Cricket Tips

Cricket County Championship Preview & Betting Tips

Surrey will get an early test of their title credentials when they travel to Emirates Old Trafford this week, the home of Lancashire - last season’s ultimate bridesmaids

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  • LV= Insurance County Championship
  • Divisions One and Two
  • April 6 - September 29, 2023

The Championship returns with a bang this week

Lancashire face Surrey in front of the Sky Sports cameras from Thursday, a battle between last season’s second-placed finishers and the champions.

It represents a blockbuster start to the English summer, which includes a home Ashes series. Of course, that will be at the forefront of everybody’s minds come July time, but for now the county stuff takes centre stage.

Division One

Champions Surrey are the 11/4 favourites, but I’m going to side with the team who were the oh so nearly men of county cricket last year, Lancashire, who are 11/2 to win the four-day crown with Betfair Sportsbook.

They were runners-up in every competition in 2022.

Under the new captaincy of Keaton Jennings, who was the top division’s leading run-scorer last with 1,233, they could have Jimmy Anderson for a good run of matches either side of the Ashes.

Saqib Mahmood is a week away from full fitness having missed the majority of last season with a back stress fracture, while England Lions duo Josh Bohannon and Tom Hartley are two youngsters worth watching.

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Graham Hardcastle's Cricket Tips

County Championship - Division 1 Winner

Graham is siding with the nearly men of Lancashire at 11/2


At 11/2 a £10 bet would return £65

2023 County Cricket Championship

April 06, 2023

11:00 am GMT+1

Their overseas players to see them through the first three quarters of the season are a mixture of Vilas and New Zealand duo Colin de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell. The former duo will start the season this week against Surrey.

In an ECB survey of the 18 county captains, six apiece think Lancashire and Surrey will be champions. With that in mind, what a way to start.

If you fancy a dabble with the opening match, Lancashire are 1/1 with bet365 to claim the win. That’s the way I’d be going as opposed to Surrey at 4/5. You get your money back if it’s a draw.

Division Two

This is a really tricky one, and for reasons about to be explained I can’t give you an outright winner’s tip.

In normal circumstances, Yorkshire would be my tip to win the title. But, with them, circumstances are far from normal at the moment given the off-field dramas they have faced as a result of the Azeem Rafiq racism affair.

The club have pleaded guilty to some ECB charges, and it is fully expected that a points deduction will follow. What is not clear is if that comes to pass, when it will be invoked from. Will it be with immediate effect or will it be held back to next season?

They are 13/8 favourites with Betfair Sportsbook to win the title. They have the strongest squad, for me, by a distance. However, I wouldn’t be touching that market with a bargepole due to the uncertainty.

But two go up. So what I will say is that I reckon Derbyshire could be strong candidates for promotion.

Bet365 are offering 12/1 on them to win the title, and their market offers each way on the first two places. I would be going e/w on that price.

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Graham Hardcastle's Cricket Tips

County Championship - Division 2 Winner

Derbyshire look strong candidates for promotion


At 12/1 a £10 win bet would return £130

2023 County Cricket Championship

April 06, 2023

11:00 am GMT+1

Under head of cricket Mickey Arthur, they have a squad with quality and balance.

South African batter Leus du Plooy is their new captain, while they have Pakistani batter Haider Ali as one of their overseas players and Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal as another.

Added to that, Wayne Madsen, Luis Reece, Mark Watt, Zak Chappell and England Lions quick Sam Conners are also capable of good things. Conners is a young gun to keep an eye on this summer.

It is telling that in that aforementioned captain’s survey, 13 think Yorkshire will be promoted and five of them think Derbyshire will be.

Derbyshire host Worcestershire at the County Ground in the opening round this week. Bet365 can’t split them in the match winner market. I would be taking the 10/11 they have on Mickey Arthur’s side to get off to a flyer. Again, a draw and you get your money back.

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Graham Hardcastle's Cricket Tips

County Championship - Derbyshire v Worcestershire

Graham is taking the 10/11 on Mickey Arthur’s side to get off to a flyer


At 10/11 a £10 bet would return £19.09

Derbyshire v Worcestershire

April 07, 2023

11:00 am GMT+1

* Betting odds quoted correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to fluctuations.

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Graham Hardcastle

Graham Hardcastle

Graham Hardcastle is our resident cricket and tennis betting expert at Freebets