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County Championship Outright Odds: Surrey on course for title repeat

Following the conclusion of The Hundred, attention switches to red-ball cricket with the return of the County Championship, the old institution which began in 1890 and remains a significant competition to this day.

Split into two divisions, the County Championship has been on a summer hiatus to make room for 100-ball action, but it returns on Sunday 3rd September, with champions Surrey in pole position to retain their Division One title.

Here are the outright odds for Division One:

Surrey

Current Outright odds - 3/10

Surrey won the County Championship for the 20th time in their history last season (21 including the shared 1950 title) and the champions enter the final phase of the season with a 17-point lead over Essex.

The Three Feathers were impressive prior to the mid-season break, securing seven victories and three draws from their 11 Division One outings, including dominant back-to-back wins over Middlesex and Somerset in their last two matches.

The weather tends to play a part in the final weeks of the county season as summer edges into autumn, but Surrey are in charge ahead of their final three games - against fourth-placed Warwickshire, relegation-bound Northamptonshire and third-placed Hampshire.

The first two of those three outings will take place at the Oval, where Surrey have not tasted defeat in four-day cricket since a 2020 loss to Hampshire in the one-off Bob Willis Trophy tournament, and it's no surprise to see them 3/10 to retain the title as a result.

Rory Burns captains a team full of international experience including fellow England opener Dom Sibley, although New Zealand's Tom Latham is now unavailable for the remainder of the campaign.

Batter Jamie Smith is highly thought of, Ben Foakes is one of the best wicketkeepers in the sport, while England's Will Jacks has proven an adept performer in all formats.

Kemar Roach has signed on for the final three matches of the County season, while Surrey will also hope to have Gus Atkinson available after the impressive quick was named in England's ODI squad for the upcoming series with New Zealand.

Essex

Current Outright odds - 11/4

If Surrey are to be caught, then eight-time champions Essex look comfortably like the most likely team to overhaul them because they trail the Division One pacesetters by 17 points with three still to play.

Essex take on Middlesex at Chelmsford from September 4th, before another home meeting with Hampshire beginning on September 19th.

There is a fair chance that Northants will have been relegated by the time they host Essex in the final fixture of the season, so back-to-back wins could put Tom Westley's men in a strong position heading to Wantage Road.

Skipper Westley has been superb with the bat this season, scoring 919 runs at 48.37, while Matt Critchley, the evergreen Sir Alastair Cook and Surrey-bound Dan Lawrence have all contributed at least 650 runs this season.

However, it's with the ball where 11/4 Essex will probably hope to do the most damage in the final weeks of the campaign.

New-ball bowlers Jamie Porter and Sam Cook have combined for 88 wickets this season, while South African Simon Harmer remains one of the finest exponents of off-spin in the County Championship.

Warwickshire

Current Outright odds - 20/1

Sitting fourth in the table, Warwickshire have 56 points to make up on Surrey and will hope to secure a dominant win when they head to The Oval to face the champions in the match beginning on September 3rd.

While a 56-point margin is a significant one, the 20/1 Bears do have a game in hand on both Surrey and Essex and will also face Northants, Middlesex and Somerset in their bid to secure a ninth County Championship crown.

Hampshire

Current Outright odds - 50/1

Hampshire are third in the standings, but fourth in the betting at 50/1 because, unlike Warwickshire, the two-time champions have three games remaining in their bid to overhaul the two teams above them.

Hampshire possess two high-class Division One batters in James Vince and Nick Gubbins, who have both scored in excess of 700 runs this season, while left-arm spinner Liam Dawson will need to play his part if they're to bridge a significant gap.

Somerset

Current Outright odds - 66/1

On 125 points, 66/1 Somerset will need everything to go their way over the final rounds of action if they're to end a long and painful wait for a first County Championship title.

The Taunton outfit possess the most prolific batter in the division this season, the hugely promising 19-year-old James Rew, who has scored 1034 runs at 64.63 in 18 innings, and he will need to contribute more big runs over their final three matches.

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