Third time lucky for Delhi?
Friday sees the start of this year's IPL happily back in India after last year's move to South Africa. Which team will dethrone the 2009 winners Deccan Chargers or can they become the first team to win back to back titles?
Hopefully this piece will guide you through the runners & riders and hopefully bring some profit.
First of all it looks a very open contest and you could make cases for any franchise this year. No one team stands out as you would expect with the stellar cast assembled by Lalit Modi and the many millions these teams have.
My pick for 2010 will be the same as 2009. The Delhi Daredevils (7/2) I believe have the best balanced team on paper, unfortunately for them despite reaching both previous two semi-finals they have imploded badly at the crucial moment.
This year they have signed South African Wayne Parnell (20/1 top tournament bowler) to their bowling attack. Add him to a line up of Dirk Nannes (25/1), Ashish Nehra (25/1) and Daniel Vettori (33/1) with a dream batting line up of Virender Sehwag (12/1 top tournament batsman), Tillakaratne Dilshan (14/1), Gautam Gambhir (16/1), David Warner (16/1) and AB de Villiers (16/1) plus England's very own rock Paul Collingwood (100/1) and you can see why the early money has been for the favourites.
I expect them to be lifting the trophy towards the end of April.
Consistancy wins you tournaments and that is something that Chennai Super Kings (9/2) have in abundance.
Runners-up in 2008, last year they reached the semi-finals, and under the leadership of Indian captain MS Dhoni (28/1 top tournament batsman) and with power hitters Matthew Hayden (14/1) and Albie Morkel (125/1 for top tournament batsman, 33/1 for top tournament bowler) along with Indian players Suresh Raina (25/1 top tournament batsman) and Murali Vijay (50/1) they will go close.
My worry for them is whether they have enough bowling to trouble the other teams. Injury to Jacob Oram is a worry, as well as the form of Muttiah Muralitharan (18/1 top tournament bowler) and Makhaya Ntini (28/1) both now at the end of their international careers.
A lot will depend on their young Indian bowlers stepping up to the mark.
Of the other teams who could surprise, on paper Mumbai Indians (5/1) look to have a great chance.
Their batting is led by the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar (16/1 top tournament batsman), fresh from his record breaking 200 in an ODI, also there is power from Sanath Jayasuriya (40/1) and this year's most expensive purchase Kieron Pollard (50/1).
Mumbai are the most expensively assembled franchise in this year's comp, its time for this franchise to step up and show that the owner's money has not been wasted.
Kings XI Punjab (9/1) seem to be beset with injuries with both Yuvraj Singh (25/1 top tournament batsman) and Brett Lee (20/1 top tournament bowler) struggling to make the start, these will be massive losses for the franchise and they can be passed over if both players miss a number of games.
Karan Goel (66/1 top tournament batsman) excelled at the top of the order last year and he will be a good foil for Kumar Sangakkara (25/1) and Ravi Bopara (50/1) as they attempt to improve on last year's showing.
Rajasthan Royals (9/1) won the inaugural comp in 2008, widely unfancied but led by the mercurial Shane Warne (20/1 top tournament bowler), he has signed Damien Martyn (50/1 top tournament batsman) and Adam Voges (66/1). Much will depend on another Aussie though, Shaun Tait (12/1) is favourite for top tournament bowler, he'll need to fire though for the Royals to make the semi finals.
Kolkata Knight Riders (13/2) were a major disappointment last year, packed with star names such as Brendon McCullum (40/1 top tournament batsman), Chris Gayle (16/1) and Shane Bond (20/1 top tournament bowler) they should've been looking at the semi-finals as a bare minimum of their qualities.
Whether they all perform at a consistent high level is the challenge for coach Dav Whatmore. If he can then Kolkata will definitely be there or thereabouts.
This leaves us with our final two franchises, last year's finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore (7/1) and 2009 winners Deccan Chargers (6/1).
Bangalore have a host of star names such as England's Kevin Pietersen (66/1 top tournament batsman) and Eoin Morgan (50/1), Jacques Kallis (16/1 top tournament batsman, 66/1 top tournament bowler) and Dale Steyn (12/1 top tournament bowler).
The Royal Challengers problems this year might be strength in depth with only four overseas players available per match, its up to Indian players such as Manish Pandey (33/1 top tournament batsman) to step up to the mark. Pandey became the first Indian player to score 100 last year and much will be expected of him in the 2010 edition of the comp.
Finally, Deccan Chargers achieved perfection in 2009 and lifted the trophy, after finishing bottom in the inaugural year. Inspirational captain Adam Gilchrist (16/1 top tournament batsman) will once again lead from the front, star signing has been West Indian Kemar Roach (33/1 top tournament bowler) and it will be interesting to see how much he gets out of these Indian wickets after bowling on spin friendly West Indian pitches in the past month.
Here at William Hill we have a wide range of tournament bets, plus over 20 pre match markets for each game and a host of in running opportunities. All matches this year will be live on ITV4 as well as covered online on YouTube.
Be sure to join in the fun!
Delhi Daredevils - Outright 7/2
Karan Goel - Top Punjab Batsman - 10/1
Manish Pandey - Top Bangalore Batsman - 6/1
Munaf Patel - Top Rajasthan Bowler - 4/1