County Championship 2019 Division One Betting – Cricket Odds

Same again for Surrey in Division One?

Three teams will be promoted from Division Two at the end of the current County Championship season with only the bottom side from the top division, which currently only has eight teams, being relegated. That will boost next season’s Division One to 10 teams.

This is a huge year for English cricket with the World Cup being staged ahead of an Ashes tour. Understandably, the County Championship will have to be content with taking a back seat, alongside other domestic competitions, but it’s still vital in the development of young players who want to have an international career.

Of course, 2019 will also be the last year in more than 150 years that professional cricket in England and Wales is tied to the county scene. The controversial Hundred begins next year based at just eight grounds and carrying the name of their city hosts.

One feature of this year’s County Championship is that the fixtures are spread more evenly throughout the summer rather than boxed into April and May, only picking up again in late August and September. But the competition will still be sporadic relatively early in the season, when the Royal London One-Day Cup will be staged, and halted again in July to make way for the Vitality Blast. By then, everyone will be concentrating on the Ashes.

SURREY (5/2 with Betway) won 10 of their 14 matches last season and were unbeaten prior to their final game of the summer against Essex, their first opponents this season. Everything was cut and dried by then so Rory Burns’ team can be forgiven that aberration. They will almost certainly lose Jason Roy for most of the summer but the Kia Oval has become a bit of a fortress in the four-day game and Morne Morkel, bowling as well as ever, has re-signed. The champions have also acquired Liam Plunkett and Morkel’s former South Africa team-mate Dean Elgar so look the team to beat again.

ESSEX (9/2 with Unibet) are boosted by Sir Alastair Cook’s international retirement and the County Championship is probably their best hope of silverware this season, even though all teams will go into all competitions believing they can win. Coach Anthony McGrath will be delighted that the likes of Ryan Ten Doeschate, Ravi Bopara, Adam Wheater and Simon Harmer have signed new contracts but long-serving wicket-keeper James Foster has retired and their leading strike bowler, Peter Siddle, has returned to the Australia fold.

Only the frankly hopeless Worcestershire lost more matches last year than NOTTINGHAMSHIRE but there are grounds for believing that Trent Bridge club will fare better this season. Ben Duckett, Ben Slater and Joe Clarke have joined up as Notts base their revival on youth. Aussie quickie James Pattinson will be available before the Ashes get under way and England internationals Harry Gurney and Jake Ball will give good back-up when available – there may even be the odd appearance from Stuart Broad. At a best 15/2, they look credible dark horses.

YORKSHIRE have lost Plunkett and Jack Brooks to Somerset but have recruited the much younger Duane Olivier on a three-year contract. Only 26, he has dismayed the South African authorities by sacrificing his international career for the security of a county cricket deal but will be a good focal point for Yorkshire’s young and inexperienced attack in which Ben Coad is expected to shine this year. The White Rose’s failings could be in the batting department, however, with Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow likely to be away all summer. They are also a best 8/1 to win County Championship Division One this season.

SOMERSET (a general 8/1) finished second to Surrey in the title race last year but still ended up 46 points adrift. Whether Jack Brooks will be the answer to their oft-predictable bowling attack is anybody’s guess and they will again rely heavily on another veteran, Marcus Trescothick, for runs along with James Hildreth. If any of those mis-fire, they will struggle to get anywhere near the top of the table but the compact County Ground at Taunton remains a hard place for away teams to get a result.

HAMPSHIRE have lost head coach Craig White after six years with the club to be replaced by Adi Birrell. They were badly hit by injuries last year but there hasn’t been a great influx of quality over the winter. James Vince and Sam Northeast will need to be at the top of their game all summer to get enough runs on the board but Fidel Edwards will only play red-ball cricket this year, though the West Indian is not a bowler who can bowl all day – the general 8/1 looks much too short.

WARWICKSHIRE are only a best 9/1 with Unibet but could be without Ian Bell for most of the campaign because of a foot injury. Stalwart Jonathan Trott has retired and Keith Barker has moved to Hampshire and experience like that is hard to replace. It may be a monumental task for Paul Farbrace to keep Warwickshire in the division let alone win it.

KENT are back in the top flight after a nine-year hiatus but bookmakers think that their stay might be short-lived. They are 20/1 with Unibet after news that Sam Billings and Joe Denly, their key men, will miss the start of the campaign due to IPL commitments. New Zealander Matt Henry tore up Division Two last season but hasn’t returned and that has left a big hole which Australian Matt Renshaw will try to fill. It says plenty that they may again need 42-year-old Darren Stevens to chip in with key wickets.

County Championship 2019 Division One Outright Winners Odds

Surrey 5/2, Essex 9/2, Nottinghamshire 15/2, Somerset, Hampshire and Yorkshire 8/1, Warwickshire 9/1, Kent 20/1

(Odds correct at 9.45am April 3)