After 15 games and five months, the County Championship season has come down to a three-team shootout for the Division One title.
Middlesex lead the way with a game to go, holding a nine-point lead over defending champions Yorkshire, with the two set to play each other at Lord’s in a winner-takes-all finale.
Although that’s not strictly true, because Somerset – who beat Yorkshire last time out to stay within touching distance – are 10 points adrift and host relegated Nottinghamshire at Taunton.
Aside from the obvious incentives that come from trying to win domestic cricket’s most coveted trophy, all three teams have extra motivation for success.
Middlesex haven’t lifted the trophy for 23 years, Yorkshire would be the first county to win three titles in a row since they themselves did so all the way back in 1968, while Somerset have never won the competition before.
Given their cushion at the top of the table, we make Middlesex the 11/8 favourites. The fact they are unbeaten at their home ground this season makes them an even bigger fancy, they also beat Yorkshire when the pair met in Scarborough.
Among that six-game stretch without a Lord’s defeat is five draws, a result which, if repeated against Yorkshire, would give Somerset a glimmer of hope.
At 9/4 the west country club are our outsiders – Yorkshire being the meat in the sandwich at 7/4 – but if they can force a victory over Notts and Lord’s plays to its usual stalemate, they must just creep up on the rail.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.