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Venkatesh Iyer's Knight Riders are favored in the Chennai vs Kolkata Odds.

It’s that time of the year again. This time, saying that about the IPL actually means more, considering how the 2019 edition happened toward the end of the year, and the 2020 edition had to be split in two, which also resulted in it ending late last year.

This time, it will happen in March like it was always supposed to. And to start things off here in our IPL betting coverage, we will preview the season opener between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders, the two finalists last year.

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Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders Odds

Kolkata Knight Riders (-118)

Halfway through last season, just before it was called off, the Kolkata Knight Riders seemed to have been done for good. They were languishing in seventh place with just four points from seven games. But from that COVID-induced break came an opportunity for them – the unveiling of a brand new fearless style that put them in the final.

Such was the turnaround from them that they went into the final with equal IPL title odds as the Chennai Super Kings, a hypothesis that was proved wrong by the eventual champions.

This time around, it is actually KKR who go into the game as marginal favorites. This is going to be a common feature in this season of the IPL, given the mega auction that has spread resources more evenly and widely than before in what is a 10-team tournament from here on.

Among the beneficiaries are KKR, whose best XI looks very similar to what it was last year, barring the omission of their last two captains – Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik. Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi are arguably the bigger misses for them, but a new era beckons under captain Shreyas Iyer, who will helm a batting order that will still contain Andre Russell.

When Pat Cummins returns from Australia, he too, alongside Sunil Narine, will be a familiar face. For the season opener, however, he will be a big miss.

Chennai Super Kings (-106)

They’re a team that, once again, looks pretty easy to write off early on. But we know too much about CSK to do that.

From an objective analysis lens, they could have a hard time fielding a balanced bowling attack this year. Adam Milne and Deepak Chahar will form the core of the attack, around whom Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja will be the only reasonably experienced options.

There will be a heavy reliance on other all-rounders too, like Moeen Ali and Mitchell Santner, but just how many of those overseas players can they fit in? That’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on.

Higher up, with the batting, they look every bit as good as – if not better than – they did last year. The Super Kings are a team that enjoys continuity in their playing XI, and the top half of that team is more or less going to look the same. In our opinion, the absence of Faf du Plessis, who now captains RCB, has more than sufficiently been accounted for with the signing of Devon Conway, who we think was one of the most prudent picks in the mega auction.

Chennai vs Kolkata Best Bet: Kolkata Knight Riders (-118)

Before you go ahead and calculate the potential rewards based on the IPL betting odds, keep this in mind: the team that has batted second has won 10 of the last 13 matches at the Wankhede Stadium, where this match will take place. The IPL, in general, is skewed toward teams that bat second.

Having said that, we feel pretty strongly that CSK will have teething troubles – no Moeen, no Chahar, and a new captain now in Ravindra Jadeja. That first lineup will not be easy to put together for them and we think KKR have their noses in front as a result.

Chennai vs Kolkata Prop Bet: Venkatesh Iyer (KKR) To Hit A Six (-111)

We looked through the Betway books to find some value picks, and this one offers tremendous value. Venkatesh Iyer is a player who likes to use his reach to hit big sixes. Such players thrive in the Wankhede Stadium, which has a pitch that allows the ball to skid on nicely and with little deviation.

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Combine all that with the fact that it is a stadium with relatively small boundaries and the only bowling threat on paper appears to be Moeen Ali, who isn’t available yet, and we think you can back Venkatesh to hit at least one six.