Australia v New Zealand predictions, tips & odds update, Boxing Day Test

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As always the Boxing Day Test is one of the highlights of the summer of cricket in Australia, with New Zealand playing in the fixture for the first time since 1987.

Our Australia v New Zealand betting preview will run you through all the latest news surrounding the series, plus highlight our best bets and tips for the second Test.

The Kiwis have earned the right to play in the marquee fixture thanks to their steady rise up the Test ranks to No.2, added to their impressive form in the one-day arena.

And while they were soundly beaten by Australia in the opening day-night Test match in Perth, their performance was impressive given not too much went right from the moment they lost the toss and were forced to bowl in hot-house conditions.

Debutant Lockie Ferguson quickly succumbed to injury so they were a key bowler down. By the time Australia lost Josh Hazlewood to injury in Perth, they were well on top and Mitchell Starc stepped up to take nine wickets overall and be man of the match.

The good news for New Zealand heading to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Boxing Day Test is they should regain talismanic left-arm paceman Trent Boult from injury to replace Ferguson. Boult has put in some impressive workouts in the heatwave in Melbourne and track watchers say he is ready to go, with the Kiwis desperate for a lift as they try to square the three-Test series.

From the batting point of view, New Zealand’s only likely change is to omit struggling opener Jeet Raval, though he may be given another chance. Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is the player under consideration to replace Raval.

For Australia, they will likely replace the wonderfully consistent Hazlewood with the fiery Victorian paceman James Pattinson, who would relish an opportunity in front of the big crowd on home turf at the MCG.

How will the MCG pitch play?

This is the intriguing question heading to Melbourne as the recent Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and Western Australia at the ground was abandoned because the pitch was deemed dangerous.
However previous Shield matches at the ground were a fair battle between bat and ball, while recent Tests at the venue have generally been pretty good for the batsmen, although Jasprit Bumrah destroyed the Australians at the venue last year.
“Obviously they pushed the envelope a little bit too much in the last game against Western Australia,” Australian cricket coach Justin Langer told AAP.
“But the two Shield games leading up to that were really good for cricket. We’re really hopeful it’ll be a good surface.”

Continue reading for our Australia v New Zealand predictions and odds update for the second Test of the three-Test series being played in Australia.

Australia v New Zealand odds

Australia are red-hot favourites at $1.30 to win the Boxing Day Test, with New Zealand at $6 and the draw at $7. For plenty more markets and special offers we recommend betting with the likes of leading bookmaker Ladbrokes.

Australia v New Zealand best bets

As always when we preview cricket matches, we provide a few best bets, and we have delved into recent records at the MCG to come up with a few best bets and hopefully give you a leg-up to back a winner or two.

Steve Smith man of the match at $7

While we can’t jump into the $1.30 about the home team winning the Test, we think its best batsman and former captain Smith is overdue for a big knock. If as expected the conditions are testing for batting, Smith should get his chance to shine again. He would be disappointed with his Test summer so far, but we sense he is close to a big one. So either wagering on him for man of the match or to top-score in Australia’s first innings at around $3.50 should be a solid bet. Also we think it’s worth having a smaller bet on Pat Cummins to be named man of the match at $10. Cummins has an impressive record at the ground and if the pitch comes up as green-top expect him to cash in.

Neil Wagner NZ leading first-innings wicket-taker at $4

The left-armer was impressive and lion-hearted in Perth. He really does have a knack for taking wickets, and he should get more assistance at the MCG than he got at Perth Stadium. Australian cricket fans have not seen a lot of the South Africa-born paceman and he is in the latter years of his career but is a clever bowler. We also have question marks over the durability of Boult and the penetration at times of Tim Southee.

Tom Latham to score 50 or more in first innings

Most bookies will be offering similar odds about the opener notching up a half-century. We feel Latham has quietly become one of the best openers in the game and was impressive in the series against England recently. A seriously good player.

Australia v New Zealand prediction

The way the pitch plays and then the toss are going to be crucial in this one. As mentioned we think Australia are way too short at $1.30 to win the match. Indeed, if the Kiwis can win the toss and get the decision to bat or bowl right, we see great value in the Blacks Caps at $6. They are not the No.2-ranked Test side in the world for no reason and have shown great resilience in recent years. They also have a wonderful captain in Kane Williamson and will be determined to stand up on the biggest stage in Australian cricket. Good punting to all.

How to bet on Australia v New Zealand

Australia v New Zealand betting is available at all leading online betting sites, with cricket a mainstay at bookmaker sites. If you’re based out of New Zealand our recommended Kiwi betting sites will also have plenty of odds for this match.

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