Tennis Betting Advice - March 2021

Miami match picks - fast starts for the underdogs...

Friday 26th March 2021

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Evans v Tiafoe…
  • Sakkari v Rus…
  • Petkovic v Kenin…

Match-point drama…

Picking winners at good prices is hard. Just last week, after a couple of very near misses, I said I was looking forward to the next match-point turnaround that goes our way…

Well, like London buses, this week we’ve had two in a row. The early rounds of the Miami Open have certainly provided some great entertainment and drama – if your nerves can take it…

On Wednesday, Sara Sorribes Tormo came from 1-5 down in the final set v Bernarda Pera, saving two match points, and eventually landing odds of 3/1+ for our 2-1 Set Betting pick.

Then, last night, Aryna Sabalenka followed the script in the end, shaking off the rust to recover from 0-6, 1-3 down. Fighting back with a series of big, brave shots, to just about overcome Tsvetana Pironkova, 0-6, 6-3, 7-6. Sabalenka also saved two match points, and I don’t mind admitting that at one point I gave out a big puff of the cheeks. The 2-1 result paid out at 3/1+. But it was very close.

The late match saw Anastasija Sevastova beat Coco Gauff 2-1, at pleasing odds of 5/1. Once again, our player had to come from behind, with the Latvian reeling in the American teenager, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 – and doing very well to recover from 1-3 and 15-40 down in the decider.

We’ve noted a couple of times this year that Gauff is being overrated in the betting. The 17-year-old is a fantastic player with massive potential; that’s not in doubt. But I’m going to continue to oppose her at good prices for now. So far, we’ve managed to land a pair of 5/1 payouts by taking on Coco, backing Katie Boulter in Melbourne, and then Sevastova in Miami.

  • Another noteworthy point on Gauff: 8 of her last 10 matches have now gone the distance to 3 Sets

The long-shots…

In the Outright Winner book for the Miami Open, I’m taking an aggressive stance by targeting some big, Each Way prices. Buoyed by a history of surprises in the annual March hard-court swing in the States. And the fact that star names such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams are all missing from this year’s event.

On the triple-figures front, it’s inevitable that we’re going to lose a lot more of these than we win. That might sound obvious when talking about 100/1+ long-shots, but it’s worth reaffirming nonetheless. So far in week one in Miami, the big outsider selections still running for us look like this:

  • Jelena Ostapenko 200/1 – 100/1 – through to the 3rd round after a brace of 2-1 wins. Faces world no.1 Ashleigh Barty at the weekend, priced at 5/2 (3.5) for the upset. Barty very nearly went out in her first match yesterday, eventually winning 2-1, saving a match point and coming back from 2-5 down in the final set
  • Nikoloz Basilashvili 200/1 – 150/1 – had a Bye through the 1st round as the no.27 seed, and plays in the 2nd round today. Priced as a 4/7 (1.57) favourite to beat Swedish 22-year-old, Mikael Ymer
  • Sebastian Korda 2501 – 200/1 – very impressive in a 6-3, 6-0 win over Radu Albot last night. Faces a tricky opponent next, the ever-unpredictable Fabio Fognini. The bookies have 20-year-old Korda as the favourite to progress
  • Lorenzo Musetti 500/1 – 125/1 – the 500/1 went very quickly on Thursday, but there were and still are plenty of triple-figure prices available across the boards. The fast-rising Italian teenager won his 1st round match 2-0 last night. He’s a 1/4 (1.25) favourite to beat the erratic Benoit Paire this weekend

In the less fanciful but still fruitful realm of the double-figure prices, we have these four names, with three of them still to play their first match:

  • Iga Swiatek 18/1 – an impressive 2-0 winner in her opening match yesterday, the 19-year-old has now been trimmed to around 12/1 in general
  • Jessica Pegula 25/1 – plays today
  • Denis Shapovalov 28/1 – 25/1 – plays on Saturday 
  • Jannik Sinner 33/1 – plays today

Miami Open match picks…

The hunt for value continues today, and I’ve got three matches on the radar…

Once again, the 2-1 route appeals in the Set Betting market. And I also think a couple of 1st Set Winner prices are worth following.

Dan Evans v Frances Tiafoe

Match scheduled 11pm+

Each of Evans’ last three matches have gone to three sets, and so have four of Tiafoe’s last five.

Evans leads the head-to-head 3-1, and is the 4/5 (1.8) favourite to win. Tiafoe has been digging in well lately though, raising his level at crucial moments in matches – and he’s always extra fired-up when playing at home in States.

Their two previous meetings on North American hard courts have gone to the full three sets. Evans to win 2-1 @ 3/1+ is my pick.

Maria Sakkari v Arantxa Rus

Match scheduled 6pm+

As with Sabalenka yesterday, the seeded player Sakkari could start a little slow here, having had a Bye in the 1st round. Rus was extremely impressive in taking out Ones to Watch pick Marie Bouzkova in the 1st round, 6-3, 6-2. The 30-year-old from the Netherlands looks in great shape, and could be mounting something of a late-career surge.

Rus could threaten an upset today. She’s around 10/3 (4.33) for the win, but I like 5/2 (3.5) for a fast start, with the underdog to take the 1st Set.

Andrea Petkovic v Sofia Kenin

Match scheduled 11pm+

A similar logic here, with the older player Petkovic posting a good straight-sets win in the 1st round, and the favourite Kenin yet to get on court, with a Bye through to round two. Add in the fact that this is the American’s first match back after surgery to remove her appendix, and the fast-start tactic looks the way to go in terms of a potential upset…

Petkovic is 13/8 (2.63) in the Match Winner betting, but again I prefer the 1st Set Winner option, at 7/5 (2.4).

Ones to Watch

ATP Miami Open

Set Betting:

  • Dan Evans to win 2-1 v Frances Tiafoe is 7/2 (4.5) with Ladbrokes, Coral, 17/5 (4.4) Sportingbet, Bwin, 10/3 (4.33) Bet365, BetVictor, Boylesports, 16/5 (4.2) Skybet, William Hill

WTA Miami Open

1st Set Winner:

  • Arantxa Rus to win the 1st Set v Maria Sakkari is 5/2 (3.5) with Bet365, 12/5 (3.4) Betway, Boylesports, 23/10 (3.3) Ladbrokes, Coral, 9/4 (3.25) in general
  • Andrea Petkovic to win the 1st Set v Sofia Kenin is 7/5 (2.4) with Betway, Sportingbet, Bwin, NetBet, 10Bet, 11/8 (2.38) and 5/4 (2.25) in general

Miami matches are being shown live on Amazon Prime Video, and on selected bookies’ websites, including Bet365.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch