If there’s one sport in the world which is quintessentially British, it’s cricket. The history of this sport traces back to South East England in the late 16th century, and with the British Empire. It spread far and wide across the world from the West Indies to India, to Australia and beyond.
Yet, cricket isn’t the first sport most UK punters would think of when it comes to betting. Most punters line up to place wagers on horse racing, football, and boxing, but cricket also provides plenty of opportunities to profit.
In this UK punter’s guide to betting on cricket, I’m going to show you everything you need to know to get started. I’ll cover how to place a bet on cricket, what you can bet on, cricket betting strategies, and more.
Cricket – Some Quick Facts and History
The English started playing cricket in the late 16th century. By the middle of the 18th century, it was the national sport.
Believe it or not, cricket is the second most-watched spectator sport in the world. Yes, our Indian brothers and sisters are mostly responsible for that statistic.
Gambling on cricket started early. This got so out of hand that, in 1664, Parliament had to pass The Gambling Act (1664) limiting wagers to £100, which was still a colossal amount of money in those days.
The money that poured into cricket because of gambling caused it to grow and flourish quickly. Some gamblers even created their own teams so they could either win or deliberately lose matches and win bets.
As the British Empire spread across the globe, colonists introduced cricket to the West Indies, North America, and Africa, while the British East India Company brought it to India and eventually, Australia.
In 1744, the first global Laws of Cricket were established. This set the rules of the game which players follow until today.
The US and Canada played the first international cricket game in 1844. Neither team is particularly prominent today, but this was a historic moment at the time.
Cricket has faced several serious existential threats in its history. The Seven Year and Napoleonic Wars drained the sport of players and investment, and the sport came to a standstill in South Africa during apartheid, yet it has survived and is bigger than ever today.
As you can see, if it wasn’t for cricket gambling, the sport probably wouldn’t be what it is today. Gambling on sports tends to drive it forward and provide much-needed funding, at least in the early years, and cricket is another fine example of this principle at work.
What Can You Bet on in Cricket?
I’m assuming that if you’re interested in betting on cricket, you have a basic understanding of how it works. However, I’ll still detail the basics of how each type of cricket bet works.
Match or Series Winner
Just like when betting on any other sport, you can bet on the match winner. For example, if the odds on England to beat Australia in The Ashes are 2/3 you can wager £30 and win £20.
Likewise, you can bet on the series winner in the same way. Keep in mind that in Test matches, there’s the possibility of a draw, whereas this isn’t the case in limited overs matches. Draws are becoming less and less likely, but they’re still possible, hence, they should be factored into your betting equations.
Leading Run Scorers and Wicket Takers
At most UK cricket betting sites, you can wager on who will score the most runs or take the most wickets in both the match overall and/or each innings.
Bookmakers which offer more in-depth betting markets, such as Bet365, even offer the chance to bet on over/under outcomes. For example, you can bet on the Titans to score over or under 3.5 runs in an over.
You can even decide on whether the number of runs or wickets taken in an innings will be odd/even. Bet365, in particular, really does offer a crazy number of betting opportunities on most sports.
Betting on Individual Players and Outcomes
Whereas the above-outlined bets focus of teams and scores, this category of bets focuses on individual players within the match.
For example, in a Titans vs Lions match, Bet365 had D. Elgar priced as the favourite to be the Titans’ top batsman. At 3/1 odds on the favourite, there’s a good opportunity to profit here. Some players were priced at 150/1.
At some cricket betting sites, you can also bet on who will be Man of the Match. All of the bets in this category focus on individual players rather than teams.
Live Cricket Prop Bets
As well as watching the odds on all outcomes change in real-time as the match takes place, the rise of live betting has given rise to some interesting opportunities to place prop bets.
For example, some live betting sites will let you bet on the dismissal method of a wicket. If the batsman does blast the ball into the air, you may be able to wager on whether or not it will be caught.
You’ll have to be quick off the mark to take advantage of these in-play betting opportunities, and the live cricket betting markets still aren’t as deep as those in football and many other sports. However, live betting is getting better and better as time passes. It won’t be long before you can bet on which direction the wind will blow next!
Cricket Betting Strategies – What to Look For
Most experienced punters will tell you that nothing can beat experience, and there’s some truth in that. Years or decades of watching cricket will give you an advantage over new bettors, but that doesn’t mean only experienced cricket fans can bet.
There are some strategies and tips which can help anyone bet on and profit from cricket matches regardless of experience.
Listen to Experienced Cricket Tipsters
For those of you who aren’t overly familiar with cricket, this is the best way to bring yourself up to speed. Cricket tipsters are a dime a dozen, though, so you’ll need to spend some time finding the legit ones.
A great place to start is at the top betting sites like William Hill. As well as being an established UK betting website, they offer news, stats, and tips on most sports, including cricket.
Big brands like this aren’t going to bring in wannabes and inexperienced pundits. They would quickly lose the trust of their audiences if they did. You should never blindly trust what they say, but if you’re looking for free cricket tips, the information found on these sites should be your starting point.
Research Grounds, Pitches, and Weather
Not everything about a cricket match comes down to the talent of players on a team. While that might determine the outright winners of a match or series, cricket is much more intricate than that, and as outlined above, there are many more betting opportunities within the matches.
Did you know that batsmen are more likely to hit sixes in smaller stadiums? It makes sense when you think about it, but it’s something many new cricket bettors don’t think about. Even the air conditions can affect the trajectory of the ball when the batsman strikes it. For example, it’s well-known that balls travel further in grounds situated at high altitude.
The condition of the pitch can also affect play. Fast bowlers do better when the ground is hard, and spin bowlers tend to do better in conditions on dry surfaces.
Last, but certainly not least, is the weather. While it impacts all sports, it particularly impacts cricket matches. A slight change in the direction of the wind can play to the advantages of certain bowlers or it can make life difficult for others. Rain can also have a big impact, especially during Test matches.
Wait for the Coin Toss
You might notice that the odds on different outcomes change quickly after the coin toss is settled. That’s because, in many cases, the first team to bat has an advantage. This could also work the other way depending on the weather forecast and condition of the ground, but more often than not, the first team to bat has the upper hand.
While you can bet on the outcome of the coin toss at many cricket betting websites, a solid tip is to wait until after the toss to place your wagers. Observe what the betting market does, then make your decisions based on that and other factors.
Checking out the detailed stats centres which many betting sites offer can help you decide what to do after the coin toss. This way, you can place your wagers quickly after it happens rather than spend your time figuring out what to do after the toss.
Pay Attention to Form
This is a cricket betting tip which could easily apply to any other sport, too. Form is crucial, and it applies to both teams and individual players. If a team is on a winning streak, it may not be wise to bet against them.
Again, you’ll want to go back to those detailed stats centres to find this information. These really are a goldmine of useful cricket betting information, and I wouldn’t sign up at a betting site which doesn’t have one.
Don’t forget that form is multi-faceted. If a team is losing overall, but a batsman is about to come on who is on form, this could be the ideal time to place a wager on that team.
When a team is behind, you’ll always get better odds on them. And if they come back due to the performance of one spectacular batsman, you’ll profit.
Even if you don’t have confidence that they’ll win the overall match, you could still profit on sites which offer early cashouts. As the stellar batsman closes the gap or takes his team ahead after behind, the odds will change, and you may well get the opportunity to take the difference as profits.
How to Bet on Cricket Online
By now, you should have a lot more knowledge about online cricket betting than you did when you started reading. However, there’s one last piece of the puzzle. For beginners, you might want to know how to bet on cricket online. Luckily, it’s an easy and hassle-free experience.
Sign up at a UK betting site. I recommend Bet365 or Betway.
Make a deposit. It doesn’t have to be much. You can deposit £10 or £20 at most sites. Make sure to claim any free bets you’re due when you do so.
Navigate to the cricket section of the site and browse the various betting opportunities. If you’re a first-timer, keep it simple and bet on the outright winner of a match or innings.
Enter the amount you wish to wager on the betting slip and confirm the bet.
Kick back, relax, and enjoy the match. Your bet will settle automatically when they’re due. You can keep up to date with alerts.
These days, you’ll usually have the opportunity to cash out early if you change your mind or when it’s tempting enough to do so. Bookies want to cut their losses, too, so if your team goes ahead, they might offer you the chance to take profits early.
Cricket Free Bets and Promo Offers
While there are cricket matches all throughout the year, there are also certain events which lead bookmakers to offering special promotions. I’d like to cover a few of them here.
Free Bets – These are typically available all the time. New players can claim a free bet upon registration and after making a first deposit. For example, at Bet365, you can claim up to £100 in free bet credits as a new player. Terms and conditions apply.
Match Promos – During big events like The Ashes, the Indian Premier League, and Test matches between top teams, most UK bookmakers offer promo offers such as extra free bets, risk-free bets, and profit boosts.
Odds Boosts – I’ve noticed a number of prominent bookmakers offering odds boosts on multiples. For example, if you place three or four wagers on a match, you can get a 5% profit boost on your winning bets. This is just an example and isn’t a specific offer, but you get the idea.
While it’s a good idea to claim new player free bets at any time, make sure you check in with your preferred cricket betting site around big games. Switch on promo alerts vias email or SMS to make sure you don’t miss out on these promotional offers. Some of them are really great value.
Hopefully, you can now understand that online cricket betting is fun and potentially profitable. While so-called exciting sports like football and boxing get most of the attention of punters, there are plenty of exciting betting opportunities on cricket.
Take what you’ve learned here, sign up at a top UK betting site, and try your luck. I hope you’ve found this guide useful, and I’d love it if you share it with your fellow cricket fans if you did.
Based out of London, I began freelance writing for the UK section of GamblingSites.org in October of 2019. Having worked in the gambling industry for over 10 years, I now have the pleasure of adding this site to my list of accomplishments as a casino writer. …