Arsenal's title odds take a sudden dive

SPORTS BETTING
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The Independent Online
Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane tonight as William Hill's clear favourites for the Premiership, but it is Arsenal who are making the most rapid progress towards the head of the market after their gritty win at Newcastle on Saturday.

Arsenal are 100-30 (from 7-1) with Hills, and closing swiftly on the current third favourites, Manchester United (11-4). With home games against Derby and Southampton in the next six days, Arsenal could soon overhaul both Liverpool (9-4) and Newcastle (5-2) in the list.

Liverpool have attracted heavy support to beat Tottenham, on coupons which did not reflect either their defeat of Arsenal or Tottenham's abject failure at Bolton. The odds have been adjusted accordingly, and at a top- price of 5-4 Liverpool make little appeal. It is a rarity to find Tottenham offered at 2-1 for a home game and, in the hope that the defeat at Burnden Park was just one of those nights, this must be the value choice.

As predicted, Manchester United's B team put up a spineless performance at Leicester last week, but it should be an altogether different story at Rapid Vienna on Wednesday. United are difficult to back at 8-11, and a watching brief is advised, but Hills' offer of 5-4 against Fenerbahce to qualify is very tempting (United are 4-7 to make the last eight).

The bet of the week must be Auxerre to finish top of Group A, a 13-8 chance with Coral. The French side will be heavy favourites to beat Rangers at home. If they win, a draw or an Ajax victory at Grasshopper will put Auxerre on top of the group, and it seems likely that the Swiss side are heavily flattered by their results to date.

FA PREMIERSHIP: Hills: 9-4 Liverpool; 5-2 Newcastle; 11-4 Manchester Utd; 100-30 Arsenal; 14-1 Chelsea; 25-1 Aston Villa; 33-1 Everton; 66- 1 bar.

CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE: Group A: Coral: 5-6 Grasshopper Zurich; 13-8 Auxerre; 4-1 Ajax.

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