England to maintain momentum
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2pts England to win the ODI series v Australia at evens (Sky Bet).
'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' is often a misused phrase used to try and stop necessary change - but England's cricket selectors were completely justified to stick with a winning formula ahead of the forthcoming one-day series against Australia.
Alastair Cook's men completed their sixth successive ODI series victory at home with a 2-0 triumph over the West Indies and they would have fancied their chances of achieving a whitewash had the rain not prevented any play last Friday at Headingley.
It was therefore no surprise to see the original list of 14 players retained to take on the world's number one ranked 50-over side, with the opening match in the five-match series taking place at Lord's on Friday.
The Three Lions had chosen to rest frontline bowlers Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann for the third ODI against the hapless Windies as part of the on-going rotation policy but at least the bad weather gave every player a rest.
Ironically, the last time England actually lost a one-day series at home was the 6-1 mauling at the hands of Australia back in 2009 but a year later they beat their arch rivals 3-2 to begin this current winning run, which we expect to continue this summer.
Cook has also guided England to a perfect record in all six ODIs they've played this year following the unexpected 4-0 thrashing of Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in February and although the Aussies will be a much tougher proposition, the hosts clearly have the confidence and the quality to come out on top once more.
Ian Bell and Cook both chalked up centuries against the West Indies, with Jonathan Trott averaging 85 over the two games, while the bowling attack of James Anderson, Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad and Graham Swann never allowed the tourists to dominate.
A much closer series is expected against Australia and this is reflected in the betting as many bookies price up the two sides at 10/11.
Stan James, bodog and sportingbet are the three firms who make the hosts marginal favourites, offering evens about Michael Clarke's men, but Sky Bet think the opposite.
They dangle the best price of evens about England (Australia 10/11) and we'd advise snapping that up promptly.
Sure, the tourists warmed up for the series by skittling out Essex for just 134 on their way to a thumping 179-victory on Tuesday, but they were given a real scare in their previous ODI series in the Caribbean against a West Indies side who were made to look pretty tame in all formats of the game by England.
The five-match dual back in March was tied 2-2, with the Aussies having to win the final encounter in Kingston to avoid a 3-1 defeat despite being bowled out for just 202.
For those searching for bigger prices, we might suggest a 3-2 correct score prediction in England's favour at 9/4 with Sky Bet - but the English weather could scupper that kind of bet.
And in terms of the top batsman and bowler markets, England's rotation policy might come into force should they surge into a 3-0 or 3-1 lead - albeit unlikely - and this could potentially and cruelly cost you a winning bet if your chosen player is rested.