Tennis Betting Advice - March 2018

Indian Wells - two Total Games picks for tonight...

Friday 9th March 2018

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Indian Wells up and running…
  • Two Total Games picks for tonight…
  • Play starts 8.30pm…

Indian Wells up and running…

We’ve got several bets in the book already this week with our Outright Winner selections for both the Men’s and Women’s events at Indian Wells.

We’re on some good prices there and all our players will be taking to the court for the first time over the course of the weekend.

Being an underdog backer, I always like to see a big name get knocked out…

The first star fell on the opening night on Wednesday when Maria Sharapova went down 2-0 at the hands of Japanese youngter Naomi Osaka (who was on our Ones to Watch in 2017 list. Osaka had an injury-hit 2017 but now looks to be improving at a rate of knots).

When it comes to star names they don’t come much bigger than Serena Williams. She played her first WTA match for over a year last night, winning 2-0…

By her own admission she was a bit “rusty” though and the match stats certainly show Serena isn’t in unbeatable mode just yet: her Aces v Double Faults ratio is often a good gauge of her performance level, and that was level at 4-4.

Serena lost her serve twice and won 63% of 1st Serve Points. Not bad – but not super-Serena level either. We’ll keep an eye on her progress.

Two Total Games picks for tonight…

On to the match markets now and two catch my eye on this evening’s schedule – one in the Men’s and one in the Women’s.

Both feature players with a ‘high games’ history in their head-to-heads, and the bookies’ Total Games lines look good for us here…

Frances Tiafoe v Ernesto Escobedo

ATP Indian Wells – BNP Paribas Open

Match scheduled: 8.30pm+

Rankings: Tiafoe #64, Escobedo #117
Head-to-Head: Escobedo 2-0 (2016)

Two young Americans here and this could be a close one…

After winning his maiden ATP title in Delray Beach last month, the higher-ranked, 20-year-old Tiafoe is the 1/2 (1.50) favourite to win this.

However, 21-year-old Escobedo might not be talked about as much but is also on his way up the rankings. And having won their only two previous meetings (on hard courts in 2016), he will be fancying his chance to win this one too.

Those two meetings were both decided by a final-set tiebreak and that looks a good measure or what we could see tonight – a tightly-contested match that with not much in it, that could go the distance to three sets.

Indeed, Tiafoe in particular is getting into plenty of long matches this season – 7 of his last 9 have gone to 3 Sets. That option is 6/4 (2.50) and 11/8 (2.38) tonight but I prefer the Over 22.5 Games line which could be covered in two sets, for example 7-5, 7-5 or 7-6, 6-4.

That ‘Over’ bet would have paid out in both their previous meetings (35 games and 34 games), in 7 of Tiafoe’s 9 most recent matches and in 6 of Escobedo’s last 9.

It’s a surprise not to see the line a bit higher, so Over 22.5 Games represents value here.

Frances Tiafoe v Ernesto Escobedo

BET: Total Games – Over 22.5 Games @ 19/20
BOOKIES: 19/20 (1.95) Marathonbet, 17/20 (1.85) Betway, Sportingbet, 5/6 (1.83) or 4/5 (1.80) in general
STAKE: 1 pt
Latest odds here

Irina-Camelia Begu v Karolina Pliskova

WTA Indian Wells – BNP Paribas Open

Match scheduled: 11.30pm+

Rankings: Begu #36, Pliskova #5
Head-to-Head: 1-1 (last meeting Pliskova 2017)

According to the Match Winner prices this will be a routine win for Pliskova – the World No.5 is around 1/4 (1.25) with Begu as big as 3/1 (4.00) for the upset.

However the formbook suggests this will be closer than those prices are saying. The head-to-head is level at one win each, and the Total Games scores in those meetings (both on hard courts, as this will be) were 23 and 26.

Begu stands tall at 5’11” and Pliskova is a rangy 6’1” – and this could turn into a bit of a baseline slug-fest between the Romanian and the big-hitting Czech…

There were 26 games in Begu’s opening match against the promising youngster Aleksandra Krunic and 6 of her last 9 matches have now paid out on Over 20.5 Games.

Four of Pliskova’s last 7 matches have seen 21+ Total Games. She hasn’t looked at her ruthless best so far this season, pulling out of the Fed Cup (international team event) through illness, and labouring a little to get the job done with 2 of her last 3 wins taking the full 3 sets, and the other a narrow 7-6, 7-5 victory (25 games).

Again the ‘Over’ option looks the value here.

Irina-Camelia Begu v Karolina Pliskova

BET: Total Games – Over 20.5 Games @ Evens
BOOKIES: Evens (2.00) Betfair Sportsbook, Paddy Power, 10/11 (1.91) Marathonbet, 888 Sport, Unibet, 9/10 (1.90) Bet365, 5/6 (1.83) in general
STAKE: 1 pt
Latest odds here

I’ll be back on Monday with the latest from Indian Wells.

Enjoy the tennis...

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Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch