BBL13 launched with a bang on Thursday night, and the action continues when the Sydney Sixers host the Melbourne Renegades at the SCG on Friday night.
Both teams have high hopes for the 2023/24 campaign, so this is likely to be a high-quality contest.
Josh Nevett provides his full match preview and betting tips below.
BBL13 Betting Tips
Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Renegades
SCG, Friday 8th December, 7:15pm (AEDT)
The Sydney Sixers should be in the mix for another title challenge this season, having retained most of the experienced stars that have guided them to consecutive titles in BBL09 and BBL10.
Dan Christian and Nathan Lyon may have moved on, but English all-rounder Tom Curran is an excellent replacement.
As usual, the Sixers will rely on their elite fast bowling attack to restrict teams to low totals, but there is still enough to like with the bat.
When available, Smith is a top tier inclusion, and the likes of Josh Phillipe, James Vince and Jack Edwards all have the ability to be among the top run scorers.
Even the spin stocks are solid enough - Steve O'Keefe, test tweaker Todd Murphy, import Izharulhaq Naveed and rising talent Joel Davies provide enough variety and quality to fill skipper Moises Henriques with confidence.
With the depth of Sydney’s squad in mind, I’m expecting another successful campaign in which the Sixers push for a fourth title.
Predicted XI: Philippe (wk), Smith, Vince, Henriques, Silk, Edwards, Curran, Abbott, Dwarshuis, O’Keefe, J.Bird
The Renegades surprised last time around, qualifying for the finals after finishing bottom of the table three years in a row.
It was a hugely shocking improvement, and I believe that positive trajectory will continue in BBL13, with Melbourne boasting a star-studded squad.
South African batting sensation Quinton De Kock is a huge get, especially given his dominance at the recent ODI World Cup. Joe Clarke will further bolster the batting group, slotting into the top order after thriving at times for the Stars.
Adam Zampa has also crossed over from the green side of Melbourne, fresh off a hugely successful World Cup campaign in which he took the most wickets of any spinner.
Not much top end talent has been lost – the departed players were mostly depth options, so the Renegades have a far stronger squad on paper this season.
As such, another finals appearance is well and truly on the cards.
Predicted XI: Clarke (wk), Maddinson, Marsh, Fraser-McGurk, Finch, Wells, Sutherland, Rogers, Richardson, Zampa, Ur Rahman
There are always plenty of unknowns heading into the first round of a new season, so it is interesting to see that the Sixers are such clear favourites.
If both sides were at full strength, I would classify this as a 50/50 call, but it appears as if Sydney will have more talent to choose from considering Quinton De Kock will miss for the Renegades.
On the flipside, Steve Smith is set to make one of a few appearances for the Sixers, so the men in magenta should out-bat the Renegades and therefore win this encounter.
Sydney Sixers to Win
$1.65 (2 Units)
Same Game Multi
With Phillipe and Smith at the top of the order, the Sixers are well placed to start well with the bat on Friday night. In comparison, Nic Maddinson will likely be rusty after missing 12 months with an ACL injury, so I can his wicket falling cheaply.
The Renegades could be fragile through the middle order in this opening encounter, and I expect Tom Curran to take advantage of that. Curran is a change bowler who takes wickets through mystery and variations, so he will be well suited to taking control of the middle overs.
Highest Opening Partnership – Sydney Sixers
Tom Curran – To Take a Wicket