Cricket — Rules Differences

Latest posts by Man of Mystery (see all)

I do not pretend to understand the rules of cricket. However, as a major part of the summer sporting calendar, when football is pretty quiet, it deserves some investigation as an arbing medium.

There are 3 main categories of cricket: test matches, one day internationals and 20-20. I do not advise trying to arb domestic cricket – there probably won’t be any liquidity at Betfair and the rules may not be the same at the bookies. The major events are complicated enough.

The main complication as far as arbing is concerned is the TIE. In cricket a tie is not the same as a draw, and this can cause problems with rules differences. If there is a tie in any cricket match, Betfair always void. They have a separate market for the tie.

Test Matches

Test matches appear at Betfair with a draw option, and this should also be available at the bookies. Never attempt to arb any sport where there is a draw option at Betfair and not at the bookie, or vice versa.

Ties in test matches are extremely rare. They can probably be ignored for the purposes of arbing. Most bookies treat a tie as a dead heat for test matches, a few (Ladbrokes is one) void the tie, a few regard the tie as a draw (Tote is one). Some are very unclear from their rules (Coral is one of these). I would not be unhappy about arbing a test match, although I would jib at large stakes. It is worth pointing out that if the bookie settles a tie as a dead heat, and your bet is above evens, you would not lose out in the event of a tie anyway (except on the draw). The shorter the odds get at odds on the more you could potentially lose.

The only other issue is matches that have to be abandoned early on, when Duckworth Lewis rules come into play. Betfair settles on the official result after Duckworth Lewis – you should check that your bookmaker does too (most if not all of them do).

One Day Internationals

These are rather more risky than test matches and a tie is a possibility. I vividly remember having bet at short odds on an ODI and watching in horror as the score was tied right to the last ball. Fortunately for me one run was scored from that ball, otherwise I would have lost about £100.

There is no draw option in an ODI. The bookmakers are split between voiding the tie and settling as a dead heat, although most of the bigger firms (except Ladbrokes) settle as a dead heat. As often happens you will find cricket arbs are more common at the bookies that have a difference in rules from Betfair.

You can arb ODI cricket quite safely if you stick to bookies that void the draw and odds over 2.0 at ones that treat the tie as a dead heat. If you can find a big enough arb, you can make an odds on arb safe by betting a small saver on the tie in the special tie market at Betfair. Only a small stake is required, as the odds are very large (unless you are betting in play* and a tie looks likely) and you are only covering your potential loss on a dead heat ruling.

*I do not advise arbing in play, but cricket is a fairly sedate sport (as is golf), and these can be arbed in play in relative safety by experienced arbers if you have live pictures and choose moments when play is slow, eg in between overs.

Twenty20 cricket

I believe this is a recent invention, and I know very little about it. Some bookies do not even mention it in their rules. I do know that it can be decided by a bowl-out or something similar, and that that can result in rules differences between bookies and Betfair. I strongly advise avoiding Twenty20 cricket for arbing.

Example of a rules difference for Twenty20

Paddy power offer:

Free Bet Special

Place an Outright bet of £/€20 on the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 and we will give you a free £/€10 in-running bet to use on any of Friday or Saturday’s matches.

There is definitely a rules difference here. However the worst case scenario would be that you lose your free bet at Paddys and get nothing at Betfair because they void, so I suppose it is no big deal as long as you don’t take a significant loss on the qualifier. Bowlouts etc on Twenty20 are not that rare.

Paddy Power:

Cricket rules

Limited Overs Matches

Match bets will be settled according to the winner determined by official competition rules (including the case where matches are shortened due to adverse weather conditions or decided a bowl off), unless the winner is determined by the toss of a coin or the drawing of lots, in which case all match bets will be void.

If the match is tied and the official competition rules do not determine a winner, dead heat rules will apply to bets on the outright result unless the outcome is settled by a bowl off or super over, in which case the result of the bowl off or super over will stand for match betting. If the competition rules determine the winner by a toss of a coin or drawing of lots, then bets will be void.


Who will win this Twenty20 Match? At the start of play all unmatched bets will be cancelled and this market will be turned in-play. This market will not be actively managed therefore it is the responsibility of all users to manage their own positions. If the official result is a Tied Match in any Test, County or Limited Overs Match then all bets on Match Odds markets will be void. Please note there is a separate Tied Match market available for this game. For the avoidance of doubt, if a match finishes in a Tie, then any Bowl Outs, Super Overs or similar which may take place do not count for the purposes of this market. Competition Rules Apply otherwise.


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