OK, so Gojo was never in that match. The bet was D.O.A and it became informative of the rest of the day. There were only six main draw matches yesterday and I had the chance to watch a bit of Gojo and Tipsarvic. But, checking the stats from all six, there was only one match that generated double digits in aces (11) and only match that generated fewer than ten combined break opportunities (8). I was concerned that the move in venue would change the surface but it seems like this is still playing like clay and it may actually be even hotter than previous years, with the move away from Key Biscayne (see Kuhn’s cramping).
Anyway, I’ve tried to factor that new information into today’s picks and write-ups. Here’s to it working!
I have three outrights this week. The article was a little late getting up at BangtheBook.com but it is there now and none of them play till Friday, so you should have plenty of time.
The podcast for this week is also available at Soundcloud, iTunes, AudioBoom or wherever else you listen. You can also follow along on Twitter @ballboyztennis and just click links (that’s what I do).
BallBoyz are riding eight outright wins this year already (I think it works out to one for every week of the season so far!). So, check them out.
There are 26 fucking matches today, it’s like day one of a Slam. I' tried to touch on each one.
Tomic has the all the statistical advantages on hard courts and isn’t travelling from a different continent so, initially I liked him. But, the surface is obviously playing slow, which should benefit the clay courter. Monteiro, while coming from Chile, did go through qualifying and so should be accustomed to the conditions and over whatever travel he endured (especially with an extra off-day yesterday). It’s always hard to judge Tomic’s motivation and Monteiro is playing small margin tennis right (he is through qualifying by winning three tiebreaks in two matches and losing none, which is probably not sustainable). I’ll pass on this.
Fritz’s hard court hold/break numbers are down in 2019 and as I wrote in Indian Wells, his last few losses have been concerning. Marterer is also a better clay courter than a hard courter (at least at the ATP level) and so, for those two reasons I’ll pass on this. +150 just isn’t enough to get me to bite on Marterer as a dog.
ARV has beaten Copil both times they have played, both were on clay, ARV has surprisingly good hard court numbers in 2019 and if you compare clay hold/break numbers it is not even close. I am not one to back ARV off clay but this seems close enough and ARV’s past performance in Miami shows he can handle this surface (and any potential heat issues). ARV on the -1.5 games handicap looks solid.
I don’t get why Klizan is a dog here. It must be because of his retirement in Indian Wells against Zverev. I’m guessing he is healthy now though, with a full week to travel and recover. Whether you look at hard court stats or clay court stats, Klizan is the better player. I know Sonego has had a good last few days but, I am not sure beating Ryan Harrison or Jeremy Chardy in a Challenger event (where their motivation may be low) or rolling over Ramanathan in qualies means Sonego is ‘hot’. I’ll gladly take the dog price here.
How cool is an FAA/Ruud match-up? Two shining young stars who can make it happen on clay and who should enjoy this surface. Both have passed through qualies this week, relatively unscathed. It took FAA a set to get going against Vanni and Ruud has played some tight ones but, has never really been out of a match. FAA has the slightly better hold/break stats on hard surfaces while Ruud has better stats on clay surfaces. They’ve played twice on clay and split the series so, this seems like a sit back and enjoy kind of match!
I try to avoid betting Robin Haase matches, at all costs.
I’m already down on Chardy -1.5 on the handicap from yesterday (go read that breakdown).
Tennys Sandgren “should” win this match, easily. But, he is on a five match losing streak since winning the title in Auckland and he has a bit of a look ahead spot here to Houston where he went to the finals last year. The line tells you that the market sees this same way as Bublik is a small favorite. Straight pass.
Lajovic’s only win since the first week of the season was last week against the similarly struggling Taro Daniel. He has lost twice to Cuevas before, including once on clay and once earlier this year on hard courts. Cuevas has already come through qualifying and authored a bit of an upset in doing so, beating Tsonga. I’ll take Cuevas on the moneyline and parlay it, just in case, as Lajovic can be a tricky guy.
Munar is traditionally a clay player. He has much better hard court and clay court hold/break stats than Gunneswaran. Gunneswaran is a losing clay court player, even at the Challenger level, and certainly hasn’t had much success at the ATP level on hard courts. This price kind of amazes me. Maybe it is because Gunny came through qualifying easily? But beating the #192 player who is just breaking into the pro scene and dispatching a 33 year old AMM are not feats that would scare me off Munar here. He had a nice run in Indian Wells but again it was against an unmotivated Benoit Paire and involved some interesting tiebreaks against Basilashvili. I’ll back Munar on the moneyline.
I don’t know enough about Tseung to get involved in this one, nor do I think Joao Sousa should be -400 against anyone, really.
A semi-retired, looking ahead to the director of Madrid Feliciano Lopez against the ever flaky Benoit Paire, who as just mentioned lost last week to Praj Gunneswaran, who at 29 has like five tour wins. Maybe an under, as who ever loses the first set probably goes away. No thanks.
Cameron Norrie seems to be a super hot/cold kind of guy. Finals in Auckland, out first round at the Aussie. Wins one match on the Golden Swing, goes to the semis in Acapulco, out first round in Indian Wells. Maybe that means this week he is ready to bounce back up? Norrie had much better hold/break stats last year than Thompson and his clay stats are far, far better. They’ve played twice before and Norrie has won handily both times. I’ll take Norrie on the handicap at -2.5.
I don’t see an edge in Mannarino and Bedene. Very similar hard court career numbers and identical hold/break numbers last year. Neither guy is having a stellar 2019 and I’ll just avoid this.
I think Opelka is more suited to indoor hards, the slower surface may challenge him against tour level opposition - he was broken in qualies by Laaksonen and needed tiebreaks against both Laaksonen and Granollers. Struff should be a step up. Struff is conditioned to play in wind, heat, slow courts, quicker courts; he’s a true vet with success across all surfaces. Struff also has played over 100 tiebreaks in his career, so Opelka’s edge there may be blunted. Pass.
I don’t see any edge between PHH and Krajinovic. Their hold/break numbers in 2019 and 2018 are within two percent of each other and their hard court career records are within a few percentage points of each other. I would imagine Kraj is so heavily favored because of his success last week but if I had to play this I would grab the juicy price on PHH. Pass for me.
Albot has been on fire lately but, -350? I’m not sure that price is warranted. I’ll pass on this.
McDonald has had some puzzling results lately, including losing in qualifying this week and getting crushed by Medvedev last week in Indian Wells. Humbert is an ascendant player who actually has better hold/break numbers over the past two years. I lean heavily to Humbert here but will just avoid as I can’t seem to get a read on MM.
Ymer got through qualifying and so may be acclimatized to what is happening in Miami. He is taking a serious step up in quality of opponent today though. Ymer and Mayer match-up well on clay, statistically but, on hard courts, Mayer shows much better. I’ll parlay this, as I could see Ymer making it close.
I should be on Dan Evans today. He was gifted a lucky loser spot and is having a much, much better 2019 than Malek Jaziri. The concern is two-fold. One, Jaziri has beaten Evans twice on clay and Evans had himself a meltdown yesterday and I wouldn’t want to guess whether he has put that behind himself or not. Pass.
Rublev has massive statistical advantages over Taro Daniel. But, the price is steep, I haven’t had much luck backing Rublev this year and Daniel has beaten Rublev both times they have played. Rublev seems to be on a bit of a streak (finals in Indian Wells Challenger, couple of match wins last week, and got through qualifying this week) so he is probably a parlay option but, I’ll pass.
I don’t know enough about Eubanks to make any decision here and Dzumhur is having a dreadful 2019. Avoid, at all costs.
Karlovic should win this easily. But, I don’t see a way to bet it. The moneyline price is huge, he could easily drop a tiebreak (he is about .500 for his career) meaning the straight sets bet is out and I don’t like betting a handicap with him over -1.5 because now you are relying on the doctor to break someone. Pass.
Kecmanovic is coming off easily his most successful week on the tour and Gulbis is 0-4 in his last four matches. Straight pass here, as I look to avoid a guy out of sorts and another guy who is a potential letdown target. I like the under here the most, as I could see either guy disappearing in the second set.
The David Ferrer retirement tour! Ferrer has had some great success in Miami, making a final as well as a bunch of other semis and quarters. He seems to be playing well in the matches he does engage in this year, as he is rocking a 109% hold/break number on hard courts. Slower courts should help Ferrer as well, considering he is well accustomed to clay. I expect max effort from the Spaniard tonight, as he gets prime time, center court billing. I’ll take the dog price and fade Querrey who hasn’t done anything outside of the indoor tournament in NYC this year.
ARV -1.5, -120
Klizan ml, +162
Chardy -1.5, -138
Cuevas/Mayer ml, +116
Munar ml, -125
Norrie -2.5, -138
Ferrer ml, +125