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The Ashes 2015 Tips

Sky-Sports-2 8th July – 24th August

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Alastair CookTop England Batsman7/2Betfred
Australia 3-1Series Correct Score7/1William Hill
Steve SmithPlayer Of The Series7/1Bet365, Betfred, Paddy Power

The 2015 Ashes series gets under way in Cardiff on Wednesday July 8th with England looking for a fourth successive home series win over Australia for the first time since 1896. Subsequent matches will take place at Lord’s, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge before the series concludes at The Oval at the end of August.

The AshesEngland may have won the last three series they have hosted and four of the last six in all, but they come into this clash very much as the underdogs. Australia, whose batsmen have been in majestic form over the last 12 months, are a best price of 2/5 with BetVictor to win the five-match series, with England at 4/1 with Paddy Power. The draw is priced at 8/1 with Bet365.

England were 3-0 winners the last time they hosted Australia in 2013 as they came towards the end of a superb eight-year era, which began with their thrilling 2-1 victory over the Aussies in 2005. That success came on the back of eight consecutive wins for Australia, a run which stretched back to 1989. There were signs that England may be heading into a similar dark period when they were whitewashed 5-0 in Australia in the winter of 2013/14.

That was a spectacular failure for England, featuring a damaging dressing room split which eventually led to the demise of Kevin Pietersen, one of the stars of their comfortable win the previous summer. Two of the other heroes from that 2013 victory are still fixtures in the England batting line-up, although only one is showing signs that he can back to that level of performance.

Joe Root, who hit 339 runs against Australia in the summer of 2013, failed in his last match against New Zealand but totalled three figures in 4 of his 5 previous Tests. He also managed a couple of centuries against the Kiwis in the recent one-day series.

Ian Bell’s form is the concern, after the 33-year-old failed to make any impression in any of his last four Tests, which included a pair in the West Indies. At least Alastair Cook has got back on track – the England skipper has plundered 553 runs in his last eight innings and he’s a tempting 7/2 with Betfred to be England’s leading scorer.

Australia’s run charge is likely to be led by Steven Smith, who has scored more than 200 runs in total in three of his last six Tests, topping 1,000 runs in that time. It’s an astonishing recent record and rightly makes him the favourite to be the top Australian batsman, at best odds of 5/2 with Coral and Titanbet.

By comparison the form of the other visiting batsmen is modest, with David Warner accumulating just over 500 runs in his last six Tests and Chris Rogers compiling more than 400 in the four-match series against India. With Michael Clarke, Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges also in the squad they have quite a supporting cast and putting together big totals will be crucial to England’s chances, as Australia are set up to do just that.

Taking enough wickets will also be a big ask for England, who still look to be short of a top class spinner since the retirement of Graeme Swann. Swann was their leading wicket-taker in the 2013 series with 26, four more than the pace duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who are 9/4 and 3/1 respectively to be the top England bowler this time around.

Moeen Ali is the man tasked with Swann’s role but the Warwickshire man has yet to suggest he can pose the same threat. In 11 matches he has taken five wickets only once and he has taken only 11 in the last five. Coral offer 10/1 that he can take more wickets than the quicks. All-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been thrilling crowds in the one-dayers, is an interesting selection at 7/1 with Ladbrokes.

If you’re thinking of placing a bet on the Series Correct Score market it’s worth bearing in mind that there has been at least one draw in all but one series in England since 1896, the exception being Australia’s 4-1 series win 14 years ago. The better weather Down Under means there are regularly series with no drawn games. That puts the best price of 11/1 (Stan James) for a 5-0 Aussie whitewash into perspective and explains why 3-1 and 4-0 to the visitors are the market leaders, each at 7/1 with William Hill.

There are numerous betting markets available, with several bookmakers pricing up Player of the Series – Smith is an obvious favourite at 7/1 with Bet365, Betfred and Paddy PowerSky Bet are offering Top Batsman Doubles, with Cook and Smith together available at 12/1. Coral, meanwhile, have gone to town with a wide range of specials. Finally, Paddy Power are quoting 5/6 that there won’t be a double-hundred in the series – there hasn’t been one in England since Nasser Hussain in the first Test of the 1997 series.

RECOMMENDED BETSMARKETODDSBOOKMAKERS
Alastair CookTop England Batsman7/2Betfred
Australia 3-1Series Correct Score7/1William Hill
Steve SmithPlayer Of The Series7/1Bet365, Betfred, Paddy Power