Dubai: It is a well-known fact that sport is tailor-made for wagering, the act where an individual puts his money where his mouth is, to guess the result of a match.
The Epsom Derby, Fifa World Cup, Super Bowl and the ICC Cricket World Cup are all major international businesses with an estimated legal global income of over £500 billion.
So, with England and Wales all set to host the quadrennial ICC Cricket World Cup from Thursday, it would be interesting to see what everyone is risking their money on.
A bet is not such a bad thing after all, it only means greater involvement and a personal connection with a team that you support and also overall enhances your Cricket World Cup experience.
Every tournament has a favourite and an outsider, so let’s look at who are the favourites and who carry the outsider tag among the ten participating teams.
No prizes for guessing that the hosts, England, are the 2-1 (twice the money you wager) clear favourite, considering their massive home-ground advantage backed by an impressive recent record having won their last eight series and have won 29 of their last 34 matches. Add to that their batting prowess, which has seen them score over 300 runs in the 50-over format, on 38 occasions over the past four years.
Their bowling, which is not something to shout about, will be compensated by the flat English pitches. They remain the popular bet to win their first World Cup Trophy
Also vying for favouritism are two-time former winners India, at 11/4. It’s not surprising, considering that the Men in Blue have won over 65% of their matches over the past four years. In captain Virat Kholi, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who average close to 200 runs between them per game, they boast the best batting trio on this planet.
In addition, India have a potent attack with the ball led by Jasprit Bumrah whose average bowling speed is around 90mph.
The defending champions and five-time winners, Australia are 4/1 while New Zealand, who have reached the semi-finals on six occasions, are at an attractive 8/1.
Pakistan and the inaugural winners, West Indies are the two dark horses, both 20/1 outsiders. The team least favoured to win is Afghanistan who are at 200/1.