Palmerbet Sports Team takes an in-depth look at the upcoming BBL season, including the teams and players set to dominate the summer’s proceedings.

Ah, the Big Bash. Cricket on the box every evening during the balmy summer has, in recent years, become one of life’s joys. And this season is set to be even bigger. Cricket Australia has decided to extend the eighth instalment of the BBL into mid-February, and teams will now play 14 games each (up from 10) before the semi-finals and finals. But how will each team fare? Will the Adelaide Strikers back up their 2017/18 title? Or can the Melbourne Stars finally break their hoodoo and claim on of the world’s biggest domestic cricket titles? Below we look at the key markets ahead of what’s set to be a huge season.

Packed field

As usual, it’s exceedingly difficult to pick a winner at this stage due to the unpredictability of the Big Bash, namely with players coming and going on international duty. The betting reflects this, with the Strikers equal favourites with the overachieving Perth Scorchers at $5 with Palmerbet. The Brisbane Heat, a side laden with big-hitters, come in next at $6, while last year’s surprise packets the Hobart Hurricanes and the (thus far) underachieving Stars are both at $7. Their Melbourne counterparts, the unpredictable Renegades, come in next at $8, while the two Sydney sides the Sixers ($8.50) and the Thunder ($9.50) round out the betting.

Melbourne drought

Neither Melbourne side has ever won the BBL in the previous seven instalments. In fact, only the Stars have made the final, back in 2015/16. ‘Team Green’ has lost four semi-finals, while the Renegades have lost both the semi-finals it has reached. Alongside the Hobart Hurricanes, they are the only sides who are yet to win a BBL title. But how is this so? It’s certainly not through a lack of talent, especially in the Stars’ case. With Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and Dwayne Bravo, they should theoretically give things a big shake this season. They are $1.83 to make the Top Four with Palmerbet, something they have done in six of the previous seven seasons.

The only time they failed to make the finals was last season, when they picked up the wooden spoon. They are an outside $7 chance, however, to finish last again. When it comes to the business end of the season, the manner in which they deal with the loss of players for international duties, as always, will prove decisive.

Consistency is king

The Scorcher have made the finals in all seven Big Bash seasons, and it’s difficult to see them missing out for the first time ever this year. In fact, they’re $1.36 favourites to finish in the top four. A side boasting four pacemen with international experience (Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson) should go deep.

Who will fire?

Two bowlers who dominated last year’s BBL were the Strikers’ Rashid Khan and the Hurricanes’ Jofra Archer. Their unique ability to quell almost all batsmen in the shortest format sees them, unsurprisingly, as favourites in the tournament leading wicket taker market. Khan starts at $9, ahead of Archer at $12.

On a batting-front, Chris Lynn will look to prove the doubters wrong after a disappointing stint with the Australian side earlier this summer. He’s at $10 to be the tournament leading run scorer, while his Aussie teammate Ben McDermott – a player who looks set to explode – is at $15.