Mumbai Indians assume favourites mantle

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The Mumbai Indians extended their winning streak to four matches with a victory over the Gujarat Lions and opened up a two-point lead at the top of the table.

They look nailed-on for a playoff spot and have gone from pre-tournament second favourites to the clear favourites now.

All the hype before the start of the 2017 IPL was about Royal Challengers Bangalore, with their superstar lineup of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Shane Watson being supplemented by the £1.4 million signing of Tymal Mills. They were the beaten finalists last year and tipped to go one better this time around, leading bookmakers to install RCB as 7/2 favourites before the tournament started. Lots of action went on them and the price plummeted, but RCB have not lived up to their billing. Four defeats in five games has left them bottom of the league, and they face a real struggle to reach the playoffs, sending them out to 9/1 fourth favourites.

If you analyse the lines, and Betonline will have odds for them, review them before you make your play, you will see that the Indians are now the heavy favourites. They started at 9/2 but went out to 11/2 as punters lumped on RCB, but they have now drifted all the way in to 3/1.

Mumbai

Nitish Rana has been the leading run scorer so far in the IPL, and teammates Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler have also been superb with the bat. They have bowled well and been really strong all round, so they deserve their lead and their status as favouirtes. They lost their opening game to the Pune Supergiants but they have shown their class in subsequent victories over Kolkata Knight Riders – who are second in the table – defending champions Hyderabad Sunrisers, RCB and the Lions.

After victory over RCB, man of the match Pollard, who hit 70 off 47 balls to inspire them to a fantastic comeback, said: “I just thought these are situations when champions are made. I thought of that and struck to my strength, hit it down the ground. Krunal came in and showed his maturity too. It was a matter of watching what their bowlers. We decided that if we get a six or four off every spinner’s over, we will get close if we keep it ticking and not play any dot balls. Personally, I’ve never felt out of form. I’ve been hitting it well in the nets and these are the times you’ve to dig in. At the moment, the momentum is with us.”

They look a good bet to win it, although odds of 3/1 are not all that attractive. Hyderabad started strongly but have since fallen away, with two straight defeats. The Knight Riders are second, but Mumbai beat them comfortably and would be confident of doing so again in the playoffs.

Apart from the Indians, perhaps the most interesting betting options are on long shots. RCB have been dreadful so far, but they were made pre-tournament favourites for a reason and have a wealth of talent at their disposal. They should start picking up wins now and climb up the table. They can sneak into the playoffs and then they are a match for anyone. If Kohli plays anywhere near his potential, they have a great chance. At 9/1 they look an interesting each-way bet, as do the Pune Supergiants. They finally climbed off the bottom of the table with a 27-run win over RCB and Ben Stokes started to justify his world record fee with three superbly taken wickets, bowling out Kohli and Watson. At 8/1 they can also be backed each-way and have a chance of sneaking into the playoffs too.

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