The Guerilla Guide to Filthy Lucre

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Semi's and final CT 2017 betting

Past performance is no guarantee of future accomplishment. Which is just as well as my pre-tournament bets have gone right up the Graeme. Sorry, the Swanny. Neither of my winner picks made it out of the group stage, New Zealand succumbing to an inspired Bangles run chase and South Africa digging their own grave and leaping into it with three suicidal run-outs against India. That defeat means my leading run-scorer shout, Hashim Amla, is also blown out. I do have one dog left in the fight, however. Jasprit Bumrah finally chipped in with a couple of wickets against the hapless Proteas and he can now be backed at a mere 500/1 to emerge as the competition's top wicket-taker…

So, let's move on. England and India are big favourites to win their respective semis and meet in Sunday's final. England face the ever-mercurial Pakistan side, whose bowlers have dragged them kicking and screaming into the knock-out phase. I expect England to have too many weapons for the Green Machine in Cardiff on Wednesday, though, and I certainly think the hosts' bowling attack will be far too strong for the often-frail Pakistani batting line-up – see how they did their best to throw it away against Sri Lanka, for example.

India are even bigger favourites to account for the Bangles. We can expect the atmosphere of the tournament in Birmingham, where the two sets of fans will bring colour, music and full body paint to proceedings. But, again, I can see a one-sided contest and India coming through comfortably. Barring a blip against Sri Lanka, the Indians have been pretty ruthless and have won their other two games by wide margins.

This is hardly a bold prediction but I recommend a maximum bet on both England and India to reach the final. You should get about 4/6 for the double. Not the sort of price to make you rich unless you have deep pockets but better than sticking it in the bank.

In the top bowler market, I reckon Mark Wood represents some good value at 20/1. He's currently three behind teammate Liam Plunkett (Josh Hazlewood has one more but, in case you missed it, Australia are out – oh dear, what a pity, never mind) but he's getting better and better with each match. After drawing a blank in the first game, Wood removed Kane Williamson with the ball of the tournament in game two and, against Australia, took a career-best 4/33. He's back to full fitness, is bowling with searing pace and generally just loving his cricket. I can see him slicing through Pakistan before bowling England to a famous victory against India in the final.

And that's my final recommendation. Back England at 13/10 to win the competition. We're the only team with a 100% record, while our chief rivals India showed a sliver of vulnerability in allowing Sri Lanka to chase 322 from an unpromising position. Virat Kohli's men are a general 5/4 (priced that way in part because of a supposedly easier semi-final) but I'm backing the home side to come out on top in a closely-fought final come Sunday.

It's been a cracking tournament, this, and I hope you've found one or two winners if you've been having a punt, albeit not from this column – yet.

Be good. And if you can't be good, be lucky.

Recommended bets at the semi-final stage

England (4/11) and India (1/4) both to advance to the final Approx 4/6 10pts

Mark Wood to be top tournament bowler 20/1 2pts

England to win the tournament 13/10 5 pts


Grubby's CT betting preview

Compact, jam-packed and over before anyone's had the chance to get bored. Not just an accurate description of the average Guerilla's sex life, but also a fair summation of the ICC Champions' Trophy.

I'm not messing about with any foreplay, as I leap straight to the climax. And while I'd love to lie back and think of England emerging victorious in the tournament, I fear the 11/4 on offer is a little on the skinny side. Sure, we've made gigantic strides as a one-day team since the débacle of the 2015 World Cup: we bat deep and long with some of the game's most ferocious hitters; our bowling attack has abundant variety, guile and wicket-taking options; our fielding is arguably the best in the world.

It's just that, bugger it, I can't help feeling we'll arse it up at some stage. See the recent dead rubber vs South Africa at Lord's for evidence. If we were priced up at a more realistic 4/1, I'd be all over us. At 11/4, no thanks. But please, England, prove me wrong.

Instead, I'm going to recommend two tournament win bets. The first is South Africa at 4/1. I reason that, along with India, they're a shoo-in to progress from their group. Yes, I'm aware of the cliché "You never know which Pakistan is going to show up" but recent evidence in the 50-over format suggests it'll be a bobbins one. Similar but even more damning comments apply to Sri Lanka. The South Africa line-up is packed with class and experience, and they've acclimatised with a perfectly creditable 2-1 series defeat to the hosts (could've been the other way around but for Mark Wood's wonder over in Southampton).

My second tournament winner bet is New Zealand at a frankly insulting 11/1. England (11/4) and Australia (7/2) are justifiably ahead of the Black Caps in the market but there's no way the price differential should be so marked. However, and particularly because our Kiwi chums have a pretty poor record in the latter stages of these global tournaments, I'd suggest you make this a 'back to lay' play and get out of the bet for a small profit if and when New Zealand reach the semis.

To wind up, I'll give you a couple of fun potshots in the individual performance markets.

My first poke is Hashim Amla for top batsman. He's all class, the bearded genius, and makes run-scoring look easier than any other batsman on the planet. He'll open the batting in all South Africa's games (barring injury) and looks in prime nick if the recent England series is anything to go by. You'll find worse 12/1 shots.

Then there's India's Jasprit Bumrah for top bowler honours. He might have an action that resembles the TV aerial off Evil Edna's head (Will O' The Wisp, kids' show, early 80s – no?) but by Christ he's a fine one-day operator. Tough to score off, accurate and awkward to face with his unorthodox style, he can frustrate free-scorers into doing silly things and also mop up the tail. Nothing wrong with the 16/1 price especially if you buy into my theory about India being a good thing to get through the group stage.

That's me done. You can roll over and go to sleep now.

Recommended bets

New Zealand tournament winners 11/1 2pts ( back to lay at the semi-final )

South Africa tournament winners 4/1 5pts

Hashim Amla top tournament batsmen 12/1 2pts

Jasprit Bumrah top tournament bowler 16/1 2pts


Betting preview for the Champions Trophy

The Champions Trophy starts this week, and we'll be covering all the games on Guerilla Cricket. While the Trophy is certainly well behind the World Cups in terms of prestige, it does have brevity on its side which is no bad thing!

I'm casting my eye over the prices on offer and have hopefully found a few worthy of interest. In Group B, India and Pakistan have been drawn together once again. If only there had been a way to bet on that. With Virat Kohli's men having the Indian Sign over their great rivals in tournament cricket (see what I did there), and Sri Lanka looking a weak outfit, it should come down to India and South Africa for the top spot in the group, and India are my choice at 2.60 (8/5 in old money). Their bowling options look superior to those of the Proteas with Kumar, Yadav and Bumrah all coming off excellent IPLs. R Ashwin is also back in the squad after sitting out the IPL action.

England and Australia are the clear favourites in Group A, and understandably so. The hosts will rarely have a better chance to win a global tournament in the longer white ball format, and I wouldn't put anyone off the 3.50 (5/2) on offer for that. My official picks though are for top batsman and bowler in the tournament. Joe Root is England's mainstay at number 3, he'll have plenty of time to bat (perhaps too much as Hales and Roy have been a sketchy partnership of late) and generally sets his stall out to bat long with England's hitters playing around him. At 11.0 (10/1) he's worth a punt for Top Tournament Batsman.

With the ball, I'm looking no further than the favourite Mitchell Starc. Starc has an excellent white ball record, he bowls at the start and the death where wickets are easiest to come by, and I could easily see Australia going all the way to the final (hopefully an Ashes showdown!). With only 5 games maximum to be played, hopefully Starc will stay fit and top the wickets table at 10.0 (9/1).

Finally, while many bemoan the absence of the West Indies, I'm glad to see a hint of meritocracy (I initially wrote mediocrity there, bad Freudian slip) in the qualification for this tournament and I hope Bangladesh can ruffle some feathers. Mustafizur Rahman is very much the pick of their bowlers, and after looking rusty at the start of the IPL he took some time out and was back in the wickets in the warm up games. He's my pick for Bangladesh's top wicket taker at 3.50 (5/2).

ICC Champions Trophy Recommendations

India to win Group B, 10 pts @ 2.60 (8/5)

Joe Root Top Tournament Batsman, 3 pts @ 11.0 (10/1)

Mitchell Starc Top Tournament Bowler, 3 pts @ 10.0 (9/1)

Mustafizur Rahman Top Bangladesh Bowler, 10 pts @ 3.50 (5/2)

All prices correct at time of writing.

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