Magpies aren’t a bad bet at home
02 December 2011 | JON SWIFT
The memories of that second Test defeat against Michael Clarke’s Australians will surely be weighing on the minds of the Proteas when they go into the first game of a three-Test series against Sri Lanka at Centurion in two weeks’ time.
Exactly why they should be worried is something that the oddsmakers have seemingly ignored, making them the runaway 1/5 favourites for the series which also includes Tests at Kingsmead and Newlands, and pricing the visitors at 8/1.
The series odds are also heavily weighted in favour of Graeme Smith’s side, with South Africa 2/1 for a 3-0 whitewash, 5/2 for 2-0, 9/2 for a 2-1 overall outcome.
Bet on the Sri Lankans and there is 100/1 available for winning all three, 33/1 for 2-0 – the same price available for a drawn series – 20/1 for 2/1 and 25/1 for the visitors to record the only win of the rubber.
And with the weather a persistently annoying factor, it might be worth a little flutter that takes the only result to come at Newlands.
Across the globe in soccer’s English Premier League, one of the matches which will doubtless be under the microscope is Sunderland’s visit to Molineux to take on Wolves on Sunday.
The Black Cats, having dispensed with the services of manager Steve Bruce are marginally ahead of Wolves on goal difference as the pair battle to stay out of the abyss of the relegation zone. The home side are given at 13/10 with Sunderland available at 2/1. But equally, there will be a lot of attention on Chelsea’s visit to Newcastle, in the ongoing battle for fourth spot on the log.
The Magpies have been a revelation this season with the team buying into manager Alan Pardew’s view of things, and having conceded only a dozen goals in the campaign, are clearly a tough nut to crack.
Newcastle are priced at 3/1 with Chelsea on offer as 10/11 favourites, but it would be well to keep the home side’s defensive record in mind and consider the 12/5 on offer for a draw.
Of the other sides still strongly in contention to challenge for league honours, four are in action tomorrow, while Liverpool have to wait until Monday for their trip south to take on Fulham, with the Cottagers priced at 12/5 and the Reds 11/10.
Manchester City are at home tomorrow against a Norwich side sitting very comfortably in mid-table, but such has been City’s dominance this season, that they are 1/6 on the boards with 14/1 allowed the Canaries.
Spurs, settled in at third and with outspoken manager Harry Redknapp on record as saying this could be Tottenham’s time, are at home to a Bolton Wanderers outfit mired in the relegation quagmire. Spurs are given at 2/7 and Bolton offered at 9/1.
Manchester United face probably the toughest task of any of the big sides, an away match at Villa Park. Although Villa are given at 4/1 and United offered at 4/6, such has been the recent form of the Red Devils that it is worth a look at the draw at 11/4.
Arsenal also have an away match but the 4/7 the London side are listed at reflects the fact that they should be able to see off 5/1 Wigan.
In the weekend’s other matches, Blackburn are 6/5 at home to 11/5 Swansea tomorrow, while in Sunday’s other game, Everton are 4/5 at Goodison against 10/3 Stoke, though the 13/5 offered for a draw is worth considering.
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