The Punter: Snow go for festive wager
Every year sentamentalists look to having a bet on snow falling on Christmas Day.
Dean Martin used to sing, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" but the chance of it doing so next week in the province is not a good bet.
A White Xmas is rare these days what with climate change. If anything, Christmases are getting milder in this part of the world.
The stats show that it snows about once in every decade on December 25, the last being three years ago.
William Hill, however, have cut the price of snow falling in British cities after a recent drop in temperatures.
But the chance of it falling in Belfast remain slim.
"Punters are nibbling away at the 11-2 in London," said the firm's Tonny Kenny.
"At this stage it looks highly unlikely that we'll see snow on either side of the border.
"We did see a good bit of money for snow in Dublin and Belfast last week, but all the interest seems to have dried up.
"The White Christmas markets used to be massive, but the relatively mild Decembers that we've had over the last few years has resulted in a steady decline in interest in the betting."
Paddy Power are laying odds of 11-8 for the white stuff to fall snow New York ( J F Kennedy Airport) and 8-15 that it won't.
Berlin it is much closer with 8-11 'yes' and evens 'no.'
They have the best odds of 1-5 that it won't fall in Belfast.
William Hill White Christmas Betting: 11-4 Aberdeen (Pittodrie), 3-1 Glasgow (Cathedral), 9-2 Dublin (Airport), 5-1 Cardiff (Millennium), 5-1 Manchester (Coronation Street), 11-2 London (Buckingham Palace), 6-1 Belfast (Airport), 6-1 Liverpool (Albert Docks), 6-1 Birmingham (Bullring), 6-1 Exeter (Met Office).
Paddy Power: 1-5 no snow in Belfast; 3-1 yes; 8-15 no in New York; 11-8 yes; Evens no in Berlin, 8-11 yes.
Celtic draw the short euro straw yet again
Barcelona, who have drawn Celtic in the Champions League last 16, are firm 3-1 favourites to take the trophy.
The Bhoys never seen to have much luck in these draws and with their poor away record, it is difficult to see them progressing.
Celtic fans can have 150-1 that they go all the way.
Chelsea are second favourites at 5-1 in view of taking on Oumpiakos while Man United have drifted out to 11-1 with Paddy Power and even better at 13-2 with Hill's
That's a great price for the Red Devils who are 4-11 to qualify against Lyon while Arsenal are a fantastic 12-1 (Paddy Power) as they are more than capable of taking care of holders and ageing AC Milan.
Get on 10-11 the Gunners to make the last eight. It's a Christmas gift.
Liverpool, with possibly the toughest draw amongst the English teams against Inter, have drifted from 10-11 to 14-1 and are 11-8 for the quarter-finals.
Take Arsenal (10-11), Seville (2-5) and Man United (4-11) for a treble at approximatley 11-4.
Meanwhile, totesport go 33-1 that all five British teams will qualify.
All English teams to make it is 11-2.
Paul Petrie, totesport spokesman said "It was Rangers that let down those that backed all British teams to qualify from the group stages and it looks like it could be Celtic that does it this time.
To reach the last eight: Celtic v Barcelona; 3-1 Celtic, 1-5 Barcelona.
Lyon v Man Utd; 15-8 Lyon, 4-11 Man United.
Schalke v Porto: 5-4 Schalke, 4-7 Porto.
Liverpool v Inter: 11-8 Liverpool, 8-15 Inter.
Roma v Real Madrid: 13-8 Roma, 4-9 Real Madrid.
Arsenal v AC Milan: 10-11 Arsenal, 4-5 AC Milan.
Olympiakos v Chelsea: 9-2 Olympiakos, 1-8 Chelsea.
Fenerbache v Seville; 7-4 Fenerbache 2-5 Seville.
Helping of Fiz puts kick into Corrie
Christmas usually sees a surge in the ratings for the traditional soaps.
The story lines are given an extra fizz to ensure maximum viewing.
And Fiz is the key word where Coronation Street is concerned.
Fiz's boyfriend John gets a good kicking from Kevin Webster after John's affair with Rosie is exposed on Christmas Day.
Which makes the 5-4 on offer from Paddy Power a good bet for Corrie to win the ratings war.
Eastenders is the 4-7 favourite as the Stacey-Max affair gets full exposure on the same day.
There are, of course, two Eastenders on Christmas Day and the episode with the most viewers will be used for settlement purposes.
Other betting specials for the festive day centre around the first words to be spoken in the Queen's Speech and the Pope's Urbi et Orbi.
"Saviour" and "God" head the Pope's market at 4-1, with " Christ," "Christmas" and "Holy" in at 6-1.
As for the Queen, it is 4-1 that she will say "Environement" first with "Diana" 6-1 and "Tony Blair" 7-1.
A rather bizarre choice to say the least which leaves "Peace in Northern Ireland" as good a choice as any at 10-1 along with "Iraq" at 12s.
What will the Pope say first during his Urbi et Orbi? (Paddy Power): 4-1 Saviour; God, 6-1 Christ, Christmas, Holy; 8-1 Solemn, Angel, 10-1 Bethlehm, Shephard; 12-1 Love, Hope; 14-1 Mary; 16-1 Almighty, Saint, Millennium; 18-1 Terrorism, Friendship; 20-1 Earth; 25-1 Satan; 100-1 Harry Potter; 500-1 Britnesy.
What will the Queen say first in Christmas speech:? 4-1 Envirnoment; 6-1 Diana; 7-1 Tony Blair, Gordon Brown; 8-1 Prime Minsiter; 10-1 World Peace, Peace In Northern Ireland; 12-1 Iraq; Middle East, Terrorism; 14-1 Charles, Wiliam, Harry; 18-1 Wembley; 20-1 Spirit of the People, Old Age, Threa to the World, Royal Wedding; 25-1 Step Down; 33-1 Camilla, Zara; 40-1 David Beckham; 50-1 The X Factor, Kate, Chelsy; 66-1 Spice Girls Reunion; Big Brother; 80-1 Simon Cowell; Jose Mourinho; 100-1 Another Annus Horribilis.