England have confirmed their squad for the forthcoming Ashes series as they travel to Australia looking to defend the urn.
With three uncapped players and a couple of unexpected and high-profile recalls in the shape of James Vince and Gary Ballance – Bookmakers have reacted, and not in England’s favour, and it is easy to see why.
Pundits have been quick to criticise too, with the BBC’s Jonathan Agnew commenting: “This is one of the weakest squads I’ve seen.”
Vice-captain Ben Stokes was named in the party despite damaging his hand in a nightclub incident in Bristol earlier this week and subsequently being arrested – overall the vibes are not good for England, especially from an odds point of view.
“It is no surprise the odds are going the way they are, England have won just two since 1983 – two from their last nine trips Down Under, and now the squad has question marks all over,” said OddsMonkey spokesman Peter Watton.
“England are the third ranked test nation, going up against Australian in fifth – but the Boomakers are having none of it. Australia are as short as 4/7 – they are clearly wanting to put the British punters off.
“England are as long as 6/4 but we can expect that to go out, for instance what if Stokes gets ruled out for whatever reason? From what we are seeing and hearing, the Bookies are expecting to go bigger with England.
“And if you want a bit more value at this point, what about a draw? There has not been a drawn series since 1972 and not in Australia since 1966 – but you can get 6/1 and given how close the games could be, this might not be a bad option.”
Selected Ashes odds:
Australia to win series 4/7 (SkyBet)
England to win series 6/4 (BetFred)
Drawn series 6/1 (Coral)