Tennis Betting Advice - March 2023
Indian Wells picks - including two 100/1 youngsters...
Wednesday 8th March 2023
Today’s the day. Every year I look forward to Indian Wells starting. On my bracing morning walk today, with the sleet coming down into my eyes, I was reminded of a cold, dark, Sunday evening three years ago, almost to the day. I went to watch some local ice hockey, talking to a couple we know about Indian Wells, and what a big tournament it is…
By the time I had woke up the next day, Indian Wells had been called off – the first high-profile tennis event to go when the pandemic hit. After that, we didn’t have any top-level sport to enjoy for some time…
I’m happy today then, to be at my desk, heating on, icy rain sliding down my window. Getting geared-up for Indian Wells 2023, which starts this evening from 7pm, UK time.
Turn on and tune in…
If you haven’t got Amazon Prime Video, now is the time to try and snag yourself a free trial or a good offer. Because Amazon have got full coverage of both Indian Wells and the Miami Open this month – with live coverage, as well as replays. I’m not being paid to say that, by the way.
Later this year, the US Open will move from Amazon and back to Sky Sports. The broadcasting landscape has changed significantly in recent years, and I’d say Sky need to raise their game when they return to set up camp at Flushing Meadows. It’s now the expected standard to be able to choose to watch pretty much every match on live streaming, and not just the stadium courts.
And if they need any commentators to help with all that coverage, they can ask me!
Back to today and this week’s big ATP & WTA 1000 ‘Masters’ event in the Californian desert. Let’s get our first Indian Wells picks in the book…
Over the last few days, we’ve been building up to this month’s two prestigious US hard-court tournaments. You can read more about the exciting recent history for big-odds winners and finalists at Indian Wells & Miami in the Ones to Watch email archive on the website here, and here.
Ones to Watch at Indian Wells – MEN…
One angle to consider for the Outright Winner betting here is to look out for players we’ve backed at this tournament before. The obvious one being last season’s ATP Indian Wells winner, Taylor Fritz. The American was 100/1 and 80/1 twelve months ago; he’s 22/1 and 20/1 this time.
I see Taylor was trending as a ‘popular bet’ on Oddschecker this morning. I’m a big fan of Fritz, and I’m happy to have him in the book as our recent 50/1 and 33/1 Each Way early-bird pick for Wimbledon and the US Open this summer, respectively. But asking him to repeat the Indian Wells triumph of last year, at much shorter prices, is not the best bet today in my opinion.
Other price-based exclusions on my list would be the likes of Ones to Watch regular Jannik Sinner. The 21-year-old Italian is very, very good. But he’s still yet to fully deliver when it comes to the crunch in a truly massive tournament. He came mighty close at the US Open at the end of last summer, holding match point against Carlos Alcaraz in a five-set quarter-final classic. Before the Spanish teenager fought back – and went on to lift a maiden Grand Slam title, and hit no.1 in the rankings.
Sinner was a 33/1 Each Way runner-up for us at the ATP 1000 event in Miami in 2021. Here at Indian Wells this week, Jannik goes off at no better than 10/1. I like him – but not so much at that price.
I’m not going to go through every player here, as that would take all day at least – with a mountain of ifs, buts & maybes that would be difficult to decipher. Let’s keep it short when discussing the rest of the pack for now…
Current world no.1 Novak Djokovic isn’t here, and last year’s beaten Indian Wells finalist Rafael Nadal is out injured.
The top of this year’s men’s betting is bossed by Daniil Medvedev, who won his biggest title on American hard courts (US Open 2021). The Russian arrives here this week on the back of three ATP tournaments wins in a row. Impressive stuff. Medvedev is a 5/2 (3.5) favourite for the trophy. Followed by the recently-injured Carlos Alcaraz, at 13/2 (7.5) at best and 6/1 (7.0) in general.
Going back to the theme of players we’ve backed at big odds before in events like this one – and can do so again today at attractive Each Way quotes…
The men for me here are HUBERT HURKACZ at 50/1 or 33/1, and CAMERON NORRIE at 33/1. That’s one from each side of the men’s draw to get us started with our Outright Winner, outsider betting in the men’s field. We’ve backed both at Masters 1000 hard-court events at similar odds before, including last season with Hurkacz reaching the ATP Montreal final at 33/1 Each Way. Norrie won Indian Wells in 2021, and after reaching the quarter finals in 2022, has won nine of his last 10 matches at this venue.
I also feel that it could pay to have a couple of American long-shots on our side. That tactic worked for us last year…
A man on the up – and available at big prices – is TOMMY PAUL. The 25-year-old is up to no.19 in the rankings, and is the kind of low-status player who doesn’t get too many column inches. Cap down, and poker-faced, he’s a bit of a hard-to-read character – and I like him.
After winning a first ATP Tour title in 2021, Paul started to really make a name for himself last season, knocking on the door at hard-court tournaments such as Delray Beach (semi final, lost to Norrie) and Acapulco (quarter final, lost to Nadal) – with Norrie and Nadal both going on to win those respective tournaments.
Tommy then made week two on grass at Wimbledon 2022, and pushed eventual runner-up Casper Ruud to the full five sets in the US Open 3rd round. The point being, Paul could have more titles to his name than the one that he has got…
He’s started 2023 with a semi-final run at the Australian Open – again showing a taste and temperament for the big-time. Beaten only by the eventual champ in Melbourne, Mr Djokovic. Most recently, Tommy Paul was a runner-up at Acapulco last week. The signs are there that this guy has some big tennis in him, and odds of 50/1 and 40/1 appeal nicely.
And if you’re after a 100/1 flyer who could make a breakthrough run in the States, then I’d say young American, BEN SHELTON is one who catches the eye at triple-figure prices. The 20-year-old is up to a high of no.41 in the world, following a big surge to the Australian Open quarter finals in January. His level has dipped again since then, but here at Ones to Watch we know full well that high-quality young players can spring into form and make great leaps forward, all of a sudden.
Shelton will need to win his 1st-round match and then face the aforementioned Taylor Fritz, with the reigning champ seeded here and receiving a Bye to round two. The underdog-backer in me wants to be with 100/1+ Shelton. If he’s fit and on his game, the youngster won’t fear anyone – and he’ll relish playing in front of an American crowd.
Ones to Watch at Indian Wells – WOMEN…
With this youngster playing in the 1st round tonight, I want to get our recent 100/1 Australian Open outsider in the book again for a big tournament…
The young lady in question is 17-year-old LINDA FRUHVIRTOVA. The Czech teenager is every inch a Ones to Watch candidate: we’ve been tracking her for several years already.
Linda did well for us in Australia at the start of the new season, reaching week two of a Grand Slam for the first time (Last 16).
A product of a top academy, she’ll be primed for an event like Indian Wells, and certainly no stranger to a North American hard court. Odds in the region of 100/1 are all upside for us – we don’t yet know how high her ceiling will be, but Linda is expected to do big things in her career.
Fruhvirtova is in the bottom half of the WTA Indian Wells 2023 draw, which means she avoids world no.1 and reigning champion, Iga Swiatek. Until the final, that is. We’ll take 100/1 Each Way with half the odds terms, every time.
Swiatek won four of the eight women’s 1000-grade titles last year. That’s an incredible feat. In comparison, three of the eight men’s Masters 1000 tournaments in 2022 were won by 100/1 shots or bigger. Iga goes off as a short 6/4 (2.5) favourite this week. Last year she was 13/2 (7.5).
Sticking in that opposite side of the women’s draw for starters, I also want to back an in-form player who we’ve followed before at this event, and on hard courts…
BELINDA BENCIC was a 33/1 semi-finalist for us at Indian Wells in 2019. Since then, the likeable Swiss has won Gold in Singles at the Tokyo Olympics (played on hard courts). And added three WTA titles, including two on hard courts already this season.
Belinda has a 15-3 match win-loss for the year so far, is back inside the Top 10, and looks like she’s keeping herself in great shape.
At the Australian Open in January, a Last 16 defeat to Aryna Sabalenka doesn’t look bad in hindsight – seeing as Sabalenka went on to lift the trophy, is now back at no.2 in the world, and the 9/1 or shorter second-favourite for Indian Wells.
Betfred are 28/1 for Bencic today, and I don’t think we’ll get any bigger than that. Elsewhere, 25/1 and 20/1+ is also plenty acceptable for this talented 25-year-old, who may yet be about to deliver on her potential and early-years promise in 2023. Like so many, injury has slowed her down. But Belinda has game, and is good enough to win this tournament.
We’ll be having further selections in the days to come. In recent years, we’ve done well by backing a player hitting form, halfway through a 1000-grade like this (Holger Rune at 33/1 in ATP Paris last autumn for example, or Bianca Andreescu at 30/1 here at WTA Indian Wells back in 2019). I’ll also of course be on the lookout for Match Winner opportunities for us.
Ones to Watch picks:
Outright Winner – Each Way (1/2 odds 1-2 places)
ATP Indian Wells – BNP Paribas Open:
WTA Indian Wells – BNP Paribas Open:
Play starts from 7pm, UK time.
Indian Wells runs until next Sunday, 19th March.
I’ll be in touch during the tournament with picks, advice, and updates.
Want to get in touch? You can email me at:
Enjoy the tennis…