Scorchers still team to beat as BBL knockout stage looms

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The group stage of Australia’s Big Bash League is drawing to a close with all eight teams having at least one game left on their schedule and four sides still with two to play, so now is a good time to readdress the outright betting market.

Prior to the tournament, we highlighted a curiously-long price on the defending champion Perth Scorchers, at 5/1, as the best ante-post punt in the market and they haven’t let us down, sat at the top of the table thanks to five wins from seven games.

Having shrunk to 11/4 on the back of such a strong showing in the group, the Scorchers are still not rated the outright favourites by Ladbrokes, with the Adelaide Strikers sharing that honour with Michael Carberry’s adopted side.

The Strikers, led by the wily Johan Botha, sit just one point behind the Scorchers in the standings and are one of the quadrant of sides that have two games remaining, so could well move into the knockout stage as group leaders.

Of the two, the Scorchers’ pedigree in the competition is still enough to keep us signing their praises, having never failed to reach a final in the tournament’s history.

Kevin Pietersen’s Melbourne Stars, who started BBL04 as favourites, are next in the betting at 10/3, but are yet to confirm their place in the semi-finals while the Sydney Sixers, who have, are given the same chance of lifting the trophy.

The 20/1 Sydney Thunder, who also have two games left, are the last side with realistic hopes of qualification and must win both their remaining games to realise those dreams.

At 20 and 33/1 respectively, the Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Renegades must rely on other results if they are to prolong their stay in proceedings.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.