THE Perth Scorchers are the red hot favourites to win their fourth Big Bash League title ahead of this week’s three-match finals series.
Installed as $2.40 favourites for the title, a Scorchers victory would cap an incredible season, in which their squad has been gutted by injury and Australian selection, for one of Australia’s most successful sporting franchises.
But first, they’ll have to overcome this year’s surprise packets the Hobart Hurricanes, who snuck into the finals series in fourth place. The Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades, both missing their captains who will be on Australian T20 duty, face off in the other semi.
Check out our betting analysis of both Big Bash League semi finals below and our prediction for the overall tournament winner!
BBL07 Semi Final 1: Perth Scorchers v Hobart Hurricanes at Optus Stadium, Perth (1/2/18)
Twenty20 matches are more often than not won by the team with one or two star performers, but the Perth Scorchers have bucked the trend for much of this season. Justin Langer has used 19 different players across 10 matches, with only one batsman registering in the tournament’s top 10 run scorers (Ashton Turner, 10th, 250 runs). Andrew Tye claimed 16 scalps in just six matches but since departing for international duties, the workload has been spread in the bowling department, too.
The Hurricanes have surprised many this season, with their charge led by opener D’Arcy Short’s record-breaking 504 run haul. It is worth noting that 416 of those came during the ‘Canes’ five wins, in which he top scored in each. Their over-reliance him was exposed either side of that burst and he will now be missing for the finals.
This match appears rather one sided and the $1.58 for Perth to win isn’t unjustified. They’re unbeaten at home this season, although crucially are playing at the new Optus Stadium and not the WACA, but face a side whose over-reliance on one player has been exposed. The return of both Marsh brothers only enhances their claims and they should be qualifying for a home decider from this one.
Betting tip: Perth Scorchers to win @ $1.58
BBL07 Semi Final 2: Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Renegades at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (2/2/18)
The Adelaide Strikers were widely tipped to be a fringe finals outfit this term but a seven-three record was good enough to earn them a home semi. But their success has come at a cost – this season’s breakout player, wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey, as well as skipper Travis Head and beanpole quick Billy Stanlake will all be on Australian T20 assignment. Star Afghan leggie Rashid Khan is also missing, placing plenty of pressure on the resurgent Peter Siddle who boasts a brilliant economy rate of 5.83 this season.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the six-and-four Renegades, a team which was expected to qualify for finals action with ease this time around. Regular skipper Aaron Finch took longer than usual to find his rhythm and when he and deputy Cameron White disappeared for ODI engagements, their batting order struggled. Their star power lies in the middle with West Indian all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard providing the mojo with bat and ball. The return of White also boosts their knockout hopes.
The market looks like it is having as much trouble as us sorting this one out, with the travelling Renegades holding a slender 1.87 favouritism over the Strikers at 1.94. We’re going to lean to Adelaide here, whose only home loss came against Perth and who beat the Renegades with ease during the campaign. Backing outsiders at home, no matter what sport, is a luxury punters should think hard before passing up.
Betting tip: Adelaide Strikers to win @ $1.94
Predicted Final: Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers at Optus Stadium, Perth (4/2/18)
It should come as little surprise that the top two on the ladder are our picks to fight it out for the BBL07 crown in a hypothetical decider on Sunday.
Four titles in seven years would be a remarkable achievement for Perth. But they have the ingredients to make it happen – dynamic in-form batsmen (Bancroft, Turner), middle order experience (Voges), fast bowling strength (Johnson, Richardson), international experience (Bresnan) and the returning Star power of Shaun and Mitch Marsh. They look the complete package.
Adelaide would be no easy-beats though. Jason Gillespie’s stocks as a coach have soared in recent times and his canny recruitment of Khan and Colin Ingram as the side’s overseas players should be commended. But with the former missing plus their Australian T20 trio, it may stretch their squad that little bit too far at a time when their potential opponents have been bolstered.
In every facet the Scorchers look like presenting with a stronger match day squad and in front of 55,000 fans in Perth, appear the best way home. In current all-in markets they are $2.40 to win the tournament. But with current odds of $1.58 to win their semi, taking $2.40 now is essentially like taking the $1.58 in a multi with them to win the final at $1.52 – that’s hardly value. They should be a better price in head to head markets for the match.
Betting tip: Perth Scorchers to win