Something funny happened to me today. Not funny, ha ha (laughing). But funny strange. I found myself perusing the odds for the NatWest T20 Blast outright – England’s domestic thrash and bash which is a strong as any worldwide T20 offering out there – and, gulp, reckoned Surrey might be worth a wager.
I know, I know. The shame. My complexion is palid and my mouth dry at just the recall. Forgive me. But at around the +750 mark (Bet365) – which may have shorted up to +650 by the time you read this - I thought ‘hello, is this a bit of value?’
It is a worrying moment. I will explain. In this small corner of cricket betting we consistently harp on about the need not to be wowed by superstar players in T20. You can have as many as you like but the market gives them too much respect for such a short game – for example, they can’t all influence the game because, simply, there just isn’t the time. Particularly batsmen.
But then I looked through the Surrey line-up. Aaron Finch, Jason Roy, Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara. That is a top four that would be capable of winning internationals. It’s so strong that Mark Stoneman, one of the brightest prospects on the circuit, can’t actually get in the XI.
It is seriously good. So good that it is arguable that they should be the jollies for the competition, instead of Hampshire who are +650 with 888Sport.
Surrey may not be the one-trick pony that teams crammed with batting superstars normally are, though. And why we so often go on about it in this column. Surrey can bowl. Which is rare. The Curran brothers, Gareth Batty and Jade Dernbach are having excellent campaigns.
If Surrey are, whisper it, underrated, then we can definitely say the same about Leicestershire and Derbyshire. And we’re not just talking big numbers in an effort to repair reputation.
Leicestershire are +1800 with Betway and Derbyshire +2000 with BetVictor. Those odds are disrespectful in the extreme for two teams who have shown they have great plans in the field, a strong work ethic and no small amount of talent.
They are at Nos 1 and 2 respectively in the North group table and it would be folly not to punish the bookies for such largesse when they are both on course for the knockouts and finals day. Put it this way, we would be surprised if one of them isn’t involved.