Sportsbooks have released early odds on the big teams ahead of this year’s most intriguing new cricket tournament.
The world’s finest cricketers will head to Britain to vie for glory in an exciting new tournament called The Hundred this summer. It should provide the perfect antidote for anyone that finds the sport tedious, as each team will face just 100 balls per match, ensuring breakneck action. The league will consist of eight city-based franchise teams, and these are the leading contenders for glory:
US sports fans are well accustomed to teams selecting players by draft, but it remains an exciting new development in the UK. It made its neon-lit debut when teams selected their squads for The Hundred, and Southern Brave ended up with an extremely strong collection of players. There were 571 players competing for just 96 spots, resulting in some high-profile omissions and some superstar teams. Southern Brave snapped up Jofra Archer, one of the world’s most exciting fast bowlers, along with the devastating West Indies star Andre Russell and Australian cricketer of the Year David Warner, with homegrown talent like James Vince and Ollie Pope padding out the squad. Southern Brave are as low as +333 with some of SBR’s best sportsbooks to win the tournament, but you can find +500 if you shop around for your odds.
Jason Roy and Tom Curran are the local icons for the Oval Invincibles, while overseas stars Sunil Narine, Sandeep Lamichane and Fabian Allen should get the pulses racing. Sam Curran is also in the mix, and Oval Invincibles should be dangerous with both ball and bat. If Roy and Narine get going then this team could sweep all their rivals aside. There is great depth to the squad, with the likes of Sam Billings and Rilee Rossouw also standing out. The Hundred has been hit by the news that Australian stars like Warner may be recalled halfway through the tournament due to a clash with a three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, but that would not be a problem for Oval Invincibles, as they have no Aussie players. They are +600 second favorites in the betting.
One England Test player has been signed to each team competing in The Hundred and Northern Superchargers struck gold by signing the heroic Ben Stokes. Local icons are Adil Rashid and David Willet, while Australian opener Aaron Finch and compatriot Chris Lynn provide tremendous firepower in the batting department. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Adam Lyth, Richard Gleeson and Ben Foakes also feature. Northern Superchargers are joint second in the betting at +600, but if they lose Finch and Lynn they could be in trouble.
Welsh Fire have also put their faith in Australian talent by handing maximum salary contracts to both Steve Smith and Mitch Starc. They also have Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Colin Ingram, Ravid Rampaul, Ben Duckett, Qais Ahmad, Simon Harmer, Liam Plunkett and Ryan ten Doeschate in a very strong squad, but the loss of Smith and Starc could prove costly down the line. Welsh Fire are also priced around the +600 mark with the top SBR sportsbooks, showing just how competitive this tournament is expected to be.
You can find +650 on Trent Rockets, who can call upon the talents of England Test captain Joe Root, the super Rashid Khan and two more Australians in D’Arcy Short and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Birmingham Phoenix are +700 after signing Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Ravi Bopara, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Chris Woakes, plus Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi. They are not overly exposed to Australian dropouts, and could make a good each-way bet. Manchester Originals are out at +850, with Jos Buttler, Imran Tahir, Dane Vilas and Phil Salt providing the greatest threat in their ranks. Finally, London Spirit are the +1000 outsiders, despite signing England white ball captain Eoin Morgan, Australian big hitter Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi of Afghanistan and Mohammad Amir of Pakistan, along with Mark Wood, Roelof van der Merwe and Joe Denly.