despite all of the turnover, the Stars still have some of the best top end talent in the league, and having Glenn Maxwell run out there on any given night in his current form will always give them a chance to win.
Predicted XI: Rogers, Harper, Maxwell, Larkin, Stoinis, Cartwright, Dawson, Paris, Mir, Coulter-Nile, Boland
The Heat start as slight favourites here and I’m siding with them at home. They made The Gabba somewhat of a fortress towards the back half of last year, winning four of their last five games there, only going down to the eventual champion Perth Scorchers.
I think the Heat have too much firepower with the bat here, especially with Labuschagne set to be in the line-up for these first few games.
heat to win
$1.80 (1.5 Units)
Same Game Multi
Picking a simple two legger to get the season underway at decent odds of $2.14. Josh Brown has been in some scintillating club cricket form so far this season, with highlight tapes popping up on social media of him taking down local attacks. Think he will thrive with the extra pace and bounce of The Gabba wicket.
Sam Harper generally likes to play a more conservative role to start out the innings so I think 15+ is a good bet here. He doesn’t take a lot of risks early days and passed the 15 run mark in four of his last seven games last season.
Josh Brown 15+ Runs
Sam Harper 15+ Runs