Ray McLachlan | Mon 14/08/2017 - 15:18 EDT

ICC World Twenty20 Betting Guide

ICC World Twenty20 Betting Guide

The Origin of Twenty20 Cricket

Traditionally, cricket is played in the form of a 'Test Match' - a five day epic that literally tested the resolve of both teams. In the 1970's, World Series Cricket was introduced and for the first time cricket matches were held over just one day. But in the early 2000's amid dwindling interest in the sport, particularly in England, administrators voted in favour of change and the first T20 competition was held domestically in 2003.

While many purists believed that this format would be just a fad, calling it 'hit and giggle cricket', the sport exploded and became the most popular form of the game almost overnight. The carnival type atmosphere featuring much more action, and a result in less than four hours, made it a crowd favourite. Cricket had been revolutionised and the format would be here to stay.

By the end of the decade, nations who had previously held one-off matches were organising full International series and ensuring that the format was represented domestically. Competitions were organised all over the world and the Australian 'Big Bash' league, Indian Premier League and Caribbean Premier League are now some of the world's most lucrative competitions.

The World Twenty20 Betting Odds

The last step was to ensure cricket would still be seen as a nation-based sport, as it had been for so many years. The World Twenty20 was born and has proven to be a major success in it's short history. It has been amazing to watch teams develop strategies in a new format and to see how cricket has evolved. The six tournaments held so far have produced some amazing cricket, and the 2020 edition promises to be the best yet.

So who is the most likely to win the next ICC World Twenty20? Below are all of the current odds available, followed by our analysis of the big nations.

ICC World Twenty20 - To Win Outright

The Bookies' Favourite

Australia start out as tournament favourites at +275, and as hosts they will be playing on pitches that suit their style of play as well as having the whole nation behind them. In 2015, Australia showed just how important home ground advantage is when they won the Cricket World Cup in front of nearly 100,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

They will definitely be up there at the business end of the competition.

But are the Aussies deserved favourites? The World T20 features a totally different form of the game and the team's International twenty-over record is certainly not the best going around. Australia are yet to win the T20 trophy, and their administration has been criticised for not taking the format seriously. There is no doubt that the country boasts some of the best cricketers on the planet, but they are rarely utilised in T20's in favour of the other modes of cricket.

There is still plenty of time before the tournament gets underway, and the view of Cricket Australia may change, but it's a stretch to call them favourites at this stage. 

Save your money and wait a bit longer for the Aussies.

The Contenders

India are a powerhouse of world cricket, and certainly have the numbers to call on should their stars fail! Cricket is no less a religion in the country, and they have quickly established themselves as specialists of the shortest form of the game.

The country won the inaugural tournament in 2007, and hosted the most recent competition, where they fell to eventual champions the West Indies in the semi-final.

The Indian Premier League attracts some of the world's biggest stars but is also a great breeding ground for up and coming home-grown talent, so you can be sure that they will field a very strong team when the tournament gets underway. The only thing to consider is that they will be playing on fast, bouncy wickets that will not suit their style of play. Again, at +350 they are not a bad bet, but there are other teams that could well be ahead on the list of contenders.

England was the first nation to hold a domestic T20 competition and were also one of the first to recognise that the make up of the team should not necessarily contain the best long-form cricketers. Their performances at the six ICC World Twenty20's to date have been solid - they won the 2010 edition in the West Indies and finished runner-up in 2016. They also hosted the tournament in 2009 however failed to make it out of the group stage.

While the Barmy Army will travel to Australia and provide very vocal support, traditionally the English have not had too much success in the land down under. If they can manage to steer clear of the Australians they can certainly go on a long run in this tournament, and at odds of +550 they present decent value, so it may be worthwhile jumping on now.

New Zealand are next on the list of contenders, and while the conditions will certainly suit them, one feels that their best chance of winning a major international tournament since the 2000 Champions Trophy came and went with their runner-up performance at the 2015 World Cup. Now that the legendary Brendan McCullum has retired, their lineup lacks that little bit of star power needed to excel on the world stage.

But 2020 is a long way away, and New Zealand are known to produce some incredible talents. Kane Williamson is already established as one of the best players in the world, so if they can build a team around him and find some equally good bowlers, the Black Caps could certainly make a run to the final. This would be breaking new ground as they have never made it that far in a T20 tournament. They are available at +600 which is probably an accurate reflection of their chances.

South Africa's chances of winning the World T20 are identical to the New Zealanders. While they often have one of the best teams in the tournament on paper, they have an unfortunate habit of falling short at the final (or rather semi-final) hurdle.

Like the Kiwis, the South African's have failed to make it to a World T20 final, let alone win one, so their track record is something that will need to be ignored if you want to place a wager on them.

The optimistic view of course is that the South African lineup is traditionally too strong to continually fail. At odds of +600, they are probably a better value pick than the Black Caps at the same price so they are certainly a worthwhile bet.

The Value Pick

It's not often that you will find the most successful team in the history of a tournament, and the most recent winner of a tournament, at such long odds to win the next one, but that's exactly what we've got here. The West Indies have won the tournament twice and made it to at least the semi final stage on four out of six occasions, and the conditions should suit them.

So why are they priced at +900? Don't ask questions, just put your money on them! They are excellent value, although the reason for their price is down to the uncertainty that surrounds West Indian cricket. The board and the players have had a volatile relationship in recent years and you can never be 100% sure that their best team will feature in a tour or tournament. There's plenty of time ahead for them to sort this out, so there's no harm in placing a wager.

The Outsiders

In a tournament like the ICC World Twenty20, the winner can come from anywhere, so it may be a little harsh to consider Pakistan an outsider, considering that they have appeared in two World T20 finals and won the tournament in 2009. Pakistan never fail to impress, have a wealth of talent available and should not be discounted. They are priced at +1400.

The same can be said for Sri Lanka. They too have made it to two finals although are yet to win at the final stage. Like Pakistan, they always present a difficult proposition, however will find it difficult playing in conditions that are a world away from the sub-continent. If you're bold, take a punt on the Sri Lankans at +1200, although in terms of outsiders the Pakistanis present better value.

The 2020 World T20 tournament will no doubt prove to be fantastic sporting theatre, and the winner will be no easier to pick in three years time when it's about to get underway.

Will the Australian's break their duck or will the West Indians come to the party for a third time? What are your thoughts on the tournament? For more, make sure you check out our Facebook page and join in the conversation.

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