CAPTAIN Ashish Bagai will lead Canada's cricketers into the 2011 World Cup with hope, but little expectation.
Canada are not going to win the World Cup, but after years developing in the ICC's programme, they are capable of causing the odd upset in the showpiece competition which will be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Cricket betting throughout the 14-team competition will be fascinating. Canada have been drawn in Group A, along with world champions Australia, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
After six group matches, the leading four teams in the standings will progress into the Super Eight stage. Although they will start as tournament underdogs, Canada are leaving nothing to chance and a squad of 22 have been selected for a November tour to the sub-continent before the final 15-man squad is announced.
Canada's cricketers are an eclectic bunch drawn from all four corners of the globe with New Zealanders, Africans and Indians joining home grown players in the squad.
Although form in the Intercontinental Cup has waned in recent seasons, Canada have a history of reaching the final, only to fall short with final defeats at the hands of Scotland and Ireland.
Cricket betting on the world cup, however, promises to be fast and furious with any number of free bets on offer from online bookmakers designed to spark interest from the first match until the final ball is bowled.
Markets on who will emerge as the winning team or beaten finalists, which side will make the Super Eights, who will be the leading run-scorer or wicket-taker, together with a host of others will offer enticing odds for cricket betting.
This will be Canada's third successive World Cup appearance, and although they have not progressed beyond the first round stages, cricket betting lines on them to cause an upset against one of the so-called bigger teams should be worth a look.
As one experienced cricket writer said: "I have seen Canada play over the years, and reckon they could be one of the surprise teams in the competition. A lot of the major teams will under-estimate them at their peril, and I reckon somewhere among the fixtures, a shock is going to come.
"Canada's problem, and it's the same for all the Associate Nations, is they lack blinding pace in their bowling attack, and I don't care what form of the game you are talking about, there is no substitute for having someone who can send the ball down at faster than 140kph.
"These bowlers go for runs, (think Brett Lee) but they take wickets. Canada's batting line-up is solid, but not spectacular and their bowling attack is steady. The fact the World Cup is being played in the sub-continent might work in their favour, however, as they will have a number of bowlers in their team who are of Asian descent and will know how to make these conditions work in their favour.
"They have some decent stroke-players. The New Zealand-born opening batsman Geoff Barnett can give the ball a big bash, he's a tall, powerful left-hander and of course there is John Davidson, who smashed a century against the West Indies in the last World Cup, albeit in a losing cause."
Live cricket betting on Canada promises to be compelling, with the number of in-play cricket bets offering reward for those who enjoy keeping a close eye on the action as it unfolds. Indeed, without online cricket betting, punters would be limited to making their predictions well ahead of the start.
Throughout the world cup, cricket sports betting promises to offer tremendous value. Aside from Canada, the likes of Australia, India and South Africa will be well fancied for a place in the final. However, if your cricket betting tips are focused on the minnows, then take a look at Canada's opening match of the competition, against former winners Sri Lanka, to offer exceptional value odds for your cricket bet.
The Asian giants have something of a history of buckling when results are most expected of them and with legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan now retired, their prospects have diminished - ripe for an upset in cricket betting odds.
Canada's second fixture, against Zimbabwe, offers the prospect of one of the surprise results of the competition. A cricket bet on Canada to emerge victorious is worthy of investigation by the sage predictor as the writer said: "This match could be classed as Canada's final, and will certainly be one of the highlights of the group matches. If you are looking at the odds for a bet on cricket upsets, then I reckon this could be the one.
"Zimbabwe have fallen down the standings in recent years, and although there have been attempts to rehabilitate them in the international game, a cricket bet on Canada to win this one could be worth a look, especially if you’re utilising the internet to locate a free bet from an online bookmaker.
"Other matches in the group stages worth a look for cricket betting odds? You never know what you are going to get from a troubled Pakistan side, while Kenya are another team who could offer value for your cricket betting tips when they take on Canada as they’re two very evenly-matched sides.
"Forget the Canada’s lengthy cricket betting odds against Australia, that is not going to happen, and probably likewise New Zealand, but if the Canadians are to reward betting on cricket success, then one of the big boys is going to have to take a fall.
"If Canada can take out one of the big teams, it will be among the highlights of the whole competition and I reckon it is worth a crafty look when investigating cricket betting odds for the tournament.”