Essex NatWest value

SPORTS BETTING
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The Independent Online
Essex can cause a minor upset by beating Lancashire in the NatWest Final at Lord's this Saturday.

The one-day specialists Lancashire showed their well- being in the bowling department when skittling Sussex out for 144 at Hove on Saturday. However, even allowing for the state of the Hove wicket, their previous 218 in the same fixture is nothing to write home about. And, at 8-15 with William Hill, Lancashire look much too short a price.

Essex, who have notched a 372 - including a century from Nasser Hussain - at Headingley in recent days, are in good nick themselves. In the heady final atmosphere, they could well start to look good value at William Hill's offer of 11-8.

Only in the Premiership football market could a team like Newcastle make a dismal start but remain 4-1, on the strength of dubious old "form". Newcastle are being treated by the bookmakers as if they had won last season's Premiership and then made a sticky start this time. As they, in fact, threw away last season's Premiership with a series of inept performances - entirely in keeping with their efforts so far this term - that 4-1 on offer for Newcastle has to be one of the worst value bets around.

Those who have missed the good ship value in the shape of Chelsea (advised at both 25-1 and 20-1 in this neck of the woods of late and now 10-1 with Hills), could do worse than give each-way consideration to in-form Everton (18-1 with Coral).

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