Freddie's final fling looks worth a punt

SAD to say, anybody who put money on the number of points that Michael Schumacher would make in his glorious return to Formula One for Ferrari will have wasted their money, following the news that the old champ&rsquo;s neck is not up to the rigours of motor-racing. Thankfully, though, there are still spread bets to be had on another sporting comeback: that of Freddie Flintoff in the final Ashes Test, which unless you have been hiding under a&nbsp; rock your will know starts this Thursday. <br /><br />Extrabet are offering spreads on Freddie&rsquo;s performance in his final ever Test. With the ball, they are suggesting a spread of 3-3.5 wickets, while with the bat they offer a match spread of 48-53 runs. Geoffrey Boycott might have said that he would play Flintoff &ldquo;on one leg&rdquo;, but that&rsquo;s for his bowling. Bearing in mind how patchy his batting form has been recently, those numbers sound optimistic. <br /><br />As for other English players, Sporting Index offers spreads on Strauss to make between 77-84 runs in the match, Prior to total 56-63 and Swann to score 27-32. Spreads for the Aussies are not surprisingly a little higher, with skipper Ponting on 83-90 and Michael Clarke with a spread of 73-80. <br /><br />In the same vein, another potentially interesting set of bets is the total number of runs that batsmen will finish the series with. As we have all seen, Swann and Broad can both swing a bat, so Swann&rsquo;s series total spread of 195-200 might look tasty. At the moment, he has scored 168 from four Tests, meaning that he needs to score 32 for you to be in the money. Not a gift by any means, against a steamed-up Aussie attack, but not completely impossible either. On the other hand, Hussey has scored 155 runs from four Tests so far, but he has a spread of 225-232: sell that, and you will make money for every run under 70 that he makes. <br /><br />Sporting Index also offers a spread on the total number of fours to be scored in the entire series. The number at the moment currently stands at 549 from four tests, and the spread for total fours stands at 700-710. A quick bit of maths tells me that they are predicting over 150 at the Oval. <br /><br /><strong>SIX APPEAL<br /></strong>Those expecting things to get a little spicy and/or desperate might also be interested in the total match sixes, with a spread of 6-7. Following the heroic batting performance from Swann and Broad at Headingly, Sporting also have spreads on the number of runs to be scored by the England tail. <br /><br />At the moment in this series, the batsmen coming in at numbers 8-11&nbsp; have made 462, and the spread on the total runs scored by the men in those positions in the whole series stands at 700-710 (ie, the prediction is that they will put on about 240 runs in two innings in the fifth Test). The equivalent spread for the Aussies is 330-338, with the current aggregate runs standing at a surprisingly low 256. <br /><br />For those of you who are more interested in the big picture, Extrabet are offering a 25 Index for the winner of the game. With 25 for a win and 10 for a draw, England have a spread of 8-9.5, and the tourists 13.5-15. The numbers don&rsquo;t look pretty for England supporters, but this game &ndash; like so many others &ndash; is a funny old one.