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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

My bet last week started like a champion and finished with a whimper, Newcastle vs. Arsenal and Juventus vs. Inter were both draws, but after that it was downhill all the way. Chelsea was outstanding against Spurs, thrashing them 4-0; Fulham beat the Baggies 1-0 to set up an intriguing semifinal with its close neighbor. My final draw selection was Roma vs. Lazio, which ended in a 5-1 thrashing of Lazio.


EUROPE





This weekend's Russian soccer fixtures see Spartak away to Kryliya Sovetov, which had a good season last year to finish 5th. I predict this one ending in another draw at 3.25-9/4. CSKA faces a tough visit from Zenit. No match is ever easy against the team from the northern capital, but a win for CSKA is on the cards at 1.80-4/5. Sunday sees the Moscow Derby between Torpedo and Dynamo. I'm going for a draw in this one as well at 3.25-9/4.

The big match in Europe this weekend will be Real Madrid's trip to the Nou Camp where it will meet an inconsistent Barcelona that has to win this game just to keep in the race for the championship or even a place in the Champions League next season. Real is fresh from three straight wins in the league and qualification for the quarterfinals of the Champions League, so I'm going for Real to win at 3.00-2/1.

Arguably the best match this week in the English Premier League is at Villa Park when Ars?ne Wenger takes his in-form Arsenal minus a suspended Thierry Henry to play the Turnip's Aston Villa. Villa has UEFA cup aspirations and can ill afford to lose, but without Henry this will be a hard task for the Gunners and a draw is likely at 3.50-5/2.

Let's take a look at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Yes, I know it's not in Europe but as most Grand Prix's are usually won by a certain European driver this is where I'm putting it. Michael Schumacher won yet another Grand Prix, yawn ... and will probably win this one, but he presents no value at all. Rubens Barrichello, however, does. He was on pole for the Aussie Grand Prix and if it was not for the 250-kilometer-per-hour shunt from behind by his teammate's brother at the first bend I believe he would given Michael a race for his money. So at 7.00-8/1 he will be my bet of the week.

The silly season is approaching so as a famous Flying Circus used to say, "Now for something completely different!"

The race to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury is really hotting up, the favorite is the Archbishop of Wales at 2.50-6/4, but I have this tip straight from the local convent so I'm going for the Bishop of Sodor and Man at a 101.00-100/1. He's your man for the job and with a title like that he deserves it.

UNITED STATES





There are only two weeks to the start of the baseball season, so this is good time to have an ante-post bet on the World Series. Last year's winners, the Arizona Diamondbacks, still retain Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. In addition, they have added Rick Helling from the Texas Rangers to their pitching staff. So far, Helling has not sparkled, and the loss of Reggie Sanders to the San Francisco Giants could be very important with an aging line-up. At 9.00-8/1 they are still a good bet if Johnson and Schilling remain fit.

The favorites, no surprises here, are the New York Yankees. Despite losing in the World Series last year, their record is second to none with four Series wins in the last six. Owner George Steinbrenner ordered a major overhaul of the team, so I'm backing them at 2.40-7/5 to win the American League pennant.

For me, the team that is the biggest danger to the Yankees are local rivals, the Mets. They have invested hugely in offense after a disappointing season. Take the Mets at 5.00-4/1 to win the National League, and double it up with the Yankees to win the American League. Subway Series II here we come!

The kitty lost $11 last week and stands at $135, with two bets still to finish.

CHARITY BET



As we are going to print, the first two results for last week's charity bet have come in, we have two winners: Like-A-Butterfly in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at 2.88-15/8 and the aptly named Moscow Flyer in the Arkle Chase at 8.00-7/1. So far we have won 1,088 rubles with 1,352 rubles running onto the last two selections. This week's tip is the same as my bet of the week; 250 rubles each way on Rubens Barrichello to win the Malaysian Grand Prix at 8.00-7/1(1/5 odds-1st, 2nd or 3rd).

The Charity fund is now 11,063 rubles with the Cheltenham bet and two others still to finish.

THE BET OF THE WEEK



$10 Single
Rubens Barrichello to win the Malaysian Grand Prix 8.00-7/1
(Sunday 10 a.m. start)

Possible winnings -- $80

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