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Sporting events of the week: ATP season concludes

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ATP Finals

The eight best male tennis stars in the world have descended upon London to battle it out for the lion’s share of an $8 million prize purse at the season-ending ATP Finals. Well, in actual fact world number two Rafa Nadal and number four Juan Martin del Potro are injured, so six of the eight best players, plus world number nine Kei Nishikori and number 10 John Isner are competing. They have been divided into two groups: Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Isner are in Group Guga Kuerten, while Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Kevin Anderson and Nishikori are in Group Leyton Hewitt. They will play group games against one another, before semi-finals take place between the top two in each group, and the big final is scheduled for Sunday. In-form world number Djokovic is the odds-on favourite to win it, best priced at 4/6 with 888 Sport, while the evergreen Federer is the second favourite at 11/4 with William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred and Boyle Sports, but long shot Anderson is attracting plenty of attention at 28/1 with Marathon Bet. Each-way pays a third of the odds if your selection reaches the final and loses.

UEFA Nations League

It is time for another break from the club football season as the UEFA Nations League comes to the fore. There are plenty of games throughout the week to look forward to. On Thursday, Belgium are heavy favourites to beat Iceland and Asian handicaps on Roberto Martinez’s men look attractive, Spain are 11/10 with William Hill to win away at Croatia and that looks tempting. Netherlands host France in the pick of the Friday games, and both teams to score and over 2.5 goals looks good. Italy are 5/4 to beat Portugal on Saturday, while Romania should cover a decent handicap at home to Lithuania. England then host Croatia on Sunday, and a draw might tempt you in that one at 12/5 with Paddy Power. France are the 5/2 favourites to win the UEFA Nations League, but in-form Belgium and Spain both look like decent choices at 7/2. England beat Spain 3-2 last time out and they are gaining a few bets at 12/1 with SkyBet.

International Rugby

England will be buoyed by their narrow defeat against the world’s best team, New Zealand, on Saturday, and they should crush Japan at the weekend. Wales will also be confident of dispatching a spirited Tonga team, while Scotland v South Africa looks like a cracker. But the big event of the weekend sees world number two Ireland take on the All-Blacks in an almighty battle for supremacy. It takes place in Dublin and it might be tempting to back the Irish to cover the handicap after witnessing how out of sorts New Zealand were against England.

England v Sri Lanka

Joe Root’s men destroyed Sri Lanka in the first Test last week and there were plenty of positive signs. England’s spinners were on fire, taking 16 wickets in the match, and the tourists were on top throughout as they recorded their first away win since 2016. They are priced at 5/4 with Sky Bet, Ladbrokes, Coral and Marathon Bet to win the second Test this week and that looks like a great set of odds. They will be surging with confidence, while the hosts will be demoralised, so an away win looks like the way to go.