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Flying high

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s this month’s Novelty Bets. Gareth Bracken has put down his book of clichéd introductions faster than a speeding bullet to bring you a selection box of the best specials around

The Kryptonite factor

Casting has begun for the latest Superman film, set for release in 2012, leading Power Paddy to ask who will be awarded the title role. The upper echelons of the list contains more dark-haired, handsome, 30-something actors than you could shake a cape at, and this looks a tough market to call.

Leading the betting is Englishman Matthew Goode at 11/4. The Devon-born star of A Single Man featured in 2009 superhero movie Watchman, a film directed Zack Snyder, who is also at the helm for the upcoming Superman release. Following just behind at 3/1 is Mad Men mainstay Jon Hamm. Hamm plays advertising executive Don Draper in the hit TV show and could have done enough to sell himself to producers. Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated Patrick Wilson is one of three candidates sharing third position in the market, with the Norfolk-native offered, along with Matt Bomer and Brandon Routh, at a price of 7/2. That’s Norfolk in Virginia by the way, for those who had been hoping for a Norwich City-supporting Clark Kent.

Palace profile

When it was announced in November that the British Monarchy were to get their own Facebook page, many speculated on how the web-friendly Windsors might go about making their online presence felt. Those hoping for a plethora of princely poking and photo albums entitled Royal Randoms have been disappointed however, as it’s all been very prim and proper thus far.

It’s therefore fallen to Ladbrokes to try and spice things up a bit, with the bookmakers offering 20/1 that the Queen will develop a fancy for Farmville by the end of 2011. For the bet to pay out, Her Majesty must admit to spending at least eight hours of one day playing the simulation game.

The Monarchy page has already been ‘liked’ by nearly 300,000 people, and odds of 5/1 are available on it becoming the most popular page on Facebook before the end of 2011, which could be worth a cheeky sovereign or two.

Pulp eye the Pyramid

Popular Brit rockers Pulp are experiencing the support of the common people, having seen their odds to headline next year’s Glastonbury Festival cut dramatically. The band, who only announced in November that they were reforming their original line-up for the first time since 1996, are now 5/2 with William Hill to receive top billing on the Pyramid Stage on any of the festival’s three days – in from 10/1. “The amount of money that we have seen has been quite astonishing and it would lead us to think that a headline slot is certainly within reach for the Sheffield rockers,” said Hill’s spokesman Joe Crilly.

Barmy Arnie

If we were given a pound for every time we wondered when Arnold Schwarzenegger would attend an official UFC match, we’d most likely stake what little we had on the 50/1 currently available with Ladbrokes on that very event occurring before the end of 2011. A range of other leftfield Arnie-related markets are also available, with those who consider that the California governor’s interest might be in football rather than fighting offered a price of 20/1 that he will become a majority shareholder in any UK Premier League Football Club before end of 2012. If you feel that the former Mr Universe will say hasta la vista to America and look for something closer to home, you can get 25/1 on him becoming Austrian president before the end of 2014.

John the Lobster – the other sea physic

Call me a floating gloater if you will, but I must direct your attention to some advice I gave on this very page just a few months ago. I had the foresight to state that Russia would win the right to host the 2018 World Cup – and I got it spot on. I took a lot of abuse for that call down here from some patriotic prawns and foolish flounders, but I dug my claws in and was proved correct. I won’t say how much I had on it, but put it this way, it’s more than the dearly departed Paul – who by the way tipped England – could have earned had he lived to 100. Moving on, while I generally avoid nets if I can help it, this month’s tip has to be Novak Djokovic to reach the final of the Australian Open, priced at 4/1 with Bodog.


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