The 2019 Cricket World Cup might seem a long way off at the moment, with most of the cricketing world more concerned with who has been tampering with balls than with wondering how the next World Cup will pan out. However, with Afghanistan and West Indies securing their place in the tournament this week to complete the final 10, it may be worth looking at the odds to get an indication of how the nations are shaping up.
The betting markets show a very tight picture at the very top, with England, Australia and India often trading places as favourites among major bookmakers. On average, the general consensus has England as the favourites. They come in at odds of around 3/1, although they can be found as low as 5/2 (Betway) and as high as 4/1 (Marathon). Australia are priced lowest with Paddy Power at 3/1 and highest with Betfred at 9/2. India range goes from 7/2 (Ladbrokes) to 9/2 (Bet365).
Pressure will be on England to deliver in front of home fans
The first question, of course, is do England deserve to be regarded as favourites? They were awful in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, winning just two matches and exiting at the group stage. There has certainly been a lot of improvement since that time, despite a poor showing in the Ashes. The likes of Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson and Ben Stokes provide a decent backbone for the England side – but will home advantage be enough to finally take the three-time runners up across the finish line?
Of course, the great and the good of Australian cricket have a lot on their minds right now. The recent cheating scandal in the tour of South Africa has been described as “the darkest day in Australian cricket history”, with the Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft implicated in the incident. Even former captain Michael Clarke, who hinted at coming out of retirement, called it “pre-mediated, blatant cheating”. There is a lot of turmoil in the Australian camp then, but there is plenty of time to get back on track before the World Cup gets underway. Odds of 4/1 or so seem reasonably fair for Australia to defend their trophy.
India look like standout bet for third World Cup win
The true value may lie in backing India however. Odds of 9/2 seem quite generous for the top-ranked test playing side in the world, especially when you can use the latest free bet offers from Aussiefreebet.com.au to back India or anyone else to triumph. As ever, there is plenty of talent in the India test squad, it is just a question of whether they can prove their worth on English soil.
By no means are the trio of England, Australia and India the only serious candidates to win the ICC Cricket World Cup. South Africa, available at odds of around 5/1, also look like contenders, whereas New Zealand (7/1) and Pakistan (10/1) should certainly not be ruled out. Test cricket is often about momentum however, and you could see the odds fluctuating over the coming months. Still, a bit of value can be found in the early odds by punters looking to take a chance.