Wimbledon is upon us. 32 matches on day one. Tennis everywhere. Let’s go.
It is a Slam, so I have a boatload of futures. Please give the preview article at BangTheBook a read and listen to the preview podcast, at BallBoyzTennis. They take some work.
Novak and Kohl had a string of competitive matches earlier this year. Then they met in Rome and Djoker laid down a bagel. Djoker should win in three but not a match anyone should be betting.
Kudla’s best surface is grass, he has much better stats on grass than Jaziri, including a combined hold/break number above 100% in each of the past three years, and he has beaten Jaziri in straight sets both times they have played. At -700 though, there isn’t any value even in a parlay. The spread is -6.5 which means Kudla would need to serve first to start the match and/or accomplish a double break in one of the sets. He’s breaking serve around 20% this year on grass, which is decent but there are enough other matches on the board today that I don’t feel like forcing this one.
Gulbis has decent hold/break numbers on grass, coming in at 114% in 2017 and 99% last year. Unfortunately, he is on a real rough run. He has lost all three grass matches he has played in 2019 and is actually 1-14 since Rotterdan. 1-14!!! Leo hasn’t played a grass match in 2019 but, he isn’t terrible on this surface, winning almost 50% of the time across his career. Mayer is also a winning tiebreak player, which is important on grass and, well, mainly, he hasn’t 14 of his last 15 matches. Gulbis is just on too bad of a streak not to chance it. I’ll fade the Latvian.
Lajovic has only won three matches since his career best final at Monte Carlo, two were against guys outside the top 100 and one was in qualifying. So, he is as cold as ice. Plus he is on his worst surface. Hurkacz showed pretty well at Eastbourne last week, losing to eventual champ Taylor Fritz in the quarters, but doesn’t generally have a ton of grass experience (nine total career grass matches). This feels like Hurkacz is priced a tad high and although he probably wins, I’ll pass.
I broke this match down in detail on the podcast. Pospisil has'n’t actually played a match in 2019 and he is intimately involved in whatever political machinations are happening with the players council, off the court. FAA is 6-2 on grass this year, going deep in both Stuttgart (final) and Queens (semis). His two losses were both to the eventual tournament champion and in his six wins he only lost two sets (both tiebreaks), to Nick Kyrgios and Dustin Brown. Pospisil’s best surface may be grass, so I want to give him some credit, but, FAA has risen rapidly in the tennis world. Pospisil is 10-46 against top 20 players in his career and all 10 wins came on hard courts. I don’t think Vasek gets a set. FAA is -200 to win 3-0, the spread is -7.5 and, the o/u is 31.5, -125. That straight set number is too big, and FAA has played seven tiebreaks in eight matches on grass this year, so the spread looks dicey. I’ll take the under.
Dimitrov is a guy who wins almost 60% of his matches played on grass. Wimbledon is the site of his deepest run at a Slam. He is a former top ten player who consistently achieves a combined hold/break number well above 100% on this surface, and he is very comfortable in tiebreaks. Unfortunately, he just isn’t having a good, or healthy, 2019. His lone match on grass so far in 2019, was a loss, to FAA at Queens. Moutet had one career grass match to his name before entering qualifying this year, so, just on the face of it, this line should be much higher in Dimitrov’s favour. The fact that despite his 2019 issues, Dimitrov is only -400 makes me pause. Moutet didn’t play anyone striking in qualies and only dropped one set but, that doesn’t feel like enough to imagine he can beat Grigor on grass. Something feels off here. I would imagine Dimitrov gets through, and possibly it’s a struggle. At -400 the Bulgarian is probably a decent parlay piece, nothing more.
I basically talked myself into betting Granollers on the podcast as well. He has been travelling around Britain playing the Challenger grass circuit and he went through qualies last week. He didn’t exactly tear up the three Challengers, losing to Evans in Surbiton, Ito in Nottingham and Soeda in Ilkley. His only win of note was over Tomic. But, he did breeze through qualies without dropping a set and he has been resting up since Thursday. He actually presents ok on grass, coming in hot with a 113% combined hold/break number from 2018, which is largely derived from a semi-final run at Newport. Sonego is coming from Antalya and that poses problems. I did a little digging and in the two years Antalya has been held, players coming from Turkey to Wimbledon are 19-22 in the first round at the All England. So, maybe it’s not that big off a deal after all (at least in the first round). As my podcast host pointed out, the money has been coming in on Sonego and I think, I’ll just stay away from this match. Pass.
Like Dimitrov, Monfils, on the face of it, feels like a winner but, when you dig in, there are concerns. Monfils lost to Kudla in Stuttgart and Herbert in Halle. He’s played eight sets on grass in 2019 and all but one have gone to 12 or 13 games. It has not been impressive and I think that is represented in the line. Here are the positives though: historically, he is just about 60% on grass, he wins a ton of tiebreaks, his combined hold/break number on grass is always above 105% (the magical mark in my mind) and his opponent on Monday has gone from Holland to Britain to Turkey and back in Britain in the span of four weeks. I think, like Dimitrov, Monfils is a potential parlay partner but, nothing more.
Medvedev rolls but, at -5000 there is nothing to see here.
PCB got his first two wins on grass, ever, last week in Antalya. That was also his first and only grass tournament of the year and he is still hasn’t looked great since coming back from a significant injury lay off throughout February and March. Popyrin should be good on grass, and he is 5-0 in qualification matches this year on the green stuff. But, at 19, he still hasn’t won a main draw match on grass and so, I’ll just pass on a match where he is a -175 favorite against a former top 10 player.
Chardy is one of the best parlay pieces on the board today. He plays well on grass, usually maintains a combined hold/break number above 100%, and is playing someone, in Klizan, who would consider grass their worst surface by a decent sized margin. In fact, Klizan was playing clay Challenger events in June instead of participating in grass events. Chardy plays a whole bunch of tiebreaks (three in three matches so far on grass in 2019) so the spread is out. I’ll look to parlay the Frenchman on the moneyline.
Goffin is a huge favorite and rightly so. But, grass is Klahn’s best surface and he is a positive tiebreak player. I don’t want to risk Klahn stealing a first or second tiebreak so, I’ll avoid this match.
Edmund is a huge favorite, went to the semis last week, has a hold/break number over 100% in each of the last three years and is playing a guy, in Munar, who hasn’t won a match on grass, ever. Munar hasn’t even won a set on grass this year, including losing two tiebreaks, which is something he usually excels at. I’ll take Edmund to win in straights.
How do you not bet Verdasco here? He is not having a stellar grass season, that’s for sure, and he bombed out of Wimbledon in the first round last year. So, those are concerns. But, this still feels like it is priced incorrectly. Majchrzak comes in having been to the semi-finals in Ilkley and having run through qualies. He is 6-2 on grass this year. But, he hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 100 yet. Verdasco is not a 0.500 tiebreak player, so maybe he drops a couple of those and loses the match but, at even money I’ll risk it with the vet.
Karlovic may have finally reached his best before date. He hasn’t won a main draw ATP grass match this year and is struggling in the win column at large in 2019. But, I’ll ride him one more time. Arnaboldi has never won a main draw grass match in life and should struggle to break Ivo’s serve. Ivo is a decent parlay piece.
Tsitsipas is a huge favorite and should roll.
Anderson had trouble breaking Gilles Simon and Cam Norrie at Queens. I can’t imagine how he’s going to break PHH. I imagine KA will eek this out but, this feels like a long one. Anderson went the distance with both Simon and Norrie and PHH splits sets all the time. Additionally, eight of PHH’s seventeen sets on grass this year have gone 12 or 13 games. I feel like PHH steals a set, probably in a tiebreak and we go over 41.5 games here.
Neither Tips nor Nishioka would consider grass their best surface, neither has had a hold/break number above 100% on this surface in recent years and they have one grass match between them in 2019. Straight avoid.
Seppi and Jarry present very similarily. They are within 6% in hold/break numbers over the last two years, they both played all three weeks of the grass season, and they both have marginally losing records in tiebreaks. I don’t see a lot of difference here. If anything, yo'u’d want to consider the over. It is one of the highest lined matches of the day though, at 42.5, so I’ll pass.
Copil should have the game for grass. Big serve, decent movement. He is almost a 70% winner on the surfac at the Challenger level. However, that success has not translated to the ATP tour, where he can’t seem to get his hold/break numbers above 100%. Pella is not much of a grass player himself and he went 0-2 this year in the lead-up events (although he did have a memorable and historic upset here at Wimbledon last year). This is an easy match to avoid.
Grass is Stan’s worst surface. I imagine he’ll get by Bemelmans on talent alone but, at -500, this is not a bettable match.
Opelka is a huge favorite despite having no grass success. One thing to look for is how well Stebe is playing. He hasn’t played a grass match in three years and he is hardly a tour player anymore. But, as I said, Opelka hasn’t really adapted to grass yet. I suspect Opelka wins but, Stebe has kept the final set tight in all of his tour matches this year (despite losing them all). If Opelka takes the first two sets, Stebe may be an option on the handicap in the third. I’ll have to see what it’s lined at before I can make a call.
I don’t bet Robin Haase matches. You’ll have a better day if you don’t either.
Milos is a huge favorite. I have an outright on him. He better cruise.
Khachanov is a carbon copy of Monfils and Dimitrov. He should be a bigger favorite. He dominates every category I study and Kwon isn’t really a tour level player. I think the line is so low because KK hasn’t dominated any of the grass events he entered in 2019. I still think this is a great parlay piece.
Lopez can keep the train rolling. To quote a great Kevin Costner movie, said in a Vin Scully voice, “I think he might be able to use that aching old arm one more time... to push the sun back up in the sky... and give us one more day of summer”. Lopez has a dominant position in every statistical category I look at and should get past Giron here. Great parlay piece.
Don’t look at the line. Don’t worry about the juice. Mischa Zverev is 2-13 in 2019. His two wins were in qualies over Lloyd Harris and in a first round match against teenager Nicola Kuhn. Take Darcis on the moneyline.
RBA is a huge favorite and should roll.
Paire is actually not bad on grass, statistically. He just hates playing on it and that makes it super hard to bet on him. He dropped both his grass so far in 2019 and he was a decent shot to win both. It’s just not worth the risk.
I talked about Kecmanovic on the pod too. I have to bet this match. Money is coming in on RCB? Really? I get that Kec has arduous travel but, as outlined above, Antalya players are 19-22 in the first round at Wimbledon. Kec has proven he is solid on grass and RCB hasn’t. Oh, and RCB is travelling from Turkey too. This feels like a no-brainer. I’ll even risk the handicap.
I’m a sucker from Dzumhur on grass. Cuevas is a great fade on this surface, he played one match, last week in Eastbourne and lost in straights. He played one match last year and zero in 2017 on grass. Dzumhur considers grass his best surface and if he is healthy should dispatch Pablo. I’ll take the plus money.
Zverev is straight scary in 2019. His grass efforts have not improved and his collapse against Goffin was like a car wreck on the side of the road that you can’t stop looking at. Pass.
L. Mayer ml, -110
FAA/Pospisil u31.5, -125
Edmund 3-0, -120
Verdasco ml, +100
PHH/Anderson o41.5, -120
Kecmanovic -2.5, -120
Dzumhur ml, +110
Darcis ml, -163
Khachanov/Dimitrov/Monfils ml, +108
Lopez/Karlovic/Chardy ml, +100