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17 trampled to death by stampeding crowd at Angola soccer stadium

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JOHANNESBURG — A crowd stampeded at a football stadium in Angola on Friday, leaving at least 17 people dead and dozens injured.

The accident happened in the northwestern town of Uige when hundreds of people rushed at one of the stadium gates, causing some to fall and be trampled underfoot, according to Angolan and Portuguese media.

Some of the dead were children who suffocated in the stampede, the Portuguese news agency Lusa said. Lusa and Angop, Angola’s state-run news agency, reported a death toll of 17.

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (pictured above) expressed condolences to the families of the victims, and instructed officials to assist the injured and open an investigation, Angop reported.

Spectators had gone to the stadium to watch the inaugural game between home team Santa Rita de Cassia and Recreativo de Libolo in the national Girabola competition.

English Premier League betting: Liverpool small favorite over Arsenal

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Based on their recent history, one relative certainty when Arsenal plays Liverpool is that they might hit the over.

Ahead of their match on Saturday, Liverpool is even-money at +105 for the win with Arsenal a +240 underdog and a draw listed at +255 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The English Premier League rivals, who are in a five-team race for three spots in next season’s Champions League, have combined for 13 goals in their past two matchups.

Arsenal, which is 15-5-5 (wins-draws-losses) in the Premiership, will be trying not to concede three points. Key playmaker Mesut Ozil (illness) may be something of a match-day decision for manager Arsene Wegner, and Ozil’s absence would affect Arsenal’s ability to create opportunities for striker Alexis Sanchez.

Liverpool, which is 14-7-5, is dealing with a varied list of injuries. Captain Jordan Henderson (foot) is out , while the status of defender Dejan Lovren (knee) and forward Daniel Sturridge (illness) seems shaky.

Saturday’s fixtures also feature a matchup of two teams drawing bettors’ attention for trending in opposite directions, with Manchester United a -425 favorite against +1100 underdog Bournemouth (with a draw listed at +500).

Manchester United, at 13-9-3, is only two points adrift of a coveted top-four spot. With 35-year-old Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring at an impressive rate, Man U has lost only one of its last 26 matches and has won its last six across all competitions.

They are 4-3-0 (wins-draws-losses) in their last seven matches at Old Trafford against mid-table teams such as Bournemouth, but totals bettors should know that they have scored three goals in only one of those matches.

A continued skein of wins would further lower Manchester United’s price on the top-four finish odds board at the sportsbooks. One of their central playmakers in the midfield, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, should be back from a leg injury, which would help with generating a more flowing attack.

Bournemouth, 7-5-14 in the league, has lost six of its last seven matches in all competitions and has been outscored 12-4 in their last four Premiership matches. The Cherries have also allowed a league-most 30 goals in 13 away matches.

Bournemouth are still four points ahead of the bottom three with 14 matches left, but need to win one soon.

Chelsea’s dominance of Premier League forces bettors to seek out other futures props

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Do not think for a second that Chelsea running away from the pack has dashed all betting potential on the English Premier League futures board.

With their double-digit points lead and two months left in the season, manager Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side is now a -800 betting favorite to win the league, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Only Manchester City (+1200) and Tottenham (+1400) are being given any chance of catching Chelsea.

That will force bettors wagering on how the final weeks play out to look elsewhere, and fortunately soccer is distinct from North American leagues in that regular-season finish means everything.

First off, there is the prospect of relegation, since the three worst teams will be sent to the second-tier Championship for the 2017-18 season. Sunderland is the favorite, in a matter of speaking, to go down at -300 (as well as the +165 favorite to finish bottom, or dead last). Beyond Hull City (-125) and Crystal Palace (-110), that board has some value.

Last season’s Cinderella story, Leicester City (+250), is scrambling for points but also has Champions League games on their plate. Bournemouth (+700) has lost striker Callum Wilson for the season with a ruptured ACL in his left knee and not having his finishing ability could cost them vital points.

The top four finishers qualify to ‘play in Europe’ in the Champions League. The aforementioned Chelsea (-10000), Tottenham (-500) and Man City (-500) are overwhelmingly minus-money favorites, with Arsenal (-110) and Liverpool (-110) at around even-money. Missing out on Champions League would be utterly humiliating for Manchester United (+125) and manager Jose Mourinho, and at this point they offer a decent price.

The real value on that board lies with Everton FC (+5000), which is in seventh place but has much tighter defense this season under new manager Ronald Koeman. Everton also had one of the best records in the EPL during the month of January.

While there is no Leicester grabbing the attention of fans across the world, one lower-profile squad that has endeared itself are Burnley, which was one-and-done in 2014-15, the last time it played in the Premiership. Burnley is listed at +500 to finish in the Top 10 (or top half) of the league, with Stoke City (+120), Watford (+275) and Bournemouth (+350) all having greater than even-money odds.