England favourites for South Africa ODIs – but Proteas are the value

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With the ICC Champions Trophy rapidly approaching, England will begin their tournament preparations with a handy three-match ODI contest versus South Africa.

And impressively, England are favourites, despite the Proteas being ranked first in the world.

Eoin Morgan’s side have made a fine recovery since their dismal performances in the 2015 World Cup, and are 8/13 favourites to win the Series.

South Africa are 5/4 shots for the Series, while England are 8/11 to win Wednesday’s opener at Headingley.

In truth, we’re a little surprised by those odds.

While England have won five of their last six ODI Series, South Africa won 12 ODIs on the spin during the winter – six without star man AB de Villiers.

And not only is De Villiers ranked the number one ODI batsman on the planet, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock make it three South Africans in the top seven, with Hashim Amla in at 11.

Only Joe Root appears for England in the top 15.

Similarly, the visitors’ Imran Tahir takes top spot for the bowlers, ably supported by Kagiso Rabada at number five.

Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid are England’s only representatives in the top 20.

South Africa have lost a number of key men in recent times to English County Cricket, but the likes of Dwaine Pretorius coming in suggests they aren’t short on quality cover.

And while many of the visiting squad haven’t played an international in England before, you can excuse us for finding these odds a little unusual.

You can get 8/1 on De Villiers to top score and South Africa to win on the first ODI on Wednesday, while Amla is 7/1 to hit the most runs in a victory for the tourists.

But the good thing for England is that whatever happens in the next three fixtures, they’ll be perfectly prepared for the ICC Champions Trophy next month.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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