Under normal circumstances picking a winner would be a pretty straightforward task but India have rested most of their squad ahead of this series.
MS Dhoni remains as leader however, and there are some players who come here off the back of a productive IPL so the tourists start as hot favourites ahead of Saturday’s first ODI.
Match Odds & Game Preview
There’s no Kolhi, Jajeja, Ashwin or Raina along with several other star names but India start here at odds of 1.32 with Betfair for the win. So who are the players who are going to justify that price?
The bowling looks impressive with BB Sran, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah among those who performed well at IPL 9 with the last two having already started to claim a regular berth in this squad.
Batting looks more vulnerable and we expect Dhoni to come in much higher than usual to bat around the likes of KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu.
Betting Pick: Zimbabwe claim to be at full strength and if you believe they are in a good position then Bet365 are offering a great price of 3.50 on a home victory. Frequent changes in captaincy show that the side remains in some level of turmoil and Graeme Cremer is the latest man hoping to turn the country’s fortunes around.
There is some threat in the squad but they haven’t looked as competitive since Brendan Taylor left for a career in England – even then, they were weak – so it should be India all the way.
Must Read: India Gambling Laws.
Top Batsmen Betting Tips
First games in any series will be tough to predict but with India making so many changes, you may want to wait until Monday’s second ODI before committing too much money. Ambati Rayudu starts the game as favourite at 4.00 with Bet365 while Rahul follows at 4.50 with Bet365 again. These two lead the way ahead of the likes of Manish Pandey at 5.00 with Bet365 while Dhoni has a shorter price than usual of 5.50 with Bet365.
Of those names, Rahul is the most interesting as a player who stepped up on the rare occasions that Kohli and AB De Villiers failed for RCB and we’ll take a small stake on the keeper / batsman here.
For Zimbabwe, one of the former captains Hamilton Masakadza starts things off at 3.75 with Bet365 with Sean Williams following at 4.0 with Bet365. Any Zimbabwe top batter market has plenty of middle order value and you can consider Craig Ervine at 5.50 with Bet365 and even Elton Chigumbura who has delivered on a number of occasions in the past: He goes off here at 8.00 with Bet365.
Betting Tip: So, there are plenty of options, but Masakadza was a profitable player prior to taking the captaincy and having just lost that role, I think he will have a point to prove.
Markets have been a little slow to come in and they should pick up from the second ODI onwards but there are some odds to consider.
Firstly, India to hit the most sixes should drop in and at 1.50 with Bet365, it gives you more value than a straight win price.
Secondly, there is India’s top bowler and even though selection has to be confirmed, you would expect Bumrah to start providing he is fit and rested. The seamer starts in this market at 4.00 with Bet365 and is perhaps the best pick of any ahead of this tie.
Betting Pick: India’s future is on show in Zimbabwe and although inexperienced, they have plenty of talent. Zimbabwe pose a threat with a settled side, even though the change in captaincy won’t help their cause. It may well be closer than this market suggests but we expect Dhoni’s men to win it.
Must Read: How to read cricket Odds.
In the News
 espncricinfo.com, India take series after Zimbabwe implode, 2016