All eyes have been on the Cricket World Cup for the last few months, but the start of the 2019 Ashes series will soon be upon us.
Cricket fans are starting to get excited about the resumption of the game’s greatest rivalry.
England will play Australia in five tests, beginning at the start of August and running through to the 16th of September.
Australia is the current holder of the Ashes, having won the 2017/18 series 4-0 on home soil.
But the visitors have not won an Ashes series in England since 2001, and with the two squads looking to be more evenly balanced than they have for a long time, it looks like a fascinating duel.
I’m going to take a look at the two teams, their recent form, and squad news that could help inform betting on the 2019 Ashes series.
Latest 2019 Ashes Betting Odds
Many of the betting markets are yet to be released with still a few weeks before the start of the series. But the outright winner odds at
Betway look like this.
England to Win1.83
Australia to Win2.62
England is the slight favourite to clinch the series, and on home soil, that is probably just about fair. There are problem areas in both squads, and this does look like being an evenly matched
Although it may be tempting to look at the more attractive odds for the draw, it should be noted that even with the British weather, there hasn’t been an Ashes series that has ended in a draw
With five tests to play, it is far more likely that we will get a result one way or the other.
You have to go back to 2001 for the last time that England were unable to win the Ashes at home, and it has been a
pattern over the last 20 years or so for the home nation to be victorious.
The 2005 series — famously celebrated by Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen in particular — was the end of an Australian era of dominance, and now these two nations tend to give each other a
more even game.
The amount of test match cricket played by England recently is one of the biggest worries for the hosts ahead of the Ashes. Apart from a single four-day match against Ireland scheduled just after
the World Cup, England have only played three test matches against the West Indies this year.
That tour of the West Indies was something of a disappointment. England lost the first two tests in a three-match series, handing the West Indies the win. Batting totals were awful until the
final test, with England able to get over 200 runs in just one of its first four innings in the first two.
Confusion over the line-up didn’t help England, and it is that lack of decision over the best batting order that could play a crucial part in the upcoming Ashes series.
Before the Sri Lanka series at the end of 2018, the selectors seemed to be unsure about the identity of the top three, and that still seems to be the case after those games and the tour of the
Keaton Jennings had a poor run of form in the Caribbean, and Joe Denly came in as opener, only to be pushed down to number three later on in the series. It will be vital for England to get off on
the front foot against Australia, and if the team is continually misfiring with the opening pair, the Aussies will sense blood.
There is more stability lower down the order with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow proving that they can both shore up an innings and score high run totals when needed. Add to that the power of Jos
Buttler and Ben Stokes, and the middle order for England looks very good.
England’s bowling attack also looks to be in impressive form, although the recent injury scare for record all-time wicket taker Jimmy Anderson will be a worry.
Before the veteran pace man’s calf tear injury, it was thought that he would pair up with the equally reliable Stuart Broad to use all their experience against the Australian top order. There
needs to be a plan B now, and that is where newcomer Jofra Archer may come in.
Already looking likely to be included in the Ashes squad after a glorious World Cup, Archer’s fast-tracking into the England team may have been controversial, but it is a move that has definitely
worked. His pace and effortless style have bamboozled batsmen in the one-day games this summer, and he is very important to the England attack in the Ashes series.
Mark Wood enjoyed a good final test in the West Indies and will be hopeful of inclusion alongside Ben Stokes. Moeen Ali is likely to be the only spinner involved for England, depending on the
state of the pitches by the time the Ashes tests come around.
The Aussies have had a mixed set of test cricket results in the same time period. A first-ever defeat to India on home soil was endured at the start of the year before a morale-boosting thrashing
of Sri Lanka.
There will be no further test matches played in the short time between the end of the World Cup and the start of the Ashes, so Australia will need to rely on good form in the limited over
tournament and the memory of that convincing two test series win over Sri Lanka.
Steve Smith and David Warner coming back from their 12-month bans connected to the ball-tampering scandal is the main news on the batting front for Australia. Warner in particular has looked good
at the World Cup, and it seems as though both players have fitted back into the squad with little problem.
Having those two back is a huge boost for the Aussies as they are able to power through an innings — even in the more sedate test match format — and also use their experience and leadership when
stability is needed.
Marcus Harris was introduced for the India series at the end of 2018 and posted some very good totals so will be hoping that a relatively poor showing in the two games against Sri Lanka will not
be held against him. Travis Head and Kurtis Patterson were the other two stand-out Aussies with the bat against an admittedly weak Sri Lanka, so they will be looking to be involved at some point
The Aussie bowling attack looks fairly settled already. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood will all be included, having recovered from minor injuries picked up earlier in the year.
Jhye Richardson will want to push to be included as well, but it is James Pattinson who is making a late move to be involved in the Ashes series. He is a member of the Australia A team who has
been playing throughout the early summer in England.
Pattinson picked up seven wickets in the recent game against Sussex and will hope his form will continue in that vein. He has not played for Australia for three years but may be a surprise name
to look out for in the bowling markets if selected in the final squad.
Starc and Hazlewood will be the main Aussie bowlers, however, and will appreciate English conditions giving them more scope than the flat pitches that they have to contend with at home.
My 2019 Ashes Prediction and Pick
One of the best things about a five test match series — as far as the betting goes — is that there are so many choices when it comes to a wager. Once the series begins, there will be the
individual test matches, batting and bowling leaders, and other markets to explore.
But this early on in the summer, there is really just the outright Ashes series winner market being offered by most online betting
sites. I’ll return to the other markets as the Ashes get closer, but for now, I’m going to make a pick on which team I think will win the series.
England is the favourite, and if Archer picks up test match cricket for England the same way he has started his limited overs international career, then Australia could be in a spot of bother.
But Australia has its own fearsome bowling attack, alongside David Warner making an impressive comeback after suspension. If Steve Smith can also get back to the form of a few years ago, then
there could be some long days in the field for Joe Root and his team.
I feel that this series will be very close, so a draw is not out of the question, but I think Australia may upset the odds and come away with its first Ashes victory in England for almost 20
The tests will definitely be shared, and a lot will hinge on who manages to win the first one in Edgbaston at the start of August. But my early pick for the 2019 Ashes is Australia.
Australia to win the 2019 Ashes Series
With the Cricket World Cup out of the way, the interest levels for the Ashes will really start to kick in. Although continued pay per view broadcast rights means that there won’t be the same
national involvement in England as there was for the famous 2015 Ashes series, cricket fans will be eagerly anticipating that first ball on 1st August.
It promises to be an excellent contest between two teams with some outstanding players, but also the ability to make some costly mistakes. It has been a few years since either of these two was
head and shoulders above the competition, with England currently ranked fourth in the world and Australia fifth.
That only makes it an even more finely poised series, and it should be an excellent seven weeks of cricket.
Dan Roberts is an experienced freelance writer specialising in sports and sports betting. He is particularly knowledgeable about world soccer, but also writes about football, basketball and cricket.
As a fan of Nottingham Forest, New York Knicks, Minnesota Vikings and New York Mets, Dan has not had much to celebrate recently.