The World Darts Championship and Premier League football aren’t the only things going on this Christmas. It’s also the start of the eighth season of the Big Bash League in Australia.
The world’s best T20 cricketers will join the home-grown talents Down Under for three months of six-swatting action live on Sky Sports.
We’ve got all the key info ahead of the start of the competition on 19th December 2018.
Odd to win: 9/2
2017-18 result: Winners
Overseas players: Colin Ingram (South Africa), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
The Strikers have retained the bulk of the squad that won the tournament last year. That makes them a dangerous prospect this season.
Rashid Khan was uber-impressive last term. He remains one of their biggest weapons alongside stars including Alex Carey, Peter Siddle and Travis Head – who averaged 53.42 runs last season.
Odd to win: 11/2
2017-18 result: 7th
Overseas players: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan)
The Heat have certainly got the batting line-up to do some damage. McCullum, Chris Lynn and Max Bryant are a terrific trio who are all capable of scoring big numbers.
Bowling wise it’s not so good. There are high hopes for Afghanistan prodigy Ur Rahman, who joins the BBL for the first time. James Pattison will need to stay fit to produce his best work.
Odd to win: 6/1
2017-18 result: Runners-up
Overseas players: Jofra Archer (West Indies/England), Tymal Mills (England)
It’s hard to look past D’Arcy Short as the key for the Hurricanes. The 28-year-old was the BBL top run scorer during the 2017-18 season. He’s 11/1 to repeat the feat this time around.
Elsewhere, Archer remains a potent force in the bowling attack, while James Faulkner, Ben McDermott and Tom Rogers are dangers. Tim Paine may miss chunks with Australia.
Odd to win: 13/2
2017-18 result: Semi-finals
Overseas players: Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Usman Khan Shinwari (Pakistan), Harry Gurney (England – replaces Khan in second-half of the season)
On paper, the Renegades have a more than capable squad. But the situation changes if explosive openers Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris are away with their respective countries.
Cameron White will be charged with picking up the scoring shortfall in their absence. Outside of those three, it’s hard to get excited about Stephen Fleming’s men.
Odd to win: 13/2
2017-18 result: 8th
Overseas players: Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), Liam Plunkett (England – replaces Lamichhane half way)
Bravo’s acquisition from the Stars’ cross-city rivals could prove a masterstroke. If he can improve on a lacklustre stint in the IPL, and Ben Dunk can find his form, they could be onto a winner.
Their overseas men do little to inspire excitement. At least Michael Beer’s ability with the ball and Glenn Maxwell’s class in the middle order make them a more enticing proposition.
Odd to win: 4/1
2017-18 result: Semi-finals
Overseas players: Usman Qadir (Pakistan), David Willey (England)
It’s impossible to write off the most successful team in BBL history. So we’re not going to, especially when they have the batting power of all-time BBL top run scorer Michael Klinger to call upon.
Their attack looks a little light aside from Klinger. So a promising bowling selection, including Usman Qadir and Englishman Willey, will have to do their bit if the Scorchers are to succeed.
Odd to win: 8/1
2017-18 result: 5th
Overseas players: Joe Denly (England), Tom Curran (England)
It could go one of two ways for the Sixers. Either their young stars will come to the fore and perform, or their lack of experience will prove costly. We think it could be the former.
Lloyd Pope impressed for the Aussies in the Under-19 World Cup and will be looking to take similarly impressive figures here. All-rounder Moises Henriques and youngster Curran should also impress.
Odd to win: 9/1
2017-18 result: 6th
Overseas players: Joe Root (England), Jos Buttler (England), Chris Jordan (England – replaces Root half way), Anton Devcich (New Zealand – replaces Buttler half way).
With seven finishes of sixth or lower to their name in the eight years the BBL has been running, not much is expected of the Thunder. They do at least have a decent squad on paper.
Shane Watson hit 331 runs in the competition last term and will be assisted, at least in part, by Root, Buttler and Jordan. Fawad Ahmed’s form with the ball also hints at great promise, while Gurinder Sandhu and Daniel Sams are good options too.
Click here for all our Big Bash odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.