The 2023 Asia Cup begins Wednesday with five of the six teams using this ODI tournament as a tune-up for the World Cup in October. India enter as the defending ODI Asia Cup champions, defeating Bangladesh in the 2018 competition. They are the most successful team in the ODI Asia Cup with six titles, while current co-hosts Sri Lanka are next with five championships.
Here’s a look at the odds to win the 2023 tournament according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Even though India enter this tournament ahead of the rest of the teams, there are concerns to iron out. The focus will be on the health of Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul, who are expected to anchor the middle order. The question of the second opening batter is also there, with Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan expected to contend. Captain Rohit Sharma has a lot to sort out but India should be able to get to the final without much trouble. The question is whether the top players will be rusty after some down time.
The other contenders
Similar to India, Pakistan have some middle order issues. Babar Azam remains one of the top players in the game, but there hasn’t been anyone stepping up after the top three. Shadab Khan is showing more consistency as an all-rounder, and the bowling attack is one of the best in the world. If Azam can keep delivering big knocks, Pakistan’s bowlers should be able to get through opposing lineups well enough to see this team to the final. Technically, Pakistan are co-hosts in this competition but they are only guaranteed to have one true home match.
Sri Lanka (+650)
Sri Lanka are closer to hosts than co-hosts, especially since the final is being played in Colombo. That is motivation enough for this squad, which hasn’t quite been able to develop due to a variety of off-field factors. Captain Dasun Shanaka’s focus will be on continued improvement, although many of the players have hit walls. We’ll see if this team can cobble together some good showings despite the talent gap, which they were able to do at the 2022 T20 Asia Cup.
Best bet to win the title: India (-110)
Bangladesh (+900) would’ve been a fun sleeper pick a half-decade ago, especially since they went to back-to-back finals. Sri Lanka is intriguing as the main host country and is coming off a run to the final in 2022. However, this will once again likely come down to Pakistan and India.
There’s a high chance these sides will play three times in this competition, with the final being the last matchup. That’s obviously a big draw for fans and sponsors, but there are going to be some adjustments with each contest. Both teams have similar problems with their lineups but India have a more definitive idea of who will step up in those positions.
Pakistan’s bowling attack is capable of winning the whole thing but so is India’s star power. This could be the last one-day World Cup for both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, so they’ll hopefully take this Asia Cup more seriously ahead of the main prize in October. If those two are on their game, India will win this competition.