Now that the 2019 cricket season is well and truly under way, we’ve seen some fantastic matches, some great performances and some absolute disasters. The latter two categories are more common than the former, which makes sense – you’re more likely to fall flat on your face than you are to go home with a 100.* A bit like poker, where often the most skilled players are the ones who can walk away with a loss while still having a good time, in cricket betting, it’s all about knowing when to walk away.
Most cricket fans will have seen Shane Warne’s infamous ‘walk of shame’ where he leaves the field of play without a game. While that may be humorous to watch, it’s anything but to your average cricket fan who has to go back and watch the underperformers walk off with their tails between their legs.
Shane Warne wasn’t the first high profile cricketer to ‘shuffle his cards’ in the face of betting odds. We’ve seen many others come and go over the years, with varying degrees of shame.
The Difference In Experience
The experience of a betting shop is vastly different to that of a bookmaker, in both positive and negative ways. Let’s start with the positives. As already mentioned, you don’t experience the same level of public criticism and shame when you walk away with a loss in a betting shop as you would if you did the same thing with a bookmaker. A cricket bookmaker’s most fearsome enemy isn’t the fellow bookmaker with whom they’re engaged in competition – it’s often the public, who will mock them for their lack of judgement even if they had the best of intentions.
A betting shop is a safer place for a sports fan to be, especially if you’re going to be placing big bets. The bigger the bet, the higher the rate of return (assuming you get your money back). This can lead to some fantastic opportunities, as well as a bit of fun.
The Difference In Odds
One of the most significant differences between a traditional bookmaker and a betting shop, at least as far as cricket betting is concerned, is the level of odds on offer. Cricket betting odds are typically very fair – they’ll reflect what most people think will happen, and in some cases a bookmaker may even pay out on certain events before the season starts. This is far from the case with regards to sports betting, where the spread between the top-rated bookmakers can be enormous.
What does this mean in practice? Well, you might want to back the winners of the Australian Grand Prix for example, at a nice little discount in comparison to the odds available at bigger bookmakers. Or, for a real ‘winnower’, you could look to back Paris Saint Germain in the UEFA Champions League, where the bookies’ odds are often very high, but you’ll be compensated with a small profit if they win. The opportunities for a little bit of genius in sports betting are endless.
In cricket, the spread between the top-rated bookmakers can be as much as 2.5 to 1, so you’re looking at potentially losing a large amount of money if you back the wrong team or the wrong player. You can’t have infinite faith in your selections because you’ll lose money regardless – backing the underdogs is never going to make up for this – but you can certainly have more trust in what others have to say. In most cases, this is probably a pretty safe choice. Even if you lose, the worst that will happen is that you lose a little bit of money. Not a terrible outcome when you consider the nature of betting in general.
The Difference In Media Exposure
Another significant difference between a bookmaker and a betting shop is the extent to which they’re covered by the media. You’ll see plenty of articles and opinion pieces in the mainstream press about sports betting, with many publications going into great depth about the subject. It’s not quite the same with regards to cricket, where the coverage is generally quite limited. Sure, there are always going to be a few high-profile individuals and teams that the media will decide to highlight, but these are generally the same individuals and teams regardless of whether you play cricket or tennis – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You won’t generally read overly positive stories about cricket betting, with perhaps the odd exception. These are the stories that the media decide are either interesting or important, which means that the general perception is that cricket betting is a bit of a dirty game, and not something to be taken seriously. As with any other form of gambling, there’s always going to be the odd ‘scam’ that tries to take advantage of unwary fans, but these are generally the exception rather than the rule.
If you want to place a little wager on the 2019 Australian cricket season or any other sporting event, where would you go?