Series Score

Australia are marginal favourites for this year’s Ashes but every way you look at it, it promises to be a close series.  We’re predicting a 2-2 draw (frustratingly meaning Australia retain the little urn) at 8/1 with William Hill.

Top Australia Batsman

Ponting and Hussey are both struggling for form and Harmison found Phillip Hughes’s weakness with an onslaught of bouncers in the warm-up match, so opener Simon Katich seems good value at 5/1 with Stan James.

Man of the Series

With wickets likely to be evenly distributed through England’s bowlers, if England are competitive, the Man of the Series will probably be a batsman. With Pietersen too short-priced to back, we’ll put a wager on Alastair Cook at 16/1 with Coral.

Top Series Spinner

Apart from at Cardiff, there’ll only be room for one spinner in each team - Swann, as the world's top Test wicket-taker in 2009 will be England’s choice, and Australia have nobody to replace Warne. Back Swann at 8/13 with Stan James for some seemingly free money.

Top Australia Bowler

With so much focus on Mitchell Johnson, we think Peter Siddle, with 29 test wickets at 27.65 (better than any of England’s seamers) in recent tests against SA and India is worth a bet at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.