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IPL 2013 Preview

The sixth edition of the Indian Premier League starts next week, delivering 76 matches of high-tempo T20 action, always brilliant for trading. I've drafted in a cricket trading expert, Stephen Maher, @gamblerfalls, to go through the betting options in detail. First up, a look at the main markets, and there'll be another one as more bookies price up exotics over the next few days. You can read more of Stephen's expertise on his blog -

IPL 2013 Preview

Well, the madness is nearly here! I thought I’d do a quick run through the squads before I start finding bets, but most of my bets will be on side markets anyway. Throughout the tournament this year my plan is to get involved in the markets as late as possible, I usually wait until after the first innings to start but this year I think I’ll be waiting even longer, five maybe ten overs into the chase – so many games went to the final few overs last year and that's where the best opportunities/value really was. But who knows how this year will turn out, as always with the IPL, expect the unexpected!

Chennai Super Kings – best priced at 9/2.

Really solid team, and even though being favourite obviously implies this, the most likely winners for me – bound to make the semi-finals so 9/2 is probably a decent enough long term position even with a trade in mind, theyve won it in 2010 and 2011 and finished runners-up last year – a real clutch team, will probably sleep-walk through the league then then become a different animal in ‘need-to-win’ games – I’d personally have them shorter. I suppose what makes them so strong is the core of top-class India players they have, Dhoni, Ashwin, Raina, Jadeja and then you also have Murali Vijay who has done well in the India team against Australia recently, its such an advantage to have those players and not trying to pick four overseas players from ten top-class ones and then having to play the local mugs to make up the numbers, like other teams below. Their overseas players are solid too, you’ll have Michael Hussey recently retired from Test cricket so should be in a good place coming into this, Dwayne Bravo who can bat and bowl, Albie Morkel who can be a match winner (at times!), Francois Du Plessis new Saffer T20 captain and in amazing form this year and the recent addition of Dirk Nannes is a positive, while Ben Hilfenhaus is very decent at this level. That is a seriously solid squad, by far the strongest on paper and it’ll be hard to beat them.

Full squad: Akila Dananjaya, Albie Morkel, Anirudha Srikkanth, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, B Aparajith, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ben Laughlin, Christopher Morris, Dirk Nannes, Dwayne Bravo, Francois Du Plessis, Imtiaz Ahmed, Jason Holder, Michael Hussey, Mohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Nuwan Kulasekara, R Karthikeyan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ronit More, Shadab Jakati, Subramaniam Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha.

Kolkata Knight Riders – best priced 9/2.

Last year's winners, before that they always looked like a good team on paper but somehow never managed to do well. The problem I see looking at the squad on paper is too many good overseas players and not enough good Indian players, there aren't many match winners past Gambhir and Pathan and even then I wouldn't be relying on them. Obviously the overseas players look a good bunch and it’ll be tough enough to pick four that can carry some of the locals – four from Haddin, Lee, Morgan, B McCullum, Kallis, Pattinson, McLaren, ten Doeschate, Narine, Shakib Al Hasan and Senanayake is the problem. You also have to factor in losing B McCullum some time in May depending on when the New Zealand squad decide to meet up before the tour of England (1st Test 16th of May – I also dont see Morgan being in the England squad so thats less of a problem). Narine being amazing last year was such a positive for them, I wonder will teams have found out a way to see him off this year. I would just have them a bit bigger in the betting based on their lack of Indian talent and I’d want to see how Narine goes this year too.

Full squad: Brad Haddin, Brendon McCullum, Brett Lee, Debabrata Das, Eoin Morgan, Gautam Gambhir, Iqbal Abdulla, Jacques Kallis, James Pattinson, Lakshmipathy Balaji Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Manoj Tiwary, Manvinder Bisla, Mohammad Shami, Pradeep Sangwan, Rajat Bhatia, Ryan McLaren, Ryan ten Doeschate, Sachithra Senanayake, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan.

Mumbai Indians – best priced 5/1.

Sticking my neck out a bit here, but I hate their batting on paper. Sachin is well past his best now and he's bound to chew up balls, you then have a problem of who opens with him because hes bound to put pressure on them, Levi was useless last year and has been shipped off. Blizzard and Franklin have also failed opening with Sachin – I would imagine Dwayne Smith will open which may work. You have the overseas nearly packed with Aussies (seen how well they went against India!) Maxwell isn't worth the money (1M+), Hughes seemingly can't play spin, Coulter-Nile lived off one good innings in the BBL, Mitchell Johnson is well, Mitchell Johnson, don't know what's coming with him and Ricky Ponting is getting on a bit although he may turn out to be the best buy. Then you have Oram who gets injured but plays on nearly every game and obviously we know how good Malinga and Pollard are at this level – although they really have to start sending in Pollard earlier. Too often they’ll end up wasting balls at the start and send in Pollard needing 12+ an over. Obviously Malinga is a huge plus and will take plenty of wickets, and the Indians are OK, Ojha stands out as does Rohit Sharma – the team I would play has five overseas in it which is a problem, if you don't get Smith to open with Sachin – you then have to drop one of Ponting, Maxwell, Pollard and Malinga, maybe they’ll get Ponting to open? I just can't see the team gelling together at all, after the money they spent on Maxwell and Ponting they probably “have” to play.

Full Squad: Abu Nechim Ahmed, Akshar Patel, Aditya Tare, Aiden Blizzard, Ambati Rayudu, Amitoze Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Harbhajan Singh, Jacob Oram, Jalaj Saxena, James Franklin, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Munaf Patel, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Philip Hughes, Pawan Suyal, Pragyan Ojha, Ricky Ponting, Rishi Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal.

Delhi Daredevils – best priced 11/2.

Before the tournament has even started they're off to a poor one with the news Kevin Pietersen is out, and they swapped Ross Taylor for Ashish Nehra already because they had too many batsmen, although I suppose with New Zealand having a Test series in between the IPL its not that much of a loss, just with no KP now you’d want to ring and get Taylor back! Much like KKR Indian talent isn't aplenty here, you have such a strong top order batting but the middle order will more than likely collapse after they're gone. Sehwag (what Sehwag will turn up) will open with Warner and then you have Jayawardene who is obviously the most reliable – compared to previous years you would have KP or Taylor walking in next, which you dont now and that's a massive blow – the top three fail and theyre up shit creek without a paddle. Along with Warner and Jayawardene the other two overseas I would go with are obviously Morne Morkel, and I’d play Andre Russell as a batsman who can bowl you a few overs (they'll probably play him as a bowler but he's a much better batsman than bowler, I think anyway), but they'll probably have to play Botha for the middle overs spin or Jeevan Mendis to strengthen the batting. I would imagine Morkel and Yadav steaming in will pick up early wickets and that can possibly keep the scores down and paper over the cracks in the middle order for them.

Full squad: Ajit Agarkar, Andre Russell, Arisht Singhvi, Ashish Nehra, CM Gautam, David Warner, Gulam Bodi, Irfan Pathan, Jeevan Mendis, Jesse Ryder, Johan Botha, Kedar Jadhav, Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene, Manpreet Juneja, Morne Morkel, Naman Ojha, Pawan Negi, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Royston Dias, Siddarth Kaul, Sujit Nayak, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Unmukt Chand, Varun Aaron, Venugopal Rao, Virender Sehwag, Yogesh Nagar.

Royal Challengers Bangalore – best priced 11/2.

Personally I’d have them a little shorter, certainly shorter than Mumbai and Delhi anyway, but they are somewhat unlucky (not sure if unlucky is the right word here) that they play at a ground that is 3,018ft (or 920m) above sea level, obviously scores are going to be very high and sometimes that turns the games into lotteries – but you’d still have to have a slight fancy for them making the top four. Chris Gayle will open the batting which is quite handy isn't it? He's not a bad T20 player. Hopefully Dilshan opens the batting with him (they have had problems picking four overseas in the past) as if they pick a local mug to open the batting he’ll more than likely put pressure on Gayle. Pujara at three, Kohli at four and AB de Villiers at five is a powerful line-up, its such a plus to have Pujara as before they’d have to add the extra overseas batsman but the form he's in he solves that problem. Hopefully they (although they probably wont) drop Muralitharan as he looked well past it last year I can only imagine he's worse this year, that leaves picking an overseas from Ravi Rampaul, Daniel Christian, Daniel Vettori and Moises Henriques (there are others but I don't think they'll get a look in). They'll probably have to pick someone for their bowling as that looks light, if Zaheer Khan gets injured that leaves a big hole – but again you know playing at that ground where nearly 200 is par the bowlers nearly turn into bowling machines, but away from home they probably will struggle in that department.

Full squad: AB De Villiers, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Andrew McDonald, Arun Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Chris Gayle, Christopher Barnwell, Daniel Christian, Daniel Vettori, Harshal Patel, Jaidev Unadkat, K P Appanna, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, Moises Henriques Murali Kartik, Muttiah Muralitharan, Pankaj Singh, Prasanth Parameswaran, R Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampaul, Rudra Pratap Singh, S Aravind, Sandeep Warrier, Saurabh Tiwary, Sheldon Jackson, Sunny Sohal, Syed Mohammad, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Vijay Zol, Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan.

Pune Warriors – best priced 12/1.

Dark horses for me, and I might look at having a bet that they get into the top four. A shame the outright market only pays 1-2 for E/W when there's a third place playoff game too. Only CSK have better Indians, but they'll have to pick well from Mendis, Mathews, Luke Wright, Marlon Samuels, Steve Smith, Ross Taylor and Tamim Iqbal. If you're backing them pray Wayne Parnell doesnt get a look in, and knowing IPL teams' obsession with Aussies they'll probably pick Mitchell Marsh and Smith without thinking twice. Theres a real problem picking the four here, my four overseas would be Mathews and Samuels certs and then two from Wright, Taylor, Mendis and Smith. They will probably go for Taylor in there on name alone though, its a huge positive for them Michael Clarke is injured as hes not a T20 player and they probably would have picked him. You then have Yuvraj Singh leading the Indian players, hopefully they make him captain. The main reason why I like them is the T20 specialists really, and they can all bat/bowl/field.. Mathews, Wright, Samuels, Smith, Yuvraj are decent players at everything then you have Taylor, Uthappa and Iqbal to add to the batting, also Rahul Sharma and Dinda should help the bowling. I’d give them a decent chance if everything clicks, on paper it looks like they could be awesome or they could be crap, it just depends on how the team gels together, and obviously their four overseas picks – probably that decision is the most important here out of all the teams.

Full squad: Abhishek Nayar, Ajantha Mendis, Ali Murtaza, Angelo Mathews, Anustup Majumdar, Ashoke Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Kane Richardson, Krishnakant Upadhyay Luke Wright, Mahesh Rawat, Manish Pandey, Marlon Samuels, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Parveez Rasool, Rahul Sharma, Raiphi Gomez, Robin Uthappa, Ross Taylor, Shrikant Wagh, Steve Smith, Tirumalasetti Suman, Tamim Iqbal, Udit Birla, Yuvraj Singh, Wayne Parnell.

Kings Xi Punjab – best priced 14/1.

Can't see them doing well at all. Will be led by Adam Gilchrist who looked well passed his best last year so I can only imagine he'll be even worse this time around. Shaun Marsh and Azhar Mahmood will be their best players and they should win them a game or two in fairness, I just can't see them not being in the bottom three. They're scraping the barrel for Indian talent and they have to choose the final spot of their overseas from Hussey, Miller, Harris, Pomersbach and Mascarenhas. They'll probably have no choice but to pick Harris or Mascarenhas for their bowling, and not playing Miller will be a big blow as he's a very good T20 player. Probably a better team without Gilchrist, but we all know he'll play. Paul Valthaty has been decent in the past and he'll probably open the batting too.

Full squad: Adam Gilchrist, Aniket Choudhary, Azhar Mahmood, Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, David Hussey, David Miller, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Harmeet Singh Bansal, Luke Pomersbach, Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Gony, Nitin Saini, Parvinder Awana, Paul Valthaty, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, R Sathish, Ryan Harris, Sandeep Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Siddharth Chitnis, Sunny Singh.

Rajasthan Royals – best priced 16/1.

The original winners when lead by Shane Warne in 2008, they haven't done much since. They actually don't have the worse team in the world but for some reason just struggle to do well, again lack of Indian talent past, Dravid (who isn't a T20 player obviously), Sreesanth and Rahene who both are hardly the first Indian names you’d pick anyway. They do have the best named man in the whole tournament though, he is a local called ‘Sachin Baby’ no really, that's his name. Awesome. Decent overseas players in fairness with four coming from Watson, Hodge, Hogg, Shah, Faulkner, Edwards, Cooper, Tait, Kusal Janith Perera and Badree. Talk about an Aussie love-in. I find it hard to pick four there to be honest, obviously Watson is the first name down, then Faulkner really impressed me against the Windies, probably Shah and Hogg – then I’m leaving out Hodge which I don't want to do. They'll probably pick Tait on his name too. Again, can't see them out of the bottom three and selection has got to be a huge worry, Aussies getting tonked 4-0 against India and this team basically being Rajasthan Aussies has got to be a huge worry as well!

Full squad: Ajinkya Rahane, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Amit Singh, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Dishant Yagnik, Fidel Edwards, Harmeet Singh, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Kusal Janith Perera, Owais Shah, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Dravid, Rahul Shukla, S Sreesanth, Sachin Baby, Samuel Badree, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait, Shreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny.

Sunrisers Hyderabad – best priced 16/1.

Formerly the Declan Chargers, who collapsed nearly every game. They don't look awful, but they don't look like they'll be out of the bottom three either. Again the overseas look OK, four from Steyn, Sangakkara, N McCullum, Thisara Perera, de Kock, White, Sammy, McKay and Lynn. Probably Steyn and Sanga are the first names on the teamsheet. Then I would add Sammy for his batting and bowling, and I’d make him captain as I think he has done wonderfully for team moral being captain of Windies, and de Kock has done well in the Saffer domestic T20, although they'll probably pick White or McKay on their name. Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra stick out as the main Indians. I hope they don't do too badly and I would certainly have them as a better team than the other two outsiders, however they need to prove they have left the Deccan collapses behind them.

Full squad: Akshath Reddy, Amit Mishra, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Biplab Samantray, Cameron White, Chris Lynn, Clint McKay, Dale Steyn, Darren Sammy, Dwaraka Ravi Teja, Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma, Jean-Paul Duminy, Karan Sharma, Kumar Sangakkara, Nathan McCullum, Parthiv Patel, Quinton de Kock, Sachin Rana, Shikhar Dhawan, Sudeep Tyagi, Thalaivan Sargunam, Thisara Perera, Veer Pratap Singh.


Before I do the top batsman and top bowler I must say that at the moment (an exact week away from the start) we only have two bookies pricing things up, so I think there is a chance you’ll get bigger prices but I’m going to go off the prices on offer at the moment. I will be doing another piece on further side markets, top team batsman and highest/lowest scores, batsmen match bets, those type of markets if we do get them so keep an eye out for that – I thought it best to put this up as I think we'll have to wait until one/two days before the tournament to get a decent amount of side markets and if I do put everything together it would probably be too big/long anyway.

Top Batsman

This is hard in betting terms, if there was no betting we’ll all say “Chris Gayle will win” and go make a cup of tea, but sure life would be boring without betting wouldn't it. In all seriousness, it is seriously hard to see Gayle not going very close, he has won it the last two years – and last year he got off to a bad start and still absolutely tonked everyone else, he finished 143 runs ahead of Gambhir in second place. To be honest I think Gayle will win and I would take 5/1+ if I could get it, but I'll try have a few guesses at finding someone past Gayle.

Main things I want are: Don't miss games (especially at the start as pitches will be at their best then), bat in the top three and score quickly. That rules out the second and third places from last year, Gambhir and Dhawan as they both have injuries and will miss the first week (probably more with Dhawan?) and it also rules out B McCullum which is notable because he has been in supreme form against England, in fact hes in the best form of his life, but hes going to miss the second half of the tournament with New Zealand playing England and you have to ask yourself will he score more runs than everyone else in only 60% of the time. Others at the top of the betting I'm happy to take on are Kohli who finished second in 2011, I think he’ll be a side show to Gayle to be honest. Michael Hussey, can't have him at the odds as he's likely to play the glue role around all the biffers at CSK. I can't rely on Sehwag so hes out, and Vijay, Pujara, Kallis, Ponting, Sachin, Sangakkara and Jayawardene don't score quick enough in my opinion.

I do like Warner and Watson both at 25/1 (Paddy Power) – OK both didn't look great against India but this will be a different level and they'll both get soft runs against the lesser local seamers at the top of the order.. both score quickly and can hit a long ball, so should accumulate runs quickly plus at some stage you’d imagine they'll cause carnage and score 100 or so. To be honest I think its unfair to rate them on the Tests anyway, both are T20 batsmen and you don't have to look back too far to the World T20 in Sri Lanka where Watson top scored.

The others I like, although admittedly I don't know at what number they'll bat at, are Marlon Samuels at 50/1, Faf du Plessis at 75/1 and Yuvraj Singh at 80/1 (all Paddy Power). Marlon Samuels actually scored more runs than Chris Gayle at the WT20 last year batting lower in the order, he can score quickly and hit a long ball, the only problem is I don't know where he’ll bat, he could be anywhere between three, four and five, but he's top class. Faf Du Plessis could actually open the batting for CSK which maybe some bookies haven't thought of, he's been in amazing form this year and he has to be feeling great lately being full-time Saffer T20 captain. And Yuvraj Singh coming back from cancer, probably a good bit of a guess this one, but anytime I've seen him lately he's looked in good touch and he still has that big hit hitting power, again the same problem as with Marlon (they're both in the same team), who will come in to bat first – probably Marlon so Yuvraj is probably only worth a token bet at 80/1, but someone with his talent is worth a token bet at 80/1.

Top Bowler

Going to be very boring here, but I can't see past those at the top of the market at all. Except for Ashwin, he doesn't pick up that many wickets and will be focusing on keeping runs down rather than wickets, Dhoni also likes to open the bowling with him too which is difficult for a spinner. Morne Morkel won it last year with 25 wickets in 16 games, obviously with his pace/height/bounce he will have the local boys scared shitless and he's bound to be up there but can he go as well as last year? Narine is an imponderable, how will he bowl.. surely teams will have set plans in how to see him off after he was such a match winner last year, he'll still surely pick up plenty of wickets from the locals though – but since the IPL last year he hasn't looked that good. Again, like Morkel, he's bound to be up there but I'm not sure if I’d want to back them at the odds. And Steyn should do better this year than last, he was basically a one man show at Deccan last year and still picked up 18 wickets in 12 matches.

I said I was going to be very boring and I am, I really can't see past a Malinga E/W bet at 5/1+, you get four places and 1/4 odds. He finished top in 2011 with 28 wickets from 16 matches and third last year with 22 wickets in 14 matches – two matches less than Morkel and who's to say he wouldn't have picked up three wickets, he is the king of the IPL and every time he bowls he’ll have batsmen attacking him in the final overs, and he'll also get plenty of the local mugs out if he bowls early or midway through the innings – I just find it so hard to see him out of the top four. I don't think anyone can win it outside of Malinga, Narine, Morkel and Steyn really (although I have picked two names below) – Narine and Morkel have to carry on their good form from last year and Steyn has to find seven more wickets to catch the leaders. Whether or not 5/1 is a bet in this type of market, that's down to personal opinion, its just hard to see Malinga not being up there once he doesn't get injured. Its the type of thing that, if Gayle was 5/1+ I’d back him too, but he's coming in under that.

Another two worth a mention are James Faulkner at 30/1, I thought he bowled fantastic when Australia played West Indies, he's bound to pick up wickets bowling that line and length to the locals, big question is how will he go in India and to be honest maybe with that in mind he should be a little bigger if one was to get involved. And Ajantha Mendis at 40/1, some people say he's shit and he just bowls straight, but he still absolutely bamboozles the lessor players and he seems to have gone under the radar, he's bound to pick up a few handy wickets, he claimed top wicket taker at the WT20 and who knows maybe he could be this years Narine.

SUMMARY (on a 3pt to 0.25pt scale):

Outright Tournament: 1pt Chennai at 9/2 and 0.5pts Pune at 12/1.

Top Batsman: 0.25pts Watson at 25/1, 0.25pts Warner at 25/1, 0.25pts Marlon Samuels at 50/1 and splitting 0.25pts between Faf Du Plessis at 75/1 and Yuvraj Singh at 80/1. Hard to get Gayle beaten to be honest but sure we’ll have a go.

Top Bowler: 1pt E/W Malinga at 5/1 and 0.25pts E/W Mendis at 40/1.


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