James Moore: Losing Streak (10/07/10)

Today's bets

Holland to win in 90 minutes, 11-4 Wesley Sneijder to score first, 9-1

This world cup has been one for the enemy: my friends in the bookmaking trade are all wearing wide smiles. Which is never something the committed punter likes to see.

England doing well is inevitably a bad result for them, so they cleaned up on the national side's failures (to the tune of over £10m). Then there's Brazil, ever a popular bet to win the World Cup (and one highlighted in this column). Their demise meant that, even with the relatively small number of draws (which traditionally favours their bottom line), the tournament's biggest winners are already known. They play in red (Ladbrokes) or blue (William Hill) or green (Paddy Power) and any number of colours in between.

Here we have enjoyed sadly limited success. We suggested England to draw with the US at 100-30, but were otherwise on a Losing Streak for the first seven columns before forecasting that a sorry French side would lose to the hosts over 90 minutes (at 9-4, not a bad price). Then, just a couple of days later, came the best result so far with Brazil beating Chile 3-0 at 10-1.

While we couldn't get the result of Germany-Argentina, we did forecast more than 2.5 goals would be scored and then that Arjen Robben would strike for Holland against Uruguay at 2-1. But Germany's exit was a disaster for the column, and Brazil's wasn't much better. We'll say no more about Italy.

So to the final. It might be the heart that's ruling the head here, but Holland look overpriced at 11-4. They're technically gifted, tight and can win this in 90 minutes. Likewise Wesley Sneijder is overpriced at 9-1 to score first. The Dutch have given us Cruyff, Van Basten, Bergkamp and the Ajax of the 1970s. They can give us a final pay-off, whatever that damned German octopus says.

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