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2021 IPL Playoff Betting Preview: Four Teams Left

Delhi Capitals headline our IPL Playoff Picks

Four down, four to go. Just as importantly as knowing who the four are, we know who will be playing who.

The format of the IPL dictates that the top two teams from the group stages play each other in a one-off match called the qualifier. The winner goes straight to the final, the loser hangs around to play the qualifier 2. That’s against the winner of the eliminator, played between the sides that finished third and fourth in the group stages.

The qualifier 1 will be played on Sunday, October 10, the eliminator on Monday, October 11, the qualifier 2 will be on Wednesday, October 13, and then the big final is next Friday, October 15. Let’s look at who our money should be on.

IPL Playoff Picks: Delhi Capitals @ +175

By definition the most impressive side in the group stages because they topped the table. They went into the second leg of the IPL top of the table and that’s where they stayed. They had one bad day at the office against KKR in posting a subpar total, which they couldn’t defend, but other than that, they carried on winning games, both chasing and defending.

Strength

Probably the best and most varied bowling lineup in the tournament. South African duo Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada are pure class and Nortje has been particularly economical. Indian spinners Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin have been tight and disciplined too and to top it all off, Avesh Khan has taken 22 wickets, the second-most of anyone in the IPL

Weakness

The injury to Marcus Stoinis has caused an imbalance in the side. His ability to bat at 5 and bowl whenever needed held the side together and his injury has caused them a headache. They tried replacing him with Lalit Yadav and only playing three overseas players and they also tried playing Steve Smith, with even less success. The best option might be to play Sam Billings at 6 as a designated finisher because it’s a role he knows so well. But so far, they haven’t used that option.

Key Player:

Anrich Nortje – Lots of choices but we’ll go with Nortje. The big fast bowler has been absurdly economical and that’s made a huge difference in keeping opposition totals down, while also taking key wickets in the power plays.

IPL Playoff Picks: CSK @ +175

Things were going beautifully for CSK, but they then lost three in a row to the Royals, Capitals and Punjab respectively. In truth it doesn’t make any difference in terms of the playoffs because finishing first or second is the same.  But it’s robbed them of momentum and certainly exposed a few flaws in their team.

Strengths

The experience that the likes of Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu and of course MS Dhoni have of big under-pressure IPL matches is invaluable. There will be tight situations that need to be handled and few have done it as many times as this lot. Whatever happens, there will be a lot of cool heads out there.

Weakness

CSK must be seriously wondering about their middle order. While Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis have been brilliant and Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja very decent, the rest have struggled.

All of Suresh Raina (currently injured), Moeen Ali, Robin Uthappa and in particular MS Dhoni have been really poor and unable to find any form. If they lose early wickets in a big chase, their race may be run.

Key player

Ravindra Jadeja He generally bowls four overs, can rescue most batting crises and is their best fielder. There’s not much Jadeja can’t do, and he’s played lots of these matches before. They’ll need their effervescent all-rounder at his best.

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IPL Playoff Picks: RCB @ +450

Failure to beat bottom of the table SRH during the week meant they couldn’t finish top two whatever happened in their last game. A top-three finish looks decent on paper, but they’ve become far too reliant on Glenn Maxwell with the bat. He scored three fifties in a row to bail them out and without his fast runs they may have missed out on the playoffs entirely. They’ll have to do it the hard way by winning three in a row.

Strength

Harshal Patel (29 wickets) and Yuzvendra Chahal (15) have been excellent in taking wickets all season. No one has taken more than Patel in the whole tournament.

Any side that has two bowlers who are such consistent threats – one with pace and one with spin – are always going to threaten your ability to have opposition batsmen go on to get big scores. 

Weakness

It’s very often been Maxwell or nothing with bat. Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal have lost form and several experiments promoting other batsmen up the order have failed. They’re also making a huge mistake in sometimes batting AB de Villiers as low as 6. You need to give your best players a chance to play themselves in.

Key Player

Glenn Maxwell has been fearless with his batting, and it’s paid off. He looks a completely different player to the one at Punjab last year and his new-found confidence and freedom makes him a dangerous player indeed. You feel he needs to bat well for RCB to have a chance.

IPL Playoff Picks: KKR @ +450

KKR came good when it mattered, beating the two struggling teams in their final matches to get over the line and make fourth. Both of those wins were on the back of excellent bowling displays, but doubts remain about their batting, especially with Andre Russell currently injured and a doubt for the playoffs.

Strength

The likes of Varun Chakavarthy, Shivam Mavi and Sunil Narine have been much better of late and this is one of those teams where lots of different bowlers take wickets. Better still is the return to fitness of Lockie Ferguson, who has been brilliant since returning, bowling at real pace.

Weakness

For years they’ve relied too much on the fabulous Andre Russell. He can take plenty of wickets and score faster than anyone in the world. But they’re a bit lost when he’s not there and he’s currently injured. Their confidence suffers as much as anything in his absence, and they’ll be praying they can get him on the field.

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IPL Playoff Betting Preview Verdict

It’s incredibly difficult to win three games in the IPL in a row. And it’s even more difficult to do so when you’re up against the very best teams. That’s why no one has done it yet en route to winning the IPL.

That’s the task facing KKR and RCB and it looks a step too far given that neither of them have been that consistent. So, we have to rule them both out despite their considerably bigger odds.

So, it’s a straight swap between CSK and Delhi. Chennai have the experience of playing so many big games on their side and have of course won this three times before.

Then again, they come into the playoffs on a bad run and maybe that’s no coincidence – remember how much they struggled in the UAE last year?  

So, Delhi it is. They have a wonderfully varied bowling attack and though the likes of Shimron Hetmyer and Rishabh Pant haven’t yet been at their best, their batting looks solid and bat down to at least 8 with the likes of Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel capable of some big hits at the death if needed.

Of course, the big doubt is whether they can handle the pressure – they’ve yet to win an IPL. But this is the best chance they’ll ever have.

Recommended Bet: Back Delhi To Win The IPL @ +175


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