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Rounding up the best betting markets

|  Published: Jul 01, 2007

Back Sunderland to finish above Birmingham in 2007-2008 season at 4/5 with Boyle Sports.

No one outside of the big four - Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal - stands a chance at being in the race for the Premiership title come next April.

Liverpool (9/2 to win the Premiership outright) will most likely step up their game on the back of a Champions League final and their new owners' promised cash injection. Chelsea remains the favourite (6/4) to take the title back from United (13/8), but much will depend on how the Mourhino/Abramovich dynamic plays out. Arsenal (6/1) will hope to put an injury-laden season behind them, but Wegner will have to regain some serious consistency, the absence of which rightly leaves them the outsiders of the big four.

In 2005-2006, Sunderland and Birmingham both dropped down into the Championship, but both return (as champions and runners-up, respectively) to the glamorous environs of the big league for 2007-2008.

Managers Keane and Bruce will receive multimillion-pound windfalls (a reported £25 million in Keane's case), and there appears little between the former teammates as they settle into a summer of rebuilding and strategising. is offering 5/2 to plucky punters for Sunderland to finish the 2007-2008 season in the top half of the table. While not improbable, Antepost believes a better option is to lump on Sunderland to finish higher than Birmingham by the end of the season (4/5 with Boyle Sports).

No one underestimates Roy Keane, and his strength of will and obvious tactical nous should ensure a satisfactory result for believers.

Rugby Union World Cup 2007
Back Ireland to win outright at 22/1 on Betfair; lay Ireland to win at 18/1 or lower.

With more than €4 million already matched on the Betfair outright winner market by mid-May, four months before the tournament begins, the Rugby Union World Cup is likely to be a huge fillip to bookies in the absence of major international football events this summer.

While the All Blacks are the team to beat, there is a long way to slip twixt cup and lip, and Antepost believes backing Ireland on the exchanges at around the 22/1 mark with a view to laying off closer to the event (at around 18/1) will provide some action ahead of the tournament commencing.

Manager Eddie O'Sullivan is resting virtually his entire first-team squad on the summer tour of Argentina, so that's unlikely to see much price movement. But normal service will resume with challenging games against Scotland and Italy ahead of the group stages, and the price will assuredly fall if key players such as O'Gara, O'Driscoll, Hayes, and O'Connell come through without injury.

If you can keep your nerve and hang in, Antepost is confident that Ireland will win its first two group matches against Namibia and Georgia before losing narrowly to France and just pipping a bullish Argentina to make it through the group.

Go green on this book, then. Ireland won't win the World Cup, but there will be tremendous opportunities to trade in and out of prices as the tournament approaches, so stay vigilant.

Gaelic Games - All-Ireland Football Championship
Lay Dublin at 6/1 with Betfair.
Back Donegal each way at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.

It's early days in the quest for All-Ireland glory, but already there's a lot of irrational money around.

Each of the 32 counties in Ireland dreams of winning the Sam Maguire Cup, but only a small handful of counties are realistically in with a shot.

Dublin has one-third of the population of Ireland, and probably more than half of all the money in the country. This shows in the markets, with the Dubs' price being pummelled by over-exuberant, loads-of-money Dubliners.

Antepost suggests liberating these blinkered eejits from their money; get on the exchanges and lay them with gusto. They'll probably get out of Leinster OK, but over the last few years have thrown everything at their All-Ireland challenges and have come away looking bloodied and bowed. Self-belief is not enough against the big guns, and ultimately they'll be mightily humbled.

Donegal looks to be the value to steal the kingdom from holders Kerry, and is definitely worth a few quid each way; they'll certainly provide entertainment value as they progress out of Ulster.

Kerry remains the kings, and rightly so, but hovering around 2/1 offers no incentive.

Long FTSE 100 up to 6,700 and get out at 6,800.

There is much to suggest that the current bull market is a long way from over on the London Stock Exchange. The May 2007 FSTE 100 reached a six-year high of 6603, fuelled by an unusually high level of takeover speculation. While this has undoubtedly skewed sentiment somewhat, the fundamentals are still strong and mergers and cquisitions (M&A) activity is likely to remain frenzied.

But can it reach and breach the record high of 6930.2 in December 1999?

Antepost believes so, but doesn't know when!

The old adage of "sell in May, buy in September" has been challenged by F&C Investments, which has found that in the last 20 years, returns from the FTSE 100 index have increased in 14 of these years, making it wrong to sell 70 percent of the time.

Despite darkening macro-economic conditions, such as persistent inflationary threats in the UK and Europe, GDP downgrades, and the much-vaunted U.S. slowdown brought about by the property market, there is an air of anticipation in the market.

Normally it might be prudent to take the other side of this market opinion, but with M&A trends likely to remain strong, we see further highs in the FTSE ahead, but contend it will retract before breaching the previous all-time high.

Back Ricky Hatton to beat Jose Louis Castillo in the IBO Light Welterweight title fight at 8/13 on Betfair.

Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton is nearing the end of a glorious unbeaten 42-fight boxing career. Despite his ill-fated step up to welterweight in 2006, he has since recorded another victory against Juan Urango back in his natural realm, light welterweight.

His 12-round unanimous decision against Urango was widely regarded as less than convincing, with even Hatton's own camp saying it was a great victory but not a great performance.

It's clear that Hatton isn't getting any younger, and in Castillo he meets a dogged pro with a 54-7-1 record, including 47 knockouts. That said, Hatton will wish to begin winding up his career by retaining his unblemished record, and while it'll be tough, he has five years on Castillo and a punch that still should rip through his ageing opponent.

Lay Tiger Woods to win no major in 2007 at 13/8 with Betfair.

Back to his winning ways in the Wachovia Championships in early May, and despite appearing none too pleased with his recent form, Tiger is not a man to lay down lightly.

That he doesn't like losing, we know. Also, 12 majors in 10 years should indicate that he'll continue to strive for greatness. With three majors left, in June (U.S. Open), July (British Open), and August (PGA), his return to results if not form is encouraging, and a small lay here will at least give you the satisfaction of watching the great man all the way to the end of August, as Antepost predicts he'll step up to the tee as focused and determined as ever.