Tennis Betting Advice - April 2022
One to Watch in Houston at 40/1…
Monday 4th April 2022
We leave the March ‘sunshine double’ behind with plenty of good memories, and a profit in the bank.
In recent years the women’s tournaments have been the most likely contenders for big-odds upsets. But with the formidable old guard of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic all missing from Miami, and two of those also absent in Indian Wells. The chance was there for some new young men to come through…
In his home state of California, Taylor Fritz had the fortnight of his life at Indian Wells. Winning the biggest title of his career – and bringing home top prices of 100/1 for us in the process.
Last week in Florida, we took note of the way the courts were playing in Miami, and got on Casper Ruud in week two at 22/1. He finished runner-up in yesterday’s final to one of our Ones to Watch youngsters, the sensational Carlos Alcaraz. I can live without having backed the 18-year-old at 6/1 in Miami. My Ones to Watch work concentrates not only on finding the ‘next big thing’ – but also in backing the next big price.
Moving on to this week, and the tour thunders on with four more tournaments. This time, we’re on clay…
Short prices at the top…
Marrakech gets underway from lunchtime. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first time back in Morocco for this event since 2019. Previous winners have been dyed in the wool clay-court players. Including career dirt-ballers such as Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in 2016 (at 14/1). And Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who was a 100/1 champion here in 2018.
This time, the Spanish veteran goes off as the 8/1 second-favourite. Andujar is now 36 years of age, and is often on the injury list. World no.9 Felix Auger-Aliassime is the headline name, priced at 4/1 to win what would be a second career ATP title – and the first on clay courts.
Those Marrakech prices look pretty uninspiring to me. It’s the same with the first glimpse of the market for Bogota. As I write this Monday morning, the bookmakers are just starting to post their Outright Winner markets for this Colombian event. The likes of Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes & Coral are on show. Others should follow suit this afternoon. Play starts there from 4pm UK time – and 12 noon for the remaining qualifying matches. So, we’ll hold fire until we have the confirmed draw and a full set of prices to peruse…
Reigning champion Maria Camila Osorio Serrano – a recent 30/1 & 28/1 finalist for us in Monterrey – went off at 25/1 when lifting her maiden WTA trophy here in Bogota last year. Ladbrokes & Coral have Camila Osorio at just 4/1 to defend her title.
Other unimaginative single-figure quotes at the top of the Bogota betting including the on-the-comeback Dayana Yastremska (5/1). And the 2018 champion, Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova. The Slovakian was 20/1 when she took the glory here in Colombia. This week, she’s just 8/1.
Giron underrated at 40/1…
At the grandly-titled men’s U.S Clay Court Championship in Houston, the Americans tend to do well on their own patch – even if clay is not the preferred surface for most USA players. Three of the last five winners here have been from the States.
Houston is another event coming back to life after a couple of years of postponements, having last been played in 2019. The winner back then was Cristian Garin at 25/1. Since then, the Chilean has won four more ATP titles – all on clay courts.
Unlike the other ‘defending champions’ on the tour this week, Garin can be backed at similar prices as when he first struck gold – with a handful of firms including Bet365 opening up at 25/1 today, and Boylesports going 28/1. The big question mark for Cristian is his current form. He's been knocked out in the 1st round in each of his last four tournaments. On clay, he’s played 3, lost 3 so far in 2022. Form and confidence can always return, but right now, Garin isn’t going to carry my cash.
Back to the Americans, and one that I like at the prices is the improving 28-year-old, MARCOS GIRON. He’s got an interesting 1st round match against compatriot Frances Tiafoe tonight (Midnight+, UK time). As reported last week, Tiafoe looked to be injured when bowing out in Miami. Giron won their only previous meeting, which came on indoor hard courts at the Paris Masters last year. Giron is looking to break into the world’s Top 50 for the first time. He’s shown signs of edging towards a debut ATP final, too, with semi-final and quarter-final runs this season.
Admittedly, Marcos doesn’t have a whole lot of clay-court credentials in his paperwork. But Houston doesn’t tend to play as slow and sludgy as European or South American clay courts. Giron is a worthy underdog here – underestimated in the betting most likely…
And with fellow Americans in his side of the Houston draw such as Tiafoe, former champs Steve Johnson, Jack Sock & the veteran John Isner, all shorter in the betting than Marcos. Not to mention recent Indian Wells hero Taylor Fritz in with the single-figure prices at 5/1. And the unreliable Australian, Nick Kyrgios as 4/1 overall favourite. The setting for a 40/1 or 33/1 outsider such as Giron to come through looks decent Ones to Watch territory to me.
In the Match Winner betting, I also like the underdog prices for Giron to beat Tiafoe tonight.
Take our time with Charleston…
That leaves us with Charleston still to talk about today. Play starts from 3pm and I don’t want to sell anyone short. We’ll hold fire on the betting front – and I’ll continue my research. A couple of quick points, from my initial perusal of the draw & prices:
As a 500-grade event, WTA Charleston is the biggest tournament on this week’s calendar. And it has a big-name field worthy of the status, including world no.5 Aryna Sabalenka as the top seed, priced at 15/2 (8.5) at best. In the opposite side of the draw, world no.3 Paula Badosa is second seed, and 11/2 (6.5) or shorter.
Veronika Kudermetova was a surprise 66/1 winner here last year. She’s no bigger than 16/1 this time, and 14/1 in general.
The 2019 champion Madison Keys will have plenty of backers as ever, at around 20/1. But as I’ve said so many times before, I just find the American too hard to trust these days. For a player of her ability, Keys provides more let-downs than she should – and that points to a lack of mental toughness when it comes to the crunch in top-level sport. She seems like a very likeable character off-court and in interviews – but she’s not on my betting list much these days.
In the realm of the newcomers, after making a few waves in Miami, 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova will have a lot of eyes on her here. She’s in one of the first matches on court this afternoon. This exciting Czech teenager is 50/1 for a maiden WTA senior title, which is definitely our kind of price. But a negative career-to-date clay-court record (won 15, lost 17) puts me off right now. Let’s see how it goes. I’ll be in touch with more from Charleston and beyond, during the week.
Ones to Watch picks:
ATP Houston – Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Clay Court Championship
Outright Winner – Each Way (1/2 odds 1-2 places):
Play starts in Houston from 8pm UK time, after which bookies will take down their Outright Winner markets for the night. Giron v Tiafoe is scheduled for Midnight or just after. You can watch live on Amazon Prime Video.
Enjoy the tennis…