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Cricket: Why 8-1 Hampshire look such a safe bet.

THE seedy world of match-fixing and illegal bookmakers has cast a cloud over cricket this week, but punters in Britain have something to lift their spirits - the arrival of the domestic cricket season.

Gloucestershire begin the defence of their Benson and Hedges Cup crown tomorrow in the first shots of a campaign that has never offered so many fixed-odds and spread betting opportunities.

Sports Betting are first to the crease with the most comprehensive guide to the 2000 season and expect to hit the bookies for six with a selection of top tips.

And none is sweeter than Hampshire, who look must-bet each-way material at 8-1 to win the First Division of the County Championship.

Robin Smith's Hampshire are buzzing at the prospect of the world's greatest leg-spinner, Shane Warne, leading a bowling attack which also boasts England left-arm seamer Alan Mullally.

Warne is just one of a whole host of star overseas names who will be gracing the cricket pitches of England this summer with Glenn McGrath, Shoaib Akhtar, Rahul Dravid and Justin Langer all major box-office draws.

The B&H opens the season with another international master, Saqlain Mushtaq, tipped to lead 9-1 shots Surrey to cup glory.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 14, 2000
Words:200
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