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County Championship Outright Odds: Surrey 7/4 to complete hat-trick

The 124th County Championship season begins in April with reigning champions Surrey heading the betting to retain their first-class crown.

The 18 counties are split into two divisions - 10 in Division 1 and eight in the second tier - and Surrey are the team that everyone must try to beat as The Oval county chase a third crown in a row and a fourth since 2018.

County Championship Division 1 odds

(Odds will display when markets are available)

Surrey

The reigning champions have won three of the last five County Championships and will seek to cement their place as arguably the best four-day side since the turn of the millennium with a third title in a row.

Surrey have lost only three of 28 games in the last two seasons and have further boosted their batting ranks with the capture of England Test player Dan Lawrence from title rivals Essex.

Essex

Champions in 2017 and 2019, Essex fell just short last season.

South Africa spinner Simon Harmer will again lead their charge and his international team-mate Dean Elgar should go some way to replacing the runs of retired legend Sir Alastair Cook. 

Warwickshire

Warwickshire certainly won't be lacking for pace in 2024, having snapped up Pakistan fast bowler Hassan Ali and left-armer George Garton for the upcoming campaign.

The Bears will need those two to have a seismic impact to improve on last term's fourth-placed finish, though.

Lancashire

Ten draws curtailed any chance of a first County Championship success since 2011 for Lancashire last season, but the Red Rose lost only once in 2023 and will hope Australia's greatest finger spinner, Nathan Lyon, can help them force the issue this time around.

Josh Bohannon was the leading runscorer in Division 1 last term and there is a lot to like about Lancs if they can engineer positive results.

Nottinghamshire

Opener Haseeb Hameed has replaced Steven Mullaney as skipper for Notts, who have seen stalwarts Stuart Broad, Jake Ball and Samit Patel all depart.

Former Worcestershire trio Josh Tongue - who made an impact in last summer's Ashes for England - Dillon Pennington and Jack Haynes have all moved across the Midlands to fill those considerable shoes.

Hampshire

A County Championship crown has eluded Hampshire since 1973 and their five-decade wait to be English cricket's top dogs seems likely to linger on this season.

The club won't lack for talent, with familiar face Mohammad Abbas back to terrorise batting line-ups up and down the country, but there is a more than a hint of 2024 being a season of consolidation down at the Ageas Bowl.

Somerset

The Cidermen have opted for quality over quantity in their off-season recruitment, bringing in only seamer Jake Ball and emerging Australian all-rounder Will Sutherland.

Seventh in each of the past two seasons, another battle towards the bottom of the table seems likely unless a dry summer ensues and brings their twin England spinners, Jack Leach and Shoaib Bashir, into play.

Kent

It's all change in Canterbury with a new captain and coach at the St Lawrence Ground.

Former bowling coach Simon Cook takes the top job, with Kent stalwart Daniel Bell-Drummond in charge on the field. Losing wicketkeeper-batter Joe Cox to Essex is a blow, though.

Durham

Durham are back in the top tier of the county set-up for the first time since the 2016 season after winning the Division 2 title last year.

South Africa international David Bedingham will once again be looked upon to supply a welter of runs, while Australia seamer Scott Boland looks a canny acquisition for the first few months when the Chester-le-Street pitch offers plenty of new-ball assistance.

Worcestershire

The Pears were promoted to the top tier as runners-up to Durham last season, but have lost three of their emerging talents to Division 1 rivals Nottinghamshire. Ominously, they have been relegated in the season after promotion four times since 2006.

County Championship Division 2 odds

(Odds will display when markets are available)

Division 2 round-up

Record County Championship winners Yorkshire again find themselves in the second tier but, crucially, start without a points deduction this time around.

The White Rose were deducted 50 points last term and would have finished third, just eight points shy of promoted Worcestershire, had it not been for that penalty.

Middlesex and Northamptonshire are seeking to bounce back after relegation from Division 1 in 2023, while Sussex and Glamorgan, third and fifth in the second division last term, will think that a couple of extra wins can put them firmly in the reckoning for promotion.

Leicestershire arguably overachieved to split that pair, while Derbyshire and Gloucestershire failed to win a single four-day game in 2023 and would need a miraculous turnaround in fortunes to feature in the promotion shake-up.

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