There are many differences between football and cricket. It goes without saying that cricketers (well, English cricketers) are more charming, cleverer and generally better looking than those who kick a ball for their living. Although Kevin Pietersen may be a walking endorsement, the money in his savings account is probably about the same as the daily amount earned by someone like Jed Wallace – and he plays for Portsmouth. Also, during one the many advert breaks during a day’s cricket on the box, we’ve never once seen Ray Winstone point out the latest live odds for the next batsman to be dismissed.
Betting and cricket may have had an unhealthy past – as listeners to the 51allout slanderfest might be aware – but surely responsible, legalised, gambling could be a fairly lucrative pastime? After all, 51allout have an excellent (i.e. terrible) record of predicting all things cricket-shaped. And didn’t no lesser person than Mike Skinner of The Streets once sing/rap/say,
“I need to rethink the technique of my betting shit; Maybe change the parameters a little bit;
Instead of betting on to win the football; I’ll bet to lose the cricket.”
So the four regular contributors to 51allout, plus any of the underlings who can stay sober for long enough, are going to have a little challenge. Starting with the first Test against New Zealand, Matts L and H, James and Nichael are going to actually put their money where their mouth is. If all goes to plan and we all make loads of dosh, we will present a big cheque to Lord’s Taverners at the end of the experiment. If, however, our fathers’ saying turns out true (“you never see a bookmaker riding a pushbike”) and we all end up broke, rest assured we will still send something to charity. Even if it’s just empty gin bottles for them to return to the bottling plant.
1. we each start with £40 (or equivalent in Aussie money – approximately $1,723,194) in our kitty
2. we bet when we see fit and are not dictated to by peer pressure to lump it all on a no-ball
3. we’ll keep a separate kitty for a donation at the end of the feature, just in case we all end up destitute
So, prior to the first Test in Dunedin on Tuesday, where are we putting our money?
Matt Larnach: Considering that gambling on anything and everything is considered a national pastime in these parts (right up there with luring unsuspecting backpackers to their deaths in the outback), it’s only fitting I start things off. I should note that my bets will be in Australian dollars, none of this triple-dip recession ravaged pound sterling rubbish here.
Befitting my completely unwarranted conviction that England are on a hiding to nothing in the Shaky Isles, my first bet was to stump $20 on the Kiwis winning the first Test, paying a handsome $158 when it inevitably occurs. I also threw down $5 on Tim Southee being Man of the Match (paying $75).
Just to stretch things a bit more I put some bets down for the whole series, with $5 on BJ Watling being the Kiwis best batsman (paying $45), and finally, just to finish things off, $5 on James Anderson being England’s best bowler (paying $13.75). Because it always helps to bet on something totally unexpected to occur.
James: Unlike Matthew here, I actually aim to give some money to charity at the end of this venture so have decided to go with some bets which might win. And I shall be gambling proper currency and everything.
First up I think it’s important to point out there’s more chance of John Hastings taking a hat-trick to seal a 10-0 Australian Ashes win next winter than New Zealand so much as winning a Test in this series. With that in mind, my opening bet is England to win the series 3-0, upon which I have placed 5 Great British pounds (paying a paltry £16, such is the inevitability of it all). My only other series bet is on Dean Brownlie as top New Zealand run scorer, based on the theory that he’s sheltered from Jimmy Anderson’s new ball spell of doom and goes into this clash in reasonable form. £3 has been placed on that outcome, and pays out £18.
Matt H: With plenty of rain forecast, I’ve gone for a draw in the first Test (£5), another fiver on Jonathan Trott to score more than 50 in the first innings and £3 (wow) on Anderson to take five or more wickets in the first innings. I’ve also gone on a £2 triple for England to win 2-0, with Cook and Kane Williamson to top score respectively.
Nichael: I’ve literally just finished watching Moneyball, which has changed my mind about how I’m going to approach this. My powder is going to be the only dry thing about the first Test, as I let it play out before doing some incredibly sexy looking statistical analysis to determine exactly what will happen. I can then lump in on the second Test with a guaranteed return. Or I might just not bet at all, and will still end up $40 better off than Matt L.
If you’re a masochist who enjoys reveling in the pain of others, we’re going to chronicle the fortunes (read: failings) of our dabble in these murky waters over the next few weeks. Let the biannual 51allout jinxfest begin.
We ought to point out that this series of features is meant to be fun, but gambling can be addictive and ruin lives.
GamCare is a registered charity that provides confidential telephone support and counseling to anybody who may be affected by problem gambling. You can contact GamCare on 0845 6000 133 (local rate from the UK) or you can visit www.gamcare.org.uk.
And information about Gamblers Anonymous worldwide can be found here http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/addresses