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Melbourne Stars

Perennial bridesmaids Melbourne Stars have been installed as the favourites for BBL10 as they look to go one better on the previous two seasons, having been defeated in successive finals. Only once in nine editions of the BBL have the Stars failed to make the playoff stages, yet the trophy cabinet remains empty.

In an attempt to rectify that anomaly Melbourne boosted their batting stocks by adding T20 sensations Jonny Bairstow and Nicholas Pooran, however, they were floored by the news that Bairstow has been recalled to the English test side, resulting in his withdrawal, while Pooran will only be available for six matches himself.

As a result, the Stars have rushed in fellow West Indian Andre Fletcher but will still lean heavily on last year’s player of the tournament Marcus Stoinis at the top of the order as well as Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell who has enjoyed himself in the ODI series against India following a barren IPL. Otherwise, the likes of Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Nick Larkin and Ben Dunk will jostle for spots in the middle-order, following the departure of Peter Handscomb to Hobart.

Melbourne’s bowling attack has a heavy spin focus with Australian leggie Adam Zampa and Afghan wrist-spinner Zahir Khan joined by rookies Clint Hinchliffe and Tom O’Connell. That leaves the pace bowling attack light on quality and depth with Nathan Coulter-Nile often injury-managed and new recruit Billy Stanlake coming off a horror season for the Strikers, but the biggest issue is the loss of Pakistani surprise packet Haris Rauf who in BBL09 emerged from nowhere to become one of the leading bowlers in the competition.

Taking his place is Lahore Qalandars teammate Dilbar Hussain who did out-bowl Rauf in the recent Pakistan Super League, however, the 27-year-old is still highly unlikely to replicate Haris’ returns from last year.

There’s no doubt that Melbourne possess some of the strongest domestic players in the league such as Stoinis, Maxwell, Coulter-Nile and Zampa, however, disruptions to their international roster as well as a questionable pace attack make it arguable whether they should be tournament favourites. Regardless, I certainly couldn’t go anywhere near them at the price.

Perth Scorchers

The most successful franchise in BBL history have quietly comprised a stellar squad that looks to have few weaknesses and puts them right in the frame for a record fourth title. Historically, and particularly over the past two seasons, it’s been Perth’s batting that has been their biggest issue and so in BBL10 they are the only side to have concentrated all of their overseas signings at the top of the order.

Last year’s top run-scorer Liam Livingstone has been retained alongside fellow Englishman Jason Roy and Kiwi master-blaster Colin Munro, with Joe Clarke set to step in for Livingstone and Roy who are on international duty during the early stages of the tournament. When you add in local options Mitch Marsh, Ashton Turner, Josh Inglis and Cameron Bancroft the Scorchers suddenly boast one of the most destructive batting line-ups we’ve ever seen in the BBL.

However, the biggest improvement should come in the bowling department following the returns of Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye from injury after both representative quicks missed the entire BBL09, joining the likes of Jhye Richardson, Matthew Kelly and Joel Paris in the pace attack.

Perth are also blessed with premium slow-bowling options via T20 specialist Fawad Ahmad and spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar who is sitting at number three on the ICC T20I bowling rankings.

The fact that boom all-rounder Cameron Green will struggle to make Perth’s first-choice XI is a great indication of just how strong they are, while there will likely only be room for one out of Inglis and Bancroft, both of whom would comfortably make any other team’s starting side.

The Scorchers are disadvantaged by playing only four matches in Perth, however, they have assembled a squad capable of winning in any conditions. Probably the biggest concern surrounding the three-time champions is the injury history within their roster with Marsh, Turner, Behrendorff, Tye, Richardson and Paris all spending plenty of time on the sidelines in recent years, but provided they can stay on the field there’s no doubt that Perth possess clearly the strongest squad in the competition and I’ll certainly be backing them to lift the trophy.

Sydney Sixers

The defending champions have retained the nucleus of the squad that claimed the BBL09 title with the only absentees being Australian representatives Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood who chimed in during the latter stages of the competition. While they are no doubt significant losses, the Sixers will now be able to call on Mitchell Starc for a similar period in what is a huge coup given the left-arm quick hasn’t played in the BBL since 2014.

The Magenta Men have also addressed a historical deficiency at number six by recruiting veteran all-rounder Dan Christian from the Renegades, while West Indian signings Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder (three games only) will also boost the lower-order hitting which has been overly reliant on Englishman Tom Curran who also returns for his third season in the Big Bash.

The top-order is relatively settled with young gun Josh Philippe joined by the steady Daniel Hughes and classy Englishman James Vince who, like Curran, will be suiting up in Magenta for the third consecutive season.

Captain Moises Henriques and the athletic Jordan Silk bring experience to a middle-order that is lacking in depth with the likes of Jack Edwards, Hayden Kerr and Justin Avendano yet to impose themselves from limited opportunities.

Curran is undoubtedly the linchpin of the bowling attack, at least until Starc is available, with Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird and the all-round options of Christian, Brathwaite and Holder providing plenty of seam options. The Sixers aren’t short on spinners either with the frugal Steve O’Keefe supported by prodigious leg-spinner Lloyd Pope and a slimmed-down Ben Manenti, while test offie Nathan Lyon will join up with the squad at the same time as Starc.

Having lifted the trophy last year and looking similarly strong this season, there’s no reason why Sydney can’t be right in the mix at the pointy end and they will certainly be a force if Starc is fit and firing. However, the key question is whether their price represents any value and when you consider that Curran’s economy rate is expanding at the same pace that Manenti’s girth is contracting and that the reigning champions look reliant on another bumper season from Philippe, I’ll be letting them go through to the ‘keeper.

Adelaide Strikers

Only twice in the past six seasons have the Adelaide Strikers failed to feature in the semi-finals and they will be hoping to return to the top five after making some slight tweaks to their squad from BBL09.

The top order has a familiar feel with lethal left-hander Jake Weatherald resuming his partnership alongside aggressive Englishman Phil Salt, while ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey should be available for the vast majority of the tournament which is a significant boost for Adelaide, especially given that captain Travis Head will be absent for large periods.

All too often last season the Strikers relied on middle-order maestro Jono Wells to get them out of trouble and he certainly came to the party with 478 runs at the phenomenal average of 68.28, but for BBL10 they have brought in Matthew Renshaw to shore up that middle period after the former test opener enjoyed a successful season with the Brisbane Heat. All-rounder Matthew Short will be hoping to cement a finishing role down the order after some promising glimpses with youngsters Harry Nielsen and Liam Scott waiting in the wings.

As always Adelaide’s bowling attack will centre around Afghan superstar Rashid Khan with the leggie now complemented by English left-arm orthodox spinner Danny Briggs who is a seasoned T20 campaigner. The pace attack will be led by the evergreen Peter Siddle who continues to evolve as a limited overs bowler, but possible international duty may restrict the contribution of Michael Neser, placing more pressure on the emerging Wes Agar, new signing Daniel Worrall and the effervescent Harry Conway.

Last season’s dependence on Wells to drag their batting out of the mire already had me cautious about the Strikers but their biggest obstacle is the likely absence of Rashid for the back end of the tournament with Afghanistan scheduled to play Ireland in three ODIs during late January. Nevertheless, they have enough quality to put themselves in a strong enough position before then to still partake in the playoffs but for me they are priced about right.

Hobart Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have established themselves as one of the more consistent sides in recent memory, becoming the only team to reach the semi-finals in the past three seasons, however, they are yet to break through for their maiden title.

Much of their success has been centred around prolific opener Darcy Short who over the course of the past three tournaments has amassed an incredible 1,566 runs at an average of 52.50 and strike-rate of 141.08.

Short has struck up a very effective opening partnership with pugnacious ‘keeper-batsman Matthew Wade, however, with Wade largely absent due to test duty Hobart have gone out and recruited the top-ranked T20I batsman on the ICC rankings Dawid Malan who is coming off a player of the series performance for England in their 3-0 sweep over South Africa.

Further down the order the promising Ben McDermott and new recruit Peter Handscomb will be regulars, while another Englishman in Will Jacks is expected to float between the top and middle-order.

The Hurricanes’ bowling attack is very seam heavy, though it does contain plenty of diversity with James Faulkner’s variety, Riley Meredith’s raw pace, Scott Boland’s experience and Nathan Ellis’ yorkers at the death set to be joined by exciting West Indian all-rounder Keemo Paul.

The one glaring deficiency in Hobart’s squad is a lack of spin bowling as although they have brought in Nepalese wizard Sandeep Lamichhane, he is not available until January, meaning that in the opening stages of the competition the slow-bowling responsibilities will fall on untried 18-year-old leggie Wil Parker or more likely a combination of bit-part options in Jacks and Short.

The Cane Train do have an imposing record at Bellerive Oval, winning 10 of their past 14 matches there, and they get the added advantage of playing their opening four games in Tasmania and six in total, so while I would expect them to rack up plenty of runs throughout the competition I simply cannot be with a side so light on spinners.

As a trading strategy, I would suggest looking for opportunities to be with Hobart’s batting, particularly up front, while I believe they can be opposed in the field, especially when Lamichhane is not playing.

Brisbane Heat

After a difficult BBL09, the Brisbane Heat look set for another challenging season as they strive to make the semi-finals for the first time in four years. The issue for the Heat is that not only are they coming off a run of poor performances, they have also lost some of their key contributors from last season, most notably the mercurial AB de Villiers but also 24-year-old left-hander Matthew Renshaw who reinvented himself with a strong showing that saw him finish as Brisbane’s second-highest run-scorer.

That places a great deal of pressure on talisman Chris Lynn who had an underwhelming BBL09 by his own high standards and is also coming off a destitute Caribbean Premier League campaign. Thankfully for Lynn, the Heat welcome back English dasher Tom Banton who will be available after Christmas, but they will need to get more out of fledgling opener Max Bryant who only managed one half-century last year.

Both Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne are expected to have limited appearances due to international duty, while new signing Tom Cooper is well past his best. Powerful all-rounder Ben Cutting was cut loose by Brisbane but they have found a like-for-like replacement in Englishman Lewis Gregory who will be expected to make more of an impact with that bat than with the ball.

There are also serious concerns over the Heat’s bowling attack after they lost their three most economical seamers from last season with Josh Lalor, James Pattinson and Jack Prestwidge all snapped up by the Melbourne Renegades, and whilst they have retained spin duo Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mitch Swepson, both players could miss large chunks of the competition while on national duty.

Furthermore, naturalised Australian Morne Morkel has barely played in the last 12 months and is reportedly battling an ankle injury, which leaves veteran Ben Laughlin as the virtual last man standing.

On top of all of these headaches Brisbane’s squad is littered with players such as Jimmy Peirson, Sam Heazlett, Jack Wildermuth and Mark Steketee who have consistently flattered to deceive at this level so I personally think they should be firmly at the bottom of the market and as such am more than happy to take them on.

Melbourne Renegades

Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Renegades in their efforts to defend their BBL08 crown, losing their first nine matches last year before winning three of their last five to add an ounce of respectability to the campaign.

Most of the Gades’ troubles stemmed from their batting which was often held together by Shaun Marsh and Beau Webster, following regular top-order collapses. The good news for Melbourne is that they seem set to have Australian T20I captain Aaron Finch available for the duration of the tournament, while the acquisition of muscular South African Rilee Rossouw further bolsters the middle-order and should allow inventive ‘keeper-batsman Sam Harper to play his natural game without fear.

The Renegades did offload some all-rounders with Dan Christian and Jack Wildermuth exiting, however, experienced Afghan Mohammad Nabi returns and the Renegades have also secured the services of damaging Pakistani Imam Wasim.

In BBL09 the Gades suffered via the withdrawals of three overseas bowling options, resulting in the questionable procurement of expensive Englishman Richard Gleeson, however, this season they have landed a significant coup by acquiring energetic South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir who will make his BBL debut.

Tahir strengthens an already high-class attack that features fellow leggie Cameron Boyce, speedster James Pattinson, skillful left-armer Josh Lalor and spearhead Kane Richardson who, like Finch, should be on hand for the entire tournament.

It would seem that a perceived lack of depth and their horror run last season is keeping the Renegades price down but there’s no denying the quality within their squad with Rossouw and Tahir astute international acquisitions, while Finch and Richardson are almost like new signings given their increased availability. It might take a leap of faith for some but I’ll have no hesitation in backing the relatively big odds about the Gades.

Sydney Thunder

It’s now five years since the Sydney Thunder shocked the cricket world by claiming the BBL05 title after a series of stunning individual performances and based on the make-up of their squad they will need to take a similar route if they are to scale the heights again. That’s not to say that a second trophy is beyond them but they will certainly lean heavily on a handful of players in what is a top-heavy roster.

The chief architect of their win in 2015-16 was stylish left-hander Usman Khawaja who again should be available for the entire tournament after being shunned by national selectors, while authoritative English opener Alex Hales returns after amassing 576 runs last season. Hales’ countryman Sam Billings should provide some punch to a middle-order that also contains veteran Callum Ferguson and the unorthodox Alex Ross, while seasoned all-rounder Ben Cutting has been brought in to provide an X-factor in the final overs.

Sydney will be hoping that left-arm seamer Daniel Sams can replicate his return of 30 wickets at an average of 15.36 but he will have more support this year with Kiwi tearaway Adam Milne coming on board, while the return to the bowling crease of wily off-spinner Chris Green will also be a huge boost. There will be occasions when the lesser likes in the Thunder’s squad will need to step forward and so they will be hoping that players such as Jason Sangha, Baxter Holt, Arjun Nair, Jonathan Cook and Chris Tremain can come to the party in the pressure moments.

Sydney are priced at the bottom of the market for a reason and there’s no doubt that if they are to pull off a shock then their big guns Khawaja, Hales, Billings, Sams and Milne will have to do most of the heavy lifting, but it’s far from an impossible scenario. Nevertheless, I can’t quite find the faith to back this side to go all the way but with the top-five system, I do think they represent good value to make the finals.

Betting Strategy

BACK — Perth Scorchers at $5.70+ for 2 units

LAY — Brisbane Heat at up to $10.00 for 2 units

BACK — Melbourne Renegades at $9.00+ for 1 unit

BACK — Melbourne Renegades Top 5 at $1.80+ for 1 unit

BACK — Sydney Thunder Top 5 at $2.00+ for 1 unit

Top Tournament Runscorer

Only twice in the history of this competition has an opener failed to finish as the top tournament runscorer and on both occasions, it was a first drop (Chris Lynn BBL05 and Travis Birt BBL01) so we don’t need to look any further down the order for our prospective winner.

Amongst the openers who will be available for the entire tournament, the Thunder’s Alex Hales represents the best value as he has now established himself as one of the premier batsmen on the T20 circuit and his price should be arguably on par with the likes of Short, Stoinis and Finch.

Looking a bit wider, Kiwi left-hander Colin Munro is likely to face the new ball for the Scorchers prior to Christmas before dropping down to number three and whilst he lacks the consistency of those further up the market, he can get on a roll and post some sizeable scores so we’ll have something speculative on him too.

BACK — Alex Hales Top Tournament Runscorer at $10.00+ for 1 unit

BACK — Colin Munro Top Tournament Runscorer at $24.00+ for 0.5 units

Top Tournament Wicket Taker

Similarly, pace bowlers who bowl at the death have had a stranglehold of the BBL Top Wicket Taker crown over the years with Rashid Khan (BBL07) the only spinner to upset the apple cart and even then he finished equal with Dwayne Bravo and does bowl at the back end of the innings himself.

The other notable feature is that there have been a number of surprise winners at decent prices including Cameron Gannon in BBL03, Clint McKay in BBL05 and Daniel Sams last season. Based on that criteria we’re leaning towards James Faulkner from the Hurricanes who may not have the same quality he did as when he was playing for the national side but still possesses excellent variety and will likely be given the ball in the final overs for Hobart.

BACK — James Faulkner Top Tournament Wicket taker at $21.00+ for 0.5 units

Game 1

BACK — Darcy Short Top Hobart Hurricanes Batsman at $3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 2

BACK — Melbourne Stars Most Sixes at $1.85 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 3

BACK — Marcus Stoinis Top Melbourne Stars Batsman at $3.75 or bigger for 1 unit

Game 4

BACK — Melbourne Renegades at $2.10 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 5

BACK — Hobart Hurricanes at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 6

BACK — Melbourne Renegades Highest 10 Over Total at $1.80+ for 1 unit.

Game 7

BACK — Sydney Thunder at $1.80 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 8

BACK — Hobart Hurricanes at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 9 (Abandoned)

BACK — Fifty Scored? No at $5.00 or bigger for 1 unit (bet void).

Game 10

BACK — Shaun Marsh Top Melbourne Renegades Batsman at $3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 11

BACK — Sydney Sixers at $2.00 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 12

BACK — Perth Scorchers Highest 6 Over Total at $1.80 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 13

BACK — Adelaide Strikers at $1.80 or bigger for 1 unit.

BACK — Adelaide Strikers First Dismissal Caught at $1.40 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 14

BACK — Melbourne Renegades at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 15

BACK — Total Fours 21 and Under at $2.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 16

BACK — Century Scored? Yes at 9.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 17 

BACK — Alex Carey Top Adelaide Strikers Batsman at 4.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 18

LAY — 1st Innings 6 Over Total 45 Runs or More at $2.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 19

BACK to LAY — Sydney Thunder at $2.10 or bigger (trade out at $1.70 or better) for 1 unit.

Game 20

BACK — Hobart Hurricanes Most Sixes at 1.85 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 21

BACK — 1st Innings 4 Over Total 30 Runs or more at 2.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 22

BACK — Sydney Thunder at 1.75 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 23

BACK — Melbourne Stars at 1.85 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 24

BACK to LAY — Brisbane Heat at 2.30 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 1.65 or better).

Game 25

BACK — Shaun Marsh Top Melbourne Renegades Batsman at $3.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 26

BACK — Josh Philippe Top Sydney Sixers Batsman at $3.75 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 27

 BACK — Melbourne Stars Highest 10 Over Total at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 28

 BACK — Over 9.5 Sixes at $1.70 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 29

BACK — Melbourne Renegades at $2.32 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 30

BACK to LAY — Sydney Sixers at $2.10 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at $1.60 or bigger).

Game 31

BACK — Sydney Thunder at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 32

BACK to LAY — Brisbane Heat at $2.36 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at $1.70 or better).

Game 33

BACK — Fifty Scored? No at $4.50 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 34

BACK — Perth Scorchers at $1.85 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 35

BACK — Brisbane Heat Highest 4 Over Total at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 36

BACK — Over 25.5 Fours at $1.80 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 37

BACK — Century Scored? Yes at $9.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 38

BACK — Tie at $16.00 or bigger for 0.5 units.

Game 39

BACK — Melbourne Renegades at $2.10 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 40

BACK — Glenn Maxwell top Melbourne Stars Batsman at $4.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 41

BACK to LAY — Sydney Sixers at $2.05 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 1.65 or better).

Game 42

BACK — Under 13.5 Sixes at $1.55 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 43

BACK — Sydney Thunder Highest 4 Over Total at $1.75 or bigger for 3 units.

Game 44

BACK — Chris Lynn top Brisbane Heat Batsman at $3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 45

BACK to LAY — Melbourne Renegades at $2.60 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at $2.00 or better).

Game 46

BACK — Fifty Scored? No at $5.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 47

BACK — Perth Scorchers at $1.76 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 48

BACK — 1st Innings 6 Over Total 50 Runs or more at $1.90 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 49

BACK — Melbourne Renegades at $2.10 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 50

BACK — Perth Scorchers at $1.75 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 51

BACK — 1st Innings Runs 170 Runs or More at $1.85 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 52

BACK — Sydney Sixers at $1.80 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 53

BACK — Adelaide Strikers First Dismissal Run Out at $19.00 or bigger for 0.5 units.

Game 54

BACK — Perth Scorchers Most Sixes at $1.85 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 55

BACK — Hobart Hurricanes Highest 10 Over Total at $1.75 or bigger for 2 units.

Game 56

BACK — Sydney Sixers at $1.88 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 57

BACK — Chris Lynn top Brisbane Heat Batsman at $3.00 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 58

BACK — Sydney Sixers at $2.10 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 59

BACK — Sydney Thunder at $1.77 or bigger for 1 unit.

Game 60

BACK — Brisbane Heat Highest 10 Over Total at $2.00 or bigger for 1 unit

BACK — Whichever team bats second for 1 unit

Game 61

BACK — Josh Philippe Top Sydney Sixers Batsman at $3.50 or bigger for 1 unit

current results

Total Units Staked: 72.00

Total Units Returned: 72.16

ROI: 0.22%

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