The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup kicks off this weekend with Australia and New Zealand serving as co-hosts. The tournament starts on the 14th of February and concludes on the 29th of March. If you have not done so already, be sure to check out our World Cup preview.
1st Match, Pool A – New Zealand v Sri Lanka
Sat Feb 14 (50 ovs) 22:00 GMT (prev day) | 11:00 local 06:00 AWST | 08:30 ACDT |09:00 AEDT
Hagley Oval, Christchurch (NZ)
From a betting perspective this clash is interesting because we have very recent history between the two sides. New Zealand won the Janruary ODI series against Sri Lanka 4-2 with one game washed out. It’s worth noting that the fixture played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch – the same venue as this upcoming clash – was won by Sri Lanka. New Zealand deserve to be the favourites for this match, however I think the risk-neutral odds on them would be 1.50 if recent results were to go by. With 1.47 odds the best you can get on New Zealand at the moment it’s marginal whether backing them is good value. If I had to back a team I would take New Zealand at 1.47 (Ladbrokes), but because I would want odds of at least 1.50 I will be sitting this one out.
2nd Match, Pool A – Australia v England
Sat Feb 14 (50 ovs) 03:30 GMT | 14:30 local 11:30 AWST| 14:00 ACDT | 14:30 AEDT
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Since 2014, Australia has hosted England in eight ODIs and Australia won seven of them. Even when Australia fielded an under-strength team in Hobart this year they still won. Since 1999 Australia has won seven out of eight ODIs against England at the MCG. England have been friendless with bookmakers for this fixture, with Sportingbet reporting that 90% of the money wagered was on Australia. One punter has even wagered $60,000 at 1.40 odds on the home side to win. This has resulted in the odds on Australia dropping with most bookmakers. The best odds at the time of writing were 1.36 with bet365, which still arguably represents good value given Australia’s strong ODI record against England on home soil. I would back Australia in the head-to-head for this match.
3rd Match, Pool B – South Africa v Zimbabwe
Sun Feb 15 (50 ovs) 01:00 GMT | 14:00 local 09:00 AWST | 11:30 ACDT |12:00 AEDT
Seddon Park, Hamilton (NZ)
Since September 1999 South Africa have beaten Zimbabwe twenty-six times without losing once. Some bookmakers are offering as little as 1.01 on South Africa so the 1.04 odds with bet365 look to be good value. Looking back at the data, since 2009 all of South Africa’s games against Zimbabwe were won comfortably, even when they played in Zimbabwe in 2014. I recommend backing South Africa in the head-to-head and perhaps attaching this wager to other fixtures in two-leg multis to boost your odds.
4th Match, Pool B – India v Pakistan
Sun Feb 15 (50 ovs) 03:30 GMT | 14:00 local 11:30 AWST| 14:00 ACDT | 14:30 AEDT
Pakistan have won three of their last five ODIs against India however they have yet to beat India in an ODI World Cup. The last time the two sides played each other in Australia Pakistan won three of the four matches, however that was back in 2000 so it’s hard to read too much into that. India enter this match as favourites however given how disappointing they’ve been on Australian soil this season, I would take the value and back Pakistan in the head-to-head at 2.57 with Pinnacle Sports. Those odds suggest Pakistan have only a 38.9% chance of winning but I reckon their chances are closer to 45-50%.
5th Match, Pool B – Ireland v West Indies
Mon Feb 16 (50 ovs) 22:00 GMT (prev day) | 11:00 local 06:00 AWST | 08:30 ACDT |09:00 AEDT
Saxton Oval, Nelson (NZ)
The West Indies have played Ireland five times before and won four with one no result. The West Indies only just beat Scotland in a warm up game yesterday and they were hammered by England earlier in the week so they don’t bring great form into this fixture. Ireland were given a boost by beating Bangladesh yesterday, although they did get comprehensively beaten by Scotland on Tuesday. The West Indies should win this fixture however the short 1.25 odds (bet365) make me nervous. If I had to bet I would back the West Indies however I’m inclined to sit this one out.