On The Punt is a preview of the sporting weekend from a betting angle with our resident betting expert and degenerate gambler Pistol Pete.

Paraguay to add to Brazil's misery

Paraguay can silence the samba by knocking Brazil out of the Copa America on Sunday morning NZT.

The "jogo bonito" (beautiful game) has become a "jogo feio" (ugly game) for Brazil since last year's World Cup disaster, with their Under 20 team blowing a golden chance to win the World Cup in Auckland last week and their much touted women's team crashing out of the Women's World Cup to, of all teams, Australia.

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See below for 'sports betting for dummies' glossary

So it is left to their uninspiring senior squad under their equally uninspiring coach Dunga to try to restore their fading status as a football power by winning the Copa America, South America's equivalent of the European championship, in Chile.

They will have to do it without their talismanic front man Neymar, who copped a four match ban after being sent off in the aftermath of Brazil's 1-0 loss to bitter rivals Colombia last week.

Some will see a quarter final against Paraguay as a great opportunity for Brazil to regroup a little before a semifinal against either their OTHER bitter rivals Argentina or Colombia, but the Paraguayans may end up spoiling the party for not the first time at this tournament.

In their opening game against Argentina, Paraguay came from two goals down to get a well deserved draw against the tournament favourites. Then after disposing of Jamaica 1-0 thanks one of the more bizarre goals you will ever see, they came from behind again to draw 1-1 with defending champions Uruguay and clinch second place in the group.

That earned them a clash with Brazil in Concepcion, Chile in the last of the quarter finals, a situation which won't exactly scare the Paraguayans as they played and beat Brazil at the same stage of the tournament in Argentina four years ago.

On that occasion the teams fought out a 0-0 draw after extra time before Paraguay won 2-0 (!!) on penalties to reach the semis.

Four years later Paraguay look a good bet to repeat that feat especially at the TAB's current odds of 3.70.

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BET: PARAGUAY to progress at 3.70.

The other bet worth taking at this stage of the tournament is a boxed multi taking the draw in as many of the matches as you can. In 2011 three out of the four quarter finals went to extra time and given that you would only need two to make a decent profit, I see no reason not to bet on history repeating itself.

There is not much between most of these sides and as the stakes get higher, as does the fear of failure,

In the both the last World Cup and the recent Under 20 World Cup, eight out of the 16 knockout matches were level after 90 minutes, making the draw overall an even money shot.

Rabbitohs can down Eagles

South Sydney have been waiting two weeks to erase the memory of their 34-6 mauling at the hands of Wests Tigers, and I'm expecting Manly will feel the backlash when the two sides clash at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.

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The distraction of State of Origin makes betting on the NRL at this time of year a real minefield, and the Rabbitohs' cause that night was hardly helped by the fact that they had to back up just six days after playing the Warriors in Perth.

Betting against teams flying long distances west to east is a proven profitable strategy in the NFL and Super rugby, and is something to look out for next year in the NRL as not only did the Rabbitohs get thumped, but the Warriors also faded badly in the second half to lose to the Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium after being 14-0 up two minutes before the break.

The "bounce back theory" in the NRL is a lot more than a theory, however, more a proven fact in the last 20 years, and I'm expecting the reigning premiers to be 100% focused on putting the Sea Eagles to the sword tonight.

BET: SOUTHS -7.5 at 1.82

The other NRL team I'm backing this week is the Gold Coast Titans getting 16.5 points against the Roosters in Gosford on Sunday, although the numbers say they have as much chance of winning as they do of covering the spread.

Titans coach Neil Henry bemoaned his side's injury toll after their 36-14 loss to the Warriors last week, especially at hooker and in the halves, and to be fair a full strength Roosters team is the probably the last side you would want to face in those circumstances.

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Believe it or not, however, there a few numbers which actually suggest might be able to pull off what would be the upset of the season.

They actually have a 7-5 head to head edge over the Roosters in their history, and as the Sharks have shown this year by beating the Roosters twice as massive underdogs, it is one of the quirks of the NRL and many other leagues that some teams do have the wool over others for whatever inexplicable reason.

The Titans' have only ever played one match in Gosford, recording a 24-20 win over the Roosters in Round 14, 2009. A double to Sisa Waqa had seen the Roosters fight back from an 18-6 half-time deficit to lead 20-18 before a try two minutes from full-time by Chris Walker got the Titans home.

And finally, while the Titans have been pretty ordinary at home, their road record is not bad at all, four wins out of six matches including a shock upset of the Warriors when they were double digit underdogs. Their two losses, however, were by 40 points, a 40-0 loss to Penrith in round 2 and a 56-16 hiding to the Raiders in round 9, so this is definitely not one to put the mortgage on.

BET: TITANS +16.5 at 1.87
Sports betting for dummies glossary:
Spread or pointspread - A set amount of points that the favorite surrenders or the underdog receives as a handicap to make betting the game more even.
Boxed multi bet - Provides a quick way of taking a number of "covering bets" consisting of "Any 2", "Any 3" of the selections and so on. Pete's recommended box multi above would consist of 11 seperate bets, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 on all four draws.
What does Bet: Titans +16.5 mean? It means you will back the Titans not to lose by 17 points or more.