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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

A rampaging England blew away Ireland 45-11 at Twickenham last week and passed the 16-point winning margin necessary to take it to top place in rugby union's world rankings.

I was too cautious with my wager, believing the men in green would make a game of it. But a win is a win, and it adds a little more to the kitty.

EUROPEAN



The Worthington Cup final on Sunday between Blackburn and Tottenham is probably the highlight of the weekend. Glenn Hoddle's side has more than a few injury problems in defence, and Andy Cole is the man who can and will be looking to exploit this and pick up a winner's medal to complete his collection. So back Blackburn not to win in 90 minutes but to win the cup at 2.63-13/8. This will be one of my bets of the week.

This weekend the English Premier League will see the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Saturday. Liverpool is playing outstanding football at the moment and it faces an Everton side fresh from an outstanding 0-0 bore draw against Crewe Alexander! There's not much to say about this one, except that the Reds should take all the points and at 1.50-1/2 are not bad value even though it's a derby (Oh no! I must be ill, I think I praised the Reds).

There's another derby on Sunday when title-chasing Newcastle visits the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland. This one will be a lot more competitive if Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn are on form and, of course, if Peter Reid's men can hold off a rampant Alan Shearer on top form. This one I see ending in a draw (3.25-9/4) but a draw with goals, so also go for more than 2.5 goals at 2.10-11/10.

The other big match is on Saturday as Aston Villa visits Old Trafford. Manchester United must be wary of this one, as Graham Taylor's men are easily capable of grabbing a draw if Darius Vassell is on form, but the champions will not want to make any mistakes at home, so this is my other European bet of the week at 1.40-2/5.

UNITED STATES



The Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson "bite your leg" contest rolls on as Tyson may now be able to take to the ring in Indonesia, where a prominent businessman is bidding to host the heavyweight championship fight. The betting and my opinion on the winner remain unchanged, Lewis at 1.44-4/9 and Tyson at 2.75-7/4 with Lennox Lewis winning, so get on now, his price will only get shorter.

We are only a couple of weeks away from the "Luvvies" event of the year, the Oscars, so let's have look at some of the runners.

Best Picture: This one looks a two-horse race with 'A Beautiful Mind' at 1.72-8/11 and 'Lord of the Rings' at 2.75-7/4. The Academy tends to give this award to films with better acting rather than special effects, and so 'A Beautiful Mind' looks the value as a favorite.

Best Actress: This one should go to Sissy Spacek for 'In the Bedroom', and at a generous price of 1.72-8/11 I believe she should be backed. Her main rivals are Nicole Kidman at 4.50-7/2 for 'Moulin Rouge', Judy Dench for 'Iris' at 7.00-6/1 and Halle Berry for 'Monster's Ball,' also at 7.00-6/1.

Best Director: Peter Jackson is favorite at 2.38-11/8 for 'Lord of the Rings' with Ron Howard at 2.75-7/4 for 'A Beautiful Mind.

CHARITY BET



In Salt Lake City, the Russian hockey team did very well against the United States, only just missing out on a win. The match ended 2-2, so the charity fund remains the same at 8,225 rubles.

We still have two charity bets running: England to win the Six Nations at 1.40-2/5 and Russia to win the most gold medals at 7.00-6/1. The former looks very good, but the latter is doubtful now.

For this week's bet I am going to put the 500 rubles on Blackburn to win the Worthington Cup at 2.63-13/8.

The kitty is now at $139 with a $100 bet on England to win the Six Nations at 1.40-2/5 still running.

THE BETS OF THE WEEK



$10 Double

Man United to win 1.40-2/5

(Saturday k.o. 3 p.m.)

Blackburn to win the Worthington Cup Final 2.63-13/8

(Sunday k.o. 6 p.m.)

Possible Winnings -- $37

$10 Treble

Sissy Spacek 1.72-8/11

Best Actress

Peter Jackson 2.38-11/8

Best Director

A Beautiful Mind 1.72-8/11

Best Picture

Possible Winnings -- $70

Total Possible Winnings -- $107

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