When most people from the United States think of the sport of cricket, they interpret it as nothing more than a weird version of the game of baseball. In a way, these people would not be incorrect as the two games do have some of the same origins.
Regardless of how or when cricket was devised, the fact of the matter is that it is a hugely popular sport – and cricket betting is a REAL THING. With that being said, it is one of those sports that is incredibly popular in some parts of the world and almost non-existent elsewhere.
By most accounts, you can bet that there is cricket almost anywhere the English have colonized. This means places like India, New Zealand, and Australia all love their cricket. And by love, I really mean obsessed. It really is quite the phenomenon in these regions of the world.
In the US, cricket is defeated by baseball as far as popularity goes, but that does mean there are any shortage of betting options. Just about any sportsbook worth talking about will have its fair share of cricket lines from all over the world.
If you are one of the many people who have no idea how to actually play the game of cricket, the following section will lay out the basics so that understanding how one wagers on the sport is made simpler.
How the Game is Played
Like baseball, cricket is best described as a “bat and ball” game. A typical match will feature 2 teams with 11 players representing each side. Once again, just like baseball, the basic premise of the game sees one team batting and trying to score runs while another team pitches (bowls) the ball and fields it in order to eventually force the opposing side to take the field and play defense.
While most games like basketball or football are divided into quarters and halves, a cricket game is divided by innings. Unlike baseball, which features a total of 9 innings minimum, cricket will see each team play 1 or 2 innings, respectively. In a match with one inning, each team will have one opportunity to bat and field. When you are on defense, or in the field, all 11 of your players may be deployed, however when you are batting only 2 of your 11 will be on the field.
As for the format of a cricket field, it is typically an oval with the “pitch” being located directly in the center. For all intents and purposes, you can think of the pitch in terms of baseball, as it essentially consists of a mound and a batters box, with a strip of land separating the two. In baseball, you see the field enclosed by raised walls of varying height. In cricket, the outside of the oval is marked often by a rope.
The pitch — featuring the batsman at one end and the pitcher, or bowler, at the other—has a single wooden target at each end; these are known as wickets. The wickets themselves are composed of three individual, vertical pieces of wood topped by two horizontal bails. For the bowler, there is a restrictive bowling crease, while the striking batsman is restricted to the confines of what is known as the batting or popping crease.
Each of the two batsmen will be located at either end of the pitch. The opposing team’s bowler will be located on the end of the pitch opposite the striking batsman. From this point forward, the bowler will throw the ball at the striking batsman in an attempt to hit his wicket and knock down a bail. If this happens, the batsman is dismissed and is said to be bowled out. The batsman, as you might have guessed, uses his bat to defend his wickets.
If a bowled ball is hit by the bat and makes it out of the pitch without being directly caught out of the air, the striking batsman and the non-striking batsman will take turns running to the opposite side of the pitch, placing their bats behind the side’s crease. Each time this is done a run is scored. Naturally, the goal is to accrue as many runs as possible without being bowled out. Another way a batsman might be dismissed is by way of being caught out. This is when the batsman strikes the ball, but it is caught by a fielder without ever touching the ground.
If a batsman hits the ball into the field without it being caught directly out of the air, they still run the risk of being called out. This can happen if a fielder knocks over a player’s wicket either by throwing the ball at it or by hitting the wicket while holding the ball.
How to Bet on Cricket
When we are talking about betting on cricket from here on out, we are going to be talking in terms of test matches. Like baseball, test matches are really a series of 3 to 5 matches. A single match can last in upwards of 5 days, and with the possibility of 5 matches being played within a test series, it is easy to see how cricket is a game that, realistically, can be played over the course of many weeks. For most International Test Matches, there is a set time limit. If the series of matches cannot be completed within the outlined timeframe the event is determined to be a draw.
So, with regard to betting, this can be done in a number of different ways. You can bet on the outcome of the Test Series as a whole, or bet on the individual matches. Being that International Test Series are some of the most popular cricket events around, there are going to be hundreds and hundreds of different betting options available to you. In fact, if we are talking about a Test Series featuring England and Australia, the number of propositions available to you will rival any of the top sporting championships that take place annually in the United States.
Live betting is also something that exists for many of these most high-profile matches. The one drawback to International Test cricket is that the series can be held at any given point in a year. Unlike most American and European sports which feature leagues with very well-defined starting and concluding dates, cricket is fluid and seems to change each and every year. With all that being said, cricket is a wildly popular sport, so there are test matches going on quite frequently.
Apart from the aforementioned countries, there are plenty of others that play cricket as well, however many of these nations are not nearly as skilled as those mentioned above. As such, betting options for cricket matches featuring lesser-known countries in the cricket world are difficult to come by more often than not. That is why cricket is such an interesting sport to bet on.
Types of Cricket Matches to Bet On
Now that you understand the game of cricket a bit better than you might have a few minutes ago, you might be interested in learning what the most popular type of cricket events to wager on are. The following will outline and briefly describe some of the premier cricketing events held throughout the year and on an annual basis.
International Test Matches
If you are looking for the absolute pinnacle of cricket competition, look no further than international test matches. These matches, by definition, are those played between two nations who are members of the ICC (International Cricket Council). When it comes to countries who have achieved what is known as “test status,” there really aren’t many. At this point in time, the top test teams are England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh.
If you are talking about the top match that features the absolute largest number of betting options, you are really talking about The Ashes. The Ashes is what an international test match featuring England and Australia has become known as.