We've weighed up the chances for each team in this years Big Bash, picking out our best bets.
SQUAD: David Hussey, Michael Beer, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhuas, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stinis, Tom Triffitt, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa.
The Stars have arguably one of the strongest squads in BBL5, with potency right across the park. It doesn’t come any bigger that Pietersen – that roguish, polarising South African who decided to become a pom – is one of the best exponents of the shortest form in the world. With quality players like Zampa and Hlifenhaus joining the likes of Hussey, Faulkner, Wright and the enigmatic Maxwell, they have the firepower to blow the opposition away. They are top of the market at most firms and we expect them to post some big scores. However Australian commitments might drain them at the business end of proceedings.
BET: Luke Wright is $4.33 with BET365 to be top run scorer for the Stars and is worth a bet to outshine his more illustrious English counterpart.
The Scorchers have one hell of a squad and although they will lose some serious firepower when the Marsh brothers and Voges head off for national duty last in the season, their bowling attack looks formidable. If the Marsh boys were hanging around you could confidently dip into the $5.50 to win with Bet365, but at this stage they look a good saver bet with the top outright selection to come. They also have the irrepressible Hogg , the man whose tongue sends many into a spin. Sportsbet have him $8.0 to be top Scorcher bowler, but that looks short about the wily maestro.
Bet: Andrew Tye is an impressive bowler finishing 14 wickets, only 1 behind Behrendorff in BBL4 with an economy rate of 6.85. Sportsbet have him $4.50 to be top Tournament wicket taker for the Scorchers and it looks some nice value.
Another BBL5 squad brimming with talent, the Renegades flung the chequebook far and wide, and captured the likes of Gayle, White and Doherty. On paper the batting looks very, very strong but this is another team that will be hurt by International commitments. Do they have the bowling to back up their batting depth? It seems they might be a bit light in this department with their best bowler only nabbing 7 wickets last season. They just don’t have the ammo when it’s their turn to bowl. Therefore they are a good proposition to bet around for the series.
If the real cricketing Chris Gayle turns up, the $3.0 (Bet365) about him being Top Runscorer looks fat. However the bright lights of Southbank might lure the party man away from his focus and therefore it is hard to bet with confidence.
The Tassie mob have brought some big artillery across the Bass Strait (and world for that matter) with Sri Lankan legend Sangakarra padding up for the Hurricanes. The likes of Paine, Bailey, Christian and Dunk ensuring they bat well down, it is whether they can match it with the ball. The depth of batting will ensure at times they get to defend some decent totals, but there is a distinct lack of depth in their bowling ranks that is sure to hurt. Tait is still a tough competitor on his day, but he is well past his best. Cannot take on the outright market early doors, but if drift to 15.0+ after a round or two, might be worth a couple of speculative bucks on them for interest.
Bet: No3 Batsman Tim Paine is no slouch in scoring runs. Whilst topping Dunk and Sangakarra is a challenge, he has the talent – and value – to do it. $5 Sportsbet looks a decent price for him to be top Hurricanes Runscorer.
On paper these lads should be 3-1 stand out favourites, but they will lose a fair chunk of that potency with Smith, Starc, Hazelwood and Lyon to go missing due to International duty. However, they still have loads of firepower across the park supplemented by some exceptional signings in the off-season. Johan Botha is a grossly underrated player as a bowler and as a senior member of a team. His captaincy last season of the Strikers was exceptional. He brings so much to this team in many ways. Jackson Bird is a strong signing to fill the void by Lee, whilst nowhere near Lee’s blistering pace he does possess remarkable accuracy with line and length. With the likes of Haddin, Silk, Henriques and Lumb to complement the sheer explosiveness of Maddinson, the Sixers are in for a big year at the SCG. They look outstanding value at $8.0 Bet365 to win BBL5. They went within a whisker of winning BBL4, they can clearly go one better this year.
Bet: Johan Botha to be Sixers Top Wicket Taker @ $6.0 with Sportsbet and maybe have a few bob on him to be top overall wicket taker @ $41 with Sportsbet. The batsmen will chase him, he is a proven wicket taker, and he can come out on top here.
They were dealt a big blow when the devastating Keiron Pollard withdrew due to injury, and the loss of Zampa and Botha hasn’t helped. They did redress the balance with the signing of Jayawardne although one would have thought a better overseas player than Rashid could have been found. He got hammered in the series vs Pakistan recently, and confidence can’t be high. Head and Ludeman can whack it around as can Hodge but outside of Richardson and Laughlin wickets could be hard to find. Doubt they have the bowling attack to back up their batting, and like the Hurricanes and Renegades, they will suffer.
Bet: Tim Ludeman can really belt a ball around and when he gets his eye in, he scores at will. His 253 runs in BBL4 showed that. You can take $4.50 @ Bet365 to be top Adelaide Runscorer and looks one of the better bets in BBL5.
There is just something about the Thunder where they just fail to deliver to their Western Sydney fans time and again as they have never made the BBL finals series. Hard to see that changing here. Despite big guns like Hussey and Kallis, these boys are well past their prime but still seem landed with the responsibility of carrying the side.
Bringing in Watson you would think has shored things up…….but it is Watson. Would like some odds on 2+ LBW for him in the Bash. Andre Russell is an interesting addition, but with Uzzie Khawaja injured and some pretty thin bowling all told, it looks like another long 6 weeks for the men in green.
The exit door drained an exceptional amount of talent away from a poorly performing Heat in BBL4, losing the likes of Vettori, Christian, Milenko, Freddie Flintoff, Ryan Harris and Shane Watson. Add to that McCullum who was meant to come but pulled out, it has been a tumultuous time for the Heat. Their signings hardly inspire so it will be a tough season and there is some temptation in the $4.50 on offer at Sportsbet for them to finish with the Wooden Spoon . Should be closer to the $3.5 mark.
BET: Going out on a limb here but when this bloke wants to tee off, he can tee off. Ben Cutting looks remarkable value @ 51.0 to be top Heat runscorer. This is wrong. Especially as Chris Lynn has shoulder concerns and the way Cutting can put them into Row 44.