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The ODI series is going exactly the way of the T20 series so far. India won the first match convincingly, England struck back in the second and we now have a decider to look forward to once again.
England will be hoping that the decider does not go India’s way once again and that they can go into the Test Series with one series win each.
The second ODI was one of the worst performances that we saw from an Indian team in a long time. Can the Indians recover to win the series or has England found a way to counter the Indian spin threat?
Under pressure after being completely outplayed in the first ODI, England decided to stick to its guns and played the same eleven. They also won the toss, and contrary to what everyone believed, chose to bat first.
Reading the pitch can be a tricky proposition but England got it perfect this time around. They played first, put up a good total of 323 and then reaped the reward as the pitch got slower and more difficult to play during the Indian inning.
England showed the depth in its batting lineup in the second game as the Indians once again seemed to be making inroads. Bairstow and Roy started well before getting out, Morgan played a good inning but threw away his wicket after getting fifty, Stokes did not last long, and it was Willey who eventually provided the power at the back end.
Joe Root got his 12th hundred and answered the critics baying for his blood. It is scary to think that England’s batting has still to fire in unison. If that happens in the finals then the game might be beyond what India can hope to get.
As impressive as England’s batting was, it was the bowling that stood out. Plummet, Moeen Ali, and Rashid all bowled superbly to tie down the Indian batting.
They ensured that India was never able to stay abreast with the required rate and kept losing wickets even when they did try to up the tempo.
Headingly is not going to provide the bowlers with the same kind of slow track but a lot more grass is expected to be seen on that ground. We think that England might be tempted to make a change and play an extra seamer in place of Moeen Ali in the final ODI game.
With the batting firing and now bowling coming good as well, England will go into the last match as favorites.
Jonny Bairstow, J Vince, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, BA Stokes, Moeen Ali, AU Rashid, LE Plunkett, David Willey, M Wood.
Things started out pretty well for India. They fought back nicely after a good start by England, the spinners seemed to be taking control, and even a total of 323 never seemed out of India’s reach. The batting performance that followed, however, is going to raise alarms all over the country and will eventually lead to changes down the line.
India's batting has been dependent on its top-3. That is a well-known fact. Now with Rahul at number 4, it was hoped that discussion around at least one more place would stop. KL Rahul, though, has not been able to translate his good T20 form into the ODI’s just yet. He is unlikely to be dropped and could get another go.
Suresh Raina at number 5 is another story altogether. He has not looked comfortable at the crease and keeps waiting for the short ball. Will India persist with him at 5, even when Dinesh Karthik is waiting in the squad?
Karthik must be feeling unlucky because he also displayed brilliant form in the IPL or whatever limited opportunities he got with the Indian team. Surely he will be given one chance at number 5. MS Dhoni at number 6 had one of his more forgettable nights in cricket.
Unable to find the boundary he kept on waiting and waiting and waiting until the whole thing started to become a bit of a farce. He is the master of the ODI game and has pulled off chases like this in the past but we struggled to understand what his tactics were.
Dhoni is coming towards the end of a storied career and may not be the man to bat at 6 anymore. India may need to move him up and get someone else at 6 with the ability play a power game behind him. Kohli had spoken of about figuring out India’s middle order before this series but India does not look any closer to solving that puzzle right now.
India’s bowling was pretty good for the most part until the seamers lost their way a little. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar should return to the side if he is fit and that would mean Siddharth Kaul sitting out. Kuldeep missed out on the last decider after being mauled in the second T20 but we think Kohli will persist with his two spinners on this occasion.
England backed its strengths against India in the last match and it is time India did the same.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, V Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, SK Raina, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, SN Thakur, YS Chahal.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first. Every match in the series has been won by the team winning the toss so far.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
There has been some rain around Leeds although the forecast for match day is much better. The current weather forecast suggests a sunny day with little chance of rain. We definitely expect there to be some grass on the pitch but nothing too much for the batsmen to handle. The seamers should be able to get some good bounce off the surface and some movement early on.
The Vitality Blast is in full swing and that means that grounds across England are hosting T20 matches on a weekly basis. The batsmen are favored heavily on such surfaces and so the Headingley pitch will also lean towards the batsmen in general.
A score of around 320 should be considered par.
Both England and India can chalk up their losses as bad days to forget. India’s problems with the batting order are systemic and are not going away overnight. England’s problems with spin may not come into play at all because of the weather and surface. The contest may be between the two batting sides which is what England prefers.
We think the home team is going to win this one.
Back England to win.
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