The 2021 Ashes Series begins in December
The Ashes betting odds for 2021 favor Australia over England, with Australia listed at -175 and England at +375. The draw result is currently listed at +650. Australia’s advantage is due in part to the fact that they’re playing on their home grounds. They’re also considered the stronger squad, though a poor showing from Australia against India over the summer has shifted odds slightly toward England.
What Is The Ashes?
The Ashes is the name of a Test cricket series between England and Australia.
One Ashes series traditionally consists of five consecutive cricket matches, hosted by either England or Australia in a rotary format once every two years. Winning this series (called “Taking the Ashes”) means winning 3 out of the 5 matches. Because draw results are relatively common, some Ashes series have ended in draw results.
2021 Ashes Series Details
The 2021 Ashes Series will be played in several Australian cities – Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Perth. The first Test is in Brisbane at The Gabba, and the final Test will take place in Perth at Optus Stadium. The series will run between the 22nd of November and the 14th of January 2022.
The multi-format Women’s Ashes begin two weeks after the men’s final Test on the 27th of January 2022.
Where Does the Name Ashes Come From?
Americans unfamiliar with cricket don’t know this story, but I think it’s at least as good a story as Ruth’s called shot.
The first time that the Australian national cricket team played the storied English national team on British soil, the Australians won decisively. The year was 1883, and England’s droves of cricket fans were scandalized. One paper of note memorably claimed that English cricket had died and been cremated, and “the ashes taken to Australia.”
Headed for a rematch on Australian soil, the captain of the English team said they were off to Australia to “regain those ashes.” England won 2 out of 3 and were presented with a ceremonial urn said to contain the ashes of Australian cricket.
Now, every couple of years, a Test cricket series is scheduled at either Lord’s Cricket Ground in London or the Melbourne Cricket Club in Australia.
What Is Test Cricket?
Test cricket is one of many forms of the sport of cricket, including single wicket cricket and first-class cricket. Test cricket features the longest match duration of all forms of the game – a grueling 30 hours played over 5 days. That’s the equivalent of a Major League Baseball team playing back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back double-headers. Test cricket is the top professional format of the game, requiring the most of its players.
There have been 71 Ashes Series over the years. As of 2021, Australia has claimed 33 times to England’s 32, with 6 draw results.
It is said that the team that most recently won the series “holds The Ashes.” When a series is drawn, the team currently holding Ashes retains the series trophy.
Betting on the 2021 Ashes Series
Cricket has long been a betting sport, with informal wagering likely taking place from the very start of the sport some 400 years ago. Traditionally, sportsbooks offer very little in the way of straightforward bets – mostly match betting – and a laundry list of what would be considered prop bets in the USA.
Ashes Match Betting
The most common form of cricket wager is the straight-up or match betting bet. You have three possible outcomes – a win for the home team, a win for the away team, or a draw. Odds will be listed for each team according to their likelihood of winning as determined by the oddsmaker. There’s not usually a run line or point spread or anything like that – the sport’s scoring is too close to lend itself to spreads bets.
Ashes Overall Betting
Identical to match betting, except you’re choosing the overall winner of the 5 Test match series – will it be Australia, England, or draw? Draw results are rare, though they occur. The result has been draw 6 times since the inception of the series, most recently in the 2019 Ashes played in England.
Ashes Completed Match Betting
This popular prop bet is really a wager on the weather and stamina of the players for each side. Bettors can wager on whether a match will finish in a single day’s play or will have to continue on the next day. It’s a Yes or No wager and will have listed odds for both outcomes.
General Consensus on the 2021 Ashes Series
A layperson’s read on Australia is that they’re currently considered the smart money, though they’re showing weakness in their batting top order. In terms of American baseball, this would be like saying that a team’s lead-off hitters are their biggest weakness. The harm done to a cricket side by having a weak top order is the same as the harm done to an MLB team with no lead-off hitting – offense has a harder time putting numbers on the board.
Australia’s home loss to India included their first home Test defeat at the Gabba for more than three decades. For England, another victim of India’s recent tear through their opponents, the most glaring and headline-worthy issue is the absence of the nimble speedster Jofra Archer and the veteran and fan favorite all-rounder Ben Stokes. The general consensus is that taking these two away would be like the New England Patriots without both Brady and Belichick, or the 90s Bulls without their starting five.
My Pick for the 2021 Ashes Series
The Aussies retained the urn in England back in 2019 after the series was drawn 2-2 – the first drawn series since 1972. Therefore, Joe Root’s men will need to win the series outright to reclaim the trophy. It’s a big ask but not insurmountable, even if recent form suggests otherwise.
For me, it comes down to skipper vs. skipper. England’s Joe Root has to keep up with whomever Australia puts up, which could be any of a long bench of stellar bowlers. There’s Pat Cummins, famous for taking 29 wickets in five matches in the last Ashes, and Josh Hazlewood, equal to the task. For our MLB friends, Cummins’ performance was a top-10 all time performance, akin to throwing back-to-back complete game shutouts in the World Series.
I’ll take Australia at -175, considering both sides showed poorly against India, and considering the depth on Australia’s side that England doesn’t seem to have an answer for. The sportsbooks are implying about a 64% chance that Australia wins, and I find that totally palatable. I’d probably take Australia as high as -200, but beyond that I don’t have the stomach for it.
England seemed to get a boost from Australia’s poor showing at home against India. But, even at +375, I don’t find much value in an England side that has a lot of emotion behind it but not much depth and major question marks all up and down the batting order. Their dependence on veterans Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad at bowler may not be enough to keep up with their counterparts. And we should never discount the impact of playing on home soil, eating home-cooked meals, etc.
I won’t discount the likelihood of a draw result. Even the books are giving that result about a 13% chance. It would be the first back-to-back draw since the 1960s, though the conditions on both sides seem to make it more likely than in recent series. I personally think the chances of a draw are much lower than 13%, so I wouldn’t take the longshot bet.
Bettors should look into the matchup, consider recent history, take my advice under consideration, and place wagers on the 2021 Ashes Series at the real money sportsbooks of their choice. Plenty of US-facing books are offering bets on this series, from individual match wagers to bets on the overall outcome and even some individual player props and futures.
England is going into this hunt for The 2021 Ashes Series with a less-experienced squad than they’ve fielded in years, minus two important pieces, and with a top order that can kindly be described as fragile. Australia has issues – this won’t be a romp in the park for their side, exactly.
I find good value in taking Australia, as I find the odds of their hanging on to The Ashes are better than what’s being offered in the books.