For many people in the world, cricket is a sporting mystery, but for those countries where the game is played, mainly Britain and its former colonies, it is often hugely popular and offers a wide variety of possible bets. It is also a game that has been mired by corruption and allegations of match-fixing, although such problems seem to be becoming less and less. Betting in general though has been a major factor in the history and development of the sport, particularly in the 18th century when wealthy people would form their own sides in order to compete with other sides and to provide entertainment for their wagers.
There are three main types of cricket played by international sides, as well as by various club sides in the countries where cricket has a professional league, and the different types of the game give various betting opportunities.
The main form of the game is Test cricket, which is played at the international level by only 10 teams who play a series of 4, 5 or 6 matches. Each test match can last for as long as 5 days, with both teams having a maximum of 2 innings. The betting possibilities for a test match are generally based on who will perform best over the 5 days, so for example, if England is playing Australia it is possible to bet on the outcome of the game; Australia’s best bowler or England’s highest run scorer.
The second most important form of cricket to be played at the international level is known as One Day Cricket, which is a form of the game where the number of overs played by each team is limited to 50. One-day cricket is a much quicker version of the game and has attracted larger crowds as the game doesn’t drag over several days, as well as being more colorful, with teams not playing in traditional white uniforms.
As well as the same types of bets as for test matches, one-day cricket also allows for bets such as by how much a team will win or lose, and how many overs it will take to bowl out the opposition. As well as the international one-day series which has been incorporated into the traditional tours, one-day cricket is the format used for the Cricket World Cup which is played between the top test teams as well as part-timers such as Scotland, Ireland, and Bermuda, and shocks are common in that competition.
The quickest, newest and arguably the most exciting form of the game is known as Twenty20, in which each team only faces 20 overs. With such a limited number of overs the emphasis is on the batting team to accumulate as many runs as possible, which makes them more likely to attack the bowling and as such, assuming the bowling is tight, lose quick wickets.