Sports Betting: England find favour with the bookmakers

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND ARE 2-5 with William Hill to qualify (and 7-4 not to qualify) for the Euro 2000 finals and a top-price 14-1 with Coral and Stanley to win the tournament following Saturday's victory over Poland at Wembley, while Kevin Keegan is now a best-priced evens to be the next permanent England manager.

Despite their depleted squad, England produced a creditable performance against a nation rated 27th in the Fifa rankings, but they have yet to entertain Sweden at Wembley and also face trips to Bulgaria and Poland.

The Netherlands, arguably unlucky to go out to Brazil on penalties in the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and through to Euro 2000 as joint hosts, are favourites, while the most eyecatching nations in the qualifiers have been Italy, unbeaten in three games, and Euro 96 finalists the Czech Republic, unbeaten in four games and 50-1 with the Tote.

The other nation to keep a close eye on is Ukraine. They are 33-1 to win Euro 2000 yet Dynamo Kiev, the side that supplied seven of their starting 11 in their goalless draw against the World Cup holders France on Saturday night, are in the semi-finals of the European Cup and are many people's idea of the winner.

Their continuity of their club game at national level must give them an edge and there are many worse bets at 33-1. The other "double carpet" (33-1) nation to pay attention to are World Cup third-placers Croatia.

The Boat race - more boring than a personal finance supplement, yet those eternal optimists among us who were reared on Grandstand still tune in hoping that one year we will see a decent contest.

And this might be the year. Despite Cambridge's stranglehold, Oxford are being talked up and William Hill, the only firm pricing up the event at this stage bet 5-6 each of two and 100-1 the dead-heat.

The 100-1 a tie is strictly for the mugs - there would have to have been 20 dead-heats in this least competitive of sporting showdowns since Julius Caesar dropped in to install central heating for those odds to be fair - but it is worth including Cambridge, impressive against an Austrian crew from Gmunden recently, in those Saturday multiple bets, particularly if they draw the favoured Surrey side.

EURO 2000

C H L S T

Netherlands 4-1 4-1 7-2 4-1 4-1

France 11-2 6-1 5-1 6-1 6-1

Italy 5-1 11-2 5-1 5-1 6-1

Germany 10-1 8-1 9-1 9-1 9-1

Spain 10-1 9-1 9-1 9-1 9-1

England 14-1 12-1 12-1 14-1 11-1

Sweden 14-1 16-1 20-1 20-1 20-1

Yugoslavia 16-1 20-1 16-1 20-1 20-1

Belgium 20-1 20-1 20-1 22-1 20-1

Romania 25-1 25-1 20-1 25-1 25-1

Portugal 28-1 25-1 28-1 20-1 25-1

Croatia 28-1 33-1 25-1 25-1 20-1

Ukraine 28-1 25-1 16-1 28-1 33-1

Czech Republic 28-1 40-1 33-1 25-1 50-1

Norway 50-1 25-1 25-1 28-1 28-1

NEXT PERMANENT ENGLAND MANAGER

H L T

K Keegan 4-9 1-3 Evens

R Hodgson 4-1 5-1 11-2

D Platt 8-1 10-1 9-1

T Venables 10-1 16-1 8-1

M O'Neill 16-1 16-1 10-1

H Wilkinson 20-1 20-1 20-1

Bryan Robson 12-1 25-1 10-1

Bobby Robson 20-1 33-1 20-1

J Gregory 20-1 33-1 20-1

A Ferguson 16-1 50-1 14-1

C Coral, H William Hill, L Ladbrokes, S Stanley, T Tote

THE BOAT RACE (Saturday): William Hill: 5-6 Cambridge, Oxford, 100-1 dead-heat.

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