How the Bookies See it:
- Northamptonshire have the best T20 record of the last few years, having won two titles in the space of four seasons and also finished as runners-up in 2015. Durham just lost out to Northants last year, while Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire were the other two teams to make it to Finals Day.
- Nottinghamshire sealed the first major piece of domestic silverware in 2017 when they won the One-Day Cup at the start of July. England’s limited-overs opener Alex Hales fired a superb unbeaten century to help them to a four-wicket win over Surrey, while Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney were also in great form during the tournament.
While some of the less heralded county sides such as Northamptonshire and Leicestershire have enjoyed great T20 success over the years, the bookies reckon that this year’s main challengers will be the teams who are packed with star players. Surrey and Nottinghamshire lead the betting markets after recently contesting the One-Day Cup final and both look very strong, with skilful bowlers and powerful batting orders.
Yorkshire should also be contenders, with David Willey, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and Tim Bresnan helping to form a varied bowling attack. However, the batting does not look as formidable as in other forms of the game and Essex could offer better value at around 14/1. The Eagles, who are flying high in the County Championship, will be full of confidence and have a well-balanced team with talented all-rounders such as Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate, as well as Pakistan pace sensation Mohammad Amir.
England’s limited-overs specialists will be able to play regularly as the international side focuses on Test cricket, so it is no surprise to see Alex Hales and Jason Roy among the favourites in the market for the top batsman. However, there are even better prices available for Jos Buttler and Sam Billings at around 33/1 and 50/1 respectively, and it is possible that both players could be pushed up the order by their respective teams to maximise their destructive potential.
Sports.net’s top tip:
Essex to win
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.