Tennis Betting Advice - March 2022
ATP Indian Wells - taking on Rafa at 100/1...
Thursday 10th March 2022
As with the Australian Open, late confirmation of Novak Djokovic’s absence means that the ATP Indian Wells drawsheet will have a lopsided look to it. With the draw having already been made, the Serb’s high-seeding spot goes to Grigor Dimitrov instead…
With the world no.2 missing, this situation can only ramp up the sense of anticipation, as we look to find an outsider or two to make a deep run here in the Californian desert.
And as already discussed this week, this Masters 1000 event has some recent form for producing big-odds champions:
ATP Indian Wells – Cameron Norrie champion – 66/1
ATP Indian Wells – Nikoloz Basilashvili runner-up – 100/1
Didn’t play – coronavirus
ATP Indian Wells – Dominic Thiem champion – 80/1
As with the women’s event, we’re talking about a stacked field here at ‘Tennis Paradise.’ The strong line-up includes four men at the top of the Outright Winner betting at single-figure quotes:
Rafael Nadal – 11/4 (3.75)
Daniil Medvedev – 3/1 (4.0)
Alexander Zverev – 7/1 (8.0)
Stefanos Tsitsipas – 9/1 (10.0)
Stick with Norrie at 66/1…
Two of those top four, Medvedev and Tsitsipas, are in the 1st Quarter of the draw. That section also contains experienced seeds Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista-Agut (100/1 each). Along with reigning champ Cameron Norrie (66/1 to defend his title), and the man he beat in the 2021 final, Nikoloz Basilashvili (200/1). Norrie and Basilashvili could meet again in the 3rd round. The head-to-head is 2-0 to the Brit.
That busy 1st Quarter also features two of our Ones to Watch in 2022 youngsters, 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz (28/1), who is the 19th seed, which gives him a Bye through to round two. And the unseeded 21-year-old, Jenson Brooksby (150/1). Both of those young men are exciting to watch, each possessing a wide range of shots, speed & skills.
The presence of Medvedev and Tsitsipas in this section of the draw certainly allows for some large prices about the lesser-known challengers. Underdog hunters (that’s us) can take note of the fact that Medvedev, the new world no.1, has yet to do better than the Last 16 here at Indian Wells. World no.5 Tsitsipas reached the quarter finals last year.
Without Djokovic, there’s certainly the possibility for an ‘unfancied’ player to take the title. From the top quarter of the ATP Indian Wells draw, I’m sticking with our man CAMERON NORRIE at the big prices…
We’re already in credit from the world no.12, thanks to an Each Way payout when Cam went all the way to the final in Acapulco last time out, at 33/1. And as explained in detail when getting Norrie in the book at massive ante-post prices for this summer’s US Open, hard-court tournaments in the USA are the best place to back him.
Odds of 66/1 are the same as when the 26-year-old won this title last season – and I reckon he’s still improving. Unibet are a standout 75/1 for Norrie as I write. Four firms have him at 66/1, with 50/1 available, too. In comparison, some bookies are much shorter, with the Brit up there as a 22/1 contender in the eyes of Paddy Power.
Taking on Rafa at 40/1 and 100/1…
Quarter 2 is headed-up by Nadal, who is yet to lose a match in 2022. The Spaniard is played 15, won 15 – all on hard courts. Again, my underdog mindset likes to look for a chink in the armour. Instead of flippantly stating the obvious and saying that Rafa’s winning streak will come to an end at some point (!). I’ll point instead to this tournament stat: Nadal hasn’t reached the final in any of his last five visits to Indian Wells.
The list of lively outside chances includes another couple of our Ones to Watch youngsters, with 21-year-old American Sebastian Korda (150/1) a forecasted 2nd-round opponent for Nadal. The exciting 20-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti – the man with the electrifying one-handed backhand – is also in this section. The bookies make him a 500/1 rank outsider.
The list goes on with Denis Shapovalov 66/1 to win what would be the biggest title of his career to date. The 22-year-old Canadian is another youngster with a crowd-pleasing array of shots. Denis did us pretty well as an 80/1 pick at the Australian Open, only beaten by that man Nadal, in a five-set quarter final epic. Shapovalov struggled to bounce back from that setback – he thought he should have won – but a semi-final last time out in Dubai is the latest reminder that the lefty can be dangerous in any draw.
On US soil though, the one I’m going with here as a big-odds dark horse is REILLY OPELKA at around 100/1. Shapovalov outplayed the 6’11” American in Australia. But since then, Reilly has played two tournaments, both on hard courts in the States, and reached the final both times. Runner-up to Norrie at Delray Beach, and winning the title in Dallas – propelling the 24-year-old Opelka to a new career-high ranking of no.17.
Add in his New York trophy in 2019, and Delray Beach 2020. And a runner-up appearance at the ATP Masters 1000-grade event in Toronto last season – the same level as Indian Wells. And Opelka’s credentials as a hard-court contender in the USA are clear to see: all five of his career ATP finals have come in North America. Any slip-ups or bad days at the office from the likes of Nadal, and the huge-serving American could be the man to take advantage here.
In the bottom of Quarter 2, I want to continue to follow JANNIK SINNER. The 20-year-old Italian was a 33/1 finalist for us at the Miami Open last year, and at similar prices, he can continue his ascent to the top of the men’s game. Jannik is already now a Top 10 player. He’s made the quarter finals in his last two tournaments. A recent change to his coaching set-up is worth considering. But everything this impressive young man does seems to be professional and positive. Sinner has a quiet, steely determination – and an absolutely brutal forehand. In full flow, it’s a sight to behold. He has a 2-0 head-to-record v another rising star in this part of the draw, Casper Ruud. The Norwegian made my notes (he’s 66/1 in general, 80/1 with Skybet). But in these conditions, I’m with Sinner at 40/1.
100/1 Americans to fill the gap…
The bottom half of the draw is where Djokovic would’ve been. The big names in the betting include Andrey Rublev (16/1 at best), Matteo Berrettini at 25/1 (recently injured), and Alexander Zverev at a top-price 7/1.
A couple of Ones to Watch regulars are certainly in contention here, with Felix Auger-Aliassime at 20/1 or 16s, and Hubert Hurkacz at 40/1 & 33/1. However, Felix looks a little short in the betting to me, while Hurkacz has a pretty tough route to the final, even without Novak.
I’m keen to play the very biggest prices, and for me that means following two Americans who can be assured to give their very all here…
TAYLOR FRITZ was a semi-finalist at this event last year. The world no.20 falls into that Opelka-like category of a tall American player, who brings out his best performances on North American hard courts. In the last couple of seasons, Fritz has shown several glimpses of his top form, and threatened to go on a really big run. Odds of 100/1 and 66/1 catch the eye.
Likewise, the veteran big-server, JOHN ISNER. The 36-year-old American has the look of a man who thinks he still has a big trophy or two in him. He wasn’t far off beating our man Norrie in Acapulco last month. Before that, big John took Opelka to two tiebreaks in the Dallas semi finals (7-6, 7-6). Isner is a former runner-up and semi-finalist at Indian Wells, as well as a finalist and winner at the other big March event in the States, the Miami Open. John is in the section of the draw that has a Djokovic-shaped hole in it. Rest assured, he’ll believe he has an opportunity to go all the way here. Odds of 200/1 and 100/1 tell a different story – and that’s fine by us…
Ones to Watch picks:
Outright Winner – Each Way (1/2 odds 1-2 places):
ATP Indian Wells – BNP Paribas Open
Play starts at 7pm, when bookies will take down their Outright Winner markets for the evening.
I’ll be back during the tournament with more from both the men’s and women’s events at Indian Wells.
Enjoy the tennis…