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The first innings total is the number of runs scored by a team during the first innings of a cricket match. The total number of innings in a match varies depending upon the format being played. In Test cricket, for example, both teams begin the match with the potential of playing two full innings, whereas formats such as T20 and One Day Internationals limit the teams to one innings each, consisting of a set maximum number of overs.
Bets can be placed on the total number of runs to be scored in a first innings or, more likely, on the spread of runs to be scored. When bets are placed on the spread, the bookmaker will select a range of the possible number of runs and bettors will place their stake on whether the team is likely to score above or below that range. Making the right choice, or getting as close as possible, depends upon getting to know the players involved in the match and their particular skill set. Particular batsmen, for example, may be particularly skilled at batting aggressively and building big scores, and may therefore be specialists in formats such as T20 and One day Internationals. Similarly, bettors should get to know the grounds which matches are played on, and whether the wicket conditions are likely to encourage low or high scoring. The weather conditions will also have an impact, with damper conditions favouring swing bowlers, meaning that a team with a particularly effective swing bowler in their ranks is likely to be able to keep the total of the batting team lower. The pace at which the pitch deteriorates during the course of the day is also likely to be an issue, and taking the time to find out facts such as this – usually via the comments of pundits in the period leading up to a match – is the key to making successful bets on the first inning total.