Tennis Betting Advice - April 2019

This week’s picks – get on the clay at 50/1…

Sunday 7th April 2019

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Clay season begins…
  • Ones to Watch this week…
  • 20/1 Ivo and 50/1 Aljaz…

We only got as far as the quarter finals last week, with 16/1 shot Belinda Bencic missing out in Charleston. Madison Keys lifted the trophy at 9/1, beating 10/1 Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

The run-up to next month’s French Open gets underway this week with four tournaments all on clay.

The men are in the USA & Morocco at the respective ATP Houston & ATP Marrakech events. The women are in Colombia & Switzerland with WTA Bogota & WTA Lugano.

We’re kicking off our week this evening with two picks in the men’s…

Ones to Watch this week – at 20/1 and 50/1…

I could make case for plenty of players in Houston and in Marrakech. But there are a lot of men priced up at prohibitively short odds.

One example would be Steve Johnson, who has won ATP Houston two years running at 20/1. We were on Steve last year, as well as 33/1 runner-up Tennys Sandgren.

This time, Johnson is the 7/1 favourite and Sandgren is around 20/1. Both men haven’t shown much form lately. Steve has an emotional connection to this event, but as the favourite there doesn’t look to be much juice in his price this time.

Johnson is in the top half of the draw. In the bottom half, one underrated player is 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic. The 6’11” Croatian has already made history on the ATP Tour, and if he could lift another trophy then he would extend his legend even more.

The man they call ‘Doctor Ivo’ is a former winner at Houston (2007). And he made the semi finals as recently as last year, as well as back in 2011.

An important note for clay-courts events in the States is that they don’t play like the European and South American surfaces. They tend to be a bit harder, a bit faster.

The Houston roll of honour shows five of the last eights winners have been Americans, and players you wouldn’t associate with clay-court prowess at many other events around the world. The likes of Johnson, Jack Sock, John Isner and Ryan Sweeting are all strong servers – and all served well the years that they lifted the trophy in Houston.

Karlovic averages more Aces per match than anyone else on tour. And as he’s shown with impressive performances at the Australian Open and ATP Pune (runner-up) this year, the big man has actually improved his movement and all-round game.

Ivo’s matches have always been dominated by the 7-6 score-line. If he’s serving well, then he’s very hard to beat – on any surface.

Just look at 6’10” John Isner’s results when reaching the ATP Miami Masters final the other week, with nine out of 10 sets settled by the 7-6 tiebreak score.

In a Houston draw full of players at tight prices, odds of 20/1 look to underestimating the chances of the wily Karlovic.

In Morocco, we’re going for a straight-up outsider bet…

Aljaz Bedene is in the toughest side of the ATP Marrakech draw.

World No.3 Alexander Zverev is top seed and could meet the Slovenian in the quarter finals. But Zverev will be making his first clay appearance of the year here, and this ATP 250 level tournament could just be a ‘warming up’ exercise for the young German, with bigger trophies in store in the weeks ahead. What’s more, as a 2/1 tournament favourite, the wildcarded-in top seed looks poor value here.

Back to Bedene. After a leg injury stopped his semi final run in Rio de Janeiro in February, he made his return to competitive action with a two sets to one defeat in the 1st Round at Miami last month.

Miami was on hard courts. Rio was on clay. Bedene’s career match win-loss record on hard courts is 73-53 (58%). On clay, it’s an eye-catching 283-114 (71%).

ATP 250 is the lowest tier of main tour men’s tennis. Bedene has yet to win an ATP title, but his three finals to date have all come at 250 events. The last two were both on clay, runner-up at Buenos Aires last year and at Budapest in 2017.

In those two clay tournaments, Aljaz’s pre-tournament odds were 50/1 and 66/1. Just as Zverev isn’t a player to back at short prices, Bedene is very much a man to follow at big odds.

Age 29, there’s still plenty of time for a trophy or two. And a 250 event on clay would be by far the most likely setting. Bedene is 50/1 this week.

Today’s Ones to Watch picks are:

Outright Winner:

ATP Houston – US Men’s Clay Court Championship

BET: Ivo Karlovic @ 20/1 Each Way
BOOKIES: 20/1 (21.00) William Hill, Boylesports, 16/1 (17.00) Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral

Latest ATP Houston odds here

ATP Marrakech – Grand Prix Hassan II

BET: Aljaz Bedene @ 50/1 Each Way
BOOKIES: 50/1 (51.00) William Hill, Bet365, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook

Latest ATP Marrakech odds here

  • Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places

Play starts on Monday from 11am (UK time) in Marrakech, and 9pm in Houston.

I’ll be back on Monday with a look at the WTA prices, as well as the match betting markets and our next potential Rollover bet.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch