Palmerbet Sports Team look at six key talking points ahead of another huge season of BBL cricket, including the teams and players likely to take the tournament by storm.

While we’ve only just come down from Australia’s stirring victory over India in Perth, it’s time to shift attention to the Big Bash, starting on Wednesday night with the Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers clash (click here to see our overall season preview). Before getting into the games, however, we wanted to look at the biggest six talking points of the upcoming season. Who will star with bat and ball? Which team will make their home ground a fortress? Who is set for a big fall? Here goes.

Can the Stars’ stars shine?

It’s no secret that new Melbourne Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell and teammate Marcus Stoinis need to fire early in this season’s BBL. With international fixtures later in the competition – something the pair will almost certainly be picked to play in for Australia – they need to get their side off to the perfect start. After last year’s horror show in which they finished last, their early form will be crucial to the Stars’ fortunes. Maxwell starts as a $3.50 favourite to be the Stars’ top runscorer with Palmerbet, ahead of Ben Dunk ($3.80) and Stoinis at $4.50. Stoinis is $13 to be the glamour side’s highest wicket taker, while Maxwell is an outside $41.

Patto heads north

Maxwell’s Victorian teammate James Pattinson has moved to the Brisbane Heat for BBL08, and opposing batsmen should look out. The fiery quick is back to his intimidating best in the Shield, and the short four-over spells in T20 cricket means he’ll really let get go in the coming weeks. He starts as the equal-favourite (alongside fellow recruit and 17-year-old wonder kid Mujeeb Ur Rahman) to be the Heat’s leading wicket taker at $3.75 with Palmerbet. If you fancy Pattinson to really go big, he’s $18 to be the overall tournament leading wicket taker.

A new furnace

The ultra-consistent Perth Scorchers referred to the WACA as ‘the furnace’. And there’s a good chance the Perth Stadium this season will be as much of a fortress for Adam Voges’ side. When you look at the lively pitch in the games (both white and red ball) Australia has played there in recent months, the Scorchers will be extremely difficult to beat at home. With a pace lineup featuring four Aussie quicks – Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff – the new furnace will be feared. The Scorchers start BBL08 as $5 equal-favourites with Adelaide Strikers. They’ve made the finals in all seven previous BBL seasons: expect this year to be no different.

Spin is king

The world’s no.1 T20 bowler, Rashid Khan, returns for the Strikers this season in a massive coup for the defending champs. If we know anything about T20 cricket, it’s that wrist spin is king. And Khan is the king of them all. The Afghani has a never-ending bag of tricks, and can bamboozle the world’s best. Understandably, he’s the favourite to be the tournament leading wicket taker at $8 with Palmerbet, and a $13 equal-favourite (with Chris Lynn) to be the player of the tournament.

Renegade nosedive

It seems the Renegades haven’t recruited as well as they could have, and will almost certainly lose key players Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris for test duty for the majority of the campaign. Their first XI, including the likes of Cameron White, Dan Christian Kane Richardson and Chris Remain is solid, but they lack depth. At $5 to finish on the bottom with Palmerbet, it might be worth a nibble.

A return to Lynn-sanity?

Chris Lynn has had a rough time of it this summer with the Australian ODI and T20I squads. He rarely got going, showing mere glimpses of what we know he’s capable of. Can he return to his blistering best this BBL season? Handed the Heat captaincy reigns, Lynn will be eager to prove the doubters wrong. And at $10 with Palmerbet to be the tournament leading run scorer ($2.50 favourite to be the Heat’s leading runscorer), you’d think there will be a few punters backing him in.