Sports betting: Worthington ties throw up tempting draw bets

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NOT LOSING is priority number one in Cup competitions and, although today's and tomorrow's Worthington Cup quarter-finals and fourth-round tie have to be settled on the night, it would come as no surprise to see all four games go into extra-time after a draw in 90 minutes.

Tonight, Bolton, a useful if underperforming First Division side, look closely matched with their visitors, Wimbledon, while Tranmere, West Ham's bane, will pose problems for visitors Middlesbrough, seeking Nationwide League vengeance for Saturday's FA Cup defeat by Wrexham.

Tomorrow evening, West Ham ought to be able to beat Aston Villa in their all-Premiership encounter at Upton Park, but the Hammers are no certainties judging by Saturday's hapless display on Merseyside and the game could go into extra-time.

Meanwhile, in their fourth-round tie, the invariably hard-to-beat Leicester could make Leeds - the club of choice in this neck of the woods to go on to win the competition - go all the way at Filbert Street.

The Netherlands remain favourites for Euro 2000 despite their Group (of death) D draw, while Spain, the arch flatter-to-deceivers, and Italy have shortened after their apparently easier draws, although Norway and Yugoslavia, and Sweden and Belgium, may have something to say about that.

The British bookmakers, safe in the knowledge they would accommodate a few xenophobes at 6-4 were they to price up the probability of England beating the United States in a nuclear war, are taking no chances with Kevin Keegan's men, a top-priced 11-1 with Stanley. On the Continent, however, European bookmakers Super Soccer offer 14-1. The best England bet, however, must be the 7-2 William Hill offer about England failing to reach the quarter finals.

n Suggested bets: Four pounds 1 trebles with Coral: Bolton to draw with Wimbledon (9-4); Tranmere to draw with Middlesbrough (11-5); West Ham to draw with Aston Villa (9-4); Leicester to draw with Leeds (9-4). pounds 1 England to fail to reach the Euro 2000 quarter-finals at 7-2 with William Hill.

(pounds 5 staked).