In cricket, the Player of the Match title is awarded to the player who has made extraordinary contributions with either the bat, ball, or in the field. This could include scoring a high number of runs, taking crucial wickets, or making match-defining catches or run-outs. In other words, it is an assessment of which player stood out the most during the game.
Although more likely to go to a player on the winning side, if someone on the losing team puts in a particularly heroic display then they could easily scoop the award. The point of the award is to acknowledge the best individual performance, regardless of which team prevails. There is no objective measure to calculate the ‘best’ performer, so it is a matter of judgment. This is not a judgment call for the bookmakers though but rather one for the commentators/awarding authorities. It can be an award decided by just one individual or several, but there is always one ‘official’ decision for matches that have it.
Thanks to this, there can be no debate or confusion over the player of the match market. You may not agree with the official decision, but there will be one and that will be final. Your job is simply to pick the player you think will be handed the award. With two full teams to choose from, it is a challenging bet but providing there is not one major standout candidate, you are normally looking at minimum odds of around 7/1.
It is worth mentioning that most of the time the award, sometimes called ‘Match Hero’ or ‘Man of the Match’ in men’s cricket, does not go just to one player. There have been numerous examples of the award being split between two players. Even rarer still, the award has been given to the whole team in the past. This is truly exceptional though and has only occurred three times, the last being when the entire South African team scooped the award after beating the West Indies by 351 runs.
Other Player of the Match Markets
With Player of the Match such a specific award, there are no betting markets quite like it. There are some others, however, that enable you to bet on a player you think will have a great performance either with the bat or ball.
- Top Batter – In this market, you are betting on the batter you think will secure the highest number of runs across both teams
- Top Bowler – With the top bowler market, you are looking for the bowler that ends up taking the most wickets in the match. In the not-too-unlikely event of a draw, the fewest number of runs conceded will be used as a tie-breaker
- Top Team Bowler/Batter – As above, but instead you are only picking the top performer from within a selected team, rather than across both
- Player to Score Most 6s – Simply pick the batter you think will register the most sixes
- Player to Score Most 4s – Very similar but instead of sixes you need to pick the batter that records the most fours
Player of the Match Betting Rules
There are few rules surrounding the Player of the Match market, making it quite a straightforward betting option. All the general rules listed below are very standard so you should find they are present across most online betting sites.
- Bet Settlement – Bets will be settled on the player who is officially declared the player (or man) of the match
- Player Involvement – All bets placed on a player not named in the starting eleven will be void
- Joint-Award – Dead heat rules apply in the event that more than one person is named Player of the Match
- No Player of the Match – If no player is officially named as Player of the Match then all bets placed on the market will be voided
Player of the Match Stats
The Player of the Match market is not something you are going to call right every time, there are just too many possibilities. For long-term betting success, therefore, you need to be placing bets that represent good value for money. To get a rough sense of which bets might be good value, let us look at how often some of the best players to have graced the sport managed to scoop the award. The below table includes Player of the Match awards from tests, ODIs and T20s, up-to-date at the time of writing.
|Player||Matches||MoM Awards (%)|
|Sachin Tendulkar||664||76 (11.4%)|
|Virat Kohli||504||65 (12.9%)|
|Sanath Jayasuriya||586||58 (9.9%)|
|Jacques Kallis||519||57 (11.0%)|
|Kumar Sangakkara||594||50 (8.4%)|
|Ricky Ponting||560||49 (8.8%)|
|Shahid Afridi||524||43 (8.2%)|
|Shakib Al Hasan||422||42 (10.0%)|
|Brian Lara||430||42 (9.8%)|
As you can see, even this talented bunch only collected the Player of the Match award around 10% of the time. A 10% chance converted into odds is 9/1, so if you consistently backed them at let’s say 7/1, you would have lost a fair amount of the time. For this reason, with this market you do not want to simply pick a team’s best player and back them every single game. Instead, you need to pick players who are likely to shine for that individual match, which brings us to strategy.
Player of the Match Betting Strategy
Betting on the Player of the Match requires a combination of cricket knowledge and understanding the conditions and form of the players. Here are some key strategies for making informed bets:
- Player Form – Assess the recent form of players. A player in good form is more likely to stand out in a match, increasing their chances of becoming the Player of the Match. Look at their recent performances in similar conditions and formats to gauge their form accurately
- Match Conditions – Consider the pitch conditions, weather, and the nature of the cricket format (Test, ODI, T20). Some players excel in specific conditions, and this can influence your choice. Spinners tend to dominate in slow, turning tracks, while seamers can shine on pitches with bounce and movement. Similarly, certain conditions favour different types of batters
- Match Importance – In high-stakes matches or tournaments, top players often rise to the occasion. Keep an eye on critical games where star players are more likely to perform exceptionally. World Cup matches and Ashes series games, for example, often see the top players at their best
- All-Rounders – All-rounders who can contribute with both bat and ball are valuable in Player of the Match betting. This is because they simply have more opportunities to make an impact on the game. Look for players who can contribute in multiple ways, such as scoring runs, taking wickets, and making crucial fielding efforts