Sports Betting: Give old warriors a miss at Valhalla

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Valhalla is normally the preserve of dead Norwegians, but the conditions will be anything but Scandinavian when the US PGA Championship tees off at the Valhalla course in Kentucky on Thursday. The heat and humidity will be as much of a challenge as any of the hazards on the course, which is hosting a major tournament for the first time, and mean that it is unlikely a player from the European tour can prevail.

In any case, there are very few with any sort of chance, with only Colin Montgomerie (25-1) and Ian Woosnam (40-1) quoted at less than 50-1. This is also, remember, a tournament that is regularly won by an unheralded outsider, which lends little attraction to the 14-1 quote about Nick Faldo, whose record in this particular major is not inspiring.

The absence of any previous form over the course makes things particularly difficult for punters, but as ever the rule must be that any quote less than 20-1 cannot represent value. There are any number of possibilities, but three who have good recent form to their credit are Scott Hoch (40- 1 with Hills), John Cook (33-1, Coral and Tote), and Jeff Sluman, an 80- 1 chance with the Tote. That price may not survive a good final round in last night's Buick Classic - Sluman was joint fifth after three rounds - but at 66-1 with Hills, he is still worth an each-way interest.

The second Test between England and Pakistan, which also begins on Thursday, offers a best-price book which offers just 2.4 per cent profit for the bookies. England disappointed badly at Lord's, but it was a huge blow to those who backed them when Nasser Hussein's injury failed to heal as quickly as expected. Hussein should be back at No 3 at Headingley, and the 7-2 (Ladbrokes) against the home side squaring the series is simply too big to ignore.

Rangers face a potentially ruinous date with Vladikavkaz in their Champions' League qualifier on Wednesday. With Gazza missing and the Russians several weeks into their domestic season, value-seekers should take the best price available about the visitors. When the Scots' season kicks off on Saturday, a genuine two-horse race is in prospect. Celtic are just 7-4 with Ladbrokes to end the blue domination of Glasgow, with Rangers at 2-5.

US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (Valhalla, Kentucky): Best prices: 14-1 Faldo (C), 16-1 Els (H), Norman (C,H), 20-1 Couples (T), Pavin (H,T), 25-1 Lehman (C), O'Meara (C,T), Montgomerie (C,H,T), 28-1 Love (H), 33-1 Price (H,T), Cook (C,T), Mickleson (H,T), 40-1 bar. CRICKET SECOND TEST (Headingley): 11-8 Pakistan (C), 13-8 draw (C), 7-2 England (L). SCOTTISH LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP: Ladbrokes: 2-5 Rangers, 7-4 Celtic, 33-1 bar.

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