ATP Tennis 2019 March 22, Miami Day 3

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I’ve been taking a lot of shit on twitter for the last few weeks. Understandable. It’s been a terrible last four/five weeks. Bets like the Cameron Norrie loss are certainly NOT helping. Just incredible - from 6-4, 2-1 up in the second set, he was literally in cruise control. He had served for the first set at 5-2 and broken early in the second. Despite some mis-steps he was clearly in control. Of course, he not only didn’t cover from there, he dropped the match. A truly bizarre loss.

Pablo Cuevas beats Jo Tsonga one day, loses to Dusan Lajovic the next. I guess that’s a bad call but seriously, Lajovic has beaten zero people in 2019 that would have given you the impression he could pull that off on Thursday.

I guess I am just way off my game. Period.

Thursday did end up a winning day, 4-3. So, maybe the tide is turning despite some amazing bad luck.

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Monfils gets his campaign underway today and health (mental and physical) pending, I really like his chances today and Sunday.

If you haven’t checked out the podcast or the preview article yet, please do so @ballboyztennis and @bangthebook.

Day 3

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Poor Bernard Tomic. Wrong place, wrong time. I said in the outright preview Djokovic may be super motivated after crashing out early in Indian Wells. Well, Djoker gets someone he is immensely comfortable with here in round two. These two have played five times, Djoker has won all five and Tomic hasn’t taken a set since 2011., on grass. These are slow, slow hard courts. The three times these two have played a three set match, Djoker has won in straights and covered the -5.5 every time. There is no statistical argument to be made that this meeting should be any different. I’ll take Novak on the handicap.

Millman has all the statistical advantages you could want. Everything I usually look for. I have to stay away this time though. Millman hasn’t beaten a top 80 player since before the Aussie Open, a span of twelve matches. Delbonis has beaten Millman before, on clay, and these courts are playing pretty slow. Additionally Delbonis destroyed Gojo on Wednesday. I’m throwing the stats out the window and avoiding this.

I think this is another match where you can throw out the stats. RBA is obviously a much better player at this point and on paper this should be a smoke show. Two things keep me away from it. One, and this is largely opinion/narrative, is the fact that Tipsarevic has to be running out of Protected Ranking chances and has to be uber motivated. Two, RBA, while statistically dominant, doesn’t really ever blow people away. A -4.5 spread? RBA has covered that only three times this season despite all his winning - Ramanathan #137, GGL #105, and Matteo Berrettini #54. GGL and Berrettini were his first two matches of the year. So, since January 2nd, RBA has covered it one time. I’ll pass on this match.

Fog can easily win this match. A traditional break-down based on stats and even surface would have you putting Fog in a parlay or taking him on the handicap. This is a stark contrast. The thing holding me back is simply the Fog motivation. Does he care? You can never really tell. Fog has lost five straight matches and really only has three wins on the entire season; none since the Aussie Open. If he shows up, he rolls. If he doesn’t Andreozzi is capable of pulling the upset. Pass.

Raonic should roll here. Marterer has two top 100 wins this season and they were over Gojo in week one and Fritz yesterday. We saw on Wednesday that Gojo maybe is off his game a little this year and Fritz hasn’t won a match since a Challenger title in January. So, do you put any credence in that round one win for Marterer? I don’t. Raonic has all the hard court advantages you could want and the slower courts may actually help him. His serve is so good that he still benefits from it, despite the surface and the slower courts help him on return. He wet well in the Sunshine Double last year, making the quarters at both events and he made the quarters again last week in Indian Wells. The handicap is available at -3.5 but, I don’t want to pay -150 and have to hope to avoid a tiebreak. I’ll probably regret this but I’ll take Raonic’s moneyline and parlay it.

All the stats point to Edmund not being this big of a favorite. This seems blown a little out of proportion. Their hard court hold/break stats are very similar last year and in 2019 Ivashka is actually performing better. Edmund tends to blow out guys way below him the rankings though and then lose to those in the top 30. So, maybe that is leading to a -550 line. I make this far closer and really want to take Ivashka plus games. I just have terrible luck backing dogs on the plus games and I can’t tell if I have some bias towards to Ivashka (I bet on this guy all the time). I’ll pass, considering I am running so bad.

I feel lucky to have won some money backing ARV on a hard court. What a spot that was. Against an actual player like Pouille? No thanks. And Pouille hasn’t won a match since his epic Aussie Open. Total avoid.

Isner defending his title! Gets himself a first match against a Challenger level guy. He should roll. I’m sure Sonego will make this closer than people expect - he went to the quarters last week in Phoenix, losing to eventual champ Berrettini, and he smacked down Martin Klizan yesterday. Isner is a decent sized step up from anyone Sonego has played in 2019 though and isner should get this done. I don’t expect it to be easy and so I’ll stay away. The pressure will be immense on Isner all week.

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How can you bet against Hurkacz? This kid has some game and some guts. He was down and out against Shapo and NIshikori and came back both times. Thiem is coming off his biggest title ever may be looking ahead to clay where maybe he can start asserting himself against an older, injured Nadal, finally. This is a total avoid to me.

FAA continues to impress me. I tuned in as he started rolling in the second set yesterday and I think this dude can win some matches this week. Fucsovics hard court stats are above average but still trending downward. FAA is on a straight upward curve. I think this is an interesting fork in the road, where FAA is finally lined as a pick’em against a top 50 guy. This is something we should start seeing all the time this spring and summer on clay. I’ll take FAA here, coming in off quite a run - finals in Rio, quarters in Sao Paolo, third round in Indian Wells and running through three matches already in Miami (he also has to be quietly pissed he had to go hrough qualies this week).

Zverev probably shouldn’t even be in the second round, after he struggled with teenager Nicola Kuhn, and was gifted a win by retirement when Kuhn cramped up. Zverev’s stats are super poor and have been in steep decline for the past two years. Basil has distinct advantages on this surface and even on clay, which has been Basher’s most improved surface and is where he won his biggest title. Zverev is also fighting against a horrible track history in Miami, going 1-9 before yesterdays gift. I’ll take Basilashvili on the moneyline in a parlay.

I don’t think Monfils is hurt. I have an outright on him. I love to fade Robin Haase. Monfils has every statistical and surface advantage you could ask for. Slam dunk.

RCB trucked Denis Kudla in round one, 1 and 2. That should make everyone a little nervous. Coric should be perfectly suited to these conditions and he had a run to the quarters here last year (different venue obviously) so I was initially going to discount RCB’s win and roll with Coric -4.5, which you can get at plus money. Coric has massive hold/break advantages over RCB and obviously a more glittering career, on any surface. But Coric has had some issues lately. He was stomped by Federer in Duabi, he went out meekly to Ivo Karlovic last week and even in the first rounds in Dubai, he dropped a set each time. Before Dubai he lost in straights to Ugo Humbert. I can’t feel confident in Coric.

Simon has owned Chardy in the past, winning their first four meetings. Simon holds small advantages in each of the last three years on the hold/break front and should benefit from the slower courts normalizing Chardy’s serve. I don’t bet on Gilles Simon. Ever. So, go Chardy.

I can’t get behind backing Kyrgios. Again. It’s just not healthy. Additionally, money has been coming in on Kyrgios overnight and he is now down to -334.

Nishikori should roll. Really. Other than an apparent inability to beat Hubert Hurkacz and Novak Djokovic, Nishikori seems to be having a great year. He has massive advantages in hold/break stats, NIshi enjoys slower surfaces (he wins just as much on clay as hards), and the both times he has played Lajovic he has literally destroyed him. The handicap is -4.5 and I think he can cover it.

This slate is loaded with big favorites. I tried to make a case to lower the exposure on these guys - RBA, Kyrgios, Thiem, Coric, Isner, Edmund, etc. But, in reality this day could be super chalky. If there was ever a day for the 11-leg favorite parlay this is probably it. I’m just sayin’ pick and choose carefully.

Djokovic -5.5, -125
Roanic/Basilashvili/Monfils ml, -115
FAA ml, -110
Nishikori -4.5, -120

Good luck