James Moore: Losing Streak (12/06/2010)

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The Independent Online

Today's Bet

Lampard to miss a penalty

Logic has a habit of going out of the window when it comes to betting on England.

Optimists appear to think that it's simply unpatriotic not to pile in. While bookmakers report that the usual pre-tournament plunge on England has failed to materialise, not least because of somy shaky performances in the warm-ups,la lot of money has still gone down. That's why England are priced at an all but unbackable 8-1 to win the whole thing.

But pessimists are already mired in gloom and it will take more than smart marketing by the bookmakers to get them to risk even a handful of coppers on the national side. I'm afraid I lean towards that camp.

Still, the Irish bookie Paddy Power could persuade us doom and gloom merchants to get involved with a deal that refunds all losing bets on first/ last goal scorer, correct score and scorecast singles as long as Wayne Rooney scores. That's no guarantee but with Rooney's 25 goals in 60 games, it makes this bookie a good place for a home bet.

England ought to beat the US, a team with few stars and a national league that is strictly second-rate, from a land that devotes as much attention to the shenanigans in amateur university American Football as to the world's biggest sporting event. No matter, England should win – but at odds of around 1-2 there's no value in backing them. The draw, a real danger against a workmanlike line-up, looks to offer some value for real pessimists at 100-30.

A draw will feel like a disaster to England fans, but it might actually suit both teams with the other two in Group C looking weak. With the insurance of a Rooney goal voiding losing bets, however, I think the attractive option is a 2-0 victory at 11-2 with Paddy Power.

Those who like to play at short odds might be attracted by the 4-6 offered by William Hill on England keeping a clean sheet. Despite worries about the goalkeeping and defence, they've done that in seven of their last nine World Cup matches – so the odds appear to offer value. I just wouldn't be taking them if England play Glen Johnson.

One bet I am having with Hills is the 3-1 against Frank Lampard (pictured) to miss a penalty. That includes penalty shoot- outs (but loses if he doesn't take one). It's emotional insurance, in case the worst should happen...

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