Football: World Cup: SPREAD BETTING

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The Independent Online
WITH A less than stellar record since that November night in Rome England have been drifting in the markets.

Another reason for their slippage - in their World Cup Index's Sporting have moved from 62-67 to 51-57 since the beginning of May and IG have gone from 25-29 to 22-26 since the tournament began - is that this form of gambling is no place for sentimental wagers.

That bet for the sake of having a bet just doesn't (or shouldn't) exist.

If there is little confidence in them doing well - although a profit would be realised on the above figures if they reach the quarter-finals - there is little margin in backing them not to be do particularly badly either.

Sporting have been rather cunning with their `Dodgy Defence Index'. England's excellent record - two goals conceded in qualification and two more (to Chile) in nine games since - would seem to make them an obvious sell at 11-14.

However, even assuming Seaman and co will play more than three games they will still not approach the leakage suffered by the likes of Japan, Tunisia and Jamaica in the group games so this is a temptation worth avoiding.

It's an enormous cop-out but supporting England is nerve wracking enough without wondering if Ladbrokes' 2.4-2.7 total goals is on the low side.

Avoid entirely. A sell on the total goals between Germany and USA should keep the betting eye in.

World Cup cliche-mongers would have us believe that the former are slow starters while America have an uninspiring striking partnership of Wynalda and Wegerle (or Hejduk). A goalfest is unlikely.

Richard Wetherell