Head to head betting odds released for ICC World Cup
The head-to-head betting odds for the first handful of ICC World Cup matches have been released, with host England expected to account for South Africa in the tournament opener on May 30.
England, on the back of its impressive form in lead-up matches against Pakistan, has been installed a $1.41 chance to topple the Proteas ($2.82) at The Oval.
The English team will be spearheaded by perhaps the most dynamic opening combination in ODI history, with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow destroying teams at will in recent times. In fact the in-form Bairstow is among our best chances to top the leading run-scorers at the World Cup.
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South Africa, in somewhat of a rebuilding phase after key retirements of AB De Villiers and Jacques Kallis in recent years, will be capable of beating anyone on its day, with the likes of pacemen Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada and keeper Quinton de Kock among the best in the world.
Pakistan is the $1.67 favourite to topple the West Indies ($2.16) at Trent Bridge on May 30, with both teams showing signs they could cause trouble for the teams at the pointy end of the betting.
New Zealand is a short-priced $1.36 favourite to defeat a rebuilding Sri Lanka ($3.06) in its first match of the tournament to be played in Wales, at the picturesque Cardiff venue, on June 1.
On the same day, Australia ($1.10) is expected to open its World Cup account with a win over emerging Afghanistan ($6.50), which is not expected to feature heavily in play-off calculations despite leg-spinner Rashid Khan being among the best smokies in top wicket-taker betting.
Afghanistan has made the ICC World Cup after earning its way through qualification, but lacks the batting depth to really trouble the top teams in the English conditions.
In the final match of the first block of six World Cup group matches, South Africa, which will be playing its second match of the tournament, has been installed a $1.34 favourite to defeat Bangladesh ($3.18).
The 50 Over ICC World Cup will conclude on July 14 at the home of cricket, the fabled Lords, with the next day also reserved in case the match is washed out.
The tournament will run for 48 matches in total, with 45 of these coming in the group stage. Each main draw team will play nine games with the top four progressing through to the final four. This is a different structure to recent World Cups with the last time this format was used 1992 when Pakistan beat England in the final.
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