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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

It is now the week before Christmas and I still don't have enough in the kitty for the nipper's presents. Again I had three correct from five predictions: Arsenal got the draw against West Ham, Burnley won again to extend its lead at the top of English Division One, but Liverpool let me down (again).

Crossing the Atlantic, Chicago won comfortably 27-3, but unfortunately, Washington lost at home to Philly and threw away any realistic chance at the playoffs. They just could not fall in the right place for my bets, so last week I won just $42.

I broke my word by betting on Liverpool last week. Every time I back the Reds they lose, and, of course, last week was no exception as a great-looking Chelsea thrashed, humiliated and thoroughly destroyed Owenpool 4-0. The Stamford Bridge boys' confidence must be soaring after beating Manchester United 3-0 and now claiming the scalp of the one-man team from Merseyside.

This is the most open Premier League title race in years, and was made even more so with Newcastle's 3-1 over Arsenal on Tuesday. This was particularly sweet for the Magpies as it was their first win in the Capital for four years and it took them to top spot in the league for the first time this season. Anybody who took my advice and backed the champion Manchester United to keep the title at 9.00-8/1 must now be rubbing their hands with glee: after recent wins of 5-0 and 1-0, their price is now back down to 3.25-9/4 with some very easy matches coming up.

Sports are now winding down for the festive season, but this weekend sees a cracking match with Liverpool at home to Arsenal on Sunday. With both teams fresh from heavy defeats and still well in the running for the title, this is a match neither can afford to lose. The key to this one is, wait for it ... Michael Owen. If properly fit, he could win the game for the Reds, but without him, they will be lucky to hang on for a draw, which is what I am going for at (3.50-5/2).

The kitty now stands at $49, but I still have my $5 each way on Rince Ri for the King George VI on the Dec. 26 to run, and, of course, this week's bet -- so it could still be a merry Christmas.

EUROPEAN





Manchester United to win at home to Southampton (1.40 - 2/5). What a difference just two games make, after two good wins, United is looking like a championship challenger again. A win against Southampton with a full team and will probably re-install Sir Alex Ferguson's lads as title favorites this week. Just to make sure my money is safe with them this weekend, I will be taking the trip to Old Trafford to ensure a glorious victory. This is definitely my bet of the week!

UNITED STATES





New England (-2.5) to win at home to Miami. Like last week when Tampa Bay visited Chicago, the cold will be a major factor, and a strong advantage for New England. The Patriots now have a chance to prove their doubters wrong and take the lead in the division after winning their previous four games. Miami is again showing the end-of-season jitters in the AFC battle with the New York Jets -- a bit later than usual --but the jitters nonetheless.

San Francisco (-3) to win at home to Philly.The Eagles are a useful team, but the 49ers are improving and learning. After losing to St. Louis, they then shut out Miami, and many said the defense was weak early on in the season. This is definitely a team for the future, and St. Louis should not expect to win easily if the two meet again in the playoffs.

$49 Single
Man. United to win 1.40 – 2/5 (Sat. k.o. 6 p.m.)

$5 each-way
King George VI Rince Ri 34.00 – 33/1 (Dec. 26)

Possible Winnings -- $277

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Frank Caruana is the Manager of Sportland. Contact him at Soothsayer@imedia.ru.