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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Soothsayer

Terry Venables is back with his unique style of "wide-boy," wheeler-dealer management. So can he work the oracle for Leeds? I have my doubts. They need ?30 million ($46 million) to balance the books and if you believe the latest reports that they are trying to keep Rio Ferdinand, this will mean the loss of Bowyer (Liverpool), Dacourt (Juventus) and Keane (Sunderland).

Terry is a good motivator and coach, the press often has a soft spot for him and I think he has a strong chance of reuniting the squad, but what squad will he have left? My prediction for Leeds is sixth place and 7.50-13/2 looks a very good price.

This week sees the start of the Tri-Nations tournament with New Zealand facing Australia at home in Christchurch. The bookmakers make the All Blacks 1.83-5/6 to win the Tri-Nations with Australia 2.30-13/10 and South Africa 8.00-7/1. This weekend Australia is 5.5 point underdogs despite winning the last two Tri-Nations games in New Zealand and winning in Christchurch in 1998.

Furthermore, the shock exclusion of Jonah Lomu and the injury to Tana Umaga has given the Aussies a much-needed boost. Add to this the miraculous return of Toutai Kefu and the inclusion of Ben Tune after injury, it's clear to anyone who knows the game who the real favorites are.

Although New Zealand did open up in the second game against Ireland and Australia did not inspire in its second match against Six Nations winner France, love them or hate them, the Aussies rise to the occasion in the big games. I was about to take the +5.5 on Australia, but at 2.50-6/4 the outright price is too tempting.

EUROPE



Lokomotiv and CSKA played out a 0-0 draw in a top-of-the-table clash in the Russian League, which keeps Lokomotiv five points clear although CSKA has two games in hand. Next week, CSKA faces the improving Krylya team at home and I think this one might be a draw. With Lokomotiv likely to win at struggling Moscow rival Torpedo, its lead could be extended.

In cricket this week we see the final of the one-day international series between India and England. Unlike the charity correspondent, I fancy the English boys to win, particularly as they have extra days off before the final.

UNITED STATES



"Greed is Good." So said Gordon Gecko. The overpaid stars of baseball, like Gordon Gecko, believe in only one thing, and have scant regard for the fans or the future of the sport.

Strike or no strike, the players need to understand that only four teams in baseball make money and to be asking for a bigger cut of the revenue is ridiculous.

Furthermore, at a time when the average salary stands at $2.38 million, it is hard to explain to the average American fan that any rise is justified. The fundamental problem with baseball is that it is on the decline. Attendance has fallen by 12 percent since 1994, rumors of drug usage are rife, and at a time that clubs are going out of business, a strike would be unforgivable.

The kitty now stands at $302, after the McLaren no-show at Silverstone.

CHARITY BET



The charity fund is now standing at 17,095 rubles ($542) with bets still running. This week the pink gin boy is in Moscow, instead of sitting at Lord's, and strangely he is looking to oppose England by backing India -- traitor! I have promised him 500 rubles on the best price available after the India versus England game.

BET OF THE WEEK



$10 win on Australia to beat New Zealand at 2.50-6/4

(Saturday 11:35 a.m.)

Possible winnings -- $25

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