By Graham Sharpe

Off-beat Bets Strike Chord

"My first internet column about off-beat bets seems to have struck a chord and response has been brisk..."

Mind you, not all of the bets I've struck have been as newsworthy as that of the correspondent who asked for a bet of £100 at odds of 100/1 that before Valentines Day next year he will be married to former Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell.

He has written to Ms Halliwell informing her of the fact that he wants to marry her, offering to donate the proceeds of his bet to her favourite charity, the Breast Cancer Care Appeal, and pointing out that "We could sell the wedding photos and, perhaps, tickets to the wedding so that, potentially, by marrying me we could raise well in excess of £1,000,000".

He closes his letter by promising to "treat you like the princess you really are".

And it only seems like yesterday that we were quoting odds about Geri marrying Chris Evans!

The birth of the new Blair baby is looming up on the horizon - the due date of arrival is May 24th, which I have installed as 8/1 favourite. You can also get 12/1 about May 20th - FA Cup Final Day; 50/1 May 4th - Mayor of London Election Day; 33/1 May 6th - Tony Blair's birthday, or 10/1 June 10th, Derby Day.

We've also been taking bets on the name of the baby. Imogen Carlton of Watford is convinced it will be a girl, named after her - so has staked a £10 each-way (including middle names!) wager at 20/1 (quarter the odds a place) that Imogen will be the chosen nomenclature.

Lionel Blair, Claire Blair or Teddy Blair are rated as unlikely choices at 1000/1, while given his problems with a certain Mr Livingstone, I wouldn't expect the 100/1 chance Ken to oblige, and Margaret at 50/1 may have unfortunate connotations.

I've made Tony and Gale the respective male and female 8/1 favourites.

The punter who's staked a tenner at 500/1 that Ken Livingstone will be invited to become the baby's god-father shouldn't be too hopeful about collecting, I fear.

Mark Mason's long range bet at odds of 200/1 that Chelsea will win the FA Cup Final 2-1 with goals from Zola and Flo, is still a runner - but the Newcastle fan who bet his wife would give birth on the day his team wins the Cup won't be collecting this May - she may have to stay pregnant for 20 more years!

If you have any ideas for unusual bets of your own, please contact me at: