PUNTING SPECTATOR: Tips from a bookie

Dr Turf is off on holiday this week, so he's handed the reins to bookmaker Gerard Daffy. He's got the inside mail on the AFL, NRL and MotoGP.

After weeks of bagging the bookies, Dr Turf has left bookmaker Gerard Daffy from Lasseters Sportsbook in charge of this week's Punting Spectator. Gerard is one of the pioneers of sports betting in Australia and has been taking punters' money for years.

Thanks very much to Dr Turf for giving me the opportunity to fill in for him while he is on holidays. Mind you, I'm not too sure how he can afford a trip away after his dreadful AFL tipping last week.

Let's start with the AFL. It's another tough week for punters, with four short-priced favourites. Let's have a look at this weeks prices, which are subject to change.

North Melbourne
St Kilda
Western Bulldogs
Port Adelaide

My beloved Melbourne Demons are in big trouble this week. After a couple of 'brave' defeats, the poor old Demons have to take on the Brisbane Lions who will have their rampant forward line back in action. Daniel Bradshaw is back for Brisbane, and I can feel another flogging in the making. These two met back in April when Brisbane won by nearly nine goals, and if the weatherman is correct, and there is no rain, then a similar fate awaits Melbourne again. Back Brisbane at the line, which is 28.5 points.

It is a pretty tricky round really, but I have a sneaky suspicion that we might see the 'real' St Kilda on Saturday night. Just be careful here, this game will be played on the Gold Coast, and the last few games there at this time of the year have been low scoring, mainly due to the cold, slippery conditions. Nick Dal Santo and Stephen Milne received a rocket last week, and if this pair can return to something like their best, then the 10 points start that the Saints are receiving will do me.

Thankfully the rugby league State of Origin series is nearly over as it is a nightmare trying to do the form when half the side is missing. Let's have a look at the prices.

Gold Coast
St George-Illawarra
North Queensland
South Sydney
Wests Tigers
NZ Warriors

It just doesn't make sense to me that people are climbing over each other to back Melbourne to win the premiership at around 2.80, yet they are $8 to beat Parramatta this week. Obviously that is because the Storm will be missing nine players, and I think that is an outrage. OK, I have got that off my chest... but I'd steer well clear of this game if I was you.

There are a few that I like this week, but seeing that my bank has taken a battering over the last two rounds, I am just going to confine myself to two bets. I didn't think that North Queensland played too badly when beaten by Melbourne last week. Granted the floodgates opened in the second half, but the Cowboys showed a bit of spirit to just trail at half time. South Sydney defeated the Cowboys earlier this season, and they go in as favourites following a win on Monday night, and with Craig Wing returning. I don't like backing sides on a five day turnaround, and Wing may also need a few games to be at his peak. This is the battle for the wooden spoon and surely the parochial Cowboys crowd will get their side home? Some bookies are giving the Cowboys are 4-point start and I am having some of that.

Wests Tigers have lost three of their last four games and are short on forwards - yet the bookies serve them up as $1.17 favourites. What do they think we are, desperate? That is shocking value, even though the Tigers will be playing at Leichhardt, and the NZ Warriors are poor travellers. I am pretty keen on the Warriors with the 14½ points start. They showed enough against Newcastle last week to say they can get inside that handicap.

I caught the tail end of the British MotoGP last week, and it looks as though Casey Stoner has found a few extra horsepower. He jumped straight to the front at Donington, and Valentino Rossi never looked like picking him up. They will be at it again on Saturday night in the Netherlands, and I fail to see why Stoner won't repeat the dose. He is a $2.50 pop with the bookies, but perhaps wait to see if he qualifies in the top two or three before you step in.

Good luck punters and as Dr Turf would say, hey, let's be careful out there.

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