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The Tenner Bet

THE Masters?

Too late to start looking for any value and besides at 24 hours remove I'm not even sure if they'll have made the cut. London Marathon? Bernie Clifton's ostrich is showing signs of age and won't have the legs for the distance. The Moto GP Grand Prix of Americas?

Yeah, let's just think about that for a minute . . . right, moving on. I know, what about the Scottish Cup semi-finals? Sounds like a plan, not least because it's taken me all of 30 seconds to work out exactly where the tenner's going this week. Anyone who witnessed Rangers' defeat in the Ramsdens Cup final last weekend will be wondering how it is exactly that Dundee United, their opponents today, are trading at even money. At one point at Easter Road last Sunday, Raith Rovers were 9/1 in-play.

They subsequently started extra-time at 6/1 and touched 13/2 at one point, all of which left this columnist pondering whether anyone from bet365 was actually watching the game or if the representative was too busy looking out for shady-looking Asians speaking furtively into mobile phones. It was apparent from early on that only one team seemed up for it.

Of course, the evens quoted about United is based on a 90-minute scoreline but that does little to put me off. Jackie McNamara's side have faced top-flight opposition in every round of the competition and have managed to see them off in regulation time. They comfortably beat Rangers in last season's fifth round and are a technically more accomplished outfit than they were last February. One of the goalscorers that day, Jon Daly, is now of course a Rangers player but the Irishman is a shadow of the striker who bullied top-flight defenders on his way to 15 goals in 2012/13.

As Christian Dailly noted in midweek it stands to reason that when better players are up against inferior opposition week after week, it has a deleterious effect on standards and makes it harder to raise them when they are asked to face superior teams. For all the talk among Rangers players that today's game was a chance at redemption, the Tenner Bet just cannot ignore United, 5-0 conquerors of Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the quarters, against a team that required two attempts to get past Albion Rovers.

The other semi-final, being played tomorrow, pits Aberdeen against a St Johnstone side that will attempt to overcome history and the second-best team in Scotland's top flight. Tommy Wright's men have failed in four attempts to beat Aberdeen this season and the Perth club have never won a major trophy. The Tenner Bet has been impressed by the work Wright has done at McDiarmid Park but it must be weighted against what his counterpart at Pittodrie, Derek McInnes, has achieved. Aberdeen's win in last month's League Cup final had a two-fold effect: it ended almost two decades of torment in the cups and removed a significant amount of pressure from the shoulders of his players. At 15/13, they are too well priced to ignore.

SELECTION

An Aberdeen and Dundee United double pays 3.6/1 and is this week's pick.

SEASON'S TOTAL

I don't want to say 'I told you so' . . . well, actually, I do. The decision to stake each-way with bet365 who were offering half stakes back worked a treat not least because they also paid out at the SP which was just lovely given that I took Pineau De Re at 22/1 and it obliged at 25s. The total stands at £61.72

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Football

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