Cricket Spread Betting
Spread betting on Cricket Test matches is hugely volatile with batsmen capable of massive scores and bowlers able to take apart line-ups single-handedly. This is the appeal, however.
The most popular markets are individual batsmen's runs in a match or over a series.
Brian Lara scored a world record 400 not out against England at Antigua and you wouldn't want to have been short of his runs in that match - they were quoted at 60-65 before his incredible knock.
But Lara is one of three current players who you would need nerves of steel to sell in an individual innings or over a series.
India's Sachin Tendulkar and Australia's Matt Hayden are the others, forming a trio that are considered the best in the world.
Normally you will only be able to trade series runs if England are involved, or if it is a special series which is televised live in the UK.
Generally a batsman's series runs are pitched high because firms know punters want to buy. Mistakes are sometimes made, however. For example, Lara's record in series preceding that clash with England, and his record against the boys from Blighty, suggested quotes of 435 were too low.
That was a four-game series so the spread firms were not expecting Lara to score more than 108 runs per game. An above-average Test batsman will be down for around 65-70 runs a match, with the quote usually based on career form.
The trick is to do your research. Look at the player's most recent Test form, his record against the side and bowlers he is playing against and how he has been faring in county cricket or warm-up matches. You should find stats which encourage taking on the odd quote.
Spread firms also operate markets like highest team score, lowest team score, series runs and series ton-ups (the aggregate of individual scores over 100) for a series.
With these markets it is key to know the vagaries of the pitches that the games are being played on. There is no point in getting long of series runs if the first match is being played on a seaming and swinging Headingley wicket in Leeds. The quote after the opener will almost certainly be considerably lower than the one you bought at.
It is all about timing. Look to buy if game one is on a good batting wicket and look to sell if it is on a poor one. Then you will be able to close out for a profit if the subsequent Tests are taking place on wickets which do not suit your bet.
For one day internationals the same rules apply as Test matches. The firms offer a few more markets, notably all-rounder performances, with one point given per run, ten for each catch and 20 for every wicket taken. Often it can pay dividends to sell three or four men offered from the same team because in a game of 50 overs, it is unlikely that all of them will make a big enough impact to cost you money, especially when specialist batsmen and bowlers are expected to score the majority of runs and take the wickets.