The rivalry is legendary. England versus Australia. The homeland versus the colony. The Poms versus the Convicts. However you dress it up, this clash of cricketing superpowers towers over the rest, and when it comes around every two years it certainly has a special significance.
The term ‘The Ashes’ originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia's victory over England at The Oval in 1882, their first Test win on English soil. Since then, 69 Ashes series have been played, with Australia winning 32, England 32 and the remaining five being drawn.
England are the current holders of the Ashes after they won the 2015 series 3-2, but the true test of a team is to venture into enemy territory and maintain their grip on the urn. Will Joe Root and his merry band of men be able to come through the five Test tour unscathed and bring the little pot back to Blighty? All will become clear between 23 November 2017 and 8 January 2018.
Home advantage does play a massive part in modern Test cricket, especially the Ashes. The Aussies are at home for the upcoming series and that goes a long way to explain why they are the bookmaker’s favourites at a best price of 4/6. An Ashes tour takes place over such a long period of time, over six weeks in total, and in this case over Christmas and New Year. That’s a gruelling schedule away from the comforts of home, family and friends, and in a country where everyone basically hates you - just because you happen to play cricket for England!
England are a talented side however and it would be unwise to write them off. But lest we forget that last time England travelled down under for the 2013/14 series, they were absolutely spanked and whitewashed 5-0. The Australians had Mitchell Johnson in fearsome form throughout that series but they will surely be hard-pressed to find another bowler with such devastating pace and bounce in his armoury. The odds on another 5-0 beating for the Pommies are as short as 14/1, but thanks to Easyodds’ price comparison you can back it at 22/1!
England can be backed at 11/4 to win the series outright but I personally think that is unlikely to be the case. They have won just one of the past seven Ashes series to take place down under and Australia will be desperate to regain the urn. Bearing in mind England only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes, a drawn series at odds of 13/2 could prove to be a clever bet. Of course this would mean that one of the five Tests would have to be drawn, which is a possibility if we see a batsman’s paradise of a wicket, in say Perth for example.
Speaking of Perth, it was announced this week that the new stadium will not be ready in time to host the Test in the West, so the WACA will be the chosen venue to hold one final match between the auld rivals from 14-18 December. Formerly an insanely fast and bouncy pitch, sadly it is now relatively low and slow and easy to score on. So perhaps we could see a drawn Test at that venue. I can only see an Aussie win in the first Test at the Gabba. Hot, humid conditions and a crazed crowd of Queenslanders braying for Pommie blood equals a big defeat for England in my view.
Next up is the Adelaide Oval, a ground where England have performed well historically. Kevin Pietersen scored a magnificent 227 here back in 2010 when his side won the match by a massive margin of an innings and 71 runs. Skippered by Andrew Strauss, England also achieved an innings win at the MCG in the Boxing Day Test match of that series, famously bowling Australia out for just 98 in their first innings.
My tip of the 2017 Ashes series would be to back a 2-2 draw at a best price of 13/2. I have a feeling new captain Joe Root will lead something of a revolution and as long as his excellent form with the bat isn’t affected by his captaincy, then I really think England have a great chance of bringing the urn home. They might end up needing a win in the fifth and final Test in Sydney, but they are capable of getting it - and what a grand finale that would be!
If you reckon Steve Smith’s Australia will win the Ashes by a scoreline of 3-2 then check with Easyodds before placing your bet! Paddy Power have it priced up at 4/1… but BetVictor have gone with odds of 12/1! That is such a crazy price difference for an eventuality that could quite easily happen. Check it out!
Visit our dedicated Ashes betting centre for all the best England v Australia odds and tips.
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