The IPL returns for 2018, with 60 fixtures worth of pre-match angles and in-play volatility to sink our teeth into over the next seven weeks.
On the back of a highly successful December-January with our BBL offering, which produced +19.30 units profit at 25.72 units POT, we’ll once again be providing free daily selections for the IPL.
The beauty of Twenty20 cricket often lies in the fickle in-play H2H markets. While our selections only encompass pre-match bets, our H2H bets often provide an ideal starting point for trades.
MAILING LIST: Contact us via Twitter @puntingstars to be added to our IPL 2018 mailing list
We primarily focus on H2H as the highest volume market, with highest opening partnership, highest six over score, most sixes, total sixes and high bat the other major areas of interest.
And there looks to be plenty of angles and uncertainty to work with over the coming weeks, especially in the opening rounds. Most sides have made sweeping and drastic changes to their lineups, and the uncertainty that brings is sure to be reflected by early bookmaker prices.
To get things underway for the IPL, we’ve provided our assessment of all eight sides and suggested a select number of futures bets for the tournament ahead.
Going forward, we’ll post all match-by-match bets on Twitter @puntingstars daily, the website and via emailing them to all interested for FREE. Register your interest by contacting us via DM on Twitter.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS $7.50
Chennai returns to the IPL after a two-year absence and much of the old band is back together. MS Dhoni heads the charge with the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Faf Du Plessis, Ravi Jadeja and Suresh Raina forming an experienced core. The additions of Shane Watson, Kedhav Jadhav and Sam Billings adds plenty of depth through the middle order.
But it is bowling which we often emphasise is the key to Twenty20 glory. At Chennai, the mantra appears to be ‘spin to win’ with Jadeja supported by Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma. They do appear to lack experience in the pace bowling department though, and without that we’d struggle to take the early price.
FUTURES BETS: None.
DELHI DAREDEVILS $9.00
A revamped Delhi squad enters IPL 2018 with, on paper at least, its best hope of making the playoffs since topping the table in 2012. At the helm is the new leadership duo of captain Gautam Gambhir, who twice led KKR to the title, and coach Ricky Ponting, who guided Mumbai Indians to the crown at his first time of trying.
An abundance of batting firepower means one of overseas guns Glenn Maxwell, Colin Munro and Jason Roy will likely miss the XI initially, while Chris Morris and Trent Boult shoulder the fast bowling workload – Kagiso Rabada may be squeezed out. Clever Indian spinners are also in abundance in the squad, while retained batsmen Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer will excite. But there’s something missing here – we’ll pass on the $9.00.
FUTURES BETS: The one angle here is Morris most wickets for Delhi. He is a lock in this side – he’ll bat six or seven and bowl his overs, including plenty at the death. At $7.00 he is a STEAL.
Bet: Chris Morris most Delhi wickets: 1 unit @ $7.00 (Sportsbet)
KINGS XI PUNJAB $9.50
One of the most drastic overhauls took place at Kings XI, with only spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel retained. He will form an enticing combination with new skipper Ravi Ashwin, but they will need it – there is a serious lack of death bowling options, save for the inclusion of Australian revelation Andrew Tye.
The batting looks quite something, though. A potential opening partnership of Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch excites, as does the likely middle order of KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Yuvraj Singh and Marcus Stoinis, followed by Ashwin and Patel. Can they bat other sides out of the match consistently enough to be a force?
FUTURES BETS: Can’t do it – they look a fast bowler short. BUT because of that Tye is almost certain to bowl two of the last four overs each outing, and we know that death bowling = wickets. So, $19 for top tournament bowler is enough for me.
Bet: Andrew Tye top tournament bowler: 0.5 units @ $19.00 (Bet 365)
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS $7.50
The biggest talking point of KKR’s retention strategy was the release of captain Gautam Gambhir, with the reins handed to IPL journeyman Dinesh Karthik for 2018. He inherits a squad whose core remains largely in tact – Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa and Kuldeep Yadav plus the enigmatic Andre Russell are all there.
The acquisition of young stars Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill looked set to ignite KKR, but that enthusiasm is dampened by the loss of Mitchell Starc to injury. Mitchell Johnson and Tom Curran will compete for his place. But regardless, there’s a certain dynamism to this squad – primarily due to Narine’s presence at the top to compliment his bowling prowess – and year-on-year they finish at the pointy end. I want to be on them at the price.
FUTURES BETS: So lets go with it then and take KKR to win the tournament. Their squad is attractive and home record superb. We’ll also have some of the $21 on Chris Lynn to be the tournament’s leading run-scorer. If he stays fit, he’ll open the innings 14 times + finals – that’s enough opportunity for the best hitter in world cricket.
Bet: Kolkata Knight Riders to win the tournament – 1 unit @ $7.50 (Bet 365)
Bet: Chris Lynn most runs in tournament – 0.5 units @ $21 (Sportsbet)
MUMBAI INDIANS $5.00
The Mumbai Indians are deserved favourites for the IPL crown, presenting a stable squad full of cricketers in their prime for this year’s tournament. The nucleus of their 2017 title-winning squad turns out once again, with captain Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah the gun locals supporter by T20 guns Kieron Pollard and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Their recruitment has been equally impressive. Pat Cummins and Mutafizhur Rahman bolster the pace stocks, JP Duminy adds experience to the middle order and Evin Lewis boasts a career T20 strike rate of 146. I love Mumbai’s list, but at $5.00 they need to tick every box and the one that remains unchecked is top class spin options. They have some good spinners, but no guns to dominate the middle overs. For that reason, I can’t take the early quote.
FUTURES BETS: Nil – under the odds but deserved favourites.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS $9.00
The Royals are back and so is Warnie (as ‘team mentor’), but Steve Smith is gone. On the surface it appears a hammer blow for Rajasthan, with his batting and captaincy a major loss. But it may not be as dramatic as it seems and his replacement Henrich Klassen appears a genuine gun in making – he is part of a powerful international contingent that also includes Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and D’Arcy Short.
Warne, now team mentor, led the underdog Royals to victory in the inaugural IPL through his canny nurturing of inexperienced local players and he’ll need to do that here too. There will be plenty of pressure on Ajinkya Rahane and Jaydev Unadkat to prop up the locals. But T20 is often about brilliant individuals and there’s something about Stokes, Archer et al that gets me excited.
FUTURES BETS: I can’t overlook the Royals at the price. They have a side full of X-factor and the explosive marquee players will take them a long way.
Bet: Rajasthan Royals to win the tournament: 1 unit @ $9.00
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE $5.00
RCB enters the IPL once again as a heavily fancied outfit – but last season that mattered little as they bottomed out to finish eighth. It sparked an overhaul that saw the likes of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul cast aside, but unsurprisingly Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were retained in the engine room.
Their local bowling talent is a particular strong point, with spinners Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Parwan Negi supported by speedster Umesh Yadav and overseas all-rounder Chris Woakes. But the batting order will rely heavily on Kohli, ABDV and Quinton de Kock, with home-grown batting stocks somewhat thin in this squad.
FUTURES BETS: None yet. I really like RCB here but $5.00 is too short with a squad that may take time to gel. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we can jump on.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD $7.00
David Warner’s loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad is greater than Smith’s to Rajasthan. Their opener and captain for years, he led them to the 2016 title and close again last year. His partnership with Shikhar Dhawan was prolific. He’s won the orange cap twice in the past three seasons, finishing second in the other.
So where to? Kane Williamson captains, Alex Hales joins and all-rounder Shakib looks the likely finisher. The depth of batting star-power just isn’t there. Luckily they have Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan, two of the world’s best T20 bowlers. Siddharth Kaul and Basil Thampi add depth, while Billy Stanlake, Chris Jordan and Mohammad Nabi are all waiting in the wings. I just don’t see them getting past the loss of Warner.
FUTURES BETS: Not this time.
SUMMARY OF BETS
Our five pre-tournament futures bets for IPL 2018 are below. Any additions will be distributed via email, website and social media.
Kolkata Knight Riders to win the tournament – 1 unit @ $7.50 (Bet 365)
Rajasthan Royals to win the tournament: 1 unit @ $9.00
Chris Lynn most runs in tournament – 0.5 units @ $21 (Sportsbet)
Andrew Tye top tournament bowler: 0.5 units @ $19.00 (Bet 365)
Chris Morris most Delhi wickets: 1 unit @ $7.00 (Sportsbet)