Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

If England win in Sydney, it'll be a happy new year
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The Independent Online

This is not a morning for coherent thought but punters are usually quick with a sober new year review of their accounts, sorting wheat from chaff.

My current portfolio's status hinges on the final Ashes Test in Sydney – if England win it's Shredded Wheat, but a defeat and it's horse feed. The absence of Ricky Ponting may be a bad omen.

The main bets were England to win the series (at 15-8), with a 3-1 score (14-1). The minor bets, Jonathan Trott (below) to be top series batsman – he is on 445, 132 behind Alastair Cook – and Graeme Swann to be top series bowler – he's on 13 wickets, four behind Jimmy Anderson – are still in play, just.

Meanwhile, of all the football bets Everton look most doomed to chaff status, though last season they did their best work in the final half (hear the plaintive call of the desperate punter). December's investment in Manchester City (at 12-1) has proved more encouraging. In the Championship, Reading are sixth, 13 points off the top; Southampton are up to fifth in League One, six points behind Brighton; while Rotherham lie fourth in League Two, four off top spot. Northampton (5-1) lead rugby's Premiership but Cardiff Blues are already dust in the Heineken Cup.

The final weekend of the NFL's regular season sees our AFC picks, Pittsburgh (14-1) and Baltimore (11-1), safely through to the play-offs, but in the NFC, Green Bay (10-1) may need divisional winners Chicago to be still hung over for their game at Lambeau Field.