The Definitive Cricket Betting Guide: History, Rules, Betting Tips & More

The Definitive Cricket Betting Guide: History, Rules, Betting Tips & More
Patrick Lynch
By Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert
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Updated Nov 8, 2022
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Read time 36 min
The Definitive Cricket Betting Guide: History, Rules, Betting Tips & More

Cricket betting is hugely popular in dozens of countries. While the rules for cricket are lengthy and complex, one can understand the sport better by learning the most pertinent rules. You can join the enormous cricket betting market once you grasp the basics of the game.

Of course, it is extremely difficult to join the elite of this group. Doing so involves a dedication far beyond that of the casual bettor. This cricket betting guide will NOT provide guaranteed wins, but it will significantly improve your knowledge of the sport.

The Allure of Cricket Betting

In 2015, an independent betting expert claimed that cricket had a 12% share of a $3 trillion global gambling industry. Please note this information includes legal AND illegal markets. Nonetheless, it gives you an idea of the scale of cricket betting. If you have the dedication and desire, you could become one of the small percentage of gamblers who make a long-term profit.

By the end of this guide, you should know more about cricket betting rules and markets than you do now, assuming you’re not already an expert in both. Here you’ll learn wagering strategies and what you can expect when using a crypto betting site for cricket.

With several different forms of cricket, bettors have many options, ranging from ante-post bets placed months in advance to wagering on the outcome of the next ball in play. You’re about to enter a brand-new world of sports betting, so be prepared!

Before we dive into betting rules in cricket and much more, let’s learn a little more about the sport, beginning with its origins.

A Brief History of Cricket

The sport of cricket was probably first played in South-East England in the 1500s. There is a definitive reference to the game during a court case in 1597. Although cricket was played in England during the 1600s, it didn’t take off nationally for another century. Interestingly, people perceived cricket as a gambling sport, along with bare-knuckle fighting and horse racing, during the mid-1600s.

Significant developments in the 1700s saw cricket rise to prominence, to the point where it became England’s national sport. The Hambleton Club, formed in the 1760s, became the epicenter of cricket for approximately 20 years until the opening of Lord’s Old Ground in 1787.

In the 1800s, the permitted bowling technique changed from underarm to roundarm and finally, overarm. County clubs were formed in England in 1839, but the County Championship, featuring eight teams, wasn’t formed for another half a century.

By this point, cricket had expanded internationally, with the England team embarking on its first tour of Australia in 1862. Twenty years later, The Ashes test cricket series between England and Australia was created; and remains extremely popular to this day. In 1888-89, England played South Africa; cricket was on its way to becoming a global sport.

Cricket In the Modern Era

No further nations joined the international scene until the West Indies in 1928. However, New Zealand and India joined within four years. Pakistan joined in 1952, with Sri Lanka following 30 years later. Since then, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, and Afghanistan have joined the test cricket scene.

Test and domestic first-class cricket were the recognized forms of the game until 1963, when English county teams started playing one-day cricket. Within eight years, teams were playing limited overs cricket internationally. In 1975, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s governing body, created the first-ever Cricket World Cup.

Although one day games became popular, the hunt was on to find an even shorter variant. In 2003, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) came up with Twenty20 cricket. It has become a phenomenally successful game in its own right.  

The ECB later created The Hundred, an even shorter game version. There is now T10 cricket, the quickest relevant cricket variant developed to date. Now that you know a little about the sport’s history, let’s learn more about the game’s rules.

Cricket Rules

Cricket involves two teams comprised of 11 players. The game occurs on a field with a pitch (sometimes called the wicket) in the middle. There is a wicket at each end of this pitch, which is 22 yards long from one wicket to the other. Each wicket consists of three stumps and two bails balanced on top.

The teams take turns to bat and bowl/field. The batting team has two players on the pitch simultaneously, with one at either end. The fielding team selects one person to bowl at a time, with a wicketkeeper standing behind the active batter and the other nine players spread around the field as per the captain’s instructions.

The batting side aims to score as many runs as possible by hitting the ball around the field away from the opposition players. Batters score a run each time they make it to the other end of the pitch. They receive four runs for hitting the ball to the boundary; this increases to six runs if the ball crosses the boundary rope without touching the ground.

The fielding team tries to get the batters ‘out.’ This is achievable in various ways, including the bowler hitting the stumps with the ball and dislodging the bails. Another way to get someone out is to catch the ball after the batter strikes it before it touches the ground.

Once a team gets ten opposition players out (taking their wickets), they swap roles. However, teams make this swap in limited overs games after a specific number of overs have been bowled, regardless of how many wickets are taken. An ‘over’ consists of six balls.

Two umpires officiate the game on the field, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international games.

There are entire books on the sport of cricket and its rules. We advise you to learn as much about the game as possible to improve your knowledge. Indeed, you should perceive this as one of the golden rules of cricket betting. 

Next up, let’s briefly analyze the different cricket variations; you will see markets for each on most betting sites.

What Are the Different Forms of Cricket?

Remember, test matches and first-class cricket were the only variants until the 1960s. Since then, the sport has expanded to include shorter, some would say, more exciting versions. Let’s briefly look into the most relevant.

Test Match Cricket

Traditionalists prefer this as the ‘classic’ version of the game. Today, 12 test-playing nations play one another periodically. Each team has two innings, and matches can last for a maximum of five days. It is a physically and mentally demanding version of cricket, with tests often becoming wars of attrition.

Test match cricket may not have the glamor associated with shorter variants, but it remains the most recognizable form of the game. 

This form of cricket continues to attract large audiences too. In the UK, Channel 4 reported that its coverage of the four-match series between England and India reached a total of nine million viewers. The opening test drew an impressive 5.8 million viewers across five days. 

Domestic First-Class Cricket

The ICC says a match can only be deemed a ‘first-class’ game if it is scheduled for at least three days. These games have the same rules as test matches, including the fact that each team gets two innings. 

The County Championship contested in the United Kingdom is one of the best-known domestic leagues in the world. Games are scheduled for four days in this particular tournament.   

Limited Overs

Better known as one-day cricket, limited-overs games traditionally involve one inning per team with a maximum of 50 overs bowled per innings. However, the List A version can have between 40 and 60 overs.

If a team loses its ten wickets before the allotted number of overs is completed, its innings come to an immediate conclusion. It is a popular spectator sport since teams are usually more aggressive than in test match cricket.

Twenty20

If limited overs cricket was a revelation, T20 cricket was a revolution. Introduced by the ECB in 2003, Twenty20 cricket provided a brand-new slant on the sport, transforming public perception. Instead of waiting five days for a game to finish (which could end in a draw), viewers see a full match completed in three hours or less.

As the name suggests, Twenty20 cricket involves each team getting a maximum of 20 overs to bat. With such a short timeframe to work with, batters have no choice but to play aggressively, to the audience’s delight. T20’s popularity is such that it’s now the basis for many cricket betting guides.

Indeed, the 2021 T20 World Cup had 4.3 billion views across all channels. Viewers in India alone watched a total of 112 billion minutes, even though India’s team was eliminated early. 

Test matches, limited overs, and Twenty20 are the most popular forms of cricket, although there are others. The ECB has created The Hundred, a game where both teams can bat for a maximum of 100 balls. T10 is a recent addition that involves teams getting just ten overs to bat. The ICC sanctioned the Abu Dhabi T10 league in 2018.

10 Fun Facts About Cricket

As far as cricket fans are concerned, it is one of the most fascinating sports in the world. Certainly, it is awash with fun and crazy facts and stats. 

Let’s check out 10 of the best cricket facts before proceeding with our cricket betting guide.

  1. Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport (behind soccer), with 2.5 billion fans in over 180 countries watching or playing it.
  2. Until 1775, there were two stumps instead of three; then, a bowler named Edward “Lumpy” Stevens bowled the ball through the two stumps three times in a game without dislodging the bail, so a third stump (in the middle) was introduced!
  3. Wilfred Rhodes holds the record for the oldest ever test match player; he was 52 when he competed in his final game for England in 1930.
  4. When Great Britain won the gold medal during the Summer Olympics in 1900, cricket was only played once.
  5. If you think test match cricket games are long, you wouldn’t have enjoyed the “timeless test” in Durban between South Africa and England in 1939. The match started on March 3 and was finally abandoned on March 14 because the English team was due to travel to Cape Town to catch their ship home. The weather intervened on the final day as England edged closer to victory. The two teams scored 1981 runs between them, which remains the highest aggregate total in a test match.
  6. Sri Lanka holds the record for the most runs in an innings. They hit 952 runs for the loss of 6 wickets against India in 1997.
  7. Brian Lara holds the record for the highest ever test match score; he managed 400 not out against England in 2004. Lara initially held the record with 375 against England in 1994 before Matthew Hayden scored 380 against Zimbabwe in 2003. Both of Lara’s innings occurred at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St. Johns.
  8. Donald Bradman holds the record for the highest ever test match career batting average. Bradman retired with an average of 99.94 runs per innings, over 38 runs clear of second place. He was dismissed for no runs (a duck) in his final innings. Had he scored just four runs, his final career average would have stood at 100.
  9. Jim Laker is the only player in men’s test match cricket to take all ten wickets in an innings; he achieved this incredible feat for England against Australia in 1956. After posting 9-37 in the first innings, he took 10-53 in the second, ending with scarcely believable figures of 19-90 in the match.
  10. The number 111 is said to be unlucky in cricket. Sometimes known as “Nelson,” 111 represents the three stumps with superstition dictating that something bad will happen to a batter or team on 111 runs. The legendary umpire David Shepherd was renowned for lifting one foot off the ground when the score reached 111 or its multiples. Shepherd did so due to a ritual from his childhood when playing cricket.

What Cricket Betting Markets Are Usually Available?

This is the part of the cricket betting guide you’ve been waiting for. Another of the golden rules of cricket betting is learning as much as possible about the different markets. Doing so makes you more likely to find those that suit your wagering style and risk tolerance levels.

Let’s take a look at several cricket betting markets you’re likely to find on online bookmakers.

Match Winner

This is the most straightforward cricket betting market available. Simply pick team A to beat team B. You can also bet on the draw in test matches and first-class cricket. 

The techniques and tactics introduced to Twenty20 and limited overs cricket matches have filtered down to test matches. Teams are more aggressive, resulting in a significant decrease in drawn test matches.

Tournament Winner

Bettors are spoiled for choice when wagering on outright winners of events today. Here is a taste of the tournaments you can bet on:

  • Cricket World Cup – Limited Overs
  • T20 World Cup
  • First-class leagues, such as the County Championship in the United Kingdom
  • The Indian Premier League (IPL) – T20
  • Caribbean Premier League – T20

There is a substantial number of markets in men’s and women’s cricket.

Top Runs Scorer

This is another easy-to-understand market. You’re betting on the player to score the most runs in a match. In tests, you could have the opportunity to bet on the highest first and second innings score and the player to have the highest combined total.

Top Wicket Taker

The goal is to predict the player who dismisses the most opposition batters in a game. Once again, test match markets may comprise the first and second innings and perhaps have an option to bet on the player to take the most wickets in the match.

Next Ball Outcome

You can bet on whether the next delivery will result in a certain number of runs or a wicket. It is a popular option amongst individuals looking to settle their wagers quickly.

To Score a Century

With this market, the batter you choose must score at least 100 runs in an innings. This achievement happens far more often in test matches than limited overs games, although you should find markets for players to score a century in 50-over games and T20 fixtures.

The “To Score a Half Century” market is a more realistic option for shorter cricket variants. In this instance, you need the batter to score at least 50 runs in an innings.

Player Performance

Typically, betting sites show the entire list of players in a match. You must decide whether they will score over/under a certain number of runs or dismiss over/under a specific number of batters.

You should also have the option to select an individual to be the team’s top run scorer or wicket-taker. There might also be a “player of the game” market.

Method of the First Dismissal

You must predict how the first batter will be dismissed in this interesting market. There are eleven specific ways to be out in cricket. Five of them are relatively common and are usually the options available on a betting site:

  • Caught
  • Bowled
  • Leg Before Wicket (LBW)
  • Run Out
  • Stumped

There is usually an ‘Others’ category for the remaining options; the odds are usually 201.00+, indicating how rare it is to be given out for one of them! 

Here are the remaining methods of dismissal in cricket:

  • Hit Wicket: When the batter removes the bails.
  • Handled the Ball: The batter is adjudged to have handled the ball deliberately without permission from the opposition.
  • Double Hit: The batter hits the ball twice on purpose.
  • Obstructing the Fielder: The batter stops fielders from trying to catch the ball or complete a run-out.
  • Timed Out: When the batter takes too long to get from the pavilion to the crease
  • Retired Out: When a batter gets injured or falls ill and leaves the field, they are said to be ‘Retired Out.’ However, if they get permission from the umpire, they may resume batting after another batter is dismissed or forced to retire. This is known as being ‘Retired Not Out.’

For the record, there are only three cases of ‘Retired Out’ in the history of international cricket, comprising test matches, limited overs games, and T20 matches. Leonard Hutton (1951) is the only player dismissed in test match cricket for obstructing the fielder. No player has been timed out in the history of international cricket.

Team Runs

Rather than selecting a match winner, you can bet on a team to score over/under a number of runs set by the bookmaker. You might also have the chance to bet on alternative team runs markets, which gives you a greater selection.

First Innings Lead

This market only applies to test matches and first-class cricket, as each team gets two innings. You must select the team to score the most runs in the first innings. This doesn’t necessarily mean the team will win the match, however.

Team to Score the Most Boundaries

You’ll mainly find this market for T20 and one-day matches. It involves selecting the team with the highest number of fours and sixes in the game. There is often a separate market for most sixes in a match.

Cricket Betting Tips Guide

A quick Internet search will doubtless reveal many cricket betting guides. Unfortunately, the quality of such literature is often dubious and usually provides little other than easily researched generic information. 

While the following information isn’t a reinvention of the wheel, it should help you focus your betting and perhaps gain an understanding of the factors to consider in cricket betting.

There are a huge number of betting rules in cricket, enough to warrant an ebook, at the very least! However, we’ve decided to focus on six betting angles. This will give you enough to get started and perhaps even create your own ideas.

1. Lay the Draw in Test Matches

As we mentioned earlier, test match cricket has evolved thanks to the development of Twenty20 and 50-over games. Gone are the conservative games of the past where test match captains were more interested in NOT losing than winning. Aggressive attacking cricket on both sides of the ball is more prevalent these days, and the percentage of drawn tests has fallen dramatically.

In the 1980s, approximately 45% of test matches ended in draws. Between 2000 and 2019, 2009 was the only year where over 30% of games were drawn. From 2016 to 2019, fewer than 20% of tests were drawn, and in many cases, this was down to the weather.

While bookmakers have adjusted their odds, a school of thought suggests they’re still lagging behind. Therefore, assuming that inclement weather doesn’t interfere, it is worth laying the draw in test matches if the price is right, and it may well be.

2. Take Note of Grounds With Small Boundaries in T20

Twenty20 cricket is a “take no prisoners” game with bowlers punished for slight mistakes. They sometimes see a ball disappear into the stands, even when it’s a decent delivery!

Since batting teams are usually quite adventurous in T20, it is important to take note of the ground’s dimensions. Logically, if you’re betting on match boundaries or total runs, you want grounds with small boundaries.

Eden Park in New Zealand, The Wanderers in South Africa, and Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, all have short straight, and square boundaries.

In contrast, Australia’s Sydney Cricket Ground and Melbourne Cricket Ground have long boundaries. While this doesn’t necessarily mean lower scores, especially if the teams are adept at finding spaces, it means a far lower likelihood of sixes being scored.

3. Focus on Head-to-Head Records

In sports, certain individuals or teams give seemingly “superior” opponents problems. Think Muhammad Ali versus Ken Norton in boxing! It is no different in cricket, so take note of the head-to-head records between teams in the different forms of the game. However, it is best to look at recent matches rather than consider games from 70 years ago!

In T20, for example, Australia has a seemingly dominant record against South Africa. However, recent matches have seen a few victories for the Proteas, suggesting that Australia may not be as superior in this form of the game as they once were. Indeed, South Africa earned its first-ever T20 win in Australia in 2018.

Meanwhile, England has a sizeable lead in test match cricket over Sri Lanka, with over twice as many wins as losses. Indeed, England has won the last seven tests in a row, including five consecutive wins in Sri Lanka. Clearly, you want to be siding with England in this head-to-head battle at present.

Sometimes, bookmakers don’t account for head-to-head records and instead price matches based on overall form or world ranking. If you find a value bet, leap on it before the bookie realizes its mistake!

4. Become a Weather Forecaster

As much as any sport, cricket relies on the weather. When games are postponed due to rain, the covers come on the small pitch to ensure it remains dry. If the rain persists, a match can be abandoned, or the complicated scoring system called the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) method comes into play.

Regardless of how quickly the covers come on, some rain will get onto the wicket, causing it to become softer. While a soft pitch makes it harder for fast bowlers to generate pace, it also causes problems for batters due to uneven bounce.

If there is strong sunshine after the rain, the pitch could dry out quickly, causing cracks to appear on the surface. This is great news for spin bowlers who can produce unpredictable deliveries.

Also, a wet outfield plays havoc on the fielding team, with slips and dropped catches more likely.

If the forecast involves overcast skies, the eyes of fast bowlers light up. With more humidity in the air, seam bowlers benefit from increased swing.

In hot weather, pitches are harder, and the ball bounces predictably. It is a paradise for batters who excel at playing against pace bowling as they can bat more aggressively. Other weather issues to consider include wind and the dew factor. Simply put, no cricket betting guide worth reading will fail to mention the importance of weather.

5. Research Pitch Conditions, Particularly in International Cricket

Test match cricket is facing a problem; matches are becoming far too predictable. Winning away from home in test match cricket is among the hardest things to do in sport. Fewer than 30% of away teams win test matches; with the percentage of draws also falling, this means a higher home win rate.

Australia has won approximately 70% of its home tests in the 21st century, followed by India and South Africa with around 60%. Weaker test nations such as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and Ireland lose more matches at home than average, inflating the away win percentage.

The most obvious reason for the high home win percentage is pitch conditions and the host side’s familiarity with them. In India, New Zealand, and England, the ball swings away from the batter more often, meaning teams with technically gifted fast bowlers will do better than ones that rely solely on pace.

In Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, the ball grips and spins off what is almost always a dry surface more than average. This means teams need high-quality spin bowlers and batters capable of handling spin. In countries like England, spin bowling is less practiced, so English teams often face difficulties playing opposition in the subcontinent.

In basic terms, the host nation in international cricket doesn’t have to adapt to pitch conditions; the touring side does. As the data shows, this makes all the difference.

6. In T20, The Toss Is Boss (But Only in Evening Games in Asian Countries)

T20 cricket is facing a problem; games are becoming too dependent on the toss. During the 2021 T20 World Cup, the team winning the toss was victorious in 66.67% of matches (30 out of 45).

However, it is in evening matches that the toss is a huge factor. In that world cup, held in the UAE, 69.23% of teams that won the toss also won the match, compared to 52.38% of winners in afternoon matches. The side that correctly predicted the toss won over 80% of matches played at the Dubai International Stadium during the tournament.

Indeed, it is a trend that has been apparent since the first men’s T20 World Cup in 2007. In fact, in the tournament’s history, the toss winner has won 65% of evening matches. The reason is that the captain who wins the toss will almost always field first in evening matches in Asian nations.

Why? The dew factor! In evening games, the dew on the pitch makes it harder for the fielding team to bowl as the ball holds up, making things much easier for the batting team. Furthermore, the wet outfield makes it harder to grip the ball, and fielding mistakes are more common in the second innings. Therefore, it is highly desirable to bat second in these circumstances.

However, when the T20 World Cup was played outside of Asia, the data changed significantly. Between the tournaments in South Africa, England, and West Indies, less than 43% of teams that won the toss in evening games went on to win the match.

Bookmakers often change their odds based on who wins the toss, especially in an evening game. Yet, if the match is taking place outside of Asia, they may inadvertently overprice the loser of the toss.

Do Crypto Sites Offer Cricket Betting Markets?

Yes! Indeed, they even offer markets on lesser-known cricket versions such as T10. There are events and markets to suit the appetite of every bettor.

Players choose crypto betting sites for many reasons. These include:

  • Greater anonymity; this is especially useful for bettors hoping to enjoy their pastime without their banks finding out
  • Faster deposits and withdrawals
  • Higher deposit and withdrawal limits
  • The chance to use new bookmakers after being restricted/banned by fiat platforms
  • The potential for the value of winnings to rise significantly; although there is also a risk of the value of crypto falling

The number of reasons to choose a fiat platform over its crypto equivalent is shrinking. In the early days of crypto betting, providers didn’t have the same volume of sports and markets. Sites like Stake provide an even greater array of betting markets than their fiat rivals, turning this situation on its head.

Apart from the usual events, Stake offers markets from lesser-known tournaments such as the T10 International European Cricket Championship (we bet you didn’t know Luxembourg and Malta had teams) and the KCA Presidents Cup T20 in India.

Basically, if a professional, or even amateur, cricket match is taking place, at least one crypto betting site will probably offer markets for it!

The Definitive Cricket Betting Guide: Wrapping Up

Nearly one-third of the world’s population watches or plays cricket, making it an incredibly popular game. Although it was first played about 500 years ago, it had no international reach until the 19th century. These days, dozens of countries play at least one of the growing number of cricket formats.

Indeed, the different cricket variants offer markets to suit bettors with different temperaments. The patient punter may enjoy the lengthy nature of test match cricket, where momentum changes are slower, although games can sometimes change in minutes.

Gamblers seeking a greater volume of bets are attracted to limited overs and T20 cricket, where thousands of games occur annually. Furthermore, they can avail of a splendid array of in-play markets, including bets on the outcome of the next ball!

Hopefully, this cricket betting tips guide has improved your overall knowledge of the sport. Knowing the right information is vital in the difficult quest to beat the bookies. Speaking of which, a significant number of people are moving towards crypto betting sites. They offer an impressive array of cricket events and markets and now hold a huge advantage over fiat platforms in almost every conceivable way.

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Patrick Lynch
Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert

Patrick has been a professional writer since 2009. He knows the issues players face when trying to find reputable casinos and performs forensic analysis on every site he reviews. Since joining in 2021, Patrick has had his eyes opened by the potential of the cryptocurrency market. With a background in sports betting, he realizes the possibilities afforded to successful bettors when using digital currency.