Smith To Score Big, Broad To Take Five-For & The Best Bets For First Ashes Test

Betfred have a range of odds available for the Edgbaston Test match
14:00, 13 Jun 2023

There really is nothing like an Ashes summer. Or rather, there’s nothing like an Ashes summer when it feels as though England actually have a chance of winning the thing.

Having succeeded in home series in 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2015, the last clash on these shores was a thrill-a-minute draw which saw Australia return the urn despite THAT Ben Stokes innings at Headingley. So England have a 22-year unbeaten streak on home soil to maintain when the 2023 event gets underway at Edgbaston on Friday.

There is no sure-fire way to get on top of the Aussies though, as they proved in their World Test Championship final win over India last week by recording a 209-run victory despite being sent in to bat after losing the toss.

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Teams being put in by the opposition skipper in non-neutral Tests since the beginning of 2019 have won only 11 of 50 matches (22%), and just three of 19 (15.8%) since the start of 2022. That means it might be worth waiting for the coin flip to have a bet on the winner at Edgbaston, but both teams are priced at 10/11 with Betfred to win the toss.

England skipper Ben Stokes will be wary of sticking Australia in given their batting line-up though. Steve Smith has had a big say with the bat in many an Ashes series, with his last 25 matches against England seeing him average 70.66 with 11 centuries (three of them doubles) and eight fifties.

He’s 11/10 to score a first innings fifty, 7/2 to go on and make it a century, and 9/4 to top score for Australia in their first knock. Or if you back Travis Head to back up his huge 163 against India and continue the fine form he showed in the last Ashes series, he’s a generous 6/1 to hit triple figures in the first innings.

STOKES' 135* AT HEADINGLEY WAS THE STAND-OUT MOMENT OF THE '19 ASHES
STOKES' 135* AT HEADINGLEY WAS THE STAND-OUT MOMENT OF THE '19 ASHES

The good news for England is that in the ‘Bazball’ revolution under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Stokes, they too have become a fearless outfit with bat in hand. Harry Brook has been particularly eye-catching in his seven-match Test career to date, racking up 818 runs at an average of 81.80 with four centuries and three fifties at a strike rate of 99.

The Yorkshireman has stunningly hit 20 sixes already in his young five-day career, which is nearly twice as many as the great Sir Alastair Cook managed in 161 Test matches (11). Brook is 5/1 to top-score in England’s first innings, and is 7/4 to score 50-plus.

If it’s the bowling markets that take your fancy, Scott Boland might be one to watch after his remarkable 6 for 7 at the MCG on debut in the last Ashes series down under. He went on to claim 18 wickets at 9.55 apiece over the final three games of that 4-0 win, and he’s Evens for another 3+ dismissals at Edgbaston, and 3/1 to be the tourists’ top wicket taker first up.

For the home side, Stuart Broad will be expected to cause problems once more. He has eight five-wicket hauls in his Test career against the Australians, taking 131 of his 582 wickets against the old enemy, and 14 of those have been his bunny, the opener David Warner. He also recorded a career-best 8 for 15 on the opening morning of the 2015 Trent Bridge Test against an Aussie opposition he’s never been afraid of annoying.

Broad is 8/1 to take a ninth career Ashes five-for in the opening innings in Birmingham.

If you fancy Moeen Ali to have a grand return to the Test stage after coming out of retirement it may be worth waiting for the second innings markets to appear, with some of the greatest Ashes stories ever told unravelling on turning fifth-day wickets.

The First Test gets underway at 11am on Friday.

ASHES 1ST TEST MARKETS - BETFRED*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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