April showers bring May…. money. Someone tweeted at me about the ‘haters’ today and giving it to them for my recent hot run. It really doesn’t bother me. I try to engage everyone - it’s possibly all useful, even haters. Some dude was on me about RBA during the Aussie Open because I faded him in the first three rounds. Turns out RBA had a great run and went deep again in Miami, so, maybe I WAS missing something. And ‘haters’ go away with success, it’s that simple. I had literally no detractors in 2018. And I didn’t have any in January or February when I was up money this year, other than that RBA fan. March and April have been bad, no denying that. But, it’s all ups and downs in tennis betting. In the last nine days, since the Barcelona final, I am 18-9 in my last 27 bets. Averaging three bets a day, one losing day in nine, plus $900 (average odds -103), and it could have easily been more - of those 9 losses there was Dimitrov losing in two tiebreaks yesterday, Verdasco imploding from a set and a break up last night to kill an easy under (he won the third 6-1), Cuevas missed covering by the hook, Tiafoe killed an under when he came back from 2-6, 1-3 down, and Sonego lost a match after being up a break in all three sets AND serving for the match. I mean, I could easily be about 25-2 in this run. Seein’ the board well, and the ‘haters’, what few of them exist, are quiet.
The big boys get underway on Tuesday and I have two outrights this week… both who haven’t been granted Wednesday starts. I’m still not overly sure what’s better during these Masters’ weeks - playing five straight or getting the Tuesday match, Wednesday off day, then four straight. I would imagine someone like Fed might appreciate the Tuesday start as opposed to Wednesday… but, either way, the seven one-week Masters’ events are unique animals (Miami and Indian Wells are unique in their own right).
Sixteen matches on Tuesday, let’s dig in!
I gave Chardy on the podcast as an example of a pretty average clay player. He routinely has combined hold/break numbers in mid-90’s, last year being an exception. He’s 1-3 on clay in 2019, with his lone win coming at the hands of PCB who has been off for over two months with an injury. Now, all that being said, Chardy has a big serve and is probably capable of being competitive, at least early, in Madrid. ARV shouldn’t really be a -250 favorite against too many top 100 tour players at this point. I lined this close to ARV -150 but, I’ll avoid Chardy based on the head-to-head; these two have played twice, both on clay and Chardy has never won more than four games in a set.
Cecchinato is a true clay guy; he’s 2-5 on hard courts, again, in 2019 (and the two wins were the first two matches of the year). On clay, he’s got a title already, been to a semi-final last week, and went three rounds at the first clay 1000 event in Monte Carlo. He’s never been to Madrid before but, he’s coming from altitude in Munich and he went to the semis there, losing to eventual champ Christian Garin. So, we know he is “in form”. Cecchinato played Schwatzman earlier in 2019 and destroyed him 1 and 2 and that has kind of been indicative of Diego’s 2019. Other than a finals appearance at home in Buenes Aires, DSS has’t been able to put together a run. And the losses have, for the most part, been bad. Schwartzman has been served a breadstick SIX times already. This price seems cheap, DSS is on his fourth week of play in a row and I’ll grab Cecchinato.
Goffin is quickly turning into a pure avoid for me, along the lines of Tiafoe or Gilles Simon. He’s lost as a favorite almost as much as anyone else on tour in 2019. There really isn’t anything between these two, statistically on clay, and if it wasn’t for Fucsovics having never been to Madrid before, I might have grabbed him at plus money.
Either fade Fog early or back him late. Never the other way around. So, it’s Edmund or avoid here and backing Edmund right now seems like a bad idea. Edmund lost to Denis Kudla, on clay, last week in Munich. That’s gross. So, this match is a straight avoid for me.
Here’s a pure fade play. Millman is on his fourth straight week of travel, has never played in Madrid before and is going from ocean side in Estoril up a mountain to 2,000 feet of elevation. He’s also a career 0.389 winner on clay. This is not a good combo. Steve Johnson is a big serve, big forehand guy who should do alright in Madrid. Johnson certainly hasn’t shown good form in 2019 and his last outing was a terrible loss in Houston. But, he’s had a month to figure that out and the combined hold/break numbers prior to 2019 are dramatically in Johnson’s favour. I’ll take the plus money.
I think Sousa will be the only player coming from Estoril that I’ll be backing. I also think he is the only guy playing in his fourth straight week that I am backing. And really it’s more about who he is playing than anything else. Mannarino is actually, like, Challenger level player on clay. In fact, he played in a clay Challenger last week and lost to Mikael Ymer, ranked #169 in the world. For all his failings, Sousa’s best surface is clay. His combined hold/breaks stats are way, way better than Mannarino’s and consequently, I actually think Sousa is a bargain here. Parlay city.
And I can find Sousa’s parlay partner right away. Coric is my outright pick this week (well, one of them). And I like his draw. Pouille had a rough go of it after the Aussie Open and actually dropped down to the Challenger last week to win a title in Bordeaux. Coric’s stats on clay are much better than Pouille’s, the head-to-head is in his favour, he’s had success in Madrid before, and Coric had last week off to get ready for Madrid. I like everything about this match-up for the Croat.
DeMinaur has struggled on clay at the ATP level and he is coming from Estoril. But, he had success on the surface at the Challenger level and really, with his speed, success is going to come on this surface eventually. The stats between ADM and Hurkacz aren’t really that far apart and I don’t see Hubie being -300. Seems way high. But, I’m not one to buck a streak and so, I’ll avoid ADM and just sit back and watch two of my more favored dudes on tour (have had outrights on both already this year).
David Ferrer’s last match? RBA travelling from a delayed Sunday semi-final in Munich? Straight pass.
Gilles Simon match. Do they really take place?
Stanimal presents well on paper. Clay is his best surface (he’s got a French Open title), aside from last year when he was in injury recovery mode, his combined hold/break stats on clay are in elite territory, he can beat the best at any given time, and he has the big serve game that should play well in Madrid. The issue is Stan is notorious for not caring about Masters series events. It’s a weird phenomenon but, Stan has three Slams and countless 250’s to his name… and one Master’s title. He has been to Madrid TWLEVE times and is 13-12. He went out in the first round in three of his last four trips here. So, betting on Stan is out. PHH is improving rapidly and I’ve backed him a ton this year and last. His hold/break numbers are on a rocket trajectory, from 93 to 105 to 108 currently. If I could get +200 here I’d be down. As is, I’ll just pass. I mean, it’s still Stan. He could show up.
Pella and Medvedev. Two of the hottest guys on tour. This price seems way out of whack, given how much success Pella has had recently and how good he is on clay. It is a definite over-reaction to Medvedev’s recent run on clay. But, Pella is on his fourth straight week of action and all of them have seen him run deep into the week. He’s going to run out of gas at some point, and doing so at elevation wouldn’t be a surprise. I’ll pass on this; Meds can totally win this but, the price is a tad high.
Second round matches with huge names and huge odds. I’ll gladly side-step Djoker and Fritz. They played in Monte Carlo and Djoker beat him 63,60. I have no idea how to attack this.
I will get behind Cilic at a cheap price though. Lots will be made of the fact that these two have played twice and both have gone three sets and Struff won one of them. But, as I said yesterday, Cilic is under-rated on clay and coming through a tough three setter with someone like Klizan should be a confidence boost for a guy who has been in a funk lately. Now, he can relax and just try to beat a lesser version of himself in what should be a serve fest. If you avoid looking at 2019 stats, Cilic is the way, way better clay player and really, how much credence can you give to a win over Kyrgios? I’ll also back the over here as I could easily see a 76, 64 Cilic win.
Opelka didn’t get to 23 games yesterday. And I called that. My guess is, with the line at 22.5 here, books are looking at Thiem breaking him a few times. Thiem actually plays a bunch of tiebreaks himself. If I had to bet this match, I’d probably look more at the first set over. You can get over 10.5 at +150. Because, I could see a 76 first set and then Thiem trucking him in the second set once he has gotten used to the serve. I may look at that if the day starts out well.
Fed back on clay. He owns Gasquet. 17-2 head-to-head. Just sit back and hope Fed doesn’t get hurt.
Cecchinato ml, -125
Johnson, ml, +110
Sousa/Coric ml, -105
Cilic ml, -150
Cilic/Struff o22.5, -120