Australia might have already secured the Urn, but there is still plenty on the line when they meet England in the 2017 Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
It appeared as though England would salvage their chances in the Ashes Series when they got off to a brilliant start in Perth, but Australia simply proved too good again and they comfortably won the match on the morning of Day 5.
Australia is looking to take another step towards an Ashes Series clean sweep in Melbourne, while England will attempt to salvage some pride.
One thing that is for sure is there is plenty of value to be taken from a betting perspective and we have analysed the 2017 Boxing Day Test in detail below!
Australia has absolutely dominated the 2017/18 Ashes Series so far and it is tough to see them losing to England at the MCG.
For a team that has been far from perfect, Australia has only really been troubled a couple of times throughout the first three tests and they looked even less likely to lose after recalling Mitch Marsh into the team in Perth.
There remains something of a question mark over the inclusion of Mitchell Starc and keeper Tim Paine, who are both reportedly struggling with niggling injuries, but the Aussies are spoiled for choice with the quality of player waiting in the wings and they can make it 4-0 at the MCG.
Once again, it was the Steve Smith show in Perth and the inspirational Australian captain produced the knock of the summer with an exceptional 239. There simply is not a batsman in better form than Smith in the entirety of world cricket and he remains a great bet to top Australian first innings runs sheet ($3.25).
Mitchell Marsh’s selection was extremely polarising, but the all-rounder seemingly responded to his critics with an outstanding 181; his first test century and exactly when he country needed it. He looked terrific in partnership with Smith and is available at $9 odds to be the top Australian batsman in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test.
David Warner ($4.25) has not been his usual dominant self this series, but remains prominent in betting here, while Usman Khawaja ($6), Cameron Bancroft ($7) and Shaun Marsh ($7) all represent value.
It’s been a pretty disappointing summer for England’s top order and their inability to convert big scores has played a big role in their inability to win matches.
Almost too much is expected of Joe Root and he hasn’t really done the job with the bat, despite being England’s top scorer in a couple of innings. Root remains a $4 favourite to be the top England run scorer in their first innings in Melbourne and there is subsequently plenty of value to be taken around the captain.
Mark Stoneman has stepped up where Alastair Cook has failed and it only seems like a matter of time until the opener posts a big score. Stoneman has produced a number of commendable knocks this summer and given that he potentially has England’s entire innings to work with, can salute at generous $6 odds.
Dawid Malan is the other batsman who can deliver on healthy odds in this market. The thirty-year-old has stopped England from completely collapsing several times already and was rewarded for his strong performances with a century in Perth. He could find himself at the crease earlier than anticipated again and he is a player that seemingly does not feel the burden when the pressure is on.
Player Of The Match
Realistically, Australia looks on track to claim another win in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. For that reason, Player of the Match honours are more than likely going to fall the way of an Aussie.
Steve Smith has twice been named the Player of the Match this summer and the Australian captain represents good value again at a $6 quote. Smith’s ability to turn any match on its head means that he is always a force and frequently the most instrumental.
Smith is currently sharing favouritism in this market with Mitchell Starc, but given that Starc is under something of an injury cloud and the flat MCG pitch will make standout bowling difficult, it’s tough to go past the Australian captain.