Royal London Cup 2018: Tournament Odds and Betting Preview
The new English cricket season has experienced a number of false starts with late spring and even snow laying waste to much of the early fixture list. For now at least, the weather seems to have settled down and that’s good news for the organisers of the year’s first One Day Tournament.
The first round of matches in the 2018 Royal London Cup take place on Thursday May 17 and will continue through the next two months until the final at Lord’s on Saturday June 30. This is played in the longer, 50 over format with the 18 counties split evenly into two groups of nine.
At the end of the regular season, things are a little complicated in terms of the knockout stage but the winners of each group will go straight through to the semi finals where they will enjoy home advantage. The second and third placed teams will then play off to decide who will join them.
That’s the guide to dates and formats but who have the bookmakers put in the frame to win the Royal London Cup in 2018?
Team to Beat
Notts Outlaws are the defending champions and after winning the Royal London twelve months ago, the side went on to complete a domestic double with victory in the T20 Blast. That level of success in the short form makes them obvious favourites in this outright market for 2018 and you can pick up Steven Mullaney’s side at best odds of 7/1 with Black Type and LVBet.
One issue for the Outlaws concerns the availability of Alex Hales who is currently playing in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad. His initial contract would have seen the opener miss two Royal London games but that situation is made worse now that Sunrisers are into the play offs. This robs Notts of the Man of the Match in the 2017 Lord’s final as Hales almost single-handedly won the game for his side with an unbeaten 187.
Perhaps we should look elsewhere for 2018 and behind the market leaders, the second favourites are Yorkshire at 8/1 with Unibet and 888Sport before we get to 2017’s beaten finalists Surrey at a top price of 10/1 with Black Type.
Yorkshire are considered as one of the stronger One Day teams in the UK but they haven’t won a limited overs trophy since lifting the Friends Provident in 2002. Surrey are interesting because they really should have won this competition last year and they have brought in Indian superstar Virat Kohli for three Royal London games.
Like Yorkshire, Surrey’s record in domestic one day cricket isn’t great but their last win is more recent, coming in 2011 thanks to success in the Clydesdale Bank 40.
Behind the leading three teams, the betting remains tight and our fourth favourites are Warwickshire at best odds of 10/1 with William Hill and Betway. The Bears, as they are known, are one of the most successful English One Day teams in the modern era and they won this very trophy as recently as 2016.
Hampshire follow on at a top price of 11/1 with Sun Bets and then we start to move out with Sussex Sharks quoted at a best of 14/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral. From there, we have a clutch of teams listed at the same best odds of 16/1 as Essex Eagles, Somerset, Middlesex and Lancashire can all be picked up at that figure with Unibet and 888Sport.
All four of those teams have enjoyed impressive wins in limited overs cricket and they should be targeting the knockouts at the very least but again, we have a lack of trophies to back up their potential.
The Dark Horse bet here could be Gloucestershire who can be backed at a top price of 28/1 with Sun Bets to win the Royal London Cup in 2018. They lifted this trophy three years ago and are another side who lack individual stars but seem to perform well as a team in the one day arena.
Many will consider a bet on Gloucester as an unlikely punt however as we are starting to move into real outsider territory. Only two teams sit behind them – Derbyshire at best odds of 33/1 with SportingBet and MarathonBet and Leicestershire at that same top price of 33/1 with Unibet and Sun Bets. We’ll certainly be avoiding those two but who is likely to come through and emerge as Royal London Cup winners in 2018?
Notts Outlaws were always going to find themselves at the top of the outright betting but Alex Hales is such a key player that his absence will surely affect the side in those opening matches. The upside for the defending champions is the fact that they are in the slightly weaker group – the North – where the rank outsiders Derby and Leicester reside.
If the Outlaws can get to the knockout stage then Hales will be back and available for this round, leaving them with a full strength and very dangerous squad.
Defending Champions Surrey are also worth a look in our opinion and although Virat Kohli won’t be around for long, his influence should inspire a young team who were unlucky not to lift the title 12 months ago.
The likes of Essex, Middlesex and Yorkshire will also attract money in the outrights but one team that stands out for us here is Warwickshire. Traditionally, they have been the dominant one day county for around 25 years and while success in the last decade has been less frequent, the Bears always pose a threat.
For 2018, their squad carries the experience of Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott and there is a good balance too with emerging talent such as Sam Hain, Olly Stone and Josh Poysden. If England allow Chris Woakes to compete in the latter stages, this could be an important addition to an already impressive squad. All teams may need some luck in the knockouts but we feel that the Warwickshire Bears are on course for another productive One Day season.
Best Bets for Royal London One Day Cup 2018:
- Warwickshire Bears to win at 10/1 with William Hill