SPORTS BETTING : Invincible Ajax look excellent value

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The Independent Online
The mighty Ajax can brush aside Juventus and win the European Cup at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Wednesday evening.

The Dutch champions have looked pretty invincible in Europe this season and, at 4-5 with Coral (William Hill go 8-11) to win the contest outright, they look a pretty solid proposition. Both firms quote 6-4 about Ajax winning in 90 minutes, and that, too, looks a price well worth taking.

On Thursday, the Texaco trophy commences at The Oval and, once again, patriotism has got the better of common sense. England are 8-11 with William Hill to win the first match with India at even money, while England are 4-6 to win the series and India are 11-10. Coral more sensibly go 5-6 each of two about both the first match and the best-of-three competition.

India should be backed both to win on Thursday and to win the series. The sides' performances in the World Cup provide all the one-day form which is required to assess their respective merit, or lack of it.

Although India have looked a bit shaky in their tour games so far this spring, good individual performances from Tendulkar (85 & 67) in particular and Manjrekar (65 not out) against Sussex last week suggest they are in good enough nick to put paid to England.

India have a one-day game against Northamptonshire at Luton tomorrow and unless there is a disaster there they look a sound betting proposition on Thursday morning.

The Endsleigh League play-offs start at Wembley on Saturday and Darlington may clinch a place in the Second Division by beating Plymouth. Coral and Hills both make Plymouth 8-11 favourites but Darlington - evens with both firms - look the better value in what looks an evenly-matched encounter.

It's 5-6 each of two, and Bradford can get themselves into the First Division by despatching Notts County on Sunday.

The Yorkshire side were dead men according to the bookmakers, who quoted them at 25-1 after they lost 2-0 to Blackpool in the first leg of the play-off semi-final. But they go into this game on the back of their amazing 3-0 turnaround, and that momentum can carry them through against Notts County, who were not quite as impressive against Crewe.